Twice, under oath in the Superior Court of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rev. Kok stated that he considered it to be immoral of the Rev. H. Hoeksema to change his church political views since the court case began.
In the Concordia of July 15, 1954 he dared to write that the Rev. H. Hoeksema would “rather sacrifice the truth than to give up his claim to the properties.”
These brazen lies have forced us to expose more of his false testimony under oath in court. We do so reluctantly. Would to God it were not necessary. We have no desire to quarrel with him personally and find no joy in exposing his walk of error. But the honor and good name of the Rev. Hoeksema demands it and the honor and good name of the Protestant Reformed Churches which Rev. Kok still claims to represent, demands it. Nor may we allow Protestant Reformed membership to be deceived by it.
Rev. Kok makes bold and evil statements without one iota of proof (or does he intend to give us, pretty soon, some more partial quotations, as he did in court, to make it look like what he wants it to look?).
We will give, as in the past, cold, hard facts that cannot be denied. First of all, let it be borne in mind that all his talk about the autonomy of the local congregation and all his appeal to 24 were entirely out of place in this court trial.
It is not a question, and it was not a question in the court room, as to whether the consistory of autonomous First Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan can be penalized and have its property taken away from it because it did not abide by the decisions of a broader gathering. That was 1924. This time the consistory accepted the advice of the Classis. It is rather a question, first of all, as to whether a group in the autonomous consistory may refuse to submit to the discipline of that consistory and then set itself up as the consistory and claim its name. Remember—Oh, how Rev. Kok et al like to have you forget—June 1 when the autonomous, local consistory of First Church decided by majority vote that Rev. De Wolf and the elders who supported him should apologize or be suspended. They refused to submit to this ruling and set themselves up as the consistory instead, and claimed the name. Rev. Kok was wise enough not to try to defend a thing like that in court. He knew, and his tactics evidence that he knew, that no such case could stand. So he tried with all the rest, no doubt with their attorney’s advice, to turn the attention away from this matter and rather to the autonomy of the local church. Is that also why these engineers of the Schism of ’53; who had been waging the “Hate Hoeksema” campaign, hired for their lawyer one who opposed the Rev. Hoeksema in 1924? Why did they have to hire for lawyer one who did so much harm to the Protestant Reformed constituency in 1924? Could they not find a lawyer that would suit the case better? Why did this one fit so well, if they love the Protestant Reformed churches? He did us much damage then. Are they seeking a repetition?
And Rev. Kok knows that the Rev. Hoeksema stated time and again, also under oath in court, that he has only a few years to live and that he is not interested in the “brick.” But he is very much interested in the name, Protestant Reformed Churches; which name Rev. Kok dragged in the mire in the Netherlands. Let us readers, especially those out West, remember that the advice of the late Prof. Holwerda in that letter was exactly that the Liberated should join our churches if they were allowed, and then from within destroy our churches by spreading the Liberated literature of the Covenant and of Conditions and to “help disseminate the dogmatical wealth of Holland in the Protestant Reformed Churches.” What dogmatical wealth? The Conditional Promise of De Wolf, the Prerequisite of our act of conversion to enter the kingdom etc. etc. And Rev. Kok stated on the floor of our Classis in May, that he does not remember ever writing Prof. Holwerda to set him straight on these things. And when, as Classis, we asked him to publish what he told his consistory and congregation about that letter, he refused to give the promise that he would. He refused to give the Rev. H. Hoeksema the permission to publish it. Was he afraid to have the people in the Netherlands read it?
Does he care about the name Protestant Reformed? He does only in as far as he feels that it is necessary in order for him to keep the property which he knows he IS going to lose. HE said repeatedly in court that no one could take their property away and that no one would. The Rev. Hoeksema never spoke that way. Who is after the property, Rev. Kok?
Besides, no one ever said that these men did not have the right to form their own denomination, since they could not agree with the decisions of Classis East. Had they done that and chosen their own name, we could have friendly relations with them. Now by assuming our name, they made the court case necessary to secure the name. That is what we are after. To that name we have a right. And only by a civil court can we obtain that. Now they have forced us into the position wherein we now find ourselves: opposing each other.
In the second place the whole property matter rests, not on the Rev. Hoeksema’s interpretation of the Church Order, nor on the interpretation of anyone else, but on the fact that autonomous, local churches drew up articles of incorporation in which they specified that the properties belonged to those who remained loyal to the Protestant Reformed Churches. By this the civil courts will be governed.
But let Rev. Kok not sacrifice the truth for a claim to the properties. Let him publicly declare—he may use our department for it—that he is going to defend his stand,also after the court case is settled; that he is not going to change his church political views to save the brick for some of his colleagues; and that if they try to behave differently from what he maintained in court under oath, he will register his negative vote after fighting tooth and nail against them.
Let us explain.
Rev. Kok testified under oath that the local church can retain the name of the denomination after disagreeing with the Classis and after either being put out or after leaving the association. It, the local autonomous church, cannot be penalized any further than to be put out of the association, if it disagrees with the decisions of the broader assembly. It may not be deprived of its property. What is more, as a local, autonomous church it was incorporated as a Protestant Reformed Church, and it cannot be penalized by the Classis by having this name taken away. As he said, his group in Holland may still call itself the First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan. He maintains this even though his consistory refuses to abide by the decisions of Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Under oath he said things along this line.
