Our Synodical Stated Clerk received a second letter from the consistory of the “Protesting Christian Reformed Church” of Kalamazoo, Michigan, the purpose of which is, evidently, to repeal the first letter in regard to the same matter.
The Stated Clerk, Rev. D. Jonker, delivered the letter to undersigned as chairman of the committee in this matter, appointed by our Synod; and undersigned hereby gives notice to the other members of the same committee of the receipt and contents of this letter. I do not consider it necessary to convoke the committee. However, if they should think otherwise, let them inform me and I will gladly call a meeting.
The letter here follows:
“To the Synod of the Protestant Reformed Church, c/o Rev. D. Jonker, Stated Clerk.
“The consistory of the Protesting Christian Reformed Church of Kalamazoo has taken notice of the fact that the letter written to the Protestant Reformed Church and addressed to their Stated Clerk on July 30, 1940 has been openly published and discussed in the Standard Bearer by one of its ministers, Rev. H. Hoeksema.
“The consistory, at its regular meeting of December 23, 1940, decided that, whereas this letter was addressed to the Protestant Reformed Church, it is entirely contrary to Reformed Church law and good order that this letter was intercepted and publicly discussed by one individual, this letter being an answer to a missive received from the Synod of the above mentioned church, and the consistory withdraws the complete contents of their letter sent to you on said date.
Consistory of the Protesting Christian Reformed Church.”
Was signed: Pres. Henry Danhof
Clerk G. Joe W. Hendriksen,
I wish to add only a few remarks.
First of all, let me state that the letter from Kalamazoo’s consistory was not “intercepted.” To intercept means that someone takes possession of anything before it arrives at is destined place. That was not the case here at all. Kalamazoo sent the letter to our Stated Clerk. It was duly received by him. He delivered the letter to undersigned, which was also quite proper, for undersigned was chairman of the committee appointed by our Synod in this matter. And the consistory of Kalamazoo might have known and did know all this, because it was plainly stated in our letter to them that our Synod had appointed such a committee. There was, therefore, no “intercepting” of the letter.
Secondly, personally I cannot see anything contrary to Reformed “law” or to good order in the publication and discussion of this letter in the Standard Bearer. Matters that are to be brought to the attention of a synod are not private. It is quite customary to discuss certain matters that are to appear on the synodical program, and to shed light on them before the Synod meets. Our letter to the Consistory of Kalamazoo had been published in the Acta of our Synod, as well as in The Standard Bearer. And all our churches certainly were interested to know what Kalamazoo would answer. Hence, I cannot agree with the opinion of the consistory of Kalamazoo in this matter.
Thirdly, suppose that my action in the matter was improper, how could the consistory of Kalamazoo blame our churches for this and refuse to have their first letter received and acknowledged? This certainly is a very peculiar interpretation and application of Reformed Church “law.”
Finally, in my judgment matters did not change much, for the simple reason that the Consistory of Kalamazoo does not withdraw very much of importance (except of negative importance) by withdrawing the complete contents of its first letter.