Synod of the Christian Reformed Church 1962: Important Decisions and Discussions


The Synod of 1962 began with the usual prayer service, which was held this year in the Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids. The pastor of the church, Rev. John A. Mulder, preached the sermon. It was a very militant discourse on the subject of brotherly love. (It can be found in The Banner of June 14.) A special feature of the service was the participation in the prayer by the secretaries of three of our denominational boards: Rev. John Schuurmann of the Board of Trustees of Calvin College and Seminary, Rev. Marvin Baarman of the Board of Home Missions, and Rev. Henry Evenhouse of the Board of Foreign Missions.

At the Wednesday morning session the following officers were elected: Rev. John C. Verbrugge, president; Rev. Peter Holwerda, Vice President; Rev. Dr. Paul G. Schrotenbocr, First Clerk; Mr. Haymond Holwerda of Holland, Michigan, Second Clerk. Two of these four brethren are ministers in Canada (the president and the first clerk), the second clerk is an elder and the principal of the Christian High School of Holland, Michigan.

On the first ballot for President Rev. J. C. Verbrugge received 70 votes, Rev. Peter Holwerda 21, Rev. B. J. Haan 12, and Dr. Paul G. Schrotenboer 6. On the second ballot Rev. J. C. Verbrugge was elected with 89 votes (out of a total of 124).

On the first ballot for Vice-President Rev. Peter Holwerda was elected with a total of 70 votes. The next highest were Rev. B. J. Haan, Rev. Oliver Breen, and Dr. Paul Sehrotenboer.

On the .first ballot for First Clerk Dr. Paul Schrotenboer received 36 votes, Elder Raymond Holwerda 14, Mr. Herman Baker 9, Rev. Oliver Breen 8, Rev. Henry De Mots 8, Rev. B. J. Haan 7, and Rev. Seymour Van Dyken 5. On the second ballot for First Clerk, Dr. Paul Schrotenboer was ejected with a total of 68 votes. Many names were mentioned for the position of Second Clerk but Mr. Raymond Holwerda was elected.


Prof. Bastiaan Van Elderen Jf. informed Synod that he could not be present at Synod as adviser because of his presence in Palestine where he is engaged in teaching and in archeological excavation in Dothan with a party of scholars headed by Dr. Free of Wheaton College. A letter of congratulations was ordered sent to him on his selection for this important work.


In pursuance of last year’s decision that the examination of theological students for the ministry should henceforth be conducted by the Board of Trustees, instead of by Synod itself, Synod considered a report of this Board, presented by Rev. John F. Schuurmann, in which 34 names were presented of Seminary graduates who had successfully passed the examination. These men were not present at Synod nor did Synod deem it necessary to vote on each one separately. They were declared candidate en bloc. In a half hour the work was finished, while formerly an entire day was spent interrogating the graduates and considering the matter of their eligibility as candidates. However, these men must still be examined by the Classes to which the churches that will call them belong. That examination will doubtless be much less perfunctory than it has been io those years in which Synod conducted the examination since the Classes understandably hesitated to refuse ordination to any candidate approved by Synod.

A question by one of the delegates elicited the statement from the reporter of the Board of Trustees that one student had failed in the examination by the Board. The report on his case was discussed in executive session.

The names of the young men declared candidate are as follows: William Bierling, Gerrit Bieze, John Boonstra, Ren Broekhuizen, Michael De Berdt, Henry De Bolsler, John De Moor, Michael De Vries, William J. Dykstra, Henry Eshuis, Wendell Gebben, Gary Ho6and, Peter Huiner, Louis Kerkstra, W”illiam La Fleur, Norman Mayer, John M. Moes. Albert Roan, Peter Sluys, Arthur J. Stienstl’a, Carl Tuyl, Berton Van Antwerpen, Donald Van Beek, Arie Vanden Berg, Henry Vanden Heuvel, Duane E. Vander Brug, Howard Vander Well, Bud Vermeer, Jacob B. Vos, Cornelius Vriend, Joe Vugteveen. All these expect to serve in the regular work of the ministry, and will be eligible to a call on July 8. Three others will engage in special work; namely, Gerald Nyenhuis, who will teach in a Mexican seminary operated by the Independent Presbyterian Church of Mexico; Jan Friend, who expects to enter the army chaplaincy after receiving a call for this work; and Herbert Bergsma who will continue to teach Bible at South Christian High School at Cutlerville, Michigan. These men are now eligible to a call now.

Unquestionably the most important committee at every Synod is the so-called Program Committee, headed by the four officers and composed of a representative from each of the 31 Classes, except that no additional representative is appointed from the Classes to which the officers belong. This Committee proposes, in fact virtually appoints, the members of the Advisory Committees to which practically all synodical matters are referred for recommendation. Twelve such advisory committees were appointed. We shall mention only the names of the chairmen, the reporters, and the professorial advisers. In one instance no professorial adviser was added, namely the committee appointed to consider the matter of the reappointment of the Seminary President. I. Church Order A: the ministers J. Geels and C. Flietstra; Prof. Carl Kromminga; II. Church Order B: the ministers J. P. Smith and S. Kramer; Prof. A. Hoekema. III. Home Missions: thc ministers M. Bolt and J. Piersmn; Prof. F. Klooster. IV. Foreign Missions: the ministers C. Witt and B. J. Haan; Prof. H. Dekker. V. Educational Matters: the min isters C. Boomsma and M. R. Doornbos; Prof. J. Kromminga and Dr. W. Spoelhof. VI. l’ublication Matters: thc ministers C. O. Buus and W. Smedes; Prof. R. B. Kuiper. VII. Varia: the ministers H De Mots and A. Kuyvenhoven; Prof. M. H. Woudstra. VIII. Appeal NO.1 (ministerial status of Rev. B. J. Haan as President of Dordt College): the ministers C. Huissen and L. Tamminga; Prof. R. Stob. IX. Appeal No.2: the ministers O. Breen and S. Van Dyken. X. Appeal No.3: the ministers A. Jabaay and C. De Haan; Prof. H. Stob. XL Bridget Matters: the elders D. Drukker and M. Vander Velde. XII. Church Order Revision: the ministers M. Ouwinga and H. Petersen; Prof. M. Monsma.


One of the important matters entrusted to the advisory committee on educational matters was the proposal of the standing Committee on Education that a full-time editor should be appointed for the purpose of preparing materials for catechetical instruction and Daily Vacation Bible Schools. This, according to the report, was authorized by the Synod of 1960, which instructed the standing committee to nominate one or more persons for this task while the Synod of 1961 urged the standing committee to implement the decision of 1960. The magnitude of the task, it was reported, requires such a fuU-time editor. To carry out its mandate the Committee Oil Education has planned a ten-year curriculum for catechetical materials and a three-year series for D.V.B.S.

Synod accepted the recommendation of the Standing Committee, supported by the Advisory Committee, to appoint Rev. William Vander Haak as full-time editor of the Committee on Education for a term of two years. The reasons given were that he has shown competence for this work and that he is best qualified for the task since he has served as part-time editor and continuity in the work is needed.


Synod approved the request of Classis California that a new classis should be constituted in northern California composed of the following churches: Alameda, Escalon, Hanford, Modesto, Palo Alto, Ripon First, Ripon Immanuel, San Jose, Walnut Creek and three mission stations: Hayward, Sacramento, and Fresno. The arguments advanced were that these churches form a natural geographical area; that such a classis would be sufficiently strong, numbering approximately 691 families; that money and time would be saved because of the great distances in California; and that through this division both Classes, North and South, could afford to meet thrice instead of only twice a year.


A belated overture from Classis Grand Rapids East asked that Synod should “reckon more with the availability of the increasing number of our emeritated pastors in its appointments to Synodical study, executive, and standing committees.” One of the two grounds was that “our Church can ill afford to lose the valuable services of these brethren who are able to render our denomination the benefits of their experience.” Since this overture came after the publication of the Agendum and did not bear on material already in the Agendum, it was ruled out of order. This was in accordance with a previous synodical decision concerning belated overtures.


Dr. Bergema was present at this synod as the official representative of the Gereformcerde Kerken of the Netherlands. He was introduced by Rev. ]. Hofman, a member of Synod’s Reception Committee. From this introduction we learned that Dr. Bergema had served as a missionary in Indonesia for 22 years; that be had been the principal there of two Theological Schools, and a member of the Parliament. Since 1956 he has been a professor of Missions at the Kampen Theological School. He is also the principal of the Mission School at Baam.

Among the many items of special interest in Dr. Bergernas address was first of all his plea for closer cooperation between his Church and ours in mission work, both in Indonesia and Latin America. Further, tile speaker enlarged on present conditions in the Gereformeerde Kerken. There was a “good deal of movement in our churches after the second world war. We need your intercession badly. There is much to be concerned and to become concerned about, although there are many encouraging phenomena. The Church still numbers 845 congregations, 1066 ministers, and 785,000 members in spite of serious losses due to defection resulting in the formation of the liberated churches’ under the leadership of Dr. K. Schilder.” During the last years the mission work of this Church has expanded greatly and is being blessed richly. His Church is becoming more and more mission minded. But there are events and situations which cause a feeling of unrest and concern. Some members and leaders believe their Church should unite with the Netherlands Reformed Church and with the World Council. Others are strongly opposed. Dr. Bergema asserted that a large part of the membership is in favor of uniting with the World Council provided objections can be removed. The report of the observers which the Church had sent to New Delhi is awaited eagerly. The majority are afraid of rushing matters. A short while before he (Dr. Bergema) left the Netherlands 64 members of the Church including four profcssors of the Free University sent a “Witness” to the churches to the effect that a reunion with the Netherland Reformed Church and the World Council would be intolerable (onduldbaar). Some fear such action might lead to disruption.

Rev. Peter Holwerda responded, assuring Dr. Bergema of our prayers for his Church and stating: “We want to remain Reformed.”


We listened with keen interest to a very acceptable address by airforce captain Rev. Henry Guikema. We cull the following from his thought-provoking remarks:

1. We are instructed by airforce requirements to visit every home on the base annually to talk about spiritual matters. Huisbezoekl

2. We have meetings which pertain to moral leadership. Every month I have a captive audience. These meetings are held by order of the Commander. I am amazed at the attention given to what we say. Five hundred boys and girls come to Sunday School. Five hundred come to our worship service every week.

How thankful wo should be that God is giving an open door to at least some of our chaplains, perhaps all of them. That door, we suppose, is open wider for some than for others. We trust none of them is under pressure to refrain from preaching the true gospel.

A fitting response was made by Rev. A. E. Pontier.

The Synodical Examiners reported to this Synod that an unusually large number of ministers had come to us from other denominations. Most of these came from the Protestant Reformed Church. However, one came to us from the Reformed Church in America.


The Synodical Examiners likewise reported that Mr. Scott K. Redhouse had been declared a candidate to the sacred office of the ministry by Classis Rocky Mountain; of course, with the advice and approval of the examiners. Synod received this information more or less as a routine matter. However, Mr. Redhouse is the first Indian admitted to the ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. It is possible that Synod at a later date will make special mention of this important event.


In this connection the status of Dr. Edwin H. Palmer was discussed. Dr. Palmer is instructor in systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and Classis Hackensack decided to allow him to retain his ministerial status in the Christian Reformed Church. Inquiry was made as to the propriety of this decision of the classis, since—so it was said— Westminster is a seminary of another denomination. The Rev. Jacob P. Smith responded to this remark by explaining that Westminster is not a denominational institution; and Synod readily concurred in the decision of Classis Hackensack.


However, Synod also approved of the resolution of Classis Hackensack in regard to the work of the Rev. Eugene Bradford, who is at present the Educational Secretary of Westminster Seminary. The Classis decided that since the work of Mr. Bradford is not directly related to that of the ministry of tho Word, he will have to terminate this position and work by July 1, 1963, if he wishes to retain his ministerial office.


The Committee appointed by the Synod of 1961 in response to an appeal by the Bluffton Church of Muskegon to inquire about certain teachings of Dr. Simon J. DeVries of Holland, Mich., reported that Dr. DeVries had severed his relation with our Church and had affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. Hence there was no reason for the committee to carry out the work of the mandate.


