Panama poverty rate not as reported
Gustavo Espino ’52
The next two letters concern Faculty Membership Requirements.
First, former professor Isom is a Christian. She has professed Jesus as the only way to salvation. However, her style of worship and the people with whom she worships are apparently unacceptable to Calvin College. There seems an inconsistency has surfaced. Jesus was all-inclusive, intentionally challenging the established religious tradition of his time. All were welcome at His table, regardless of gender or race. The Baptist tradition worships this same Jesus, believing He is the “way” just as the CRC teaches. Perhaps Baptists and Reformed believers aren’t so different. The subtle differences that exist would surely be acceptable to Jesus.
Second, Calvin offers itself as a school that welcomes diversity. Is this message truly presented to prospective students? The message just sent is that you must believe what we believe and practice your faith as we practice it, or you will not be welcome here. President Byker has said that “being generally Christian has not worked in the past and I doubt that it will work in the future.” I question if this is acceptable to God. The Reformed tradition guides the mission of the college, seeking to integrate Christ into every aspect of life. What does this mean? Interpretations vary, but Professor Isom would likely agree that Christ is central to her life. Sincerely offering her heart and life promptly and sincerely to her faithful Savior represents the essential Reformed tradition.
I am embarrassed at this point in time to be part of the history of our wonderful college. The policies leading to the decision for Professor Isom to resign do not reflect the perspective of Jesus. Please consider them closely. Importantly, the issue is larger than Isom’s resignation. It is about the exclusivity of the CRC. Is it tenable in the 21st century’s global community to believe that the CRC is the only acceptable tradition for the fulfillment of Christ’s mission? Are we, the Reformed, the only way? God is larger than the CRC: an all-inclusive, all-powerful God whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours. God is not to be placed into a box—not even a Reformed one. I pray we can all continue to be challenged to find ways to unite in Christ.
Tim Lenters ’95
I take it that Professor Isom is a committed Christian and a member in good standing of her home church, Messiah Baptist. Regarding the “solution” of providing her a membership at a CRC on paper only, but allowing her to continue to worship at her own church—how is this honoring your requirement that a professor be a CRC member? Is this not just following the letter of the law and not the spirit of it? How could this even seriously be considered? I find the decision of the professional status committee grievous, insular and not biblically based. Perhaps the CRC membership requirement for professorship needs to be reconsidered.
Evanne M. Hoolsema ex’84
Tom Ozinga ’60
There were a few other errors in photo identifications in “Theater Program Gets Standing Ovation.” The photo of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was from 1967. The Crucible photo was from 1969. And another mislabeled photo was from the 1940s Radio Show.--Editor
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