With reference to the former Rev. Kok’s, “News Items from Holland,” in Concordia, Nov. 5, 1958, the undersigned simply makes the following testimony from the Consistory records, beginning as early as the latter part of 1949, when the Holwerda-Kok case originated in the Netherlands.
On Nov. 17, 1949, elder Kortering filed a lengthy document with Consistory, advising the following. On the basis ofand , as literally taken from , Professor Holwerda, and in our case (Rev. R. Kok) being placed before the Lord, will have to answer these questions to the legally ordained Consistory of Holland Mich., of which Rev. Kok is pastor. Whether yes or no Rev. Kok made these statements as Professor Holwerda wrote in that letter to an immigrant in Canada. This must be investigated, as well as the integrity and truthfulness of the reporter, Professor Holwerda, a professor in Dogmatics in God’s Christian Church in the Netherlands. For, Rev. Kok challenges the truth of these statements as he (Prof. Holwerda) made them. Shortly after this my office expired on Dec. 31, 1949. The Consistory never carried out this advice beyond the public statement made by the then Rev. Kok to the Congregation, in which he denied the truth of the Holwerda report. The undersigned re-entered the office of elder over a year later, and also failed to again take up that matter. I herewith confess my guilt, it would have been better in view of the present history if the whole matter had been cleared up at that time. With the passing on of Professor Holwerda into eternity the whole matter was sealed to the day of judgment, as far as official action was concerned.
On Feb. 22, 1953 elder Kortering registered a lengthy document in Consistory disagreeing with Consistory’s stand taken on Dec. 20, 1950 against Synod adopting the Declaration of Principles.
On Sept. 8, 1952 elder Kortering submitted to Consistory for their study, examination, and consideration, his grounded objection to Rev Kok’s conditional theology, as he expounded it on Sunday Morning, Sept. 7th from the pulpit, and as he had written and defended the Liberated Doctrines publicly in his articles in Concordia, etc. This also was a lengthy document, copy now filed in Classis.
On Dec. 12, 1952 the above Sept. 8th grounded objection became a protest, requesting the suspension of Rev. Kok from his office, on the grounds submitted, and on the fact that he refused to retract his conditional theology as expounded on the pulpit on Sept. 7th, and as written in his articles in Concordia.
On Dec. 18, 1952 elder Kortering made the motion to initiate the proper proceedings to suspend Rev. Kok from his office. The Elders failed to support this motion. Elder Kortering appealed his protest to Classis East, to have them judge over us, whether the grounds submitted in his protest of Dec. 12th are sufficient grounds to suspend Rev. Kok from his office.
After this and at the same meeting, Dec. 18, 1952 Art. 6, Consistory decided unanimously to have Rev. Kok prepare his answer for Classis, on the protest of Elder Kortering, and to present this answer at our next General Consistory Meeting D.V., to be held on Dec. 26th, for their consideration.
On Dec. 22, 1952 Elder Kortering filed his copy of protest against the Consistory of Holland with the stated clerk of Classis East.
On Dec. 26th 1952 elder Kortering laid a copy of this protest sent to Classis (which was basically the same as his Dec. 12, 1952 protest already in the record of Consistory), on the table of Consistory.
At this Dec. 26, 1952, meeting, Rev. Kok failed to carry out the mandate of Consistory Art. 6 Dec. 18th minutes above. And instead of answering my protest, which Consistory could adopt as their answer to my protest to Classis. Rev. Kok corrupted the Consistorial mandate by charging me with violating Art. 30, Church Order. His loud arguments caused tension to rise in Consistory, and in the confusion that followed, nothing was accomplished, the copy of my protest was not read, and the answer that Rev. Kok had prepared was simply received for information and filed.
At the Meeting of Classis East, January 7, 1953 Rev. Kok as delegate simply kept that paper which he had read to Consistory on Dec. 26, 1952, in his pocket, did not read what he had reported to Consistory, but blocked my protest gaining the floor of Classis by saying that Consistory had no time to answer it.
