Questioner: Rev. H.C. Hoeksema
Answers by: Rev. H. Hoeksema
Question: The third question is this: If you are convinced that you and your consistory are the legal consistory of the First Church, why all this hasty propaganda action?
Answer: This is not a hasty propaganda action. Not at all. This is merely,—O, you know very well what it is; don’t ask such questions. This hasty? This would have been hasty, that’s true, if it had been a matter of the pure local consistory, and the pure local church, and nothing else. But you know, as well as I know, that that is not true. “Dit muisje gaat een staart hebben.” You know that as well as I do. All our actions in recent years have pointed in that direction. Why is it that when any question of importance comes up in our synods, the vote is always 8 to 8, Classis West against Classis East 1 Why? I like to know. That’s a terrible situation, but it’s so nevertheless. Why is it, please? You know as well as I do that this is not a purely local question. I can tell you other things that happened already by us, but I won’t mention them now. I don’t want to mention names. But I could do so. But I assure you that this is not a hasty propaganda action. This action, this meeting, was merely organized in order to acquaint you with the truth. The rest,—O yes, I almost forgot that. If you want to read, read The Standard Bearer. I understand that many especially in the West have refused. The Standard Bearer subscription. Shame on you! Don’t you want to know the truth anymore? The Standard Bearer is always open for your criticism, if you want to. You can write as much as you want to. But by all means, read as much as you can. And then judge. I thank you.
Question: One more question from this questioner: Must we help to depose all ministers and members who do not agree with the illegal deposition of the Rev. De Wolf and his consistory?
Answer: That is the same question that I’ve answered a little while ago. If you do not agree, by all means protest in a legal way. I would like to see that. I like to see that. Don’t come here with general statements that you don’t agree, and then let me answer questions. What you must do is this: send a protest to your consistory. Or if you are a consistory member, send a protest, and let it appear at Classis in September. Then it will go to Synod. If you are convinced that the action against the Rev. De Wolf and my consistory is illegal, by all means that’s your duty. And then we can answer the question. Not now.
Question: Upon the basis that you, Rev. Hoeksema, have the true Protestant Reformed truth, and that you claim to be the president of the legal consistory of First Church, why then do, you and your followers hold sabbath day meetings in the Chr. High Building and also call a mass denominational meeting in Grand Rapids to defend you and your cause? And why must your son of Doon give the leadership to causing the schismatic action amongst the Prot. Ref. Churches of the West, organizing a secret society, and calling this meeting here in Hull to defend you and your cause, thereby disrupting the churches of Jesus Christ?
Speaker: I’d like to have my son answer that question. (Laughter).
Chairman: I’m glad to do that, that is, the second part, the part that concerns me. The other part Rev. Hoeksema will answer, my father. Very strange that the question is directed to him concerning his son. I suppose my father means, “He is of age; ask him.” And I’m willing to answer. In the first place, our committee, as is very plain for anyone who read the letters we sent out, is not causing any schismatic action in the churches. Our purpose was stated in the letter, and the purpose of our committee, which we hope to organize permanently, was also stated. Anyone can consult that. Our purpose is simply to maintain the Prot. Ref. truth. And we formed a free society,—first of all a free committee, and we hope to form a free society in the nature of the RFPA, the Reformed Free Publishing Association, to further that work. In the second place, our society, or committee, is not secret, as is very plain from the fact that all our doings we published. We published them in the bulletins, and we published them in the letters. And all our doings are public here tonight as well. There’s nothing secret about it. The only thing is: the arrangements for a meeting of this nature had to be made by some committee. And finally, I want to make this statement, that if anyone claims that I, as president of the committee pro tern, or any of the members of the committee, are causing schismatic action in the churches, and thereby disrupting the churches of Jesus Christ,—serious charge,—if anyone claims that, your calling is, once more, to protest to my consistory or to the consistory of any of the men involved. That’s your calling. Thank you. The other part is for the speaker: Upon the basis that you, Rev. Hoeksema, have the true Protestant Reformed truth, and that you claim to be the president of the legal consistory of First Church, why then do you and your followers hold sabbath day meetings in the Chr. High Building and also call a mass denominational meeting in Grand Rapids to defend you and your cause?
