The inserted photo (SEE ATTACHED PDF TO VIEW PHOTO), is in a sense, a picture of the conference that was held during the latter part of September in Kassel, South Dakota, and the membership of which consisted of some ministers and elders of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and some of our own ministers.
I say, “in a sense,” because it is somewhat difficult to determine the exact limits of this conference as far as its membership is concerned.
Strictly speaking, it was a conference of some brethren of the above mentioned church, the synodical committee of our own churches, and undersigned, who had been invited by the synodical committee to attend and to speak on this occasion.
However, one can speak of the conference in a broader, and a broadest sense.
Several of our ministers from Iowa, as well as the Revs. G. Lubbers and A. Petter, also attended the meetings of the conference. Moreover, three of our students showed their interest in the matter by coming from Grand Rapids. It stands to reason that these brethren were all interested in a matter that concerned all our churches. And since the conference had no strictly official character, but was rather informal, there was, of course, no objection to their participation in the discussions. This, then, might be called the conference in the broader sense. It is shown in the photo.
Besides, there were present some elders of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and, on Wednesday of the conference week there were also several elders of our own churches in Iowa and Minnesota. This whole gathering I refer to when I speak of the conference in its broadest sense. Of this, too, there is a photo, which I may, perhaps, exhibit in another issue of our paper.
As to the historical facts and the proceedings of this conference, I may refer the reader to the editorials in Concordia. I need not repeat them here.
Rather would I discuss this rather unique conference from the viewpoint of its significance and possible results. What was the occasion, what was the cause of this meeting? What brought us together? What are the present results of it, if any? What may be God’s purpose in bringing us into contact with the brethren of a denomination with which we had never had any contact before? An I what, if anything, should be done in the future?
In order to accomplish this purpose, the readers should be made acquainted with the brethren with whom we conferred, not, of course, as to their persons, but with a view to their ecclesiastical position, and their doctrinal stand.
To do this, I will have to explain the stand of what is known as the Evangelical and Reformed Church, to which the brethren with whom we conferred belonged, though some of them disavowed any connection with that denomination, and claimed to be independent, even to the extent that their churches belonged to an independent classis.
But since the present Evangelical and Reformed Church is the result of a merger of two churches, the (German) Reformed Church in the United States, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the brethren we met at the conference originally belonged to the former, I shall, first of all, have to make a few remarks about this Reformed Church.