Letters

After launching this website in June 2007 people from all over the world have been sending me a steady stream of letters. Some of these letters have simply been amazing. I thought it would be a blessing to the wider Christian community to post some of these letters online.

In each case I received permission from the author to post their letter online. In some cases the author requested that they remain anonymous.

Some of the letters contain a few minor points that I may not see eye to eye on.

If you wish to add your thoughts to this page please write to:    nrcrwsATgmail.com

Your brother in Christ,
Phil

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Hi Phil,

I just wanted to say thank you for creating this website! About a week after I broke up with a guy who goes to the NRC, I sat down and tried to make a list of some truths (from God) and some lies (from the devil??) I had so many thoughts running through my head, I had never known this type of thinking (NRC) before and wanted to try and sort them out. So I decided to look online and your website is what I found. Your website helped me very much. This experience has taught me a lot and even though things were hard at times, our awesome God has made me stronger in Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Katie

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Dear Phil,

I am very interested in the contents of your website and would like to take this opportunity to share my story and my experiences within the NRC church.

I grew up in the Netherlands Reformed Church and am familiar with its culture, teachings, practices and weaknesses. I left the church several years ago after a very difficult and trying time in my life. I did not feel supported by my church family and was urged to believe that my circumstances were God's will and that I should be quiet about my difficulties and submit to them. I chose not to do so. I could not ignore the situation my children and I were in and chose to do something about it. As a result I was shunned.

I feel very strongly that the NRC does not accurately portray the character of God. God is a God of love, patience and forgiveness. While He is a jealous God and wants all of our love and devotion, He can not be viewed as an angry God who is willing to allow us to perish and send us to eternal death. He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more. He would that no one would die, but that we would live through Jesus Christ and His payment on the cross. John 3:16 states clearly that Jesus came for the world. It means just what it says; the whole world, every one of us, not just the elect as the NRC teaches. Jesus' sacrifice is enough for every individual to be saved, however, we need to make the choice whether we chose to believe that or not. God has our best interests at heart; he wants to give us hope and a future and to give us abundant life. He has no plans to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).

My life has changed dramatically since leaving the NRC. I have come to recognize the tremendous religious baggage that I have been carrying. I have learned that God is not interested in religion but in us having an intimate relationship with Him. I learned that he is the lover of my soul, my husband, my beloved, my father, my teacher, my comforter, my healer, etc. His Word is His love letter to me. Through it he speaks directly to me and not through David or Paul or any other author. I have learned that we can take God's Word at face value, literally. It means what it says. When God says that when we seek we will find, when we knock it will be opened, it means just that. It is not to be interpreted as the NRC teaches that we need to ask everyday for a new heart, because if we ask we receive in faith by grace and it WILL be given to us. It is not as if God hears us asking and will send us to hell anyways, he is gracious, not devious! He doesn't seek to trick us! Never! Those are characteristics of Satan, not of God!

I feel strongly that the NRC is cultish in nature. It has similar characteristics of a cult. First, their membership is kept through fear. They teach that they are the only truth and that all other teachings are false. Secondly, because they are exclusive in nature they do not welcome outsiders. The Gospel commands us to preach the good news to all people, not to a select few.

I am now aware of God's deep love for me and for all of his creation. That includes that homeless beggar, the alcoholic, the murderer, the sexual offender and you! He loves us, though he is most certainly disappointed by the poor choices we all make every day. Still he pursues us, he longs for us to draw close to him. As our daddy, he waits patiently for us to come and will never turn us away. I long for NRC members to discover the truth about God and how a church needs to functions as an expression of his love.

God accepts us just as we are. He takes us with open arms with all our weaknesses. We all do things we shouldn't and don't do things we should. The comfort is that Jesus understands. He walked on earth and was tempted in everything as we are. We grow because we love him and chose to reflect him in our lives as best we can.

My advice to anyone in the NRC would be to question things. Seek things out. Search for the truth and don't settle until you find God. Only then will you be at peace because He will hold you securely in His hands and that is the best place to be. I promise you that you will keep going back to Him for more.

Name withheld by request


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Hi Phil,

I have been searching for a website that went into greater detail about the NRC and last night I stumbled on to your site! I have a co-worker who is part of the NRC; been all her life as well as her husband and now their kids as well. Once in a while, we will get to talking about church and I always walk away feeling like I should have told her this or that, but never do because I just simply do not know enough about their beliefs. The one thing she shared with me that bothers me the most is that she says that there are only about 10% of the congregation that participates in the Lord's Supper, since those are the only ones that know for sure that they are saved. I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church and am still presently a member and hope to always be. Like the NRC, we adhere to the teachings of the Heidelberg catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of Dordt. Why do they get a different interpretation from it than us? I know that our denomination has flaws, but show me one that doesn't. There are going to be people from all denominations, even no denomination in Heaven. She makes me feel like it will be only those from the NRC. I would really like to know more about what gives them assurance of salvation. Is it really true that they need to see a vision before they die? I have heard that if one really wants to get depressed, just go to a funeral at a NRC. Is it really that way? Thanks for all of your work in putting this site together. I really appreciated it!

Name withheld by request


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Hi Phil,

I came across your website and read it with great interest. I grew up in the Netherlands Reformed Church and spent 8 years in their Christian School in Rock Valley, IA. One of the things you did not address is how they believe one gets to heaven, I was there until I was about 18 years old and never understood how one gets saved, my belief was that it was impossible for me. I believe differently now, but I am still affected to this day by what I heard growing up.

Have an excellent day.

James Vanden Brink

Editorial note: Mr. Vanden Brink's evaluation is correct. One of the chief weaknesses of this website is that it says very little about what the NRC believes about saving faith. NRC soteriology is much more complicated than how it is presented in their doctrinal statements. I attended the NRC for only ten months and such a short period of time was not sufficient (for me at least) to thoroughly understand the unique characteristics of their soteriology. Mr. Vanden Brink sent another email to help clarify this key area.

Hi Phil,

There is much about the NRC message I agree with. (Although the method of delivery and worship is somewhat cold.) They are definitely right on when it comes to the depth of man's sin and the need for repentance (a message which is severely lacking in a large number of churches today). Where the problem for me comes is after that there seems to be no hope offered, Jesus is held out as the way but it seems impossible to really know him, there is no call to trust on him alone for salvation. The doctrine of predestination is taken to an extreme which I don't really know how to explain because I don't really understand it. I do understand their frustration with many people who casually "accept" Jesus and then continue living as they were and their life has not changed one bit. I think we could use a few more sermons today on the following passage from Matthew 7:15-23:

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"

In conclusion, I have no animosity toward the NRC, there can be no doubt of their sincerity. The Bible knowledge of most of their pastors is formidable. My greatest fear is that their view of salvation and predestination leaves many convinced of their sin but not trusting in Jesus and him alone for salvation. This is not a subject to be taken lightly. "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." John 14:6

James Vanden Brink