From a January bulletin from Doon we learn that Rev. Kortering and Rev. Moore conducted church visitation, during the week of January 28th, in Lynden, Redlands, and Loveland. “In order to make this trip more profitable for our churches,” the announcement continued “(the two ministers) will preach or lecture in each place. Rev. Moore will preach in Lynden and lecture in Redlands, and Rev. Kortering will lecture in Loveland.” From the January 28 bulletin of our Redlands congregation, we learn that the topic of Rev. Moore’s Tuesday evening lecture there, was “The Antithesis and Our Christian Walk.” And from a Loveland bulletin we gather that Rev. Kortering delivered a public lecture, dealing with Christian Education, in the church auditorium. The program was sponsored by the Board of the Loveland Protestant Reformed Christian School.
At the time of this writing, the March 29 congregational meeting of our new church in the Jenison area is still two weeks in the future. By the time you read this, however, the congregation will have already chosen a minister, to be called from a trio consisting of Rev. Engelsma, Rev. Van Baren, and Rev. Woudenberg. In addition, a name for the new congregation will have been chosen. As we mentioned before, suggestions were dropped into the collection plates on March 4. From those suggestions the consistory selected the names Bethel, Faith, and Jenison, which will be submitted to the members of the congregation for their vote at the meeting on March 29.
Our news last time included some reference to the efforts of our mission committee, through the work of Rev. Veldman, in Florida. More recently the Committee has directed its attention, also, to the state of Pennsylvania. It seems that a number of individuals in Philadelphia encountered us through the Standard Bearer and through various writings of Rev. H. Hoeksema. They contacted our Mission Committee, requesting a preaching supply so that they might have an opportunity to become better acquainted with our views, with which, incidentally, some already feel they are in complete agreement.
The Mission Committee, anyway, determined to send Rev. Engelsma, who was subsequently released by his consistory in Loveland, to labor for a one month period in Philadelphia. Rev. Engelsma planned to fly to Grand Rapids, where he would lease a car, which would be driven to Philadelphia, and which would then be available for his use during his four-week stay in that city. Our minister from Colorado expected to leave on Friday, March 16, and spend four successive Sundays in Pennsylvania, during which time he would preach twice on each Sabbath, hold mid-week meetings of some sort, and make contact with various interested families there.
The preceding news item reminded me of a “Pastoral Letter regarding Key 73” which I had been storing in my box since the early part of January. The letter, addressed by the consistory to the congregation of Loveland, included a reprint of the consistory’s reply to an invitation “to participate in Key 73 and to cooperate with Key 73 task force.”
Hardly surprisingly, the reply included a statement to the effect that the Loveland congregation could not, “in faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ, participate in this endeavor.” Among the reasons submitted was the fact that “participation in Key 73 would involve us in a certain union with other churches and groups with whom, in fact, we are not united in the truth of the gospel. Key 73 would have us unite with these churches and groups in evangelism, that is, preaching the gospel. But the gospel that must be preached is the very thing that divides us, since some of these churches and groups have perverted and forsaken the gospel . . . As a result of their apostasy from the truth of the gospel, some of these churches and groups employ methods! of evangelism that are dishonoring to the glorious Name of God and abhorrent to us, e.g., the high-pressured efforts to get quick, easy decisions for Christ; the use of ‘gospel rock’; the emotional non-doctrinal approach of the ‘Jesus movement’; and other methods that do not consist of preaching Christ crucified to guilty sinners.”
The positive note, at the conclusion of the reply, is especially noteworthy. “The Protestant Reformed Church of Loveland takes seriously Christ’s command to her to preach the gospel. We preach the gospel to the members of the Church for the feeding of the flock and to those outside the Church for the gathering of all those whom God has eternally ordained unto eternal life. We wholeheartedly support genuine evangelism, even as we hold dear the true unity of Christ’s Church. By God’s grace, we intend to carry out our high calling to preach the gospel to everyone to whom God sends us in 1973 . . .”
That was at the beginning of January. As you read this issue of the Standard Bearer, Rev. Engelsma is laboring in Philadelphia. May we conclude with the closing words in that pastoral letter: “Pray that God may give us an open door and that we may be faithful in our calling.”