In the latest “Acts of the Eureka Classis” of 1958, 48th Annual Session, we read the following paragraph, “The Hope Church of Isabel, having received substantial financial aid from Classis in the past, which could no more be granted, informed. Classis that it resolved to withdraw from membership in Classis.”
It is not clear whether the phrase “having received substantial financial aid from, Classis in the past” was intended by the Rev. D.E. Bosnia to be the ground why Isabel left Classis Eureka in July 27, 1957. (See below.) Possibly he means to tell the readers (members of Classis, you must know!) that Isabel left because the financial aid could no more be granted! There had come to an end the possibility of giving further aid to Isabel!
Now the reader must know the following facts:
1. On Feb. 1, 1957, the Rev. D.E. Bosma acknowledged a letter from the Isabel consistory of their request for $2,000.00 support. (This was at a time when the matter of Rev. Mensch’s deposition from office at Leola was still pending with the Classis to be held in May, 1957, at Hosmer, S.D. And the Rev. Mensch was preaching at this time for some 25-30 souls in Leola in his house at Leola and was a duly installed minister at Isabel. [In June 1956.1 Hence, the request of Isabel for support.) In this letter Bosnia informed the consistory as follows: “At its meeting on Feb. 1, 1957, your Executive Committee (this “your” is technically erroneous, G.L.) considered the above request, and it was moved, seconded, and carried that your request be tabled until the next annual meeting of Eureka Classis.”
2. Isabel’s Consistory was evidently not satisfied with this decision and must have so informed the Executive Committee for on March 29, 1957, the Rev. D.E. Bosnia (there are no signatures of Rev. Stockmeier, elders Henry G. Hieb and H.D. Opp on this letter) informed the Consistory of Isabel that it abode by its decision to “table” this matter and refer it to the annual session of Classis at Hosmer, S.D.
3. That at the Classis held in Hosmer (Session of Classis!) this matter was once more “tabled.” For how long? We read in the Acts of Eureka Classis, “The request of the Isabel Charge, (should be congregation, G.L.) for $2,000.00 support was tabled.” And Classis did not remove it from the table!
The reader has, of course, noticed that technically the Executive Committee did not “table” the matter. They took a decision! They decided to refer this weighty matter of the mint, anise and cummin to the highest council, the Annual Session of Classis, while in the case of the Rev. Mensch (a far weightier matter!) they did not “table” but, forgetting about the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy and faith, they simply rushed on, trampling their Church Order under foot!
4. Eureka Classis had a dilemma with the Rev. Mensch. Rev. Mensch was a duly installed minister in two churches, both members of (we say: resorting in) Eureka Classis. And, according to their own strange practice, if Rev. Mensch had no longer been a minister in either church he would still be a member of Classis in the sense that Rev. E. Buehrer is a member of Classis. The latter is even a member of the Judiciary Committee! Leola wished to get rid of Rev. Mensch, that is, all except the faithful who are now the Ebenezer Reformed Church at Forbes, But Isabel maintained its minister, Rev. H. Mensch. However, she was too small to maintain a minister without support.
Now here was the dilemma of Eureka Classis. (A dilemma is a perplexing predicament.
1. They did not wish to in any way give financial aid to a church which would keep Rev. Mensch. Individual ministers told Rev. Mensch to get out, both in rude and sanctimonious tones. I have copies of those letters. Mensch must go!
2. They did not wish to decide that they refused to give support to Isabel, for for such a decision, should this not appear too capricious, they would need to give grounds. They could not very well urge the grounds which the Executive Committee alleged in the Leola case against Mensch, for had they not told Isabel that it was none of their concern what happened to Rev. Mensch in Leola. Not to measure with two measures they had to keep hands off Isabel and her minister.
What to do in this dilemma where one is concerned about the cummin but not about the weightier matters? They decided to simply hold the ball till the clock ran out! They “tabled” the matter! They boldly faced the difficulty and passed on to the next point on the agenda!
Meanwhile Isabel could not pay their pastor.* They would have to tell Rev. Mensch to go. Had not K.J. Stuebbe told Rev. Mensch virtually to go, both on the floor of Classis and in a private letter. The thumb-screws were turned down.
However, Isabel refused to bow to this form of tyranny and told Eureka Classis “. . . it was decided by majority vote to sever all ties and affiliation with the Eureka Classis of the Reformed Church in the United States.”
We shall, D.V., publish this entire missive from the Isabel Consistory to the Eureka Classis in the next issue of The Standard Bearer under “Missionary Notes.”
Once more it appears that the Rev. Bosma did not write the entire truth and that what he did write was not entirely true when he wrote, “The Hope Church of Isabel, having received substantial aid from Classis in the past, which could no more be granted, informed Classis that it resolved to withdraw from membership in Classis”!
There is a book of remembrance before the face of God!
*More will be said about this at the proper time.