Re: Reformed vs Anglo-American Evangelical View

Jan de Koning (
14 Jun 96 12:24:36 EDT

Dear Mike,

Let me begin to state that the message which ended up on ASA was intended
for CRC-voices. On its own it does make only limited sense. When writing the
posting you read, it was not meant to be standing on its own but as part of a
larger conversation about the difference in witnessing as done by reformed
christians and evangelical christians. The point was, that somebody made a
statement that outreach for evangelical christians was mainly directed to
"saving souls", an expression I don't like anyway, because many evangelical
christians I know, do connect being a christian with christianizing other ares
of life. In the conversation we had it was stated that reformed christians did
not take evangelizing outreach very serious, while being strong in trying to
christianize all areas of life. My point was, that you cannot do the one
without the other. Of course, one has to start somewhere, but that depends more
on circumstances than on preferences. So ASA got to read at best a message
which was hardly understandable. It would not serve any purpose to reprint
everything. If further clarification is needed, please ask.

I did not just point to capitalists. I pointed to communists as well. I
agree with you that greed is not just something that only capitalists have. In
both cases many people do not learn responsibility. It resulted 100 to 200 years
ago in the industrial revolution. Labourers became practically slaves. Before
that in England and elsewhere communal property was enclosed, and became part of
the holdings of the Lord of the manor. In Russia communism nationalized (or
communalized) land while taking care of the workers. Responsibility was taken
away, resulting in a population which is very poor, and does, generally
speaking, not the ability to improve themselves. They never learned to take any
initiative. Capitalism, communism, etc. all centralized the economy. Now in
the U.S.A. as well as in Canada budgets must be balanced. The result is in both
countries that the poor have a very heavy load to carry, resulting in more
homeless people. The rich, or in Russia the party bosses, or in England (and
other European countries) the Lords of the Manor in the past, the industrialists
in the last century, may have to go down in living standards, but there is more
than enough left usually. Biblical standards require us to take care of each
other, see the first chapters of Acts for example. Or read Paul's requests for
help for the congregation at Jerusalem. Christians do not have to be poor, but
they must take care of each other and creation.

In my original postings I pointed to Lev.25, the sabbath law: every
seventh year the land had to get a rest. Israel did not do it, resulting in 70
years exile. In that way God made sure the land got its rest: 2Chron.36:21.
I still say, that a capitalistic system harms poor people, harms the environment
(clearcutting forests, for example. Another example: the use of pesticides
harming the water supply of N.America. Acid rain killing forests. etc.).
Lev.25 gives direction how God wanted it, but we have to translate the
indications given to an agricultural people, to directions for modernized
countries. It is absolutely wrong, that in countries where some earn millions
per year, others die of hunger and neglect. It is wrong that agricultural land
disappears: the dustbowl of the thirties, and I read last week again about
Texas. I don't have the answers, but I do believe, that as Christians we have
the task to tell people, that the land belongs to the Lord. We may use it, but
only in such a way that we do not let the poor die on the streets, or take
hosp[ital care away from the poor, or harm creation (the environment they say
nowadays, but that places "Man" in the centre again). In that context, I said,
that working in every area is working in and for the coming of Gods Kingdom.
That includes studying to find solutions, working in politics (though there it
is very hard to let a christian voice be heard in this post-christian era.)

My last remark is, that I think, that glorifying capitalism is one of the
greatest dangers here in N.-America, and since it is glorifying greed, it is not
a christian way of life. I tried to explain why.

Jan de Koning
20 Crispin Crescent
Willowdale, Ont.
tel.: (416)222-3464