An Open Letter from Bob Bouwer, Charlie Contreras and Ron Citlau

Dear friends,

Christian community in a broken world with sinful people–ourselves first to admit our sinfulness–is hard! Even among close friends finding the right way to do church is rife with cliffs and chasms. We have learned this first hand.

A few weeks ago Charlie Contreras and Bob Bob Bouwer (& Scott Treadway) representing the Gospel Alliance met with representatives of Room for All and did the hard work of Christian community seeking a way forward for the RCA over issues of the authority of Scriptures and sexuality. It was a hard but good meeting. From that meeting a statement of agreement was worked on and agreed to by both organizations. Ron Citlau read the statement when it became public and wrote a critique of it. Though there was limited communication between the three of us before Ron’s critique, there was not adequate time given to process the original statement or the critique among the three of us. We have been friends a long time and there were hurt feelings, misunderstanding and unneeded wounding. But there is grace and mercy. We have had good conversations, become better friends, and grown deeper in the Lord. We wanted you to know that. We also wanted to share with you learnings and clarifications so our mistakes might serve you in your journey of following Christ:

  1. In Christ, any conflict can be worked through if there is humility on all sides. We experienced this. We saw Matthew 18 work it’s good work.
  2. We all needed to ask for mercy and forgiveness.
  3. Proverbs 15:22 declares, “without counsel plans fail but with many advisors they succeed.” The original joint statement needed more editing before it went public because it doesn’t reflect our views on sexuality and redemption or The Gospel Alliance.
  4. The critique blog post should have been given to GA’s leadership team with time to respond before being published for a chance of doing this all privately and fixing the original joint statement.
  5. All of this hard work needed to be done face-to-face.
  6. We, and the Gospel Alliance, joyfully stand with the traditional Christian view of marriage and redemption. Marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman for life; and Christ redeems sexual sinners. This has never changed for us or GA and won’t, God willing.
  7. Relationships matter. We must not just seek to be right we must treat each other rightly as our master commands. We are more committed to this than ever (Matthew 22:37-40).

Conflicts like this have much to teach us and to grow us if we are willing to learn. We want to grow and learn! We will keep talking, repenting and loving. We deeply care for each other, the local church and our denomination. We will continue standing and fighting for the good. We hope you will join us.

In Brotherly Love,

Bob, Charlie and Ron

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter from Bob Bouwer, Charlie Contreras and Ron Citlau”

  1. Much love and respect to all of you for your humility, your integrity, and your willingness to balance grace & truth!

  2. It’s sad to me that wonderful leaders like yourselves take a gospel peripheral issue and make it central over against the interpretations of a growing number of Bible students and scholars.

    1. Hello brother. This argument about the essential importance (or lack thereof) of sexuality in human existence, sinfulness and redemption is why there is a chasm between the orthodox and progressives. For me, when we speak of sexuality we are speaking of the deepest source of what it means to be human made in the image of God. Hard to see how this is not primary in sin and redemption. Hope your summer is filled with heat and sun!

      1. Ron, thank you for calling me “brother,” I think the same of you, and therefore hope that we can continue to grace the same denomination together, since we want the RCA’s arms to be as wide as Christ’s. Though I disagree with you here (7 verses out of 30K in the Bible), I appreciate your ministry and hope to continue to learn from you!

  3. Thanks to all of you for modeling how to react, repent and respond as fellow image bearers. Grateful for your leadership.

Leave a Reply