In their grasping at straws and in their desperate search for something that will as much as give the appearance of defense for their awful act of schism, those who chose to leave the path of truth and justice read and reread the works of Rev. H. Hoeksema and of the Rev. G.M. Ophoff very carefully.
They went through their works with a fine-toothed comb to try to find what little appearance of “support” for their stand that they could. And in the case of Rev. Kok, sad to say yet undeniably true—so true that he dares not deny it and has not even tried to prove it to be untrue—also to see what must not be called to the attention of the public, lest his whole straw house fall in pieces.
But this frantic and thorough search of the writings of these men shows the greatness of the evil in which they walk. They do not want the truth. They did not read and reread the writings of these men to do them justice. They do not want to guard truth and justice. They want to pick out just what seems to defend their case of schism and will not quote their writings in all honesty.
For that reason, also, Rev. De Wolf is inexcusable when in his cross bill he swore: “That the said Herman Hoeksema and his followers took possession of the property located on Eastern Avenue and insisted that he said Herman Hoeksema, and others, were entitled to the use of the church edifice and parsonage, and did for a long period of time following said schism occupy said premises.”
Now he cannot do here, as he tried to do with other passages of this unchristian cross bill, grasp the straw that this is simply the legal record of the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan. The very opposite is true. The Supreme Court said the very opposite.
Having gone through the Rev. H. Hoeksema’s book, “The Protestant Reformed Churches in America,” with a fine-toothed comb, he must undoubtedly have read pages 223 and 229. At least before swearing before God to such a thing he should have (as we suggested last time) looked up the facts and not have signed a document under oath just because it made the Rev. H. Hoeksema look so evil in the eyes of the civil courts. Anyone may read in clear type the following on pages 223 and 229 of the latest edition of that book of the Rev. H. Hoeksema:
“The preliminary skirmishes before Kent County Circuit Court, however, had no serious consequences.
“When on the date specified by the injunction the opposing parties appeared, the judge proceeded to lecture to them and postponed judgment for one week, in order to give the opposing parties time to reach an amicable settlement. In case such a settlement was not reached on the appointed date, he would then render a verdict.
“No settlement having been reached during the week of grace, the judge rendered a preliminary verdict, that the contending parties should occupy the church building on alternate Sundays, till the matt.er was finally and definitely settled in the courts.
“This temporary arrangement, however, which was received with evident joy by the minority group, but equally evident dismay by the majority group, was reversed on the following day by the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan. The deposed consistory was held entitled to hold the property until the matter should have been finally disposed of in the courts.” (The italics are ours.) But what then becomes of the evil accusation of Rev. De Wolf to which he was ready to swear before God?
It is not difficult to see why such a statement had to bein that cross bill. It is not difficult to see that after witnessing the whole court trial. Those of our readers who ordered a copy of the complete court record will find that statements such as the above quotation of the cross bill fit in perfectly with the pattern of the “defense” ordered by Rev. De Wolf and his deposed elders, paid for by them and for which, therefore, they are also responsible before God.
The Rev. H. Hoekesma must be made out to be one who time and again was in trouble with the authorities of both Church and State. Judge Taylor must understand what kind of man it is with whom he is dealing in this case! Just bear this in mind when you get your copy of the complete record and you will then see that we are not misrepresenting facts nor that cross bill. Revs. De Wolf, Blankespoor, Cammenga and Petter will remember that the undersigned asked them during one of the intermissions, “Are you going to stand for such a godless defense of your case?” When you get your court record you will understand why we asked them this question.
The answer given to that question was, “You made it necessary!” Now that we made a defense necessary by taking the matter to court is one thing. Conveniently, however, our honest attempt to settle it out of court is brushed aside. But let them before God ask themselves whether this kind of defense became necessary. Sin is never necessary, although it often is convenient and is enjoyable for the flesh.
There is, however, another grasping of a straw which we had in mind when we began this series. And we would call your attention to one which was seized in desperation in the court room, yea even on the witness stand. Not having the official records of this testimony as of this time, we will refer to our own abbreviated long hand record which we took of the whole trial. And though what we wrote may not be literal, (though we personally believe that it is) we are convinced that the official record when published will not reveal any misrepresentation on our part.
Rev. De Wolf was on the stand the afternoon of Wednesday, June 2, 1954. Mr. Tubbs was referring to the classical sessions wherein the case of Rev. DeWolf was being treated. He asked: “Do you claim that you did not have a chance to be heard at the meetings?”
Rev. De Wolf replied: “No sir, I claim that I did not have a chance to win.” Mr. Tubbs countered: You had no chance to win because your statements were heretical?”
Rev. De Wolf replied: “No Sir. I claim that I had no chance to win because the Classis was packed.”
What an evil and unfair accusation to hurl at us after wepatiently discussed his case for almost seven days! What an evil accusation to present in a civil court when he never gave the slightest inkling to the Classis that he had that opinion of the Classis! Nor did a word of it appear in his protest to the Classis in October, 1953!
One of the lovers of conditional theology and of schismatic action felt the need of writing the undersigned to tell him that he did not like the “insinuations” in our articles. Here are no insinuations but very unjust accusations. Let him write Rev. De Wolf a letter now. You may be sure no such letter will be written and sent. It is easy to accuse one of insinuations when you cannot prove one’s statements to be wrong.
