IN SESSION JANUARY 9, 1952 AT GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
For the January session Classis East met at the First Church of Grand Rapids. The opening exercises were conducted by Rev. G. Lubbers, who later functioned as clerk, while Rev. M. Schipper presided at this session of Classis.
After Classis has been declared constituted, the minutes of the previous meeting of Classis are read and approved.
Classis decides to grant the request of Grand Haven for Classical appointments. The chair appoints the following committee to draw up a schedule: Rev. E. Knott and the elders H. Rutgers and A. Peterson.
This committee, later in the day presents the following schedule, which was adopted by Classis:
Jan. 20 Rev. G. Vos
Mar. 2 Rev. H De Wolf
Jan. 27 Rev. G. Lubbers
Mar. 9 Rev. J. Blankespoor
Feb. 3 Rev. R. Veldman
Mar. 16 Rev. E. Knott
Feb. 10 Rev. J. A. Heys
Mar. 23 Rev. G. v. d. Berg
Feb. 17 Rev. M. Schipper
Mar. 30 Rev. C. Hanko
Feb. 24 Rev. B. Kok
Apr. 6 Rev. H.H. Kuiper
The Stated Clerk reports that he has sent the letter, composed by the former Classis, to the group at Hamilton and that he received a reply to this letter.
That reply is now read and received for information. An instruction from Holland, dealing with this Hamilton case is also read.
Classis decides to place this reply and the instruction of Holland, in the hands of a committee who shall report to the Classis on this matter in the afternoon session. Comm.: Revs. H. H. Kuiper and C. Hanko, and Elder R. Regnerus.
A letter from Chatham is given into the hands of the Classical Committee to formulate an answer that shall be sent to Chatham by Classis East.
The Committee suggested the following answer for the group at Hamilton, which was adopted by Classis.
“In answer to this (letter from Hamilton) your Committee suggests the following:
1. “It grieves us that the correspondents feel no sense of guilt in having proceeded in a church politically sinful way by wrongfully presenting public charges against their pastor.
2. “Once more we strongly urge them to by all means walk the way directed by Scripture in regard to any assumed charges against Rev. H. Veldman.
3. “Also in regard to the Declaration they are obliged to walk in the church political way of appeal to Classis and Synod.
4. “Finally, as long as they continue in their sinful way they have no right to the Protestant Reformed name, doctrinally nor church politically.
a) “Their conception of the truth of Scripture and the Confessions is quite evidently in conflict with what has always been maintained by our Churches.
b) “Their procedure is in conflict with our Church Order, cf. Art. 31, including the decision appended.”
In answer to Holland the committee suggested the following, which was also adopted by Classis.
“In regard to Holland’s overture, your committee is of the opinion that we cannot recognize the group in Hamilton as having the right of existence, and therefore they are not the objects of labor of our Classical Committee. If there should prove to be a few families still interested in our Churches they should be made the objects of our Mission endeavor.”
The following letter was suggested by the Classical Committee, and adopted by the Classis to be sent as an answer to Chatham’s letter:
1. “The Classis East of the Prot. Ref. Churches earnestly admonishes you to return from your sinful way of schism and from the attempt to create further schism in our Churches, since the blessing of the Lord can .never accompany you in that way.
2. “The proper way would have been the way of protest from Consistory to Classis and Synod.
If you have objections against the Declaration of Principles, present them in the church political way after you have returned with true sorrow from your sin of schism.
3. “Until the time that you have returned to the way of the Lord the Classis cannot discuss with you the objections that you raise against the Declaration of Principles in points 1 and 2 of your letter.
4. “Your sin of schism is aggravated by the fact that you were very well aware of the position of our Churches in regard to the covenant and the promise, and that you were earnestly admonished at the time of your organization not to organize unless you could declare yourself ready to give an affirmative answer to the second question of baptism in our Churches.”
Classis East also decided that the money that was collected for the purpose of purchasing a parsonage for Chatham, which has not been done, that this money should now be returned by Chatham to the various consistories from whom they received it and that the Classical Committee inform them of this decision.
The First Church asks that the status of Rev. Petter be established, since he has appealed to the Consistory of the First Church for Emeritation.
“Classis refers the Consistory of the First Church to the report of the Classical Committee, and also the report given by the Rev. Petter, which states that, in the
Chatham debacle the Rev. Petter was not under censure, but simply was forced outside the communion of the Chatham Church because he with deacon Scheele refused to go alone with them in their sinful way.”
Classis decides to pay Rev. Petter’s salary on the basis of $3,500.00 per year and to take this money from the needy churches fund. Classis also decided that the churches should continue to pay the rent of Rev. Petter’s home until next Synod.
Classis also decided that Rev. Petter “retains his eligibleness to a call.”
An overture from Oak Lawn dealing with the necessary publicity of our Mission work, is sent through to Synod.
Synod was advised to grant the subsidy as requested by Oak Lawn, Randolph and Grand Haven.
The following Synodical delegates were chosen:
Primi: C. Hanko, H. Hoeksema, G. Lubbers, G. Vos
Secundi: J.A. Heys, M. Schipper, G.v.d. Berg, R. Veldman
Primi: A. Haan, G.M. Ophoff, R. Regnerus, N. Yonker
Secundi: J. Kortering, N. Kunz, D. Langeland, H. Zwak
The next meeting of Classis East will be held at the First Church of Grand Rapids, April 2, 1952.
D. JONKER, S.C.