A great many re-appointments and appointments to the teaching staff of Calvin College were approved. As many as thirty-eight individuals were involved in these approvals. True, each of these persons was mentioned by name and an opportunity was given to ask questions and to make remarks, yet under the present methods and circumstances it is impossible to attach a great deal of significance to this approval by Synod. Practically all the responsibility rests with the Board. We shall have to assume that the Board takes time to act in a way consistent with the importance of the work. No one will deny that the Board performs no work which is of greater importance than this.


According to Overture 8, Classis Grand Rapids East asked the Synod to reconsider the decision of the Synod of 1961 re a Student Chaplain. However, notice was received from this Classis requesting that Synod take no action on this overture. The ease seemed to have been settled by this request of Classis Grand Rapids East. However, inquiry was made in regard to the ministerial credentials of the Rev. Bernard Pekelder, who had been appointed as Student Chaplain. Strange though it may seem, no one appeared to know with what church the Rev. Pekelder was officially affiliated, neither was anyone certain whether a call had been extended to him. It would seem that certainty should have been attained in regard to a matter such as this. The matter was referred to the Board of Trustees for investigation and consideration. Apparently it was assumed that the Board had not done this as yet.


Synod took up a matter of acquisition of property adjacent to Knollcrest, Rev. M.R. Doornbos reporting, which dealt with the land purchase in the Knollcrest area. Synod of 1958 had authorized the Board of Trustees to purchase a parcel of land adjacent to the campus. The offer to sell was withdrawn and, therefore, nothing was done regarding the matter. Now a part of this land plus another parcel, a total of about 105 acres, lying south of the present campus, is available and is held on a 90 day option. This property is not intended for use by Calvin College but the Board of Trustees proposes to hold this property in order to; “1) Be in a position to govern the development of this area in keeping with the best interests of the College and Seminary; 2) to provide acreage for development of services related to the college and seminary such as schools, churches, and housing; 3) to hold it as a hedge against possible uses for the college and seminary not now contemplated.”

Synod adopted the following recommendation:

“That Synod authorize the Board of Trustees to proceed with negotiations to obtain approximately 105 acres of land that lie south of the Knollcrest campus across Burion Street and along the East Beltline, with authority to purchase.

That payments be made from annual pledges and contributions by interested parties or by organizing a holding company for the financing of this project.”

There was some discussion on the recommendation but it passed by an overwhelming vote. Some expressed the idea that a group of business men might be interested in this project.


Five faculty members of Calvin Seminary were given indefinite tenure. There was some discussion regarding the position of Lector J. Stek who has been teaching Old Testament the past year. Bev. C. Huissen urged Synod to give him mare than a one-year appointment as Lecturer. S. Van Dyken believed it would be impetuous to change or suspend the rules. Rev. P. Holwerda asked whether the Faculty and the Board have plans for the future regarding the chair of Old Testament theology. The secretary of the Board presented the history of the matter. Synod of 1961 decided to have lectureships. Two others have declined. Tho Faculty and the Board plan to submit a nomination to the Synod of 1963.

The recommendation that Rev. Stek should be reappointed as lecturer in Old Testament far another year was adopted.


Concerning the new method of examining candidates for the ministry, several voices were heard objecting to the “coldness” which characterized this year’s synodical involvement. Many felt that the candidates ought to be present at Synod. There they could be informed directly of Synod’s approval of their candidacy, prayer could be offered with them, and felicitations could be extended.


The Advisory Committee presented a majority and minority report.

Classis Sioux Center took the position that Rev. B. J. Haan could retain his ministerial status as president of Dordt College. One of the Synodical Examiners agreed with the position of Classis while the other two disagreed. The majority of the advisory committee also agreed with the position of Classis. The question is; Is the position spiritual in character and directly related to the ministry of the Word? This led to a long debate. Finally the recommendation of the advisory committee (majority report) was adopted by a vote of 62–57. This recommendation was as follows:

That Synod honor the decision of Classis Sioux Center that Rev. B. J. Haan retain his ministerial status as president of Dordt College. Grounds: 1) Classis has judged that his task is related to the ministry of the Word of God and is spiritual in character. The synodical examiners have not disproved this; 2) There are sufficient indications from the Manual of Organization of Dordt College in which the duties of the president are outlined (such as spiritual and moral counseling of students, the integration of the curriculum in harmony with God’s revelation as well as maintaining a close tie between Dordt College and the Christian Reformed Church even though the College is society-controlled) to give adequate assurance that Classis judged correctly that the work is spiritual in nature and related to the ministry of the Word of God.

Note; Three delegates, Rev. H. Bouma, Rev. L. Slofstra, and Rev. C. Terpstra were in disagreement with this recommendation and reserved the right to submit a minority report to Synod.


Synod approved the following action of the Board of Trustees: “Each pre-seminary student shall be required to take three years of Dutch or German (in terms of college credit) with the option of eliminating the third year if, at the end of the second year, he can pass an examination demonstrating reading competence in the language.”


Synod granted the Board of Trustees authority to proceed with: 1) the construction of six multiple-purpose outdoor games courts this summer; 2) to sign a contract for the installation of sidewalks and for landscaping work this summer; 3) to raise funds for a gymnasium to supplement the efforts of the Alumni Association in this direction; 4) to plan for the construction as soon as feasible of a Music-Speech Auditorium and to solicit funds for this project.


Synod adopted the recommendation to appoint an additional professor for the chair of Church History in the Seminary on the grounds that the teaching load in this department is more than one professor can adequately carry, since additional elective courses are needed for graduate studies, and since the present professor, Dr. J.H. Kromminga, has the added responsibility of the presidency of the Seminary.

Synod also approved the nomination of the Board for this position: Dr. John  H. Bratt and Dr. Louis Praamsma. Synod did not accede to the request of an overture that the name of Rev. Lubbertus Oostendorp be added to the nomination, on the ground that this would be contrary to the rules adopted for the appointment of Seminary professors.

H. v. d. K.


During the past few years the number of our Classes has increased rapidly so that they now number 32, the new California Classis included. This means a large number of delegates to Synod, four from each Class is, and a large membership in denominational Boards. Some claim that all these ecclesiastical bodies have become unwieldy and naturally the cost of holding meetings is mounting. Overtures aiming at a radical reduction of membership were discussed but no final decision was made. The matter was referred to the churches for study.


One of the important matters pertaining to our foreign mission work was the question whether our hospital at Rehoboth, New Mexico, should be continued. There is now a fully staffed and fully equipped hospital at Gallup only six miles east of Rehoboth. The Foreign Mission Board recommended its discontinuance but the Indian General Conference, composed of missionaries on the field, is very strongly in favor of maintaining it. According to the Advisory Committee, Rev. B. J. Haan reporter, there are good arguments on both sides. This Committee felt the Board had not given sufficient time to the study of the matter. It recommended that the entire matter should be given into the hands of the Committee charged with studying the problem 01 the administration of the Indian field. This was adopted after the following discussion:

Rev. H. Evenhouse, Secretary of the Board, maintained that there is no basic missionary reason to continue the hospital since the government has built a 200-bed hospital in or near Gallup. Moreover, if we continue the hospital another physician will have to be engaged since it is required that a doctor be at hand at all hours.

Rev. Jacob C. Kobes spoke for the Indian General Conference. He pleaded with Synod to retain the hospital and gave several reasons to substantiate his position. He claimed that the Indians preferred our hospital to that of the government because the former reflects the spirit of Christianity. Moreover, the pupils at the Mission School need the facilities of the hospital. 1n addition, the cost of maintaining the hospital is reduced considerably because of the fees collected from patients. This amounted to some $26,000.00 last year.


Synod authorized the building of Naschitti Chapel at a cost 01 $11,550. The local group will contribute $1500.00 and some labor, while the entire loan will have to be repaid by the local group at the rate of $300.00 per year. Synod also authorized the bUilding of all addition to the educational building at Zuni at on estimated cost of $32,5oo. Ground: Both the Board and the Conference consider this a strategic (l11d essential aspect of our mission work at Zuni.


The mission work on the island of Guam, inherited from the Orthodox Protestant Reformed Church, will be continued by our Church, according to synodical decision, in a limited fashion, the present situation meriting further study and exploration. Synod also approved the action 0f the Board in sending a qualified couple to Guam for work in the Reformed bookstore and to engage in evangelical witnessing. (Note: Mr. and Mrs. Poel, graduates of tho R.D.I. and successful workers at the Middleville Chapel, under the auspices of the Calvin Church of Grand Rapids, accepted the appointment to Guam and have left for this distant post.–Ed.)


There was a difference of opinion at Synod on the desirability of adopting a field in the Philippines. Rev. H. Evenhouse pleaded for it, while Prof. Harold Dekker spoke against it, saying that insufficient work had been done, that other places presented as great a need as the Philippines, and that we are in danger of spreading ourselves too thinly in our missionary effort.

Synod decided to engage Mr. and Mrs. Vicente Apostol, RB.l. graduates, formerly engaged by the Fourth Orthodox Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids (now the Faith Christian Reformed Church) and to send two ordained men to the Philippines when finances permit.

We can add that Mr. and Mrs. Apostol are natives of the Philippines. Also, that according to the Board report the population numbers about 27,000,000, eighty percent of whom are Roman Catholics. About 1,000,000 are Protestants. Manila is located on Luzon, the largest of 7000 islands.


The Foreign Board reported that little progress had been made in sending missionaries to Indonesia. Four calls were unavailing, visas are hard to procure, and not sufficient financial support was assured, though some of our Canadian churches are gathering funds for this cause. Prof. Bergema of the Netherlands pleaded with Synod not to neglect the decision of 1958 to send two missionaries to Sumatra. He stated there is great opportunity to make an impact on the Moslem world.


The recommendation to authorize the Board to call an additional man to serve in Argentina on the ground, among others. that there is a volunteer for this position, was adopted without discussion.


The Committee on Ecumenicity and Inter-Church Correspondence reported to Synod on various matters, the most important of which pertained to arrangements for the 1963 meeting of the Reformed Ecumenical Synod. Rev. Gerrit Hoeksema, General Secretary of the Synod, was given the privilege of the floor. It was reported that the General Synod of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands had declared it deemed it unwise for the R.E.S. to meet in 1963, as decided at the meeting in Potchefstroom (1958). Dr. Bergema, representative of these churches, called special attention to that resolution, stating that he had been in contact with the Stated Clerk of the Netherland Churches and learned from him that hardly any reports of committees would be ready for proper consideration by the Ecumenical Synod. However, Rev. C. Hoeksema gave definite information to Synod to the effect that at least seven of the eight or nine committees expect to have their reports ready in 1963. Rev. Hoeksema also stated it was his opinion that the churches in the Netherlands had been laboring in the spirit of “doubt and fear” in regard to the R.E.S.; that five years is a long time between meetings of the Ecumenical Synod; that some churches have already appointed delegates; and that the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands need the RE.S., considering the sharp differences of opinion existing among them at the present time. Dr. Bergema gave assurance that the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands are by no means more interested in the World Council than in the Reformed Ecumenical Synod.

The 1963 RE.S. expects to meet in Grand Rapids, either at Knollerest or Calvin College in the month of August. The calling church, Calvin, will make necessary arrangements. Synod will send three voting delegates: one minister, one professor, and one elder; also three additional non-voting delegates. The former, we were informed, are Dr. F. H. Klooster, Dr. Paul G. Schrotcnboer, and Elder Jacob De Jager.


Synod appointed a committee to arrange commemorative meetings in various areas and to publish a commemorative booklet in view of the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Heidelberg Catechism.


