When asked by the editor of our Standard Bearer to write this obituary article in memory of our late Rev. Vos, I consented gladly. It was more than forty years ago that I met Rev. Vos for the first time. He was a student at that time in our seminary. I also met him several times at our home in Chicago during those early years of our churches.
Rev. Vos was ordained in September of 1927. Heserved the following churches: Sioux Center, Iowa; Hudsonville, Michigan; Redlands, California; and Edgerton, Minnesota. He served our Hudsonville church twice, his second term of service there following his ministry in Edgerton in the years 1948 to 1966, and his first ministry there extending from 1929 to 1932. He became minister emeritus in 1966. Rev. Vos died at the age of 73. The reason why he served the church in Sioux Center only two years, from 1927 to 1929, was because, although ordained in 1927, he returned to Michigan in 1929 in order to finish his schooling in our seminary. During those early years of our churches’ existence there was a crying need for ministers, and Rev. Vos was pressed into service before he had finished his schooling at our seminary.
Rev. Vos was unique in his preaching and teaching. The remark has often been made, “There is only one Rev. Vos!” How true is this statement! Many of us will remember the unique style of the meditations which he wrote for our Standard Bearer, When the late Rev. Hoeksema became sick in 1947 and was forced to lay down some of his activities, Rev. Vos was appointed to write the meditations. He performed this task nobly, and his meditations were always enjoyed. But Rev. Vos’s contributions to our magazine began many years earlier; he was one of the first associate editors of the Standard Bearer. For many years in this capacity he wrote on the Psalms in the Holland language. His style and mannerisms were peculiarly his own.
He knew and loved the Reformed truth. Ordained a minister of the gospel in 1927, he was 32 years old when he became a minister of the Word of God. Of him it may therefore be said that he lived through the years of 1920 through 1924, the years which form the background of the history of our churches. He was always faithful and true to the truth which our churches proclaim and which we know to be according to the Word of God. He understood that truth and surely loved it with all his heart. He was also a guiding light at our ecclesiastical assemblies, at classical and synodical meetings. How often it occurred that we looked to him to formulate motions and lead us through many problems and difficulties!
Rev. Vos had not been in the best of health for many years. It was thirteen and a half years ago that he had his first heart attack. However, he continued his activities in our church of Hudsonville and in among our churches. Finally he was forced to accept emeritus status in 1966. Our hearts were saddened when he was compelled to lay down his work. How often he was asked to continue his labors in our churches at least to some extent. But his answer was always negative.
In addition to his own physical troubles, he was also burdened at home. We now refer to the condition of his beloved wife. For many years she has suffered because of many infirmities and miseries. He felt very keenly that it was his calling to care for her who had always stood so faithfully at his side. This explains why he hardly ever attended our worship services. These appearances at our worship services were limited to the times when we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. For the rest, he listened to our services in his home.
Rev. Vos is no longer with us. When the writer of these lines received the news of his death the Tuesday morning of July 23, he could hardly believe it. The deceased had been involved in a car accident some weeks prior to his death, but he died because of his heart condition. The undersigned led the funeral service in the church where he had preached so many years, and Rev. Lubbers led the service at the grave. The funeral message was based on Luke 18:13, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” This was at Rev. Vos’s personal request. He had emphasized more than once that if anything characterized his life, it was the truth that he was in himself a hopelessly lost sinner, saved only because of the wonderful mercies of our covenant God. Rev. Vos is no longer with us. However, he will not be forgotten by us, especially not by those who knew him intimately and personally. We all feel his loss. It is true that he had not been active in the activities of our churches since 1966; but he and his labors among us will not soon be forgotten. He now lives and has received his reward, bestowed upon him and upon all God’s people in His sovereign grace. May the God of all mercy comfort his widow and family according to and in harmony with His Word and promise. And may his departure remind us of the truth that life is as a dream when it is past, that we may labor while it is day, before the night cometh when no man can work. And may the Lord give us grace to say with the apostle Paul: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And may we as churches continue to be faithful in the proclamation of the truth, only because of the God of our salvation who is “merciful to me, the sinner.”
—Rev. H. Veldman