Columnists > Mailbag


Issue: "Tyranny of the minority," June 7, 2003

Calvin coverage

"Shifting Sand" unnecessarily, and I think unfairly, casts a shadow of doubt over Calvin College and its commitment to what you call its "biblical moorings." An educational institution that has served Reformed and evangelical churches for 127 years, is known for its top-notch (Christian) academics, and has produced scholars the like of Lewis Smedes, Richard Mouw, Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and others, deserves better treatment. Calvin College is owned and operated by the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). Calvin College's charter and policies reflect the official positions of the CRC. It is these official positions that form the basis for a fair evaluation of Calvin College's stance on moral and ethical issues. To quote individual students alongside official college spokespersons, as if these are equally reliable sources of information, is to distort objective reporting. - Dr. Peter Borgdorff Executive Director, Ministries Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Calvin coverage

Lynn Vincent insightfully identifies Abraham Kuyper's ethic of cultural engagement as key to understanding trends at Calvin College. Previous generations read him to mean that Christians should take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Today many say Kuyper meant that obedience to Christ requires that every captivating thought must be entertained. There's a big difference. The interpretation of Kuyper presently in vogue at Calvin College (and also Calvin Seminary) creates a great divide that threatens not only alumni support, but Christ's Glory and the Christian Reformed denomination as a whole. WORLD's description of Calvin College's open stance to theistic evolution, feminist theology, and sinless homosexuality only underscores that we are going the wrong way when the elevation of man's thinking (including Kuyper's) is used to cloud and contradict the forthright clarity of God's Word. - Chuck Walton, Kanawha, Iowa

Calvin coverage

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I commend Lynn Vincent for writing "Shifting sand?" (May 10). As a sophomore at Calvin, I have been exposed firsthand to the changing of Calvin's foundation. Being a transfer student, I was not fully aware of the special events like "Ribbon Week." I asked a classmate what her purple ribbon meant and she said it's a sign of acceptance of all people. I later found out that "all people" meant gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. I have been appalled by posters advertising a support group for GLBs (as they are called) around campus. God condemned the practice, so why cannot God's judgment against GLB be proclaimed at Calvin? I am glad Calvin's lack of the morals it was founded on is being made known to the Christian community outside of Calvin. Much prayer and action is needed if a change is to take place. - Katie Wagenmaker, Coopersville, Mich.

Calvin coverage

I am not beholden to Calvin College (nor to the CRC), but am close friends with some of the faculty and alumni. This provides me with more than enough knowledge of the school and its people to know that you failed to deal with the situation there in a fully truthful way. To make the sort of sweeping charges and to paint such a negative picture requires more evidence than you provided. I am grieved that you would paint Calvin's engagement of the Indigo Girls as a "patina." The panel discussions surrounding the group's concert, including one with the artists themselves, allowed the student body a chance to think through the topic of homosexuality, a vital one in today's world, under the direction of mature Christian faculty and staff. That is true Christian cultural engagement. This article was irresponsible, and is an example of the sort of reporting Christian journalists should avoid. - Denis D. Haack, Rochester, Minn.

Calvin coverage

Mrs. Vincent's suggestion that the presence of controversial views at Calvin College is evidence of a "loss of biblical moorings" is sad. On the contrary, the presence of those views demonstrates an institution confident enough in the transforming power of the gospel that it is willing to confront "every square inch" of contemporary thought. - Steve Baas, Madison, Wis.

Calvin coverage

I suspect that WORLD will take a lot of heat for what is, under the circumstances, a fair and very mild treatment of an explosive subject. Things on that campus (the rabid political liberalism, the campus commitment to homosexuality and feminist theology) are far worse than the article suggests. How tragic that this once great institution has fallen so far and so fast. - Ron Nash, Orlando, Fla.

Lustrous language

Marvin Olasky in "The write stuff" (May 10) provides excellent advice for those who would improve their writing. However, in the quest for simplicity, he does not allow much room for the beauty and luster of language so evident in the works of earlier writers. Rather than discourage our children from modeling 19th-century Englishmen, we should encourage such an awakening of the imagination in reading material and in writing practice. - Jeanie Bumpus, Halifax, Mass.


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