The Synod of 1960 sent a committee to investigate matters pertaining to difficulties in the church of Los Angeles. As the result of appeals arising out of the work and out of the report of that committee, the Synod of 1961 sent another committee to the consistory of that church, composed of the President and Vice President of that Synod. Rev. William Haverkamp and Rev. Adam Persenaire. This committee reported its findings to synod. It had met both with the consistory of the L. A. Church and with Classis California. The Committee of Synod together with a Committee of the Classis met with the consistory. They gave admonition and counsel to the consistory on seven points and reported to Synod that “all the items of counsel and admonition, after they were thoroughly discussed seriatim in a brotherly spirit, were graciously received by the consistory and in each case were adopted by that body in the form of a motion. This reaction of the Consistory completely satisfied us and the Committee of Classis. Furthermore, the combined Committee questioned the Consistory about the rider which was attached to the membership papers of Mr. W. T. Buiten. The Consistory answered that it recognized the impropriety of attaching this particular rider in which, after censure had been lifted, statements were made referring to the original charges against him. After the Consistory stated this, however, the above mentioned Committee agreed with it that a proper rider would have been in order.” The Committee also called the Consistory’s attention to the paramount importance of catechetical instruction and underscored the evangelistic duty of the Church of Christ.

The Committee then drew up a statement to be read to the congregation on the following Lord’s Day reading in part: “The Committee wishes to announce to the congregation…that it is very happy to report that a solution of this case has been found which it believes is satisfactory to all the parties concerned…”

Synod responded to this report by adopting the following recommendations:

“1. That Synod approve of the work done by the committee appointed by the Synod of 1961 re the Los Angeles case.

“2. That Synod toke cognizance of the fact that the unresolved problems between the Los Angeles Consistory and Classis California have, as far as can be ascertained, been brought to a solution satisfactory to both parties.

“3. That Synod declare that in its judgment the Los Angeles case is hereby settled; and furthermore, that Synod express that it has received the assurance that this congregation too strives to be distinctively Reformed also in its practice.”

A sort of postscript to this case was a communication to Synod from Dr. James Daane requesting Synod to publish the following in our church papers. (Note: The unfounded charges referred to in what follows pertain to two of the charges made against Dr. Daane and his consistory—the two that Mr. Buiten withdrew): “The Synod of 1962 concurs with the position of its committee appointed by the Synod of 1961 ‘that no church body maintains or upholds these grave charges,’ namely those made by Mr. W. I. Buiten against the former pastor of the Los Angeles Church, Dr. James Daane.”

After a lengthy discussion Synod decided not to accede to this request since such matters are never published in the church papers, and since the entire report of the Advisory Committee of Synod in regard in regard to this case is to be published in the Acts.

There was considerable discussion in regard to the justice and desirability of including in the Acts certain statements in reference to Dr. Daane. A motion to delete them failed to carry. Synod decided to publish the entire report of the Advisory Committee, and not only a part of it, in the Acts.

N. J. M.


In July or August of 1961 the Consistory of the Los Angeles Church granted Dr. Daane a leave of absence for two years to enable him to take a position as Editorial Associate of Christianity Today. Classis California appointed a committee to investigate whether it should approve of this leave of absence. That Classis decided that it was within the province of the Consistory to give this leave of absence, that the ministerial status of Dr. Daane could remain with the Los Angeles Consistory, and that at the end of the two-year leave Dr. Daane could be declared eligible to a call in case he would not desire to remain in his present position or, in case he did desire to continue in that capacity, the matter of his ministerial status should then have to be dealt with according to article 14 of the Proposed Revised Church Order.

Mr. Jonas protested this action of the Classis and asked Synod to declare that the decision of the Classis was contrary to the Church Order now in force and the proposed new Church Order. Also that Synod should advise Classis California to review this case in harmony with article 12 of the C.O. and articles 13 and 14 of the proposed C.O. and according to the “Rules for the Use of Ordained Men” as adopted by the Synod of 1961.

Synod agreed with the stand of Classis California, deciding not to accede to the request of Mr . Jonas. Its decision is practically identical with that of the Classis.



What was or is the problem? It has its roots in two Synodical decisions, the one of the Synod of 1960 and the other of the Synod of 1961. The former decided that “work among Mexican migrants and its follow-up (italics ours-K) be the task of Home Missions.” The latter decided “…to declare Mexico a regular (that is, quota financed) mission field of the Christian Reformed Church and it instructed the Board of Foreign Missions to make arrangements for calling and preparing at least two missionaries for service in Mexico.” It further urged both boards to confer about the mission work in Mexico, and to define a common policy to be presented to the Synod of 1962.

At this Synod there was a sharp difference of opinion between the two Boards who should be solely responsible for this work. The Foreign Board contended that it alone had been mandated to engage in foreign mission work and that its experience qualified it for such work. The Home Board, on the other hand, presented its arguments that it should have charge of the work below as well as above the Mexican border and agreed with the report of a sub-committee which had been appointed by both Boards to endeavor to solve this problem. That committee had come to the conclusion that not only the work north of the Mexican border but also the work in Mexico should be assigned to the Home Mission Board.

In its document to Synod the Home Mission Board presented the following points:

(1) The H. M. B. has been operating in Mexico since 1960 under the mandate of Synod and has employed native workers to aid in the follow-up work in Mexico among the migrants.

(2) This work has been richly blest so that today there are four native workers and several “congregations” in Mexico, with the possibility of four more. Two chapels have already been erected and others are in the process of being built.

(3) This work has by its very nature involved Mexicans who were not migrants, having been influenced by the testimony of Spirit-filled migrants who spend part of their time in the homeland. These migrants number 300,000 who cross the border each year to work in the harvest fields of the United States.

(4) H. M. B. claims it is uniquely qualified for this work in Mexico since it has been working with Mexican migrants since 1958.

(5) The present difficulty in our Indian work, part of which was entrusted to the Foreign Board and another to the Home Board (since the Indians have been dispersed to various areas outside of their reservation) proves that a division of the work among one people must be viewed with alarm because it leads to long delays, confusion, and a breakdown of communications.

(6) The Home Board has been laboring in Canada, also a foreign country, and is equipped to deal with foreign governments.

(7) The Reformed Church in America has faced the same problem and has assigned all its mission work in the United States, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico to its Home Mission Board.

(10) The H. M. B. will continue to be involved in work among Mexican people through its work for the Cuban refugees.

Our Home Mission Board is already in contact with the Independent Presbyterian Church in Mexico and with its Mission Board and feels that the congregations which will arise through our work there should be affiliated with that Church. As far as we know the reasons for this were not made plain at Synod.

There was no similar document at Synod sent in by the Foreign Board but its position was made clear in the course of the debate by Rev. Henry Evenhouse, the Secretary of that Board. This will be reported here presently. Before the merits of the two contrary positions were argued, Synod got into a sort of hassle as to which proposal should be presented first, that of the Advisory Committee or of one of the two Boards. The Advisory Committee contended that it had come to the conclusion after much discussion that it was not the part of wisdom to settle the question at this Synod. Its members were pretty well divided in their opinions as to which Board should work in Mexico, and so it recommended that:

“The Synod place the problem of jurisdiction with respect to the Mexican missions work in the hands of a study committee to report to the Synod of 1963 and that the matter should be referred to the same Committee which at present studying a similar problem in connection with the situation in our Indian field.” These two recommendations were adopted after considerable debate, the gist of which was as follows:

Rev. F. Huizenga, president of the Foreign Mission Board, declared he felt strongly that the matter should be decided now and other representatives of both Boards expressed the same sentiment.

Rev. L. Tamminga: In view of the magnitude and complexity of this problem this (to appoint a Study Committee) might be the thing to do. However, we read that the convictions run very deep on both sides. I wonder if these convictions will not run deeper yet if we postpone action, It is perhaps better to settle the matter at this Synod.

Home Mission Secretary Baarman: Though the convictions run deep they are very cordial. Our motivation is entirely based on opinions as to what is best. “The speaker then mentioned several points to buttress his position. (1) There are groups of Mexicans who have made request for instruction. This should not be held in abeyance. (2) Delay will only perpetuate the confusion. Letters come from Mexico addressed to both Boards. (3) The Home Mission Board is paying the salary of one missionary who is not working among the migrants but was engaged to work among these migrants while they are in Mexico. His status is being held in abeyance. (4) Contact should be made with the Independent Presbyterian Board in Mexico as soon as possible since there is a phenomenal demonstration of the power of God. Anything Synod would do to perpetuate the confusion would be a disservice to the denomination. (5) The Mexican law has certain restrictions. No church may be established without the government’s permission. The legal status of such a church is very tenuous. The law can be interpreted against any foreign mission work. While the door is open we ought to do as much as we can in Mexico. TIle good relations with the Foreign Mission Board will continue. Yet that Board has asked for the services of our missionary, Rev. Jerry Pott. Two boards using one missionary will create a problem. No matter who gets the field the work should go on. This is not the case of a grand outreach or of a Board desire for more power. That docs not come into the picture.

Heporter Rev. Bernard J. Haan: As to the urgency of the matter, it struck the Committee that there is an abundance of blessing on that field. It has not suffered too much. But there are other factors, matters of principle, which need careful consideration and we cannot decide on these in haste,

Rev. Henry Evenhouse, Secretary of the Foreign Board: Our Board is very appreciative of the work among the migrants who go back to Mexico. They bring the message across the border. That is wonderful. But we were told by Synod to work with the Independent Presbyterian Board in Mexico. That is our territory. We have a specific mandate to work with that Church. The Home Mission Board is to work with the Mexican migrants. The question is: What is foreign missions and what is home missions? What is the difference between the two? (At this point the speaker quoted Rev. Galbraith, who is the secretary of foreign missions for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. But since Rev. Evenhouse speaks quite rapidly, we were unable to record the substance of the quotation.) The message of both Boards is essentially the same. But our Board has functioned in foreign cultures. If Synod says this is a matter for the Home Mission Board, good and well. But this is a matter of principle. Here is a foreign field. The Home Mission Board has no mandate to work with an indigenous church (in this case the Independent Presbyterian Church). it is obvious that there is confusion as long as the work is divided. (One example given by the speaker was that it was known by those concerned that the Home Mission Board is more generous in employing workers than we are.) if the two Boards do the work together, there is bound to be a conflict. This is not merely a matter of geography. We have a mandate. We’d like to have Synod declare what is foreign missions and what is home missions.

The reporter for the Advisory Committee, Rev. B. J. Haan, pleaded (or the adoption of their advice to appoint a special committee to study all the angles of the question and to report to the Synod of 1963. He said in part: It seems to many that it is better to decide now. But I have talked to several delegates aDd they said: We are not sure, One said: We might as well cast lots! But it is not quite that simple. If we decide to faee the question now, we shall have to study all the arguments and all the angles. I think both advisers should say something, especially Prof. H. Dekker who helped us to come to our conclusion. (Note, Prof. Dekker did speak on the matter later in the session.)

Rev. Baarman gave a further explanation of the position of the Home Mission Board. But he first tried to make plain why it would not be advantageous to wait a whole year before deciding the issue. He referred, by way of example, to the present division of the Indian work and mentioned one matter which took four months before a decision was made. In the rest of his speech he tried to show that it was inevitable for the Home Mission Board to continue its work among the migrants when they return to Mexico since the converts become centers of evangelistic work among their fellow-Mexicans in their homeland and in this need the help and guidance of the same Board whose work among them in the States led them to embrace the gospel.

Rev. H. Petersen: I believe we should pass the motion to adopt the advice of the Advisory Committee. No evidence has been presented that there is an emergency. As the administration of the Indian field is being studied now, I believe it is very proper that we refer also this matter to them.

Rev, John Zwaanstra: We in the Rocky Mountain Classis have been close to the problem of administration of one field by two boards. But since in this case both Boards have been authorized by Synod to work in the Mexican field, it is very proper that we study this matter. I don’t believe that our Synod can now judge on such an intricate matter. Advisory Committees are never expected to be Study Committees. This matter is much too complex for us to handle at this time.

Rev. Martin Bolt: I am happy the debate has taken this course. I believe what both Boards have presented argues for the procedure of appointing a committee to study the question. Why did the Synod of 1962 appoint a special committee to study our Indian work? There you have a similar situation. We do not want to make a decision which may be regretted afterwards. There is a good spirit between the two Boards. Why can’t that continue one more year?

Rev. Wesley Smedes: I realize that if we have to make a decision here it will take much time but it will be good for the work in Mexico if we decide now. During the year of study the work would be slowed down. There arc some things that should be done in Mexico right now. I believe the work will be hindered if we don’t vote this down.

