September 14, 1981
Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches met in Hull, Iowa from September 2, through noon on September 4. Ten ministers and twelve elders represented the churches in Classis West. Rev. G. Lubbers, present during some of the sessions, was given advisory vote. Rev. M. Kamps led in opening devotions. He read Ephesians 1 and addressed Classis on verse 13: “…in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Rev. K. Koole, pastor of the Randolph, Wisconsin congregation, presided over this meeting of Classis—a first for him. Elder M. Van Baren of South Holland was the only elder delegate attending Classis for the first time.
Classis heard the reports of several committees. The Reading Sermon Committee requests that each minister in Classis West make one reading sermon a year. The Taped Sermon Committee asks that the Consistories in the West send tapes of their minister’s sermons to the Library, so that there is variety of preachers.
Loveland had an overture at Classis concerning the manner in which Church Visitation is done in the West. Loveland proposed that “One year it be conducted by personal presence of the church visitors as is presently done” and that “The next year the church visitors send a letter to each consistory, requesting that the local consistory address itself to the prescribed questions and inform the church visitors per letter if their answers are satisfactory or if there is any area of neglect or need for counsel. If a consistory desires a personal visit by the church visitors, they can make this request of them and they will arrange such a visit.” The grounds for this proposal were: “a. Spiritual supervision can still be exercised according to the spirit of Article 44″ and ” b. It will cut the cost of church visiting which in Classis West has escalated to over $3,000.00 a year.” The overture was turned back to Loveland, so that Loveland might investigate previous decisions of the major assemblies on this matter, according to Article 46 of the Church Order.
Most of the time of Classis was taken up with deliberation of the protests of two brothers against their Consistory and against the preaching of their pastor. The Church Visitors of Classis West had been called in to help in the controversy and reported to Classis concerning their visit. The heart of the controversy was the objection of the protestants to the stand of the Consistory that there are demands and obligations in the covenant. The protestants denied that there are demands and obligations in the covenant. Classis turned down the protests, upholding the Consistory and the preaching of the pastor. Classis decided “that there are demands and obligations in the covenant which also must be preached in the congregation,” adducing as proof, PS. 78:4, 5; Luke 13:1-5; Rom. 12: 1,2; II Cor. 7:l; Eph. 4:22-24; Eph. 5:8-11; II Thess. 3:6; Heid. Cat., Q. 9; Heid Cat., Q. 86; Heid. Cat. Q. 114, 115; Canons, III, IV, 17; Bel. Conf., Art. 24; besides the Baptism Form, Article 21 of the Church Order, and some Reformed theologians.
In executive session, Classis advised two Consistories to proceed with the erasure of a baptized member and to proceed with the second step of censure with three confessing members, as the Consistories ‘had requested.
The following schedule of classical appointments was adopted for Isabel, SD and Redlands, CA. Isabel: Nov. 8,15,22 – Lanting: Dec. 6,13,20 – Kortering; Jan. 10,17,24 – Cammenga; Feb. 7,14,21 – Slopsema. Redlands: Sept. 13,20,27 – Koole; Oct. 11,18,25 – Bekkering; Nov. 8,15,22 – Moore; Dec. 6,13,20 – Kamps; Jan. 10,17,24 – Engelsma; Feb. 7, 14,21 – Kuiper.
Classis will meet next in Randolph, Wisconsin on March 3, 1982, the Lord willing.
Rev. David Engelsma, Stated Clerk Classis West