Of late a whispering campaign is being conducted in these parts (and no doubt, also elsewhere) concerning the undersigned’s presentation of the court case.
These whispered accusations, which claim that the undersigned distorted the facts and that there is another side which denies his writings, are wrong on two daunts.
The whispering campaign is wrong on the first count because we presented the court case exactly as it actually occurred. We put nothing in the mouth of anyone. We gave the court records themselves. Let those who whisper that the undersigned distorted facts produce other court records if they can which they dare to publish as court records. Let them produce the evidence or keep silent.
They are wrong on the second count in that they never confronted the undersigned with these accusations but whispered them to others whom they wanted to deceive into believing they were not true. Let them come to the undersigned and then with evidence and not merely with words. Let them speak up and not whisper words not intended for his ears because they know that he has, the facts to put their whispers to naught. They know that we have either the official records or witnesses to everything that we wrote about the court case.
And yet there is a ray of hope which they unwittingly and unintentionally emit. For by trying to cast the whole thing in a different light, they admit that what actually took place, as recorded in these columns, is to their shame, that they and theirs should never have done such things and that what was done is indeed wrong. ‘If they will now only confess this willingly and intentionally, then there is indeed hope yet even at this late hour.
The conviction grows upon is that it is needful to get the court records of the entire trial from the first word to the last. Then many amazing and, to some, unbelieving things will be revealed. The cost is one main barrier to obtaining them. But if enough individuals can be found who are willing to help finance it and will write either the undersigned or the Rev. James McCollam that they are willing to do this, we, together with the Rev. Gerald VandenBerg will investigate the possibility of making such a complete record available to those who have “signed up” for it. If the case is appealed to the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, the cost will be far less, and we would wait tin that is determined before trying to secure the complete record. However, we would have to know before that time how many desire a copy. We urge also those who left us to get a copy and study it. These things were not done in a corner. They were done in a public hearing in court.
There are many things in that record that could with profit be studied. There are things which on the surface are so glaringly untrue. There are accusations hurled which came as a boomerang to plague those who uttered them.
One accusation, however, which was sworn to in the cross bill and repeated on the stand by a witness did not get its proper answer because of the evasive answering to which the witnesses resorted. Or shall we be charitable and say that it was due to the fact that frequently they had a lapse of memory so that on certain fine points they could say that they did not remember? One amazing thing the complete court record will show is that witnesses appeared to state literally and swear to it that they spoke the exact words which the Rev. Hoeksema spoke thirty years ago when the articles of incorporation of First Church were drawn up, but they could not remember what happened, just last year and would not commit themselves.
But the accusation we have reference to which ought to be answered is the one made during the testimony of Rev. De Jonge. He repeated the accusation of the cross bill that the Rev. Hoeksema came out to Hull to wreck his church. After preaching for two Sundays in Hull the undersigned can understand, as far as his flesh is concerned, this complaint of Rev. De Jonge. He was amazed to see how many left him and refused to walk with him in his way of error. But his accusation hurled at the Rev. Hoeksepa is unjust and false. And he knows it too.
When, under cross examination it was pointed out to him that Rev. De Wolf also made a trip out to Sioux County in Iowa to plead his cause, Rev. De Jonge stated that if the Rev. Hoeksema had not first come, Rev. De Wolf would not have come either. He left the impression that the Rev. Hoeksema came to do his “evil work” and that it was necessary for Rev. De Wolf to come and to counteract it.
Now that all sounds so awful!
And we are not even going to stress the point that the Rev. Hoeksema made to Mr. Linsey when he brought up this matter, namely, that the split in Hull had already taken, place before he came and that he came ONLY because he was invited by the faithful group to come to Hull. That evidence is in the records and puts the lie to this whole accusation that he went to wreck the churches in Iowa and Minnesota.
But there is another element that ought to be known and receive its proper emphasis.
The Rev. Hoeksema was not the first one to visit Iowa in regard to the two statements of Rev. De Wolf and in regard to his suspension.
Of all men it was Rev. Kok who saw the need of attending that September session of what was still up to that time Classis West.
Rev. Kok, a man equally involved in the Liberated Conditional Theology with Rev. De Wolf, a man against whom protests were lodged because he, too, was guilty of. introducing into our churches heretical statements and whose case was pending with the same Classis, he saw fit and the need to go to Classis West last September.
And no doubt he was given advisory vote!
You see, we called these men engineers of the schism of ’53 and not in malice and sarcasm but because we are firmly convinced upon factual evidence that these men were working together for years as a unit in that which we call the “Hate Hoeksema” campaign. Remember but one instance related on the pages of a former Standard Bearer how the Rev. Hoeksema was DENIED advisory vote at a session of Classis West and the president declared that they did not need him there to give advice.
In September Rev. Kok, also from Classis East, did not get such a reception you may be sure, even though his teachings were being questioned and examined by Classis East and a committee had been appointed to give the Classis advice both in regard to his teachings and refusal to abide by the decision of the Synod which had adopted the Declaration of Principles.
Whether he used his advisory vote or not, we are not, in a position to state. But you may be sure that he spoke to the delegates outside of the sessions of Classis and about the statements of Rev. De Wolf and his suspension. The picture was surely colored by his speech. Anyone who knows Rev. Kok is well aware that he is not a man of few words. And would a man travel all alone some five hundred miles to this Classical session just to see the rolling hills of Iowa and the faces of the delegates that came from far and wide?