Rev. O. Buus: What I wanted to say has already been said. (Note: The president makes a list of those who by raising their hands indicate their desire to speak and then calls on them in the order in which the names were recorded–Ed.)

Rev. P. Lagerwey: What I want to say has not yet been said. We ought to look ahead to twenty or thirty years from now. We should have the answer to the question: How can we implement the establishment of a healthy Reformed Church in Mexico? Which Board can do that best?

Rev. L. Tamminga: The secretaries of both Boards have recommended that we act now. Let us vote now.

Rev. H. Vander Kam, President of the Home Mission Board: For years now we have heard that the doors to mission work in Mexico were closed. They are open now. The question is, What shall we do? If we appoint a study committee what facts will they be able to present which are not available now? As to the comparison with the Indian field, there we have one Board working at the present time. I’d rather see this work go to the Foreign Board (though of course, as a member of the Home Mission Board I’d like to see this decided in our favor) than to have no decision made at this Synod.

Rev. J. Geels: All the representatives of the Boards who have spoken thus far have indicated that the decision should be made now. So let us vote this proposal of the Advisory Committee down.

Rev. M. Ouwenga: I agree with one of the secretaries when he said: This work in Mexico is clearly the work of the Holy Spirit. The Mexicans in dispersion have accepted the gospel, have gone back home to proclaim it and this is the open door. Rev. Jerry Potts has been engaged by the Home Mission Board to work in Mexico and is working there now. Hence the preponderance of evidence is in favor of the continuation of the work by the Home Mission Board.

Prof. H. Dekker: As to the statement just made are we going to make a judgment on the basis of what we believe is the work of the Holy Spirit? It seems to me that is a doubtful kind of subjectivism? It seems strange to me that both Boards say: We would rather have the other Board do this work than to wait. But that is an attitude of expediency. What about the questions of principle? Are we going to rush everything and say for example that there is no difference between the Independent Presbyterian Church in Mexico and our churches in Canada? Then there is the problem of the indigenous church. You can’t use the Home Mission mandate and apply that to Mexico. Is the Synod ready to conceive a new mandate for that Board? These matters of principle have not been adequately considered by the two Boards.

The discussion on this mission problem was animated but there was no evidence of rancor or bad feeling. Synod finally adopted the four recommendations of the Advisory Committee, as follows:

1. That Synod place the problem. of jurisdiction with respect to the Mexican mission work in the hands of a study committee to report to the Synod of 1963. Ground: The Church faces a unique problem in mission jurisdiction in that both the Foreign and Home Mission Boards are engaged in a foreign field, presenting problems relative to mission policies which require careful and competent study.

2. That Synod refer this to the present Committee on Administration of the Indian Field (to be then called the Committee on Administration of the Indian and the Mexican Fields). Ground: It is clearly evident that the problem with which this committee is already concerned has elements similar to, if not identical with, the problem presented in the Mexican situation.

3. That Synod enlarge the present Committee on Administration of the Indian Field by the addition of four men who have special competency in mission matters. Ground: The study of this issue could very well lead to the reconsideration of mission policies which require competent evaluation and judgment on the part of a more representative committee.

4. That Synod declare that in the interim the work among the Mexicans, delegated by Synod to the Board of Foreign Missions and the Board of Home Missions, be cautiously continued.


One of the most vexing problems which confronted the 1962 Synod was the question whether our churches outside of Michigan which have established and are supporting a Junior College should continue to pay the same per family quota for Calvin College which the Michigan churches should pay, and which they have been paying till now. A Study Committee report on the subject is found in the Agenda. It caused a lengthy and lively discussion at Synod. The Advisory Committee was in agreement with the recommendations of the Study Committee. These recommendations were as follows:

A. That Synod adopt this plan (65 percent–35 percent ratio) of quota support for Calvin College and Seminary to become effective with the quotas to be paid for the year 1963. Ground: This solution gives an equitable, consistent, and permanent solution to the various problems raised in the mandate and the overtures underlying the mandate.

B. That Synod declare that it is understood that the reductions received in the areas will be employed to supplement the present financial programs of their area colleges.

C. That Synod grant the privilege of the floor to the reporter of the Committee and to Mr. Ralph Vermeer, who is qualified to speak concerning tile financial aspects of the plan, when this report is considered by Synod and its advisory committee.

We feel our readers need a bit of information concerning the details of the 65–35 ratio feature of the plan in order to be able to follow our report on the discussion of the matter at Synod. We quote from the report itself: “Under this plan the denominational share of Calvin College and Seminary’s operating budget IS to be apportioned 65 percent on the basis of the number of students attending Calvin College and 35 percent on the present per family basis. The 35 percent is intended to cover the entire quota cost of Calvin Seminary (amounting to approximately 21 percent) plus a nominal portion of the costs of operating Calvin College.” (Comment: This provision is based on the consideration that Calvin Seminary in distinction from Calvin College is the school of the entire Church and consequently that the financial burden of Seminary support should be paid for at an equal rate by all the churches of our denomination–Ed.). “It is proposed that the 65 per· cent be apportioned on the basis of the ratio of the number of students attending Calvin College from each area consisting of two or more Classes. Hence a separate quota will be determined for each area consisting of two elements: a) 35 percent of the total requirements of Calvin College and Seminary will be apportioned as at present. This will yield the same amount for all families irrespective of area. b) 65 per cent of total quota requirements of Calvin College and Seminary will be apportioned on the number of students attending from each area. Inasmuch as areas having a society·controlled college in their vicinity will have a lower percentage of their young people attending Calvin College, they will automatically receive a lower apportionment. On the other hand, even if such areas would not send any students to Calvin College, they would still have a Calvin quota because 35 percent of the total college and seminary quota will be determined, as at present, on the basis of the number of families.”

Of course, this will mean that the churches of the Michigan area, which send many more students to Calvin than other areas, will henceforth pay a larger per family quota for Calvin College than they have been paying so far. What the quota will be for each area is explained in the final decisions of Synod. (See conclusion of this report.)

When this important matter was taken up by Synod it decided first of all to give the secretary of the Study Committee, Rev. J. B. Hulst, and Mr. Ralph Vermeer, the father of the proposed financial set·up, the privilege of the floor.


Rev. A. Kuyvenhovcn: When Synod is going to adopt this it will make a decision of far-reaching consequences. As soon as we now divide the quotas we are placing the College and the Seminary on different levels. I believe the Seminary ought to be outside of this 65–35 division. This change from a fixed to a variable quota means that we give up our idea of the support of Calvin College and Seminary as a church obligation. Besides, if we accept this, all depends on how you compute the 65–35 ratio.

Eldcr J. Orlebeke: I am looking at this word “equitable.” And if we look up the report we find that this is based on “benefits received.” The only explanation given of what determines that is: “students attending….As to area no. 1 four Grand Rapids Classes–Ed.), it will be paying $7 more than the present $17 per family. What kind of argument can we use to convince these people who arc not receiving the afore-mentioned “benefit”? On what basis can we assume that families in one area receive more of these benefits than the areas which receive a reduction? Should we not be careful about going into such a radical change? In each of our congregations we have a similar situation. We don’t expect every family to pay, let us say, the average of $5.00 per week. The same applies to the School. Calvin College is still a denominational school. We say: Try to pay the average of $17.00. But some don’t pay. This is a quota, not a tax. I’d like to know how the term “equitable” and the term “benefits received” are explained.

Rev. J. B. Hulst (in reply to Rev. Kuyvenhoven): We do recognize a distinction between the College and the Seminary. The 35 percent includes 21 percent for the Seminary; and this 35 percent will be the same for all. (In reply to Mr. Orlebeke): As to the term “benefits received” we speak of it in regard to the student ratio. But we refer also to the cultural and spiritual advantages that accrue from our College. Generally, the closer we arc to the College, the larger the number of students and the greater the cultural advantages. For many years we have been trying to solve the problem of the needs of Calvin College and the responsibilities of the various areas to establish and maintain the schools they need. We feel in apportioning this quota of 65–35 ratio that we have an equitable solution.

Rev. R. Evenhuis: I can add one thing. Every time we have a classical mccting in Minnnesota we have quota shortages. With this new method there can be no shortages.

Rev. John C. Medendorp: Whether we like it or not this involves the unique relationship of Calvin College to our denomination. So there is a prior question: What is that relationship? Then, I also struggle with another unpleasant thought. The fewer students you send to Calvin the less you will pay. I know this is not intended. I believe we have no right to adopt this until we have answered the prior question about the relation of our denomination to Calvin College.

Rev. Charles Terpstra: I wonder whether it is wise to decide on this at the present time. The Agenda did not come into our area until four weeks before Synod. Some consistories have not even had a meeting since the Agenda came. If in the Mexican question we need a study committee, we surely need one here.

Rev. J. B. Hulst: This is not a new problem. We have been struggling with it for ten years. As to the question of our relationship as a denomination to Calvin College we are not questioning or reversing the decision of 1957. There it was declared that though it is not our duty as a Church to own or operate a college, it is our right. We do not intend to disrupt this. We shall continue Calvin College as an ecclesiastical college and support it. But we are suggesting that we can adopt a different procedure here than for example in the matter of our support of the Back to God Hour or our mission program.

Rev. B. J. Haan (head of Dordt College):The Church has studied this for years. No one doubts that there are many angles to this question. Also, there are strong emotional ties to Calvin College. That is natural. But it is also natural that if we get other schools there will be a strong feeling on this problem. In our Classis we have struggled with it. We looked at the problem again as a Study Committee and you can see that we went through all the phases of it. We sat down to try to find an answer. At last the business men on our Committee, Mr. Ralph Vermeer and Mr. J. F. Mellema, came with this sort of a solution. Mr. Vermeer had this idea from the beginning. Well, the two men presented this plan on the basis of that idea.We said: “This is the best answer. This secures Calvin’s support and also secures the future of our other colleges.” We hear all around: “That is the thing we need.” Also the Synodical Budget Committee felt this way. We will never get a plan that satisfies everyone.

President Verbrugge: Mr. Vermeer, would you like to speak?

Mr. Vermeer: I recognize the fact that there are lots of problems. We believe, however, that this plan answers all the questions. We shall still be supporting Calvin College but we as a Church will not be supporting a non-denominational school. Hence we feel that this particular plan does have some merit.

Rev. Jacob Smith: True, this problem has been before the churches for years but that is not true of this particular plan. If this plan is a good one, let us give our consistories a chance to look at it.

Prof. Carl Kromminga: Can it be proved that according to this plan no quotas are raised for institutions which are not denominational? Is this not a matter of fact that according to this plan area colleges will be supported from the Church quota. Will then not the entire denomination be actually bearing the burden of three colleges? (Note: the three referred to here are Calvin College, Dordt College in Iowa, and Trinity College in Chicago–Ed.)

Reporter: According to this plan Calvin College will be receiving as much as before. The other schools will have to go to their Classes to receive their funds.

Rev. Wesley Smedes: I wonder if this is the right direction. This is making Calvin College through the way it is financed, a society school. That will be a big change in the way we are supporting our denominational projects. Should we not support our School as we support all our other denominational projects? But now it will be, if this plan is adopted, on the basis of “benefits received,” number of students and cultural and spiritual advantages. And what about the graduates? I suppose there are as many Calvin graduates in the Iowa area as in the Muskegon area. (Note: The speaker is pastor of one of our Muskegon churches–Ed.) Besides, this does not give equitable help in areas where there are only junior colleges. Later on, if this is adopted, there may be a demand that those areas which give the greatest support also have the largest representation.

Rev. Douglas Vander Wall: It was said that in this new plan there may be no shortages. Is that true? I should like to ask Mr. Vermeer whether this is so.

Mr. Venneer: If there have been shortages in the past, this will probably be reflected in the new plan. Canada, for example, pays only a percentage of its quota. This will give them a much fairer ratio. If shortages should appear, there will probably be a request for more per family.

Rev. J. B. Hulst: As to the remark of Rev. Smedes, he takes only one pmt of the problem but his solution is no solution at all. Our churches faee a dilemma. This is not a matter of how to support Calvin College. That is part of the problem, to be sure. But another problem is how to give proper recognition to those areas which have the duty to provide higher education for their young people. In no way will we be going in the direction of making Calvin College a society school. We shall be calling upon all our churches to support Calvin College. Let me point out further that there will be only a change in our method of supporting Calvin College. Remember. the Church has said in the past that these other schools also have the right to exist.

