On February 29, forty elders, ministers, professors and seminary students participated in a full day of discussions in the Pella, Iowa Protestant Reformed Church; Classis West met in Pella the next day. The general subject of the conference was pastoral counseling. The morning session commenced with the reading of the paper “Competent to Counsel—A Critique” by Prof. Herman Hanko of our seminary. It is not necessary to offer an analysis of the critique here. Let it be sufficient to say that Dr. J. Adams of Westminster Theological School, the author ofCompetent to Counsel (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Nutley, N.J., $4.50), agrees with the points of criticism raised by Prof. Hanko. On the whole his paper constitutes an endorsement of the basic positions of the book.
After the conferees enjoyed dining in a local restaurant and strolling about in seventy-four degree weather (in all honesty, it snowed the next day), a paper by Rev. C. Hanko of Hudsonville was read. Rev. Hanko, who could not be present due to family illness, gave us a paper of a highly practical nature; he expounded Scripture, gave warnings, demonstrated points with examples drawn from a long ministry. As was the case with the first presentation, this paper was permeated with Biblical references so that in all the discussions there was very little basic disagreement. During the discussions which lasted until the supper hour, the younger ministers, especially, benefited by hearing the experienced pastors speak of various approaches and insights.
The evening meal was served in the banquet room of another local restaurant, after which we returned to the church building for a brief business meeting and an informal speech by Prof. Homer Hoeksema on various contacts the Committee for Correspondence with Foreign Churches has recently made. The fact that we are being approached by believers in such distant places as Australia, England, Korea, and New Zealand, was presented, questioned, and digested. When the long day was over, the participants left with enthusiastic hearts, knowing that however God would use us in future years, He would continue faithfully to gather His Church!
The subject of the pastor and the care of the soul as it was discussed, along with the communion of fellow saints and officebearers, was extremely worthwhile. Those who function in a counseling or guidance capacity are urged to obtain Dr. Adams’ book, and also to write for copies of these papers. They will be available from the seminary in the next issue of the Theological Journal.
We look forward to the next meetings being planned by the conference committee, Rev. Decker and Rev. Engelsma.