June 3, 1950
Rev. Herman Hoeksema, Editor
1139 Franklin Street, S. E.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Permit me a small space in our Standard Bearer to make a few remarks concerning our Transfer of Baptized Members form, which can be found on page 69 of our Church Order.
I have no objection against the form itself but I do have against the appendage or addition. The form proper states, “At …. request we hereby transfer . . . .” Now “hereby” can never mean “thereby” or “upon condition of” or “after acceptance of”. “Hereby” simply means “right here and right now”. But when we look at the appendage or addition the matter becomes ambiguous. The addition states, “The above mentioned shall be considered still a member of the . . . .” To me this notice states exactly the opposite of what the certificate itself states. Now, most any dictionary will state that something joined to constitutes no real part of the thing or system to which it is joined. An appendage is not an essential part of that with which It is connected, but most everyone thinks it is and the result is confusion. Practically, of course, the transfer is considered complete when it is made out, and is usually so announced to the congregation. Further, few receipts of acceptance are received within a reasonable time, If ever. When they are received I doubt if they are ever officially recorded.
Incidentally, I cannot understand how one Protestant Reformed Church can refuse or hesitate to accept a transfer from another Protestant Reformed Church if the transfer has been properly executed.
I think we should find out what we mean to say and then say what we mean. Therefore, I was very happy to learn that the Synodical churches of the Netherlands intend to seek revision of the Church Order. Of course, I was even more happy to learn that we were invited to participate in this revision.
Arie De Borst
July 7, 1950
Rev. H. Hoeksema, Editor
The Standard Bearer
Dear Brother Editor:
Will you kindly place the following in the Standard Bearer?
I am sorry to note that the contribution of Mr. Feenstra in the July 1st issue of the Standard Bearer was approved for publication without any comment. Certainly the brother’s insinuations are of too serious a nature for mere publication without anything more. For it is evident that the author’s sole purpose is to attack a minister of the gospel, an officebearer in good standing, in order to expose him to the churches as being heretical and in need of disciplinary attention.
Mr. Feenstra may accuse the undersigned of judging motives or of driving the matter to absurd extremes, but if the Rev. Andrew Petter is guilty of unsound doctrine to the degree that Mr. Feenstra insinuates then no one will deny that the disciplining of Rev. Petter is past due. Mr. Feenstra not only concluded his article with a passionate and sentimental prayer for Brother Petter’s conversion from the error of a conditional theology, but he boldly states that the brother has no longer so much as the right to write under the heading of “Among Our Treasures”. And to bolster or prove this bold assertion Mr. Feenstra not only insinuates that the Rev. Petter denies what is the peculiar doctrine of our Protestant Reformed Churches, but what is the very heart and content of all that is Reformed. And if Brother Petter may no longer as much as write under the heading “Among Our Treasures”, he certainly may not and should not stand in the midst of the church posing as a minister of Christ who “brings forth things old and new” from the treasure of God’s Word.
If Mr. Feenstra is convinced of what he writes he certainly has grievously erred ‘ in not following the God-ordained and Scripture-taught method of treating an office bearer of Christ who is in error. And the Standard Bearer, on the other hand, has erred in that Mr. Feenstra’s accusations were published without comment. For accusations they are—and that of the worst kind.
However, the undersigned would kindly advise Mr. Feenstra to definitely ascertain whether his evaluation of the Rev. Petter is as correct as he fanatically assumes. We personally want to assure brother Feenstra that, both through Rev. Petter’s writings and our personal discussions with him about these matters, the Rev. Petter endorses, preaches and teaches all that the Reformed Church, as represented by our Protestant Reformed Churches, stands for. And we challenge brother Feenstra to prove by a product of his own sincere study of Rev. Petter’s writings that the Rev. Petter is the man portrayed to us by the insinuations in Mr. Feenstra’s article of July 1, last.
In closing we wish to express our conviction that articles so lightly attacking office-bearers in good standing ought not to be published without a public apology. Besides, rather than so soon rushing into print with accusations we would do better to rush to the erring brother personally with a good measure of the love of Christ.
Yours in the cause of Christ,