The next speaker was Dr. W. Spoelhof. It is significant that the President of Calvin College was a member of the Study Committee which presented the 65-35 plan to Synod and that he was one of the signers of its report. Dr. Spoelhof spoke of a dual principle established in the report On the one hand. the entire church must support Calvin College as the school of all the churches. On the other hand, other areas which feel the need of providing higher education for their young people also have the right to make this provision and therefore those who benefit most from Calvin College and are not obligated to help support another College should make a larger contribution to its support than the other areas. This is not a direct quotation but our interpretation of the Speaker’s remarks, as we understood them.

Elder J. Orlebeke: Our people look at the material side first. In the overture of Lake Erie there is a request for transfer to a more distant area. That means a difference in the amount to be paid, though of course I do not know that they had this in mind when they asked for a transfer from area 1 to area 3.

Rev. H. Hollander also spoke for the proposal saying that it will work for a better relationship of the Canadian churches to Calvin College.

Rev. J.B. Hulst: WE cannot apply this principle to other denominational causes. Our Church has made a distinction between its relation to Calvin College and these other denominational enterprises. Running a college, the Church has said, is a right, not the duty of the Church. The whole gist of our argument is that just because that is only a derived right, we can make a distinction between Calvin College and our other denominational causes.

Rey. B. J. Hann: We should bear in mind that here is a plan, though there is some opposition to it, which has found a good reception in the bosom of our churches. The Elders’ Conference in the Pacific area said it is good. We talked with ministers in Grand Rapids and they said: That is a good plan. The Budget Committee of Synod favors it. Surely, you’ll be paying more but in our area we arc paying $35.00 per family for higher education. Our people in the West are waiting for a decision. Some of our churches there are rising up in wrath. They say: Why don’t you go there and fight for us? Finally the people will say: We don’t have to pay that quota; you have yOur school and we will have ours. We say to them: “Be patient!” The real issue is not being discussed here; the dollar is very important here. I submit to you that if we don’t make a decision here, next year there will be a flood of overtures saying, “Do something!” Meanwhile a young institution has to wait, suffer, struggle along. This is not so easy. We say, Let’s keep Calvin College as a denominational school but allow others to live under the principle of society control. There are various alternatives. We could say to our people: This is enough. There is no moral obligation any more to support Calvin. But we don’t want that. Another possibility b to say: Let’s try to cooperate; let’s get behind Calvin College but let us help each other to build the Kingdom of God. Some say: You started that school; now pay the bill. But that’s a very low principle. So I hope Synod will face this issue and accept this report. If we do not look, if we don’t trigger this the right way, something will be doing.

Elder H. J. De Groot (of Classis Minnesota South): We come from the same area as Rev. Haan and agree with him. We like Calvin very much. Next year I’ll have a grandson going to Calvin and two in Dordt. I think that these figures are nice.

Many more speakers were on the chairman’s list but question was called for and it was decided to vote. The first and second recommendations were adopted but there was some discussion about the third recommendation and an attempt by way of amendment to alter it but this failed to pass. The objection raised against this recommendation was that it virtually made the Church a collection agency for area colleges. But it finally carried with a vote of 61 to 50.

Alter Synod had adopted the variable quota system for Calvin College and Seminary, as proposed in the report of the Study Committee in the Agenda, thus establishing regions (areas) and Classes in each region (area), the following recommendations were approved:

1. Synod declares toot the tabulation of the number of full-time Christian Reformed students enrolled at Calvin College from each region will be established by the Board of Trustees from the records of the Registrar’s office, based on enrollment statistics at the conclusion of the February registration preceding the synodical session at which the quota for the following year is established. Students shall be assigned to the Classis of which they were a member at the time they decided to enroll at Calvin College.

2. Synod declares toot the calculation of the variable quota system will be controlled by the Special Budget Advisory Committee and all figures supplied to them will be subject to their review and approval.

3. Information: Synod acknowledges that the results of these computations for the 1963 quotas are as follows:

Area 1 (The Classes C.R. East, South, West, and Grandville), $21.50

Area 2 (The Classes Cadillac, Holland, Kalamazoo, TAke Erie, Muskegon, Zeeland), $17.50

Area 3 (The Classes Chicago North, Chicago South, Wisconsin), $14.50 Area 4 (The Classes Minnesota North, Minnesota South,

North-central Iowa, Orange City, Pella, Sioux Center), $11.00

Area 5 (The Classes Hackensack and Hudson) $17.50

Area 6 (Pacific, California, Rocky Mountain), $14.50

Area 7 (Alberta North, Alberta South, Brit. Columbia, Chatham, E. Ontario, Hamilton, Toronto), $10.00

Note : By way of example, a church in Area 1 which has two hundred families will, beginning with 1963, pay $900.00 more for Calvin College and Seminary than at present, since the per family quota for the churches of this area will be $21.50 instead of $17.00. On the other hand, the churches of the Iowa-Minnesota area, which are also supporting Dordt College, will be paying $6.00 less per family, or $1200.00 less if a church has 200 families. Ed.



Cburch Order Committee, no. I, reporting through Rev.

C. Wm. Flietstra, gave advice on a communication from Mr. Warnaar of the Netherlands, General Secretary of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC), orthodox rival of the World Council, stating that the ICCC was requesting the Christian Reformed Church ‘”‘to send one or more observers” to its forthcoming Fifth Plenary Congress to be held in Amsterdam all August 14-20 of this year. Synod was informed that the Gereformeerde Kerken of the Netherlands had decided to send observers to this Congress (even as it had also sent observers to the WCCC meeting at New Delhi–Ed.). The Advisory Committee recommended that Synod should accept this invitation.


Rev. Charles Terpstra: This appears to be very innocuous. But that is not the case. This will involve us in some kind of association with Dr. McIntire. As soon as Dr. Mc Intire hears that wc accept his invitation he will count 250,000 more members for the ICCC. Our Committee on Ecumenicity has never made any study of this movement. I believe we should refer this to the Committee on Ecumenicity.

Rev. A. De Jager: The remark just made is rather presumptuous. That is quite a statement, that Dr. McIntire will count as members of the ICCC! This is a matter of ecclesiastical courtesy. I do not see how we in good faith can decline this invitation.

Rev. J. Geels: The Secretary of our Committee on Ecumenicity saw no difficulty at all in the matter of accepting this invitation.

Rev. L. Slofstra: Is it true that we have received an invitation to send observers to the World Council and that we refused? The answer was No. Stated Clerk, Dr. Danhof: When the World Council met in Evanston we sent Dr. Rutgers as an observer. The three recommendations of the Advisory Committee were adopted and read as follows:

1. That Synod express its appreciation to the ICCC for its kind invitation to attend the Fifth Plenary Congress meeting in Amsterdam, August 14-20. 2. That Synod accept the invitation of the ICCC to send one, or if feasible, two official observers to this Fifth Plenary Congress. 3. That Synod bear in mind for this Congress those ministers for consideration as observers who will be in the Netherlands at this date.


In the Fall of 1961 the Synodical Committee declined an invitation addressed to the Christian Reformed Church to participate in Theological Conversations between representatives of the Reformed and Lutheran communions. The President of the Faculty, however, inquired of the sponsors of the Conversations whether a Faculty observer would be welcome. The response was favorable and Dr. Henry Stob was elected to represent our Seminary. He attended the meetings held in New York last February and submitted a written report to the Faculty which in turn sent it on to Synod. The Faculty now gives information to Synod on what was done and requests permission to send a representative to the Conversations still to be held in February of next year. The grounds which it gave were taken over by the Advisory Committee which recommended approval, as follows;

Synod permit the Faculty of our Calvin Seminary to send a representative to the Reformed-Lutheran Theological Conversations still to be held. Grounds; 1) The conversations are strictly theological, and do not in any way commit the Church to ecclesiastical union, federation, or affiliation. 2) The conversations afford an opportunity to bear our witness in a most meaningful and influential forum. 3) The conversations enable us to discover at first hand from responsible spokesmen what our Reformed and Lutheran contemporaries are thinking and teaching. All this was adopted by Synod.


A representative of the A.B.S., whom we met personally but whose name we cannot recall, spoke to Synod on behalf of that organization while Mr. William Ackerman, who is a member of one of our churches in South Holland, Illinois, presented the work and needs of the W.H.B.L. The translation, printing, and distribution of Bibles is a world-wide activity of these organizations and deserves the support of our people. Synod adopted the recommendation of the committee on Varia, Rev. A. Kuyvenhoven, reporting, to note with gratitude the ever-expanding work of these two organizations. They are recommended to our churches for financial support.


This Fund supplements the salaries of small churches which cannot pay the entire salaries of their ministers. Such churches are required to pay a certain per family amount toward these salaries. So far this amount has been $70.00 for churches in the United States and $60.00 for those in Canada. The Committee reporting on Varia recommended that the amount should continue to be $70.00 for the States but that it should be raised to $65.00 for Canada. Synod has repeatedly stated that the per family contributions of the Canadian churches ought to be increased annually until they are on a par with those of aid-receiving churches in the States. This recommendation was adopted.

We may add that ministers in churches which receive financial aid from the Fund for Needy Churches must receive at least 84,200.00. In addition they receive an additional $200.00 for every child under a certain age; also a certain mileage allowance for automobile travel over and above 5000 miles in the field. This allowance varies for ministers in the U.S.A. and those in Canada.

The Standing Committee for the FNC called attention to a disparity between the salaries given to ministers who receive aid from the Fund for Needy Churches and of those who serve small churches which do not receive this aid. We quote: “The emphasis on evangelism has led to the organization of many small churches…It is quite apparent that the financial need of many of these churches is due to the fact that their mothers have forsaken them too early. These orphans then turn for assistance to the FNC committee, which is not constituted to nurture and supervise them in the years of growing pains. This practice does not seem proper nor wise.”

In addition the Classes Hudson and Hackensack had sent overtures to the Synod of 1961 in which they pointed out that there is an inequality between the salary of a home missionary and that of a minister in a subsidized church and that this disparity causes hardship to the minister and/or membership whenever a mission station is organized into a congregation. Synod referred both overtures to a study committee. This committee reported that its study showed that ministers in small, self-supporting churches receive $300.00 less than those in subsidized churches and these in turn receive $200.00 less than the home missionary. However, it made no recommendation for adjustment of the inequality.

The Advisory Committee was not satisfied with the report of the study committee and recommended that Synod should appoint a special committee for the purpose of studying and proposing a solution of meeting the actual financial needs of subsidized churches and of small, self-supporting churches, and of effecting closer coordination between the FNC and the Home Missions Board in regard to salary structure. One of the four grounds adduced stated that the problem is aggravated by the fact that the salary scale of the General Home Missions Board is outside the direct control of Synod. This recommendation with all four grounds was adopted.


The Seamen’s Home, at Hoboken, New Jersey, according to the report of the Advisory Committee on Varia, has been a synodical project for 47 years. It has now outlived its usefulness because of the relocation of the HollandAmerican line and the changed nature of the spiritual work among seamen. The Committee recommended that inasmuch as the New York pier 0/ this line will soon be in operation and the service at the Hoboken pier will have to cease, Synod should decide to discontinue the Home in Hoboken on September 1 of this year. It also recommended that the spiritual work among the seamen by the Chaplain at the Seamen’s Home should be discontinued there and should not be resumed at the new Holland·American pier on the grounds that we are not wanted by the Holland-American line, that no other location is suitable for this work, and that chaplains now sail with the ships. This was also the recommendation of the Chaplain, the Board, and Classis Hudson. Both recommendations of the Advisory Committee were adopted.


Synod approved the honorable emeritation of the following ministers: Leonard Verduin, John H. De Haan, Ralph Bas, G. Van Laar, Charles SpoeIhof, Gerard Terpstra, D. Mellema, Gerben Zylstra, Edward B. Pekelder, David Grasman, and Corneal Holtrop.


