The undersigned feels that he owes a word of explanation to the readers of the Standard Bearer, the Deputies for Correspondence in the Netherlands, and an apology to two members of the Committee of Correspondence with foreign churches, appointed by our Synod. The two committee members are the brethren Rev. H. Hoeksema and Rev. G. M. Ophoff.
This past summer when I was in the Netherlands I received a letter from the Deputies for Correspondence with foreign churches from the Liberated churches. That was sometime in July. The purpose of course was that I take this letter along to the States and that as Committee of our Churches we would discuss this letter and reply to it.
Naturally, if I had known then what I discovered later, I would have sent that letter to the States immediately. Or else if I had known everything beforehand I would have placed that letter in the hands of the Committee very shortly after I arrived back in the States, which was in the middle of August. And after all it was not my letter but the property of the Committee. However, the facts in the case are that I did not open that letter (although I was acquainted with its contents) till several days after I arrived home. Then at a meeting with the Consistory of First Church, an August 29, I read said letter to the Consistory and several other brethren that were present. There was nothing secret about the letter as such and, hence, I could see no harm in reading the letter at that time. But at that particular meeting the two brethren, Committee members mentioned, were not present, and, hence, they were not acquainted with the contents of this letter nor even knew about its existence, while the fact remains of course that they first of all were entitled to know the contents of the letter because it was a letter for our Committee.
At the time I thought it was a matter of wisdom to keep that letter for a while, (besides, I expected another letter very shortly) and I hoped that we could meet as Committee in the near future to discuss said letter. As matters turned out it was not till November 18 that I sent the letter to the brethren. As I said before, if I had to do it over again I would do it differently, but that cannot be done now. I readily admit that it was wrong of me to hold on to the letter till such a late date.
However, there is still another element that enters here. Not being aware of the existence of said letter things were written in the Standard Bearer in re the question of Correspondence (I noticed even in the last issue of the Standard Bearer), and also in re the Deputies for Correspondence in the Netherlands, which would not and could not have been written had I forwarded the letter immediately to our Committee.
I can assure the brethren involved that there was no evil intent on my part, but I am certainly willing to take the blame for what I neglected to do. And I hereby apologize for this neglect which resulted in a serious misunderstanding, and in turn led to wrong conclusions and observations which were not true. And I certainly hope that herewith the readers of the Standard Bearer will understand the situation, that my apology is accepted by the brethren involved, and that this incident is closed.
Gladly would I write about the matter of correspondence as such, the letter and its proposals, etc., (there is nothing secret about it), but that is not the purpose now and that does not lie within the framework of this short article. Besides, it is also natural and self-evident that as Committee we first meet and discuss the letter.
I do want to say in conclusion that I appreciate it very much that I have the opportunity to write about this matter and thus avoid the possibility of all personal reflections, and that also in this way all misunderstanding may be removed and that the readers may receive a clear and truthful picture of the whole thing as such.