Does he intend to practice it?
Then HE has changed his church political views SINCE LITIGATION BEGAN as he accused the Rev. Hoeksema.
We can prove that!
He simply states it of the Rev. Hoeksema.
We will prove it.
Undersigned’s consistory has in its files a letter signed by this Rev. Kok in which we are addressed as the “Hope Protestant Reformed Church.” Why the quotation marks, Rev. Kok?
Why do you say with these quotation marks that we simply call ourselves this but actually are not? Why do YOU take the name away from us. Let us assume that you men in what you called the reconstituted Classis East are the real Classis East. This you surely are not. And Judge Taylor told you that you are not, and you know this. People out West please take note! He had some very uncomplimentary things to say also about that which calls itself Classis West and is not Classis West. Rev. Gritters will never forget what he said. More of that later. And it is ALL in the court records. Better not appeal to the Supreme Court, for then it will all be published. It should be anyway.
But let us assume that this group is the real Classis East and our congregation wants nothing to do with it. (You do not have to assume that last part. That is a fact). But such is the situation then. Our congregation is not split. A few families asked to be dismissed from us. But there is no one else that claims to be the Hope Protestant Reformed Church. There is no other body that claims to be the consistory of the Hope Protestant Reformed Church. Why, Rev. Kok, did you address us as though we have no right to that name?
Did you change your church political views since the court case began?
Let us for argument’s sake assume that you could win the court case, when the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan has ruled two or three times EXCLUSIVE OF ’24—which, as we said, does not fit here—in our favor, in far stronger cases than yours. But should you win, could we call on you, Rev. Kok to get on the witness stand to maintain that we could still keep the name, Hope Protestant Reformed Church? Or would you change again by that time?
Would you tell those who would like to get our property that it is immoral? Would you uphold the autonomy of THIS local church?
And, Rev. Kok, what advice HAVE you already given to a group in another one of our churches where the consistory is intact, where no split occurred, certain members of which church make a long trip to you for advice and even for services on Sunday, which members in their folly are worried about who will play the organ for them when (????) they get the property? Did you tell them that in the autonomy of the local church, this consistory may retain the name and the property? Is that why these members do not take their names off the role? Why are they waiting to separate themselves from that congregation until there is a decision from the court? Have you advised them to wait?
Be honest, Rev. Kok, and tell the whole world that you stick to your church political views which you presented under oath in court. Tell all those who come to you for advice that the local autonomous churches may retain the name, Protestant Reformed, and that therefore when their articles of incorporation read that the properties belong to those who remain faithful to the Protestant Reformed Churches, these local autonomous churches shall retain their property, regardless of which Protestant Reformed Classis and which Protestant Reformed Synod it is to which they belong. For you claimed in court that you could also have that name; and you call yourselves such.
Do not sacrifice the truth for a claim to the property, Rev. Kok.
You suffered much for the Protestant Reformed cause when you were our missionary, Rev. Kok. And for that you have your reward. But what has made you change so radically from those days?
We understand that your intense hatred toward the Rev. Hoeksema moves you to accuse him of sacrificing the truth for a claim to the property. But will you tell us what moves you to go to court to claim the property for one who under e oath swears to the SAME church political view of which you unjustly accuse the Rev. Hoeksema?
REV. KOK, YOU CONDEMNED REV. DE WOLF!
The fraud of your whole adventure is so glaring. You must have blinded yourself by your intense hatred to the fact that in his filthy, unchristian, slanderous cross bill Rev. De Wolf presents exactly the view for which you condemn the Rev. Hoeksema.
Did you forget that under oath he swore in that cross bill that Rev. Hoeksema “by his acts and conduct and by his refusal to acknowledge the fully instituted authorities of said church and its decrees and pronouncements, caused a schism in said church . . . . . ?” Rev. De Wolf spoke of authorities, and they could not, in ’24 have been the consistory, for it was 100% with the Rev. Hoeksema. And the pronouncements and decrees were then of the Classis and Synod. Rev. De Wolf stands condemned by you in Concordia, for he says that the autonomous consistory of the Rev. Hoeksema should have submitted to the Classis and Synod in ’24.
What confusion there is in the midst of those who schismatically left us! There is always confusion in a walk of error! They go to court with a cross bill that insists that the Rev. Hoeksema should have submitted to Classis and Synod. And then in court they fight against the idea that the consistory must in any way, even in the federation, bow before any decision of Classis or Synod.
But the height of the folly of your whole caricature of Reformed Church Polity became evident when you sold it to your own lawyer, Mr. Linsey, so that in the testimony of Rev. De Jonge you had to hasten across the whole court room to interrupt Mr. Linsey, who was only being faithful to your presentation. You led your own lawyer into the worst blunder of the whole court trial.
Perhaps we better inform our readers of that next time.
But, Rev. Kok, when you hurried to his side, did you not feel the inconsistency of your whole stand? And how come only YOU could defend this new church polity for Rev. De Wolf and your whole group?