Synod took grateful note of the fact that Dr. L. Praamsma, who had been emeritated after a serious automobile accident, was sufficiently restored to be able to resume his active ministry as of January 3, and that his name has been removed from the pension rolls. At a later session Synod honored Dr. Praamsma by appointing him as professor of Church History at our Seminary.


Synod adopted the recommendation that the ministers of the Protestant Reformed Churches who affiliated with our denomination on July 13, 1961, shall be included in our ministerial pension plan provided they pay the required 31; percent of their salary from the date of their installation as ministers of the Christian Reformed Church.


This important matter came up at the Thursday morning session of Synod’s second week. The evening before, President Verbrugge had announced this at the close of the Wednesday afternoon session but he did not state that Synod would meet in executive session for that purpose. It was evident that there was no intention of following the usual procedure of excluding non-delegates when delicate issues involving individuals are concerned. However, the question of an open or closed session was discussed when the debate began on Thursday rooming. The session began with a speech by President Verbrugge, which we summarize as follows:

As President I should like to make a few observations. May I suggest that the Holy Spirit dwells in his Church and that we should be governed by him in our speaking and acting. If we do our work in the spirit of distrust we can’t do the work of the Lord rightly. He must set the proper tone for the work of this morning. The matter on which Synod decided lust year (Note: The reference was to Dr. Kromminga’s involvement in the infallibility question–H.J.K.) is not on the Agenda for this year. That Synod by implication expressed its confidence in Dr. Kromminga. Just a few matters engage our attention. First, the Board and the Faculty arc united in recommending his reappointment. Second, there is a difference of opinion on indefinite tenure. We must address ourselves to these questions at once. And let us aim indeed to be men of God, servants of the King, the Head of the Church. Let us conduct ourselves in the consciousness that God listens and God watches. What we say and do will take place under his judgment. May we remain conscious of the fact that the Church is a Spirit-indwelt Church.

The President called for the reporter of the special Advisory Committee, Rev. Seymour Van Dyken.


Rev. J. Piersma asked for an executive session.

The Reporter: I am sure the Committee feels that the matters to be presented do not call for an executive session.

Rev. J. Piersma: By the very nature of the case, this calls for such a session; this concerns an individual. I’d like to move we have an executive session.

The Reporter: We should note that this does not deal with a personality. Personal elements have been injected.

Hev. L. Lecstma: I’d like to point to what we read on page 6 of the report, namely that Dr. J. Kromminga be reappointed. If this is not an evaluation of an individual, ] don’t understand language any more. The grounds under Point A and B which recommend Dr. Kromminga for reappointment as president of Calvin Seminary and for an indefinite tenure contain an evaluation of the past.

The Reporter: Should it become necessary we can discuss this matter at that time.

It was decided with a sizable majority to have an open session.

Rev. J. Picrsma: The things which the Reporter has just said should be kept in mind.

H.ev. P. Holwerda, Vice-president; If there are those who contemplate speaking on the character of a man or his qualifications for his office, you must be careful what you say.

Rev. A. De Jager: This is a Committee on Appeals and our first responsibility is to deal with these appeals. These appeals are now before us.

Prof. M. Monsma remarked that it would be wonderful if all could think alike on this matter; but the fact that the former Synod took a certain action did not mean that the present Synod could not consider the matters contained in the appeals. After all, this is the Appointing Synod.

Chairman Verbrugge: The matter that was before the Synod of 1961 is not before us now.

Rev. J. Piersma called attention to the statement in the report that “In its action in 1961 the Synod declared that the objections alleging a lack of confidence in Dr. Kromminga by the denomination were unsubstantiated” whereas the actual statement was that the objections were “not sufficiently substantiated.”

The Reporter contended that this statement, in the connection in which it occurred, meant that the objections were not substantiated.

Rev. J. Piersma: Then the Reporter would not object if we change the language to: “not sufficiently substantiated”?

The Reporter: I think this is accurate. This is the unanimous report of the Advisory Committee. The burden of the proof rests on the questioner.

Rev. J. Piersma: The Reporter did not answer my question: Would you mind if we make that read: “insufficiently substantiated”?

The Reporter: I interpret that to mean: not substantiated. If you would put that in quotation marks I suppose it would be all right. But when Synod said: not sufficiently substantiated that means: not substantiated.

Prof. A. A. Hoekema defended the Reporter’s interpretation. The Reporter stated: It would have been possible to write a report of many pages. We felt Synod would be best served by a compact report.

Rev. C. O. Buus: I am in total agreement with our Reporter. If charges are made and they are not proved then they are not substantiated. It’s a fact that the Synod of 1961 expressed its confidence in Prof. Kromminga.

Rev. R. Leestma: I am inclined to think that 1962 was a demonstration of precisely the opposite. That Synod did not support the numerous objections, it is true. But the very fact that all these things were before the Synod of 1961 was a demonstration of a lack of confidence on the part of many in the denomination about his effectiveness and ability of his leadership. This (report) is hardly a correct analysis of the Synod of 1961.

The Reporter: It is very necessary that we all recognize that Synod is a deliberative body. It is not always possible for a Synod to be unanimous. But whenever a deliberative assembly votes as the Synod of 1961 voted and gives a standing ovation after the vote, that is a demonstration of confidence. I think the remarks of the previous speaker could be used with a bad intent in many other circumstances. We live and move by majority agreement.

Rev. Robert Evenhuis: As to the competency of the leadership of Prof. Kromminga, I don’t live in Grand Rapids. The only time I hear questions about the competency of Dr. Kromminga is when I am in Grand Rapids and these come from certain persons and leaders. The fact that Dr. Kromminga could keep his composure is a token of tremendous leadership.

Rev. O. Breen: I’d like to react to the remarks made by Brother Leestma. He speaks of many appeals. The Synod of 1961 has looked at all these things and came to the decision that there was not sufficient there to prove the charges. I would say that these appeals help to demonstrate the confidence in Dr. Kromminga.

Rev. J. Piersma: I am opposed to this motion. 111 support the President of our Seminary, whoever he is, with all my heart. But I think that our Reporter has injected. an clement which should have been avoided. He used the term agitation. He also said that his Committee was objective. I plead with them to remain that way. As to the remark of Rev. Evenhuis, what about Classis Orange City? That is not Grand Rapids! That overture says categorically that Dr. Kromminga does not have the confidence of the churches. It is not fair to say that only some people in Grand Rapids have objections. We are debating the motion that Dr. Kromminga be reappointed because the Synod of 1961 has demonstrated confidence in his leadership. I say the Reporter’s interpretation is not exact. “Not sufficiently substantiated” is not the same as “not substantiated.” I submit there was some substance to the objections. I don’t think ground No.4 holds. To be consistent I move that it be deleted. This motion was supported.

Reporter Van Dyken called attention to another part of the Acts of 1961 (p. 78) where it is stated that the charge of Dr. Wyngaarden was “not substantiated.” (But see remark of Dr. Schrotenboer below–K.)

Rev. R. Leeshna: As to the remark of the Reporter that we live by majority decisions, if the majority decides that so and so is to be president of the Seminary, I will abide by that decision. I do believe, however, that to be bound by majority decisions does not mean that we have to be in agreement with the majority. Ground four of this recommendation says too much. In 1961 Dr. J. Kromminga was reappointed for a period of one year. If there had been complete and unquestioning confidence, what was the reason for only a one·year appointment?

Dr. P. Schrotenboer, first clerk, called attention to the fact that the quotation from the Acts of 1961, made by the Reporter, concerned only one of the charges against Dr. Kromminga by Dr. Wyngaarden. It pertained to the objection against a statement about peripheral matters in Scripture (Acts pp. 78, 79). That charge, Synod said, was “not substantiated.” But that was not in the immediate context of the quotation in the report of the Advisory Committee on page 61. There the recommendation of Dr. Kromminga’s reappointment for one year is stated and the third ground given reads: “The objections raised by Dr. Wyngaarden in his appeal have not been sufficiently (italics mine–K.) substantiated to establish that Dr. Kromminga lacks the confidence of the churches which a president of the seminary should enjoy.” Now it is a fact, said the Speaker, that the Advisory COmmittee has taken it from one place and not from another. This may indicate some kind of slant. I’m in favor of the recommendation but not of this ground. It is a fact that Synod expressed its confidence but also a fact that to him was given only a one-year appointment.

Reporter: This is the editorial judgment any writer uses when he compresses a phrase but retains its meaning. The Reporter reads the entire sentence (quoted above) with special emphasis on the words: “to establish” etc. and says: That means that it is unsubstantiated.

The amendment to eliminate ground 4 was lost through a sizable minority voted in favor of it.

Rev. C. Huissen: I don’t wish to speak directly to the motion but I should like to can for the question. We are all aware that this thing is decided. I move that we cease debate. It was so decided. The motion to reappoint Dr, Kromminga as the president of the Seminary carried with a large majority. The vote was 102 to 22.

The vote on the recommendation to reappoint Dr. Kromminga as president with indefinite tenure was much closer. This vote as well as the other was taken by ballot and stood 68 in favor and 56 against.

The recommendation which was adopted by that vote reads as follows:

That Dr. John Kromminga be reappointed president with indefinite tenure. Grounds: 1) This is the recommendation of the Seminary Faculty; 2) This is in harmony with the standing rules for the reappointment of a Seminary president, and no sufficiently weighty reasons have been adduced to depart therefrom; 3) The capacity for leadership revealed in the term of his service as president, and the expression of confidence given to him by the Synod of 1961, which in its action envisioned reappointment with indefinite tenure in 1962, recommended the implementation of existing rules.

This and the preceding decision with their grounds were declared to be Synod’s answer to Appeals Nos. 4, 5. 6 and Overt ures Nos. 13. 18, 26, 30, 33, and 39.

One member of the Advisory Committee, Rev. Anthony De Jager, had abstained from voting on the motion for indefinite tenure, in order in this way to express his objection. This was reported to Synod.

The vote on the recommendation for indefinite tenure was preceded by a discussion of which the following is a summary:

Dr. Ralph Stob stated that if he were Dr. Kromminga he would want to know under which rules for the Presidency he would have to serve. He read nothing about whether the indefinite tenure would be under the old rules or those which are now in the process of being revised. (If we mistake not, the old rules give more power to the President than those which the Faculty had prepared or is in the process of preparing, after its draft bas been sent to the Board and returned to them for a later report–K.) Pmt of that report of the Faculty has already been in operation. Now everything is left in the air. If nothing is decided now the president can rightly say: I insist on my prerogatives under the present rules. It is not stipulated here except by implication that the old rules apply. But the new rules are what the Faculty wanted. You are running roughshod over them.

Dr. Henry Stob: There are a number of inaccuracies and misrepresentations in that representation…Interruption by Dr. Ralph Stob: Then r want to know the inaccuracies.

Rev. J. Schuurmann, secretary of the Board of Trustees, said something about an interim arrangement but we did not understand his entire statement.

Reporter: I believe this should stand as it is. The Christian Reformed Church always prides itself on insisting on good order. We are only concerned at present with what is and are quite satisfied with that.

Rev. H. Hollander of Classis Toronto referred to an overture from his classis which favors the removal of the provision in the rules for indefinite tenure. It wants a period of only four years.

Rev. A. De Jager: I abstained from voting on this recommendation to express myself on this issue in general, if I may do so. To be very brief, my opinion is expressed in the appeal of the minority of the Faculty (Acts p. 302, signed by Martin Monsma, Fred Klooster, and Marten Woudstra–H.J.K.). This recommendation tends to be in conBict with the Church Order. There is real danger in the case of the President of the Seminary and other man~ made offices that there will be no equality of officers. I have found for example in Canada that some Reformed people have it against us that we have a permanent Stated Clerk. There should be no permanency of office except for those officers ordained by Scripture (the ministry). The danger is in lording it over other office-bearers. Some one said at the Board of Trustees that Dr. Kromminga is not the man to lord it over us. But he admitted that some one else might. I am in favor of only a four-year appointment for the presidency. Moreover, this would set a precedent. We have a motion before us regarding the Secretary of Home Missions. We’ll get more and more executives of indefinite tenure in our Church. In the existing situation I am much in favor of a compromise. There is unrest in our churches with respect to indefinite tenure. I would plead in the name of unity and love for a four~year appointment only, otherwise we get another stream of appeals next year. If we reappoint for four years no harm is done. I am ready to propose when this is voted down to make this a four-year appointment.