But even the unbiased and experienced judge was apparently surprised to hear this accusation of Rev. De Wolf. His honor, Judge Taylor interrupted the questioning at this point to ask the witness to repeat his last statement.
Rev. De Wolf, evidently realizing that his accusation is untrue and cannot be proven, and yet wanting to maintain it said, “Maybe I do not know the meaning of that word. Maybe I used the wrong term. Perhaps I should have said that the Classis was stacked.”
Now besides the fact that to say that the Classis is stacked or to say that it is packed does not change the idea that there was underhanded work done and that the various consistories so arranged their delegates that justice was not done to the case and only those delegates were picked to attend the Classis who were known to be “against” Rev. De Wolf, (look up what Webster says about “packed” and “stacked.” I believe I would prefer, “packed”) this is a downright untruth.
Let us look at the facts.
Rev. De Wolf knows as well as anyone else that our Church Order stipulates that one of the delegates from a congregation to the Classis shall be the minister of that congregation. See article 41. That means that there is no choice in regard to half of the delegates to Classis. The various consistories send their ministers as delegates. This half cannot be packed or stacked. There was in Classis East only one possibility of packing by the choice of the minister-delegate, and about that Rev. De Wolf should have kept still. For his own church had three ministers and therefore had choice. AND THEY SENT REV. DE WOLF HIMSELF even though his case was to come up! If there was packing as far as the ministers are concerned, Rev. De Wolf, it was on your side!
What is more, three of the minister-delegates were proven to be in agreement with him, and one of them was to be treated, even as he was, in regard to heretical statements at that same Classis.
The only possible packing could have been among the elders. And then, if you please, Rev. De Wolf’s consistory sent AN ELDER WHO SUPPORTED HIM and not one who had voted against him in the consistory! The churches in Illinois and. Wisconsin we doubt even knew that this case was to appear at Classis. Our own consistory sends the elders in rotation. They take their turns. And we did not depart from this procedure in April, May and October of 1953. Let Rev. De Wolf mention those consistories that looked over their constituency and then said, “You go to Classis because you will vote against Rev. De Wolf.” If he can do that—which he cannot—then it still is not true that the Classis was packed. For at best he can only point to a small minority that would have been sent to Classis in that way. But we are convinced that there was not one sent that way. A straw it is. And an evil one.
Does he mean packed because the Rev. Hoeksema was there to defend his protest? No, Rev. De Wolf, that is nap so either. He had no decisive vote. Do you want to know why the undersigned—and others—decided the way he did? First undersigned’s eyes were opened to the real interpretation by your group of your first statement by Rev. Blankespoor, when herepeatedly refused to accept all Protestant Reformed explanations of the word of God to reprobate Cain and to reprobate Jeroboam. The Rev. Ophoff showed from the word of God that Moses, as inspired by the Spirit of truth, says not: “Behold I have promised you life and threatened you with death on the condition that you believe or disbelieve,” but that God says instead through Moses: “Behold I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” This was not enough for Rev. Blankespoor, who says there is no doctrinalissue. That interpretation satisfied Protestant Reformed people ever since 1924. And still does today. What more does he want. Never did he offer a better or even another interpretation. He simply continued to say that he was not satisfied with this Protestant Reformed interpretation. (We can say more about this, and will if need be.) All you can have, if you reject this declaration of the promise to all who hear, is either the error of 1924 that God offers salvation graciously to all who hear the preaching or else the Liberated corruption that God promises it to all the baptized on the condition of faith.
Another factor that opened the eyes of the undersigned (and also those of the Rev. Lubbers who once defended the majority report) was Rev. De Wolf’s defense of his first statement. It was not the Rev. H. Hoeksema who convinced us but Rev. De Wolf. In the course of defending that first statement, the majority of the committee presented a document which tried to defend that statement by suggesting that Rev. De Wolf had the elect in mind when he said that “God promisesevery one of you . . . .”; even as we have the elect in mind when the benediction is pronounced in our services. But Rev. De Wolf changed the mind of the undersigned and of the Rev. Lubbers when he got up and said that he did not mean that and that he believed that he could say to any man that he meant that God promises to him that he would be saved if he believes. The cat was out of the bag then.
What, especially convinced the undersigned of the evil of the second sermon—we say sermon and not statement merely—is that the cross as the gate to the kingdom was nowhere in the whole sermon even though, it was a preparatory (?) sermon, and instead we had our act of conversion as the condition to be fulfilled to enter. Indeed, as we wrote before, the condition takes the place of Christ and His cross. Now one can in hasty preparation present such a Christless sermon, but that one defends it tooth and nail is something else.
Besides, the majority report based its whole argument on a Greek construction which the Rev. Hoeksema questioned as ever appearing in the Scriptures. He said he doubted that it ever appeared but was not sure. He did not domineer the undersigned into seeing the evil of Rev. De Wolf’s second sermon. But the failure of the majority of that committee and of the supporters of Rev. De Wolf to show that such a Greek form ever appears in Scripture is what convinced us.
No, Rev. De Wolf, the Classis was neither packed nor stacked; but we thank God that in His providence and grace He had filled our Classis with men who loved the Protestant Reformed truth, the truth of the Scriptures and of our Confessions.
There was a sequel to this accusation of a packed Classis. But, perhaps, we better leave that for you to read in your own court record.