Act Of Agreement
Whereas the Synod of 1924, assembled in Kalamazoo, Mich., adopted three points of doctrine which, according to our most sacred conviction, are in direct conflict with our Reformed Confessions and principles;
2. Whereas, by the actions of Classis Grand Rapids East and Classis Grand Rapids West, we are denied the right to discuss and interpret said three points of doctrine of said Synod;
3. Whereas, by the actions of said Classes, the pastors, elders and deacons of Kalamazoo I, Hope and Eastern Avenue, together with their congregations are actually expelled from the fellowship of the Christian Reformed Churches; 4. Whereas it follows necessarily from the action of said Classes, that said office-bearers and their congregations cannot simply submit themselves to the action of said Classes until such time as Synod shall have considered their appeal, which they made in a legal way to Synod, but were forced by circumstances to continue to function in their respective offices as pastors, elders and deacons of their respective congregations;
5. Whereas they are informed and know positively, that hundreds of our people otitsicie of our own congregations share our convictions and with us cannot acquiesce in the actions of Classes and Synod, neither from a doctrinal nor from a Church-political viewpoint;
6. Whereas the above mentioned matters concern us as appealing churches in common, and demand our cooperation and united action;
Therefore, be it resolved by the Combined Consistories of Kalamazoo I, Hope and Eastern Avenue, assembled March 6, 1925 in the Eastern Avenue Church:
a. That we adopt as our common basis the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order of the Reformed Churches;
b. That at the same time we stand on the basis of our appeal and intend to address our appeal to the Synod of 1926;
c. That we unite as Consistories for the following purposes: (1) To unitedly bring our appeal from the actions of Classes Grand Rapids East and West to the Synod of 1926. (2) To decide on such matters as have reference to the interests of our congregations in common; (3) To decide in all matters that pertain to the furnishing of information and advice to others, outside of our own congregations.
d. That whatever shall be decided by said combined Consistories by a majority vote shall be considered firm and binding.
The above Act of Agreement marked the official beginning of the Protestant Reformed Churches in a positive sense. At that time their organization was provisional, pending their appeal to the Synod of 1926; and therefore, too, they organized as Protesting Christian Reformed Churches. But the appeal was denied, not unexpectedly; and then the provisional organization became permanent.
Now it is fifty years later.
Most likely our leaders at that occasion fifty years ago did not attempt to dream what the fifty years of the future would hold for the churches then being provisionally organized. Undoubtedly they were too preoccupied with the affairs of the moment to think of much more than the immediate needs of the people of God under their care. And I dare say that if it had been possible for them to envisage the trials and tribulations which the future held for them and their churches, they might have been smitten with at least a moment of hesitancy. From that point of view, it can only be good that we are not able to peer into the future and discern coming events: for there would be many times that we would hesitate, lose courage, and even cringe with fear.
But we may now look back upon those fifty years. There are still some individuals among us, though only a few, who lived through those fifty years as adults and who even had an active part in the events which transpired. There are also some of our churches who were part of the denomination for all of those fifty years. But all of us, young people and old, young churches and older congregations, are heirs of the heritage which, though in reality much older, has come to us as a distinctively Protestant Reformed heritage through these fifty years.
And let me emphasize that this heritage, the heritage of sovereign, particular grace and of God’s everlasting, faithful covenant of friendship, as well as the heritage of our antithetical calling, is the Reformed heritage, the heritage of our Creeds, the heritage of the faith once delivered to the saints. About this there can be no doubt!
Let us celebrate this with rejoicing!
Let our pulpits remind us of it and inspire us to celebrate. Let us celebrate it all year long—in our worship services, in our families, at the various special events and programs which are being planned for this anniversary year. Let this entire year be a year of celebration.
Undoubtedly many of you can remember with me the Silver Anniversary of our denomination. Then there was not much inclination to celebrate. There was somewhat of an air of pessimism with respect to the very existence of our churches. And there was suspicion, because one did not always know who was friend and who was foe in our churches. Today the situation is much different. Not only have we survived that crisis of the 1950s; but the Lord has revived us as churches, and in many respects our churches are prospering as never before. There is an attitude of temperate optimism. There is dedication. There is zeal for the cause. There is hope for the future.
There is abundant reason for joyful celebration, for a year of jubilee!
But let us not rejoice in men. Let us not rejoice in ourselves and in what we have accomplished.
Let us take care that all our rejoicing ends in the Lord our God, of Whom, and through Whom, and unto Whom are all things! To Him be the glory forever!
That is my first anniversary wish for our Protestant Reformed Churches.