Reporter Van Dyken; The consensus of the Advisory Committee is that the article of the Church Order regarding equality of office-bearers speaks of spiritual and ecclesiastical lordship; it does not speak of administrative offices. There are all kinds of safeguards. We also discussed in our Committee this matter of unrest in the churches. We are not convinced that this bespeaks the sentiment of the denomination as a whole. It would take a paragon of perfection to have the confidence of every Christian. Under no circumstances do we ever find a situation where a complete and absolute enthusiasm is maintained. We are against adopting a compromise just because there is a sprinkling of dissatisfaction. Merely because someone says, I am not at peace with this, is no reason for cutting the cables of the denomination’s way of doing things and to Jet the elevator of confidence go down into the pit.

Prof. Martin Monsma: It is known to you that two of my colleagues and myself have sent in a document that deals with this matter. As to the motives which led us to send this to Synod, there is a rumor afloat that this springs from ill will etc. Such is certainly not the case. I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Kromminga. There is nothing personal here. We do have differences but always as brethren. Don’t think that this springs from prejudice or sour grapes. We believe that short-term appointments for crucial positions (for example, church editors etc.) are to be preferred to life appointments. It is advisable that men selected for crucial positions shall never receive indefinite appointments. It should never become necessary for example by way of heresy trials to say: You step aside. This is no reflection on the person of Dr. Kromminga, as I said. We are here passing decision on a procedure which will last for 20 or 40 years. Such crucial positions should never be indefinite. Second, it is contrary to our Church Order to put a minister in such a permanent position. You might say, Is John Kromminga that kind of a man? That is not the case at all. All we mean to say is that, according to article 17, equality should be maintained among ministers. (Note: This article reads as follows: “Among the ministers of the Word equality shall be maintained with respect to the duties of their office and also in other matters as far as possible, according to the judgment of the consistory. and if necessary, of the Classis; which equality shall also be maintained in the case of the elders and the deacons.”–K) To place a minister of the gospel in a position of superintendency is against the thrust and tenor of Reformed Church Polity. If you feel tho Seminary must have a president, don’t make that indefinite. Third, as to the change of climate in theology, our Appeal states, the changes to which that climate is susceptible, also in Reformed circles, and the nC\y problems and approaches which are apt to occur in the decades ahead make it inadvisable to appoint anyone to the presidency of Calvin Seminary for life, no matter how excellent he may be. Anyone knows what changes are taking place. In the Netherlands Dr. Geelkerken was deposed as a minister of the Reformed Churches. But today leading spokesmen in those churches are tending in that direction. Then there is Barthianism. Let us not be so naive as to say that we are not subject to these things. The history in Genesis is coming into the picture. Bear in mind that these are facts. We ought to follow the policy of safety. If the suggestion we have made is adopted nothing is lost. The incumbent wi1l then again come up for consideration in four years. I have said that I will never again endorse the rule we endorsed in 1955.

Rev. C.O. Buus: When the Agenda first came out. as I read these overtures I thought this might be a solution. But certain convictions have come to me. I am opposed to the system of rectorship proposed in some overtures, and I should like to mention my objections. If objections would be raised against a rector he might say: It did not happen during my rectorship. Or if an unwholesome situation should arise, the rector might say, The next fellow can take care of it. We need leadership, good leadership. That can not be given in one year. The Speaker then spoke for in definite tenure. He added: Is the presidency of the College not also a crucial position? It is said, Nothing is lost if we elect for only four years. But what will be gained?

Rev. C. Huissen: I have just one remark about the interpretation given of indefinite tenure. It is stated that this is subject to review at any time. That is not true. Just the opposite is true. Indefinite tenure means that he is secure unless there are grave charges. I think this is a very dangerous interpretation. I call for the question and ask that we vote by ballot.

Reporter: Indefinite tenure does not mean life tenure. I am happy that I’m not a Methodist and have to be examined now and then. I can stay in the Lafayette church as long as I want to if nothing is alleged against me. The professors of our Seminary have indefinite tenure as long as they behave themselves. I am more afraid of indefinite tenure for them than in the case of administrators.

After this Prof. Woudstra spoke but one could tell the delegates were becoming impatient. It was decided to cease discussion. As we already reported. the vote was 68 for indefinite tenure. 56 against. When the result was announced there was vigorous applause by those who had voted in favor of the proposal. One of the delegates. Rev. J. Zwaanstra, arose. and said indignantly that such an ovation was “beyond the dignity of the gathering.” There was no immediate reaction on the part of the president of Synod but after recess he expressed regret for the demonstration. We did not hear what be said.


An interesting discussion developed around this question. The Publication Committee reported to Synod that publishing De Wachter was a losing proposition financially. The loss amounted to $16.409 in the year 1961 but could be reduced if our Dutch church paper would be published only every other week. The Advisory Committee did not agree with this recommendation of the Publishing House but advised as follows:

That Synod do not accede at this time to the recommendation of the Publishing Committee to make De Wachter a bi-weekly publication. Grounds: 1) De Wachter is still important for spiritual edification of a significant segment of our people and call thus not be evaluated completely in terms of dollars and cents; 2) The question of reducing the number of issues of De Wachter is of sufficient importance that more time should be given to the Church for proper consideration. The reporter of this Committee was Rev. Wesley Smedes.


Rev. Clarence Boomsma, a delegate and a member of the Publication Committee, waived the right to speak in defense of the Committee’s view. Dr. Goris, chairman of the Publication Committee. was also present. He made the point that they were not trying to get rid of Dc Wachter but felt the Synod should know that they are facing this loss every year and that it is a growing loss. They are will· ing to go on publishing De Wachter as at present but want Synod to assume responsibility for the situation. They are ready to follow the wishes of Synod in the matter.

Rev. C.O. Buus: Dr. Goris mentioned the fact that they were to have a representative here of the Business Committee. He did meet with the Advisory Committee.

One of the elders from Canada whose name we did not learn stated that it was difficult for the consistory to get the church paper into the homes of the members. At least 60 percent can read The Banner with profit but at present De Wachter is the No.1 paper for the immigrants. Some of the famines have very little “kerkbesef” (church consciousness). In family visiting the consistory members urge subscription to the church paper. Those who do read it live closest to the church and look forward to the paper every week.

Rev. A. De Jager: What has the Publication Committee done for the promotion of De Wachter in Canada?

Dr. Goris: I do not recall whether we met Rev. De Jager on our trip to Canada to promote interest in our chrnch papers. But we made still another trip for the same purpose.

Elder M. Sterenberg Sr.: I was a little shocked to hear about the Joss entailed in publishing De Wachter. I think it is a very good church paper—better than the Kerkbodes which they have in the old country. The Speaker then told of a lady who broke her hip going to the postoffice to get her copy. Many of the immigrants do not read. The consistories should work harder to get more subscribers.


This question came to Synod by way of an Appeal from the Alger Park Consistory of Grand Rapids. Classis Grand Rapids South had refused to grant the Federation the right to call a minister with the understanding that he could retain his ministerial status. The classis had acted in accordance with a decision of the Synod of 1961 which ruled that when ministers are called or wanted for religious work not consisting of ministering to a local church or on a mission field, the question of retaining their ministerial status should be decided on by the Classis concerned. The Synod had laid down this principle for the guidance of Classes in such cases : that his task “must be judged to be spiritual in character and directly related to the ministry of the Word by the classis of the calling church and with the approval of the synodical examiners.”

Alger Park Consistory appealed to Synod to overrule the decision of Grand Rapids South.

The Advisory Committee recommended that Synod should sustain the appeal of Alger Park. The text of its recommendation with the grounds will be quoted after our report on the discussion.

Discussion: Rev. John C. Medendorp: I am confused. In our consideration of the presidency of Dordt College we made this judgment that a classis should judge whether a certain position is related to the work of the ministry. In this case too the classis has judged. We need grounds to show that the Classis was wrong. In this case Classis decided that the work is not of a spiritual nature.

Reporter Smedes: Each church has the right to appeal the decision of a classis. When this church makes an appeal it contends that the work is of a spiritual nature. Hence the grounds we adduce must show that this work is spiritual.

Second Clerk Raymond Holwerda: I should like to use the analogy of a baseball team. We don’t sit in the grand· stands to question the umpire’s decision. Synod has decided that this is the function of the classis. The classis has judged. Now we do not go according to the rules fairly when a church appeals against the classis.

Rev. C. W. Flietstra: I don’t think the Church Order would approve the definition of ministerial work as giving direction to youth rallies etc.

Rev. Charles Terpstra: I still feel the same on the use of the ministerial office. The history of our Church in matters of this sort is one of inconsistency. This was the whole point of the Study Committee of Classis Hudson on this matter. One point in that study is that the churches were presenting to the world a very confused picture of the ministers of the Word. Let’s not have any more inconsistencies. Then perhaps one day we can follow a straight line. I hope this recommendation will be defeated. This work for the Federation has been done for years by an eminently qualified layman. We don’t need a minister to write Bible outlines.

Reporter Smedes: We have the decision of Synod which says that the work must be spiritual in character and directly related to the ministry of the Word. It is a fact that we have a Federation. The Director who speaks to them must be oriented to help keep them Reformed. It is evident that his work will be spiritual in character.

Rev. Gareth Kok: I think we are going in an entirely wrong direction. We give the impression that there is a spiritual character to the work and that it needs a minister. If we keep on appointing ministers for work which can as well be performed by laymen we’ll have ministers for all kinds of positions. We are setting a trend. It’s time to stop.

Rev. C. Oliver Buus : Just two things. First, we have a great program for our young people and it touches all our churches. This work could conceivably be handled by a layman. If someone could suggest another Richard Poshna, the Federation would be most happy. Second, there is the right of appeal over against Classis Grand Rapids South. This matter of Classis South touches all our Classes. They could go to another Classis with their request and perhaps get their way. We are all involved in this matter.

Rev. Milton R. Doornbos: Is this request before us because they can’t find a layman for the position or is this a matter of principle?

Rev. Rein Leestma: The Federation has been around a long time and now at once it needs a minister. This would be the third one taken out of the ministry by our Synod. (Note: Five ministers in all were approved by this Synod, before it adjourned, for positions other than the ministry in local churches—Ed.) We must stop somewhere. Dozens of churches around here are looking for ministers and we don’t have enough. Is it true that now all of a sudden the task has become so spiritual that a minister is needed?

Elder J. Orlebeke: Many of the things I wanted to say have been said. I want to say just this. We have appointed Rev. Vander Haak for an important area of the work of the church: preparing manuals for catechetical instruction. If we think that the work of the church is sufficiently close to 250 young people in Dordt College to justify having a minister as president, here is a work that concerns 15,000 of our young people. This organization has made efforts to obtain a qualified layman but failed to find one. Meanwhile Uncle Dick has continued to serve and has made another trip for the Federation contrary to the advice of his doctor.

Elder John Hofstra was delegate to Synod and Executive Secretary of the Y. C. Federation: I had expected that the pastor of Alger Park Church would be here; but since he is not present I shall give some additional information. If this work is not spiritual I would not have been with it for 22 years. We have sought laymen. We have interviewed many. We could not find the right kind of layman. Now we appeal to you to let us appoint a minister for this task. As to the pressing need of ministers for our churches, new pastors are coming up. You said to Classis Sioux Center: It is all right for a minister to be head of the college there. But remember that 15,000 young people are in an organization which is so closely associated with the Church that we have two representatives of Synod on our Board.

Elder J. Spykman: This organization has been a part of my life. Yet I think that the Classis has acted according to the principles laid down by 1961. The work of a Christian father or teacher is also spiritual. To say that this is equal to the work of a minister of the gospel is surely stretching a pOint.

Reporter Smedcs pleaded once more for the adoption of the recommendation. He asserted that this work is as directly associatcd with the ministry of the Word as the editorship of The Banner.

Rev. A. Kuyvenhoven: The Reporter said that this work is spiritual in its character. But the Synod of 1961 said that it most also be directly related to the ministry of the Word.