Rev. Kok felt the need of being at that Classis.
Was he perhaps invited or urged to come?
At any rate, Rev. De Jonge, he was there long before the Rev. Hoeksema ever thought of taking such a trip. He spread propaganda for the cause of Rev. De Wolf and for the Liberated. And though Rev. De Wolf was not there personally before the Rev. Hoeksema came, yet, Rev. De Jonge, you know that he was represented by Rev. Kok. And I your testimony that Rev. De Wolf would never have come if the Rev. Hoeksema had not first come is camouflage and distortion of the truth.
And Rev. Kok is your authority on Church Polity. Is he not? It looked that way in court.
Was it upon his advice that you took your decision?
Several witnesses for Rev. De Wolf stated that since the suspension of Rev. De Wolf involved churches in Classis West, they had to decide for themselves whether they would recognize the suspension and allow him on their pulpits or not.
Will anyone, please, quote one authority who maintains that?
The church that suspends is in duty bound to notify all the churches in the denomination so that they do not invite him to their pulpit. This First Church did, but significantly enough, it did not send notice to the Classis, for Classis can take no action in the matter being treated in a sister Classis.
But let us have one authority who maintains that when a consistory receives notification of suspension that it must take a stand as to whether it will recognize it or not.
Instead of rushing such a tremendously important thing through in one day they should have adjourned till they had found at least one authority whose learned opinion is that this was the right way to go. But they did not. According to the school of engineering which they had attended, they could do such a thing and build a bridge over Article 84 that “No church shall in any way lord it over other Churches, no minister over other ministers, no elder or deacon over other elders and deacons.”
Who taught you that engineering feat?
You produced no authority for its legality.
Or did Rev. Kok, your authority in Church Polity, take that trip to Iowa in September of ’53 in order so to advise you?
Is he the authority for such a schismatic act?
And we dare to predict that all these engineering feats of yours are going to be your downfall in the future. You cannot build a bridge like that which will stand the test of the stress and storms of this life nor surely of God’s word. Soon you may find yourselves in a position where all these illegal decisions and actions of yours will backfire and you will be helpless because you have thrown away the truth in order to get your way in this schism.
Let us, therefore, in the mercy of Christ plead with you to reconsider all that you have done. Do not hide it. Expose it to the light of God’s word and the Church Order. You cannot hide it from Him anyway.
But doctrine and walk of life go hand in hand.
You will have to cast your doctrinal errors away first.
For it is a doctrinal issue. We can prove that. YOU have proven it.
We promised, last time, to give you the details of what we consider to be the biggest blunder of the whole court case. We do so now as briefly as possible.
It must be borne in mind that our churches subscribe to the Presbyterian form of church government according to which we believe in the autonomy of the local church and in a federation of these autonomous churches that meet in Classis and Synod to decide things which are for the wellbeing of these churches in common.
On the afternoon of June 3 Rev. Kok was on the stand and Mr. Tubbs questioned him to show that his church political view was Congregational rather than Presbyterian. For the Congregational churches also believe in the autonomy of the local church but have no Classis and Synod. They simply meet in a conference where no decisions are made, the problems are simply discussed without a decision being made for the churches. At one time Rev. Kok even admitted to Mr. Tubbs that afternoon that though his view was Presbyterian, it was closer to Congregational. (It is all in the record). Is it any wonder that Mr. Linsey, Rev. De Wolf’s lawyer, was confused by Rev. Kok? Rev. Kok has only himself to blame for what happened when Rev. De Jonge was on the stand the next day.
Mr. Tubbs asked him the innocent question as to whether he, Rev. De Jonge, had been taught the Presbyterian form of church government when he attended our Seminary. Rev. De Jonge answered very correctly, “Yes Sir.” Then Mr. Linsey interrupted with apparent disgust; even though Mr. Tubbs was doing the examining, and asked why these witnesses did not listen carefully to the questions being put to them. He asked Rev. De Jonge whether he knew what he was saying, for the Presbyterian form of church government “has the Synod at the top” and the local autonomous congregation on the bottom. He made the observation that Rev. De Jonge must have meant that he was taught the Congregational form of church government in our Seminary. Rev. De Jonge replied, “Maybe I do.”
Then it was that Rev. Kok quickly arose and hurried across the whole court room to stop Mr. Linsey and whispered something in his ear.
You cannot blame Mr. Linsey who never studied Reformed Church Polity and was dependent upon Rev. Kok to be briefed upon it. Rev. Kok is the one who caused Mr. Linsey to tell Rev. De Jonge to sayexactly what Mr. Tubbs had tried to get Rev. Kok to admit, namely, that his view is Congregational and not Presbyterian. They no longer subscribe to the Church Order of Dordt.
In that light you can explain all the schismatic action Rev. Kok and those with him perpetrated. For with the Congregational form of church government it is not schism. But it surely is when you have the Presbyterian form such as we still maintain and defend; and the engineers of the Schism of ’53 only say that they subscribe to it. Theirs is Independentism with the emphasis upon the fact that even their own do not know anymore upon what they can depend in their own movement. As we wrote before, they change to meet each new emergency.
And that, in itself, ought to reveal that there is something wrong.