Hull Welcomes New Pastor
In the early days of November, 1959, the congregation learned that our pastor, Rev. J. Heys, had accepted the call from our sister congregation of South Holland, Illinois. It meant that we as a congregation would have to face that period of calling, waiting, learning of decisions—perhaps repeated over and over again.
We immediately set out to find the man of God’s choosing. As consistory we made a trio and on Nov. 27 called Rev. G. Vanden Berg. We soon learned that it was not the Lord’s will for him “to come over and help us.”
By then we had bid farewell to Rev. Heys and family. With hearts filled with deep appreciation for his years of faithful service, the Word Still written deeply upon them, we saw him leave to labor in another flock.
A short time before we asked the Seminary for the services of student J. Kortering during, the holiday season. He came into our midst for the first time on Christmas Eve to share the Christmas program with us. During his stay he preached for us seven times.
Soon after his departure we called Rev. C. Hanko who also declined. On February 24 we extended a call to Rev. R. Veldman, who could not arrive at a decision for us “mutually gratifying.” Our attention next centered on Rev. M. Schipper who received our call on April 7. He too could not heed our call.
By July 3, candidate Kortering was eligible for a call. At the congregational meeting of July 13 he was elected and the call-letter was sent on its .way. Patiently we waited for six weeks, till on August 24 the letter of acceptance arrived.
Being vacant for approximately 9 months, our church was again sent another undershepherd by the Lord.
Looking back over that period of time we are deeply grateful above all to our God who so abundantly provided for us. Our cry of victory is “Ebenezer, hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” There were times when our hopes were high, but also times when we were discouraged. Through it all, God has provided for the needs of our congregation.
The hand of the Lord often works through means. In our period of vacancy we have experienced this over and over. Especially are we mindful of our counselor, Rev. G. VanBaren. He has helped us in so many ways: leading many consistory and congregational meetings, giving us advice, teaching catechism classes, preaching many Sunday evenings even though it meant that he would have to preach three times. We express our thanks to him for his faithful concern over us. We have also enjoyed classical supply. Rev. Woudenberg came on various occasions from Edgerton and preached on Sunday evenings, and of course our elders had their turns at reading. Through these various means we have been richly blessed by our covenant God.
Now that our pastor is settled here, having been welcomed at a reception Sept. 16 and ordained on Sept. 22, we are busily engaged in another year of activities. Being thankful to God for sending to us this youthful servant who may now lead us in the green pastures of His Word, we look back and forward with the confidence that God is good to us.
Consistory of Hull Prot. Ref. Church
J. Hoekstra, Clerk
A Letter from Canada
11 Pineglen Crescent
Box 475, R.R. #2
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 24, 1960
The Standard Beaer
1139 Franklin St., S.E.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I am possibly your most recent subscriber to The Standard Bearer. I have seen only three copies beginning with September 1, 1960, and am perhaps a bit presumptuous to write a letter to you about the contents of your magazine.
The subject that has prompted me to write is the question that is apparently before you regarding the possibility of changing your Church Order to allow an extension of the variety of material allowable to be sung in your churches. I am not writing with the request that you publish this letter in the magazine, but I do feel that I must express my thoughts to you. If you think that the letter has anything in it of value to your people you are free to publish it, but I would request that if you do it be published in full.
My association with Dutch Churches of the Reformation has been fairly short, less than four years. By actual contact it has only been with the Christian Reformed Church and with the Canadian Reformed Church. By correspondence I have a very limited knowledge of your church and of the Old Christian Reformed Church. One of the things that has surprised me is that these churches considering themselves Psalm singing churches have versions of the Psalms which lack faithfulness in reproduction of the thought of Scripture both by way of deletion and addition. It has also surprised me to find how averse the Dutch people are to accepting English metrical versions which are much more faithful in content.
A Presbyterian minister recently wrote to me, “Arminianism has been sung into the church by hymns.” Without having been there to see I would like to draw you a picture of what I visualize as having happened to the Christian Reformed Church. The people began to sing popular hymns at home, at gatherings, and at church meetings other than the regular diet of worship. Doubts of the fixedness of God’s eternal counsel are introduced; then 1924. In 1935 article 69 is altered, the flood gate is opened, man rather than God becomes the arbiter of what is pleasing to God and the hymns pour in.
It has been intimated by one of your correspondents that the Psalms are the Song Book of the Old Testament only, and that they are not directly applicable to some special occasions in the modern church. I would ask the following questions. Did the saints of the New Testament Church not find them sufficient? If there are occasions in the modern church which require song material not found in the Psalms should we examine those occasions to see if they should be in the church? I humbly suggest that the saints found the Psalms sufficient, and that they did not celebrate Christmas or Easter. If one examines the mixture of paganism with things supposedly Christian which passes under the name of Christianity in South America today it should not be hard to see how a corrupt church can take a pagan festival and give it a Christian significance. This temptation is strong in the rebellious hind of man. God warned the Old Testament Church of this when it was coming into the Promised Land. They mixed began practices with the worship of Jehovah with dire results.
I beg of you, brethren, bend your efforts to find versions of the Psalms for the worship of God that are faithful to the Scripture, and of which it can truly be said that they are the Psalms of David, and the inspired Word of God, and to eliminate from your Book of Praise any songs which can not be shown to have been sung by the saints of the New Testament Church.