Report of Classis West

Rev. Peter De Boer calls the meeting to order. Psalter No. 200 is sung, reads Psalm 91 and offers prayer. Credentials show, twelve churches to be represented by twenty-two delegates. Those present for the first time sign the F. of S. Rev. L. Doezema is chairman for the day and Rev. Die Boer records the minutes.

The church visitors render their reports and these are received ‘for information. ’ An accounting was given by the Stated Clerk of Sermon Books sold and monies re­ceived.

Classis has before it several documents, overtures and protests in the matter of the Declaration from the Rev. J. Van Weelderi, Rev. Doezema (and Bellflower), Pella, Rev. Hofman and Oskaloosa. Comes a motion that the Chair appoint a committee of five to serve us with ad­vice re these documents. The Chair appoints the bre­thren: Revs. Hofman, Howerzyl, Vis and Elders H. Leep and C. DeVries. Then a motion prevails that the Chair appoint a committee of committees and brethren Revs. Hoeksema, Van Weelden and Elder J. Blankespoor are named. Classis adjourns until 1:30.

In the afternoon session the committee of committees gives its report, Classis is re-composed in five commit­tees and forthwith there comes a motion to adjourn for the rest of the day.

Thursday morning. Committee on the material re the Declaration reads its report by mouth of Rev. Howerzyl. Committee advises “that Classis West express to Synod that we cannot be satisfied with Synod’s treatment of the Protest of Classis West since Synod did not answer said protest by positively indicating the legality of the De­claration with well-motivated grounds.”

There is an amendment added to this advice as fol­lows: “Classis therefore maintains its original position and considers the Declaration to be illegal.” Classis adopts motion and amendment.

Point II of Committee’s advice concerning the Declara­tion was “That Classis West express that the Synod of 1951, in its adoption of the Declaration of Principles, violated Article 30 of the Church Order which states that ‘ecclesiastical matters shall be transacted in an ecclesiastical manner.’” Classis refers this latter point back to the committee for detailed grounds. The grounds are provided.

“Grounds for Point II

  1. Synod failed to answer protests of Classis West and disregarded advice and objections not to adopt of the overwhelming majority of the consistories and further rejected the advice of Committee I-A of Pre-advice; without answer and motivation. This is contrary to Church Order, Article 30, which states that ecclesiastical matters shall be transacted in an ecclesiastical manner. J. Jansen in his commentary distinguishes this manner from political, military, judicial and other manners which are character­ized by conviction, persuasion, instruction and guidance.
  2. Synod failed to honor a request to consider the necessity of adopting the document, before proceeding to adopt it and also failed to express a reason for its action when so requested.
  3. Synod adopted the Declaration over protests against its legality and necessity even though Synod refused to express that it was through with these aspects. In fact Synod never decided it was a legal document, but simply presumed this while refusing to produce grounds or declare it to be legal or necessary although this was asked. (See Acts 1951, Art. 210, page 184, and Arts 254-257, page 190).
  4. The decision: “To adopt…to be used only by the mission committee and the mission­aries…(Acts, Art. 284) is a decision not wor­thy of a church and contrary to all Reformed Church Polity.
  5. Finally, the declaration was adopted directly contrary to a decision of Synod of 1950. See Acts of 1950, Art. 117, page 90 and arabic 2, immediately above this article.”

Classis adopts this Point II together with these grounds.

Against this latter decision in Points I and II, Rev. H.C. Hoeksema records his negative vote and gives the following motivation:

“1)  Synod proceeded on the assumption that the Declaration was legal, until proved illegal.

2)  When the motion concerning illegality was de­feated, this implied that Synod considered the Declaration legal on the same church political grounds on which it was challenged.

3)  That, however, Synod should have officially answered all protestants. Grounds for 1, 2, 3:

  1. Art. 30 of the DKO.
  2. Art. 31 of the Church Order.
  3. Art. 51 of the Church Order.

4)  Classis offers no grounds for its decision in Point I.

5)  All the Acts in re the Declaration in the Acts of 1951 reveal that Synod acted in an ecclesi­astical manner.”

Classis, having declared the Declaration illegal, drops the rest of Committee’s advice in re the content, etc. of the Declaration and does not enter into it.

Now Committee 3 reads its advice. Rock Valley had an instruction there in re the number of families there should be before a church organizes. Classis answers not to adopt this instruction since “the history of our churches has proven that some of our most flourishing congregations were organized with less than ten families” and two other grounds. Sioux Center asked that Classis West overture Synod to appoint a committee to study the newly published Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Classis demurred, said, “Our leaders have given and are giving proper guidance through our various pub­lications…we should not use Synod as a Question Box.” Bellflower and Edgerton asked for pulpit and financial arrangement in event their pastors went to the Ecu­menical Synod. So decided. Pella asked for Reading Sermons. Classis said it can see no present need for new sermon books. Pella also sought to petition Synod to have the Mission Committee make current reports on missionary activity. Classis however reminded Pella that this had been requested of Synod last year and had been approved at that time. Classis also decided to ac­cept Oskaloosa’s invitation to meet there next Sept. Classis adjourns for some refreshment and slumber.

Friday morning session. Committee I on the matter of the Ecumenical Synod reads its report. It appears that there are documents concerning this thing from Sioux Center, Redlands, Oskaloosa. Upon the committee’s advice and with amendments Classis adopts its Point II which reads now, “That it is true that our churches were not asked to visit but to participate.” That it is also true “that the entire matter of ecumenicity should be studied before we commit ourselves to full participation” and “because our questions can as well be answered by letter we are also of the opinion that the $3,000.00 or more involved is hardly warranted.” And that “we as Classis join Oskaloosa in asking Synod to recall its de­cision to send delegates as visitors to the Ecumenical Synod and that we ask Synod to appoint a committee to study the entire matter…” Sioux Center and Redlands are answered that their overtures too are in the main sustained by the Classis. Adjourn for dinner.

Committee IV gives its report by mouth of M. Gritters. Concerns matters between consistories and protestants. After hearing the whole matter, the advice of the Com mittee, and careful discussion, Classis answers protestants and consistories. And by this time the Friday night session came to a conclusion and the decision fell to meet Saturday morning.


Committee II reports, Rev. Hoeksema the reporter. Deals with finances, subsidies, collections, Classical appointments, etc. Doon’s request for collection in West and East forwarded. Subsidy for Doon advised: $1,000.00; for Lynden $3,120 if they have a pastor and $2,040.00 if not. Orange City $3,500.00, Pella, $800.00, Sioux Center, $1,200.00.


Classical appointments to Lynden are as follows:

March 15, 22, 29—Rev. J. De Jong

April (2 Sundays)—Rev. L. Vermeer

May 17, 24, 31—Rev. H.C. Hoeksema

June (2 Sundays)—Rev. Peter Vis

July 12, 19, 26—Rev. J. Van Weelden

Aug. 9, 16, 23—Rev. S. Cammenga

Delegations to Synod were as follows:



Primi                                                Secundi                      

L. Doezema                                      S. Cammenga

J. Howerzyl                                      L. Vermeer

W. Hofman                                       J. Van Weelden

J. DeJong                                         M. Gritters


J. Broek                                            C. DeVries

W. DeVries                                       John Van Weelden

B. Gritters                                         J. Dokter

N. Buyert                                          H. Blankespoor

Questions of DKO 41 are asked. The President makes a few fitting remarks, closes with prayer and Classis adjourns Saturday noon.

M. Gritters, S.C.