Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches met in South Holland, Illinois on March 5, 6, 1986. Classis met all day on Wednesday, until 11:00 PM, and on Thursday morning, until noon. Ten ministers and fourteen elders, representing the churches in the West, made up this Classis. Rev. K. Koole led in opening devotions, addressing Classis from I Peter 5:1-4: “The elders which are among you I exhort . . . . Feed the flock of God which is among you . . . . ” Rev. D. Kuiper was president of this assembly. Elders P. Boer (South Holland) and M. Yonkman (Lynden) and Rev. R. Hanko (Houston) were present at Classis as delegates for the first time, and signed the Formula of Subscription. Classis gave the right of the floor to Rev. W. Bekkering, Rev. G. Lubbers, and Rev. R. Van Overloop. Classis seated Rev. G. Hutton and Deacon J. Clarke, delegated to Classis by the Session of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Larne, Northern Ireland, as delegates from a sister-church, with advisory vote.
Classis approved the “Ministerial Certificate of Dismissal and Testimonial” of Rev. C. Haak, who had recently accepted the call to Lynden, Washington, and authorized the counselor of the Lynden Church to proceed to the installation.
Two Consistories had overtures at Classis. Classis adopted the overture that asked Classis to modify its decision concerning the gift of the, bequest of Mr. C. Van Der Molen to the Protestant Reformed Churches in America, by stipulating that “30% of the interest accumulated on the principle be added each year to the established perpetual fund and 70% of the annual earnings be used exclusively to subsidize the denominational Emeritus Fund.” Classis West will offer this gift to our Synod of 1986. The other overture, concerning synodical provision for the social security taxes of our ministers from the emeritus fund, was declared to be illegally before Classis on the ground that the requirement of Article 46 of the Church Order was not complied with.
Classis renewed the mandate of a special committee of Classis, appointed by Classis, September, 1985, to recommend rules limiting the length of appeals brought to Classis.
A brother appealed to Classis against his Consistory’s censure of him for his refusal to comply with the income tax laws of our Government, by filing a properly filled out tax form and by paying income taxes. The Consistory charges him with transgression of the 5th Commandment, in rebelling against the authority of the State, with appeal, among other passages, to Romans 13:1-7, as well as to the Reformed Creeds. The member maintains that the income tax laws are unconstitutional and that, therefore, he is not required to obey them. Classis’ judgment was the rejection of the member’s appeal and the sustaining of the decision of the Consistory to discipline the member, so that he may be brought to repentance. Classis admonished the appellant to submit to the loving discipline exercised upon him by his Consistory for his salvation.
In closed session, Classis considered the requests of two Consistories for the advice of Classis concerning the second step of censure in the cases of three individuals.
Edgerton, Edmonton, Isabel, Pella, and Houston presented requests for subsidy in 1987 in the amount of $79,156. Classis approved these requests and forwarded them to Synod. Trinity, Houston also gave in a special request for immediate financial help in the amount of $7,000. Classis approved this request and forwarded it to Synod.
In response to her request, Doon received classical appointments: June 1, 8—Rev. D. Kuiper; June 15, 22—Rev. G. Lanting. For the rest, Doon has made her own arrangements and will seek pulpit supply during the summer months from the seminary.
The Church Visitors reported on their visit of the churches in the West in the past year. This report informed Classis that “the officebearers are faithfully performing the duties of their offices, and observe in all things the adopted order of the churches,” and that “the work of the officebearers is being blessed in the upbuilding of the congregations and the youth. Where, in the recent past, difficulties did exist, there appears to be a marked improvement in the unity, peace, and love among the members.”
The results of the voting were the following:
—Classical Committee: Rev. R. Moore (89) and Rev. M. DeVries (87).
—Primus Delegate Ad Examina: Rev. J. Slopsema (89).
—Secundus Delegate Ad Examina: Rev. M. DeVries (89).
—Church Visitors: Rev. D. Engelsma and Rev. G. Lanting.
—Delegates to Synod, 1986:
Primi Minister Delegates: R. Cammenga, D. Engelsma, K. Koole, J. Slopsema.
Secundi Minister Delegates: M. DeVries, G. Lanting, T. Miersma, R. Moore.
Primi Elder Delegates: P. Brummel (Edgerton), R. Brunsting (Hull), H. Meulenberg (Houston), E. Stouwie (South Holland).
Secundi Elder Delegates: E. Bruinsma (Loveland), H. Hoekstra (Hull), J. Sugg (Houston), G. Tolsma (Edmonton).
At the invitation of Trinity, Houston, Classis West will meet next in Houston, Texas, on September 3, 1986, the Lord willing. This will be a “first” for Classis—and for Trinity.
Rev. David Engelsma, Stated Clerk