The rest of the history of my protest at Classis from then on is so well known to all that we need not repeat it, the minutes of the Holland Consistory are simply filled with articles, referring to my protests. From the minutes officially given to me over the Rev. Kok’s own signature dated Aug. 13, 1953 I can count at least 39 articles, separate entries in the minutes in reference to or connected with my protests, from Sept. 12, 1952 to April 21, 1953. From that several were omitted, and these do not count my separate protests against the Consistory allowing Rev. Vermeer, and Rev. Petter to occupy our pulpit after they schismatically recognized and preached for the De Wolf group.
In addition to above, Consistory forgot to include in their report Art. 12, Mar. 12, 1953 minutes, which read. Kortering requests to have the following entered in the minutes. Due to the fact that my own protests are in the records of Consistory, and in as far as these other protests now in consideration at this time, read on my protests. I hereby want to express, and have entered in the minutes, that I do not want to be held responsible for answers given by Consistory, either expressed or implied to these protests.
On August 2, 1953 Kortering had the following entered in the minutes of Consistory. To Rev. Kok and the Consistory, 1st Prot. Ref. Church, Holland, Mich. Dear Brethren: I wish it understood that I assume no responsibility for any errors that may be preached by Rev. Kok. Grounds: My protest against the Consistory for failing to suspend him from his office is now at Classis.
Among errors I also consider personal statements as follows, made in this morning’s sermon. Which “some of you lay in my mouth.” As I objected once before, sermon Feb. 1st, entered in Mar. 18th minutes, Consistory, the pulpit is never the place for such personal statements or remarks. Neither is that God’s word, which must always be in the mouth of God’s servants on the pulpit.
Besides these official minutes which I literally quoted above, I can testify that many times I have tried to correct the former Rev. Kok. That went so far and so often, that personal animosity from some of the deacons rose every time this occurred. In a spirit of open rebellion, one would cry to the top of his voice, get out of here, if you don’t like Kok’s preaching. This has happened more than once. Under this unpleasant tension above, and the long suspense in which my protest at Classis could not be treated and end the matter, I was compelled to issue the blanket order above, and have entered in the minutes, that I refused to be held responsible for any errors that Rev. Kok might be preaching, on the grounds, that he would not be preaching these errors any longer, if Consistory had done its duty and suspended him from his office last fall, as it was their duty to do.
From all this I fail to see how the former Rev. Kok has the audacity to publicly infer that I never corrected him, and always agreed with him. I must say that I am only a sinful man, strong in some things and weak in others. I may have been too easy in the ethics of some things. If I had not been, he (the former Rev. Kok) would not now dare to boast as he does in Concordia. But for that I am also glad, that I did not fight with my fists, but did fight with the sword of the spirit the Word of God, as the record clearly shows. And that is much more important, for it had as its purpose the welfare of the former Rev. Kok at heart, that he (D.V.) might see his error and repent. And now by his own action (as clearly reported in former issues of the Standard Bearer). He, crt himself loose from this office of discipline, from this hand of friendship, from this voice which no longer corrects him. And having lost his office, and lying outside of the Church, the following Scriptural discipline applies.
: To deliver such an one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
: Now we command you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly and not after the tradition which he (received of us.
: And if any man obey not our word by this epistle note that man and have no company with him that he may be ashamed.
: Yet count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother.
This scripture admonishes us to no longer extend our hand of fellowship to the former Rev. Kok, and exhorts us to admonish him for the error of his way. Which we hereby also do. Let him repent before God, flee from his errors, confess his sins. Let him return and willingly again place himself under the legally ordained office of discipline of the 1st Prot. Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan.
As to the second charge that while the undersigned was meeting with the former Consistory, tentative plans for meeting separate the following Sunday were secretly made. This is absolutely false. Not one of the entire Congregation knew anything about this. They are all open witnesses. Ask anyone of them yourself. The undersigned himself worked all that night (Friday night), and everything was arranged after the former Consistory had become schismatic along with the former Rev. Kok, on that fateful Oct. 9th meeting, after which all of them lost the fellowship of the Protestant Reformed Church.
—J. H. Kortering