Dear brother Ophoff:
A few days ago we received the August issue of the Standard Bearer and are much concerned about the article you wrote concerning the Revs. J. De Jong and B. Kok. So much so that I felt I should write you and express my opinion and reaction since I also expect to do so publicly in the next issue of the Standard Bearer.
It is not my intention to go into the material but to express myself concerning the method in which you have publicized these things. I feel your course of action to be reprehensible since, to my mind, your article lacks the proper brotherly spirit. You also seemed to feel that something was not quite in order since you began with a rather long apology containing your various reasons for publicizing the matter.
However, my main objection has to do with the manner in which you attack your brethren and mine in the ministry of our Churches. In the first place, it seems strange to me, that you so treat your brethren upon the basis of hearsay. You have taken the word, which was not addressed to you, of one whom you con sider to maintain “false doctrine”, “damnable. . . . rotten heresy” and “Arminianism” to attack your brethren. Moreover you argue for his veracity while you seem to doubt that of your brethren. Now apart from the eventual determination of all the facts and establishment of the whole truth, to write as you did upon the word of one who is so far removed from you, both physically and theologically, overagainst those who are united with you in the ministry of our churches, fails, in my mind, to be a judgment of love.
In the second place, the implication which you make in the statement: “Can it be that we here hit upon the fundamental purpose of that visit to the Netherlands,—the purpose, namely, to show the irreconcilable leaders among the Liberated that they need have no scrap(p)les about advising their people who come to these shores to affiliate with the Protestant Reformed?” is, to my mind, an unwarranted insinuation. It is a judgment of motive and appears to me almost mephitic in intent. Once again, to my mind, it is an unkind treatment of our brethren.
To an extent at least, I also would object to your attitude over against the Liberated Churches as evidenced in your article. In the first place, the official position of our Churches is that these Churches are Reformed and that we should seek contact with them. (Cf. Acts of Synod, 1947, Art. 75, pp. 53 and 54. Also Acts of Synod 1948, Art. 51, pp. 53 and 54). That this was also your personal opinion is evident from the letter which appears over your signature in the Acts of Synod of 1948, pp. 38 and 39. It would appear that until the opposite is established, we should recognize them as such.
In the second place, I dislike the manner in which you have condemned these Churches before furnishing a warranted basis for your judgment of them, it would seem to me to be more proper, first to state the case and prove your allegations, rather than vice-versa.
Finally, if the position of the Liberated Churches is as heretical as you maintain, I feel that we as Churches have an even greater calling over against them. We have then the calling, with our greater light and superior knowledge which God has graciously given us, to attempt to do all in our power to save this last vestige of Reformed truth in the Netherlands, while there is still opportunity for communication with them. It is possible that we close the door to tins opportunity and fail in realization of this calling if we proceed in an abusive manner. It would seem to me, that at least until a stand had been taken, this purpose can be advanced more properly by dignified communication between these two groups; upon the basis ot Truth and in the spirit of love expressing one another’s desire for our mutual spiritual welfare, rather than in the way of accusation and name-calling.
Rev. W. Hofman.
I shall reply to this missive in the next issue of the Standard Bearer.
G. M. Ophoff.