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Letters to the Editor

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The place of law and fantasy
In response to Sharon R. Brinks' article, "Confirming Liberty with Law" (Fall 2001), I suspect people say, "The problem with this country is all of the lawyers" largely because of some high-profile "frivolous" lawsuits. These are cases where stupid people do something dumb and then win large amounts of money via some loophole in the law. You know, the case where the guy loses his hand after trying to use a lawnmower as a hedge clipper. When guys like this win a lawsuit, we become frustrated with the legal system. Our gut reaction is to blame the lawyers who take these cases.

In response to the article on the Harry Potter phenomenon, I have always been a fan of the fantasy genre. For whatever reason, it has always had great pull with me. I would not be one to ban such books, but at the same time I have increasingly wondered about how fantasy worlds fit into living with a biblical worldview. Where does the practice of escaping into other worlds via books, TV, computer games, etc., fit into living in the Kingdom? I'd like to see the Reformed community come at this a little harder and dig a little deeper. I have yet to hear an intellectual response to the idea of "escapism," for lack of a better word.

Jason Rekker '95
Grove City, Pa.

Harry Potter is evil
It is with great sadness that I read "There's Something About Harry" (Fall 2001). So much of the Christian world has been drawn into the wickedness of the Harry Potter books. I would urge fellow Christians to read Richard Abanes' book, Harry Potter and the Bible. Abanes is a Christian expert on cults, the occult and world religions. In Harry Potter and the Bible, Abanes thoroughly details the promotion of the occult in the J.K. Rowling's books and shows exactly how Potter is in direct opposition both to the Bible and how our Lord wants us to live as Christians.

The Lord commands His children in Leviticus 19, "You shall not…practice divination or soothsaying…Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them; I am the Lord your God" (vs. 26 and 31).

I was horrified to read that Don Hettinga, an English professor, thinks that "there are some very worthwhile themes in the book" and that he would like "his kids to grow up and be Harry Potter." God forbid! I would urge Professor Hettinga to read Abanes' book. Abanes writes very clearly, "Harry and his friends routinely steal, lie, cheat and seek revenge with clear consciences…[and] throughout Rowling's works 'good' characters show no remorse over their 'evil' actions. In fact, they are often rather proud of themselves and their misdeeds."

As Reformed Christians we need to remember one very important truth as penned by Dr. Abraham Kuyper: "There is not one square inch of ground above the earth, on the earth, or under the earth that is at peace." The forces of our Lord Jesus are at war with the creatures from hell. Everything is either of God or of Satan. May God grant us discernment to learn His truth as revealed in His Word.

Cheryl Van Til '82
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Charmed by Ericson
Just wanted to say how much I loved Ed Ericson's essay about his father ("A Father to the End," Fall 2001). I had no idea Professor Ericson was such a tender and charming writer; I had a good cry reading that one.

Sara DeBoer '90
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Spark evokes memories
Your comments in the Spring Spark about the men's dormitory brought back many memories of the two years (1961-63) I worked as secretary for the physical education department, which was also housed in that building. Instructors such as Barney Steen, Winnie Byker, Dave Tuuk, Don Vroon, Nita Van Dellen and Marv Zuidema shared offices there. Working for them was a joy but also presented a challenge. Although none claimed to have given a key out to the offices (where sports equipment was locked up at night), the basketballs disappeared constantly. Rounding up stray equipment for early classes usually took me to the dorm stairs yelling, "Female on the floor! Where are the basketballs for Dr. Steen's class?" After a few groans from those trying to sleep in, the basketballs would come rolling my way.

Another memory is selling "gym essentials" with Lena Leegwater out of a little basement closet while students sweltered through the registration lines in the muggy gym. Lena knew she would be seeing those gym clothes again soon—needing her care in the laundry area, also located in the dorm basement.

Audrey Levey Greenfield ex'61
Spring Lake Park, Minn.

Welcome back, Bosch!
Dear Anonymous, I am relieved that you are back.

Lori Kort Hoffman '84
Billerica, Mass.

Does God will terrorist acts?
As I read Prof. David Crump's article about Sept. 11 in the Spark (Winter 2001), I thought it deserved an answer. To my surprise, the answer I intended was found in two other articles on the same topic!

Crump asks, "How can a sovereign God allow such a terrorist act to happen?" He approaches the answer with the statement "In giving humanity the ability to decide, God apparently limited his willingness to coerce." The only word I would quibble with in that sentence is the word "apparently." As Crump continues: "the Bible makes it clear that the choice to do evil is at odds with the divine will."

Another of Crump's questions is "How could God be the author of disaster?" He points out, "God's pain did not prevent the flood from drowning the same men, women and children for whom he grieved." Within his very statement Crump gives the answer. As he says, "the flood" drowned the sinful world; later the Babylonians and Romans, destroyed Jerusalem. God's role was active in this sense: he warned the sinners of the consequences of their sins, and then he withdrew his protection when they refused to repent. In this manner, God is the author of disaster. Clearly, he did not strike the wicked with the power of his own might; but he let them feel the wrath of their own sin. Bradley, in his 9-11 reflection, nails this principle on the head: "Psalm 7 says, 'He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.' This is as true today as it was in the time of David."

Crump also states, "We have no way of knowing how to relate contemporary world events to divine intent." As Professor Farhadian, in yet another 9-11 piece, quotes John Calvin: "Nothing will take place that the Lord has not previously foreseen", and from this, he concludes, "we can take solace." Unfortunately, as Crump notes, this solace is not as complete if we are "without an Isaiah or a Jeremiah to utter an inspired 'thus saith the Lord'," and have not "the slightest notion of how international tragedies may intersect, parallel or oppose God's plan for salvation." I don't claim to be the "most devout saint" Crump refers to, but I wanted to share with you the place in scripture where even this event was foreseen, and the inspired interpretation of it. It is not Isaiah or Jeremiah to whom we will turn, but to Daniel.

Daniel 11:40 says, "At the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. " The "king of the south," initially Egypt politically, geographically and spiritually, now refers to the spiritual kingdom of atheism. Atheism (the king of the south) includes Islam because it denies the deity of Jesus Christ. So, "the king of the south shall push at him." But at whom shall the king of the south push? The king of the north initially referred to the Babylonian and Assyrian powers; spiritually, these powers claimed to worship God but in reality they denied his power in their lives. In effect, they set up their own gods in place of the God they professed to worship. At this time, the "king of the north" refers to nominal Christianity, or the "Christian" nations—those who are shaped by the values of Christianity but do not live for the glory of God nor offer him their whole hearts.

This verse, Dan. 11:40, was also fulfilled in the fall of the Iron Curtain; at that time, communism represented the atheistic king of the south, and the "western world" or capitalism the king of the north. Now we see it again fulfilled: Islam pushes against America. The "king of the north"—the professedly Christian nation which sets up its own gods in the place of the true God—strikes back and overflows the countries which have pushed at it.

As Crump correctly maintains, "Sometimes silence, or an admission of ignorance, is the more profound statement of faith." I have received comfort from an understanding which I believe comes from God, my statement of faith cannot be silenced; I must share it, or else I would be dissembling.

Rebecca Ouwehand Zimmerman '97
Creston, B.C.

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