Speaker answering: Again, I don’t like that question. I don’t like the wording of it. The question is: upon the basis that you, Rev. Hoeksema, have the true Prot. Ref. truth, and that you claim to be the president of the legal consistory of the First Church . . . . Do you not have the Prot. Ref. truth? Is that what you mean? Do I have the Prot. Ref. truth? Is that it? Is that the insinuation? I have the Prot. Ref. truth? I don’t think so. You shouldn’t . . . YOU should have the Prot. Ref. truth, not I. That in the first place. In the second place; I claim to be the president of the legal consistory of the First Prot. Ref. Church? I am; one of them, Hanko is the other one. I am; not, I claim. I claim nothing. I claim nothing. I assure you that Classis East in its next meeting will accept me as president, together with the Rev. Hanko, as president of the legal consistory. Without any question. No question about it. There’s no question about that at all. I don’t claim anything. Why should I? I don’t care about that anyway. I don’t care to be president over anything at all. That’s not my claim, nor my strife. Why do you and your followers . . . . Why don’t you say: why does your congregation? I hive no followers. You and your followers? That’s an insult to my congregation. You shouldn’t word a question like that. You mean: why I and my congregation meet at the Christian High? I explained that to you, didn’t I? Not because we don’t have the building, but because we don’t want to fight. Want to hear that? I have that here somewhere.’ I have that decision here. I don’t know whether I can find it. Here it is. I have it here, written out: “When the enclosed letter was written (this is a letter to the congregation) your consistory planned to occupy their rightful place on the pulpit of First Church. Notice was given to the disciplined officebearers of our intention, in order to avoid confusion and discord in the divine worship next Sunday. We had hoped that some peaceful settlement might be made until proper disposition of the property is made. However, to our request we received the following reply: ‘We cannot possibly recognize your schismatic action and your illogical (illegal?) suspension and deposition of officebearers. And therefore cannot concede you the right to hold meetings in our midst. We therefore notify you that we will occupy the buildings’ until the proper disposition of the building is made.’ w.s. The Consistory of the First Prot. Ref. Church. Since it is evident from the above reply that we are defiantly and illegally cast out of our own place of worship, it would be necessary for us to resort to the law to occupy the building next Sunday. But rather than do that, we would heed the word of the Apostle Paul in I Cor. 6:1, 7b, “Dare any of you having a matter against another go to law before the unjust and not before the saints? Why do you not rather take wrong? why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” That is the answer to your question. That was sent to our people. And, the mass meeting? Yes, the mass meeting was the same mass meeting that was here. Had we no right as a legal consistory to explain to our own people what is going on in our own congregation? That’s what we did last Monday night, a week ago Monday. And to our people in Grand Rapids, whoever would be interested, of course.
Question: This question is signed, but I’m not going to mention the name. I’m not requiring the names on any of the questions, and I won? mention this one, unless the questioner himself wants it. Rev. H. Hoeksema, I want to ask you this. In 1924 I heard you say time and again: Never no hierarchy again. What did you mean for you as yourself. Or did you think of the church of Christ? If that is what you meant, I cannot see how you can do what you done with the Rev. De Wolf and his consistory. If this is not hierarchy, then I am at a loss to know what it is.
Answer: Well, I suppose you are. Because that is not hierarchy. Hierarchy is rule of the Consistory from the top clown. When Synod rules over the classis, and the classis rules over the consistory, then you have hierarchy. This is not the case here. The consistory ruled throughout, with the advice of the classis, advice, not rule. I thank you.
Question: The Rev. H. Hoeksema. Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. And with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. Matt. 7:1, 2. In the aforementioned text the command of God is expressed. With due respect to this command of God, the question arises in my mind how you, Rev. Hoeksema, can make such slanderous and ridiculous statements concerning a fellow officebearer and brother in Christ, namely, the Rev. De Wolf. If claiming that the Rev. De Wolf is not a Christian and calling him a heathen and a rotten and incurable character is not judging, I am of the opinion that the Bible is being interpreted to suit each man as he chose, regardless of original meaning. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Ps. 133, vs. 1.
Answer: I’m not guilty. I’m not guilty. Not guilty of any of
Question: Why make a protest against statements which Rev. De Wolf denies? Is that not calling him a liar? Who is right?
Answer: No protest was made against any statement that Rev. De Wolf denied. That’s not true. The statements which were protested against officially at the consistory and at the classis were admitted by the Rev. De Wolf.>
(To be continued)