Rev. Siebert Kramer: I want to explain why Classis Grand Rapids South turned this down. Not because they judged that this work is unspiritual or that it would take one of our ministers out of the churches. Classis was not satisfied that this work is directly related to the ministry of the Word. You might be interested to know who represented Alger Park at the Classis. It was Richard Postma. Mer hearing him, Classis was more convinced than ever that this is work for a layman.

Dr. Henry Stob: The question is not whether a layman can do this work. Mr. Postma is a living witness to that fact. But men like Mr. Postma come only once in a generation. These people have looked for such a man but apparently have not found him.

One of the elders asked that Emeritus Pres. R.B. Kuiper should speak. (Note: According to a recent synodical decision retired members of the Seminary Faculty may not speak at Synod unless one of the delegates makes the request). R. B. Kuiper: I think that Dr. Stob has just made a very pointed speech and hit the nail on the head.  The Federation has been looking around real hard and could not find the right kind of person. Now the Federation itself asks for a minister. The question is whether for a minister to do this work would he inconsistent with his office. This WOrk is both spiritual and directly related to the ministry of the Word. The fact that Classis has acted does not settle the matter. Classes are not infallible. It is perfectly proper fol’ this Synod to pass on this matter. I am very firmly convinced that what the Federation needs badly is a man who has good theological discernment. So far the Board could not find such a man. Our young people are influenced by all kinds of cross currents, for example Youth for Christ and Billy Graham. Our young people need the guidance of a theologian who can lead them into Reformed channels.

The recommendation of the Adv. Comm. was to sustain the appeal of Alger Park. When the vote was taken by raising of hands the chairman announced that it stood 54 in favor and 55 against. He then announced that, since the count of hands might have been wrong, the delegates should vote by ballot and that each classis should bring in its ballots. The vote then stood: 61 in favor and 56 against.



It was during executive session Friday morning that the ballots were cast for the appointment to the chair of Church History at Calvin Seminary. The announced result revealed that Dr. Louis Praamsma of Toronto had been elected. Dr. Praamsma wired back his acceptance of the appointment the same day.

The clmir also announced during this session that Rev. John Vander Ploeg had been elected to receive a further two-year appointment as editor-in-chief of The Banner. Mr. Vallder Ploeg began his work ilt this position in 1956.

The second name on the ballots for both professor of Church History and editor-in-chief of The Banner was Dr. John Bratt, head of the Bible department at Calvin College.


Rev. B. J. Haan reporting.

Four final items were considered as proposed by tltis Committee:

1. Regarding Canadian Immigration, Synod adopted the committee’s recommendation “to continue the Immigration Committee for Canada” as heretofore, even though immigration has become a slight trickle compared to the great flow of a few years past. Synod in this connection instructed the Immigration Committee “to study the possibility of making the work regional, that is, under the direction of the Canadian classes.”

2. A “progress report” (Agenda Report No. 27) from the Study Committee on Administration of the Indian Field was accepted for information, and an overture bearing on this matter from Classis Rocky Mountain (No. 15) was referred to this Committee for consideration. The mandate of this Study Committee is “…to study whether the administration of the Indian Field should be continued by the Board of Foreign Missions or transferred to the Board of Home Missions” (Acts of Synod, 1961, p. 46).

All of this arises, in part, from the fact that both the Foreign and Home Missions boards are involved in work with American Indians-off-reservation Indians are the missionary responsibility of the Home Missions Board, onreservation Indians of the Foreign Missions Board. The Study Committee in its “progress report” quoted the Indian General Conference (composed of workers on the field and functioning as an advisory body to the Foreign Missions Board ) as follows:

We support the proposed transfer of the administration of the Indian mission work of our church to the Christian Reformed Board of Home Missions. We are agreed that a duality of boards administering the Indian mission work is inefficient, and that it fails to meet the needs of the Indian mission work. Also, we are agreed that for geographical coverage, and because synodical decisions envision the integration of the Christian Indian into our Church, it is more logical that the administration of the mission work be given to the Christian Reformed Board of Home Missions (1962 Agenda, p. 225).

It is to this same although augmented Committee that the additional but similar problem of the administration of the Mexican field has been entrusted for study and recommendation. The committee members are; Prof. Harold Dekker, Rev. Donald Houseman, Rev. Henry Baker, Rev. Arthur Pontier, Rev. George Holwerda, Mr. Theunis Ribbens, Mr. Hero Bratt, Mr. Albert Rodenhouse, Mr. Herman Baker.

3. An interesting sequel to the work of the Contact Committee with the Protestant Reformed Churches (commonly called “the De Wolf group”) arose when this Synod found itself facing the question concerning “certain specified archives” which arc desired by the Protestant Reformed Churches (commonly called “the Hoeksema group”). Synod’s advisory committee said; The surrender of these archives…might be construed as an admission on the part of (the De Wolf group) that the Protestant Reformed Churches (HH) are in effect the genuine Protestant Reformed Churches.

Synod decided to appoint a committee to confer with the Protestant Reformed Churches “in the interest of arriving at an amicable solution of the problem.” The Committee appointed is composed of Rev. John Weidenaar, Prof. Martin Monsma, Mr. Cornelius Van Malsen, Mr. James La Grand, Mr. Cornelius Van Valkenburg, Mr. Berton Sevensma.

4. A final item with respect to foreign missions expansion concerned the recognition of Mr. Vicente Apostol, now working on the Philippine Islands.

The decision recommended and adopted was:

To recognize Mr. Vicente Apostol, a national of the Philippine Islands (both Mr. and Mrs. Apostol are R.E.I. graduates) as unordained worker already on the field, although the employment of national evangelists is not in accordance with the accepted principle of the indigenous method and the policy followed on our foreign fields.

Ground: This young man of Reformed persuasion is already in the Philippines, and is presently being supported by a Christian Reformed Church, the former Fourth Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids.


Rev. Henry Petersen reporting.

Committee No. XII was faced with the enormous task of examining the work of the Church Order Revision Committee. Its report as read by Rev. Henry Petersen of Platte, revealed that this work had been done carefully and conscientiously. The motion adopted was to refer the proposed Church Order with the suggested revisions made by Synod’s Advisory Committee back to this Standing Committee (Prof. John H. Kromminga, pres., Prof. Martin Monsma, secretary, Mr. R. J. Bos, Dr. R.J. Danhof, Rev. B.C. Hofland, Rev. Lubbertus Oostendorp, Rev. Idzerd Van Dellen). The deadline for suggestions from individuals, churches, and classes will be February 1, 1963. This means that the 1963 Synod will face the question of a final ratification.

Classis Chatham in Canada overtured Synod “to consider the admittance of deacons to classical and synodical meetings as official delegates and to make this a general rule for major assemblies in the denomination.” The recommendation of the Advisory Committee ran counter to this overture, and the following is a summary of the debate which ensued upon the floor:

Rev. C. W. Flietstra, Classis Chatham, expressed indignation at what he considered to be a summary dismissal of the overture, and the fact that none from Classis Chatham had been requested to confer with the Advisory Committee. He informed Synod that his classis had had a study committee work on this matter, and that they had rendered a very thorough report favoring the overture. It was this speaker’s opinion that this overture was more in accordance with the place of the deacon as described in the Book of Acts. “We have not nearly plumbed the depths” of the Biblical idea of the offices, he asserted. He recognized that this overture represented a radical departure in Christian Reformed thinking, but thought it ought not to be dismissed so quickly as this recommendation seemed willing to do.

Rev. J. P. Smith, Classis Hudson, replied by asking why this aforementioned classical study of this problem had not accompanied the overture, and he suggested that the overture be referred back to the 1963 Synod with this material.

Rev. Henry Petersen, Classis Sioux Center, indicated that his Committee was unaware of the existence of the report to which Rev. C. W. Flietstra had referred.

Rev. C. W. Flietstra replied by saying that his classis could supply Synod with a document of pamphlet proportions on this subject, and had not done so in order not to burden Synod with such a length and elaborate statement.

Prof. A. Hoekema called Synod’s attention to a parallel study by the Gereformeerde Kerken in The Netherlands.

Prof. M. Monsma observed that the Church Order Revision Committee had contacted the churches in The Netherlands, and had seen their work but were not persuaded by this material to take the position of the Chatham overture.

The recommendation adopted by Synod was as follows: “That Synod do flat accede to Overture 32 B, ‘to consider the admittance of deacons to classical and synodical meetings as official delegates and make this a general rule for major assemblies in the denomination.’ Grounds: Insufficient Scriptural evidence has been adduced to warrant such a change in the Church Order.”


Rev. Siebert Kramer reporting.

This committee asked Synod “to take note of the establishment of a new denominational organization, namely, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.” The work of the CRWRC is described in its Constitution as:

A. To receive and administer the offerings and contributions of the church for our work of relief and rehabilitation of the needy of the world.

B. To collect and store items that may be used for emergency relief such as food, clothing, medical supplies, etc.

C. To supervise and control all domestic and global emergency relief in areas where the local church is unable to meet the need.

D. To supervise and control such permanent benevolent activities as are designated by Synod.

E. To appoint and designate area deacons’ conferences for the management of special benevolent projects.

The more important Advisory Committee recommendations adopted by Synod were:

That Synod approve the constitution of the CRWRC…

That Synod approve the organizational plan of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. That Synod appoint a full-time director for the CRWRC.

Cuban Refugee Relief: That Synod approve the continuation of the emergency Cuban Refugee relief work for the next year.

Cuban Refugee Resettlement: That Synod assign the work of the Resettlement of Cuban refugees to the CRWRC.

The overture (No. 28) from Classis Grandville asking Synod to adopt a Testimony with respect to the liquor problem was declared out of order because it had been received after March 15. Part of this overture read as follows:

Synod strongly urges all Christians to abstain completely from the use of intoxicating liquors. Total abstinence is highly desirable in view of the increasing social problems due to excessive drinking, and in view of the Christian law of love which requires that one consider not only his own desire and conscience but also the interests and conscience of his brother.

One item of the Advis. Committee’s report dealt with the matter of the Conclusions of Utrecht. Although Friday was a day marked by weariness and a strong desire to bring Synod·s business to a close, a lengthy debate met the recommendations of the Advisory Committee. The material considered came from a Study Committee appointed by the Synod of 1960, to which a number of overtures had come asking Synod to declare that the Conclusions of Utrecht were no longer binding for the Christian Reformed Church.

To make it possible for all of our readers to gain some idea of the content of this discussion we offer the following as the substance of that given by the Advisory Committee:

“All of the above overtures deal with essentially the same matter, viz. the Conclusions of Utrecht of 1905, accepted by the Christian Reformed Church in 1908. The idea set forth in these overtures is that these Conclusions of Utrecht are of such a nature that they arc not essential to our doctrinal position as a Christian Reformed Church and are an obstacle to closer relationship with certain Reformed churches that subscribe to the same creeds as the Christian Reformed Church. (Acts 1960, p. 46)

“The burden of the letter received from the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerkcn in Nederland is essentially the same since it looks upon these Conclusions as an obstacle to unity. Their particular problem is that, in their judgment. the statement pertaining to covenant children can give rise to a false sense of security.

“Since the Conclusions of Utrecht either in part or as a whole are considered to be an obstacle to unity, the overtures request Synod to set aside these Conclusions.”

“C. Recommendations:

“1. That Synod do not accede to the request made in these overtures that the Conclusions of Utrecht be set aside.


“a. No grounds have been adduced to show that these Conclusions are in conflict with the Word of God or our confessional standards. (See Church Order, Act. 31.)

“b. These Conclusions, when properly interpreted and when considered in their entirety, do not, as some have alleged, encourage a false sense of security.

“2. That Synod reaffirm that the adoption of these Conclusions was a declaration of agreement with these formulations, and advise that they be understood in the light of the study committee report.

“3. That Synod state that these Conclusions shall not be used as a test for membership or holding office in the Christian Reformed Church, nor as a test for admitting ministers to the Christian Reformed ministry.

“Grounds: “This procedure views these Conclusions in the light of their historic setting and applies them to the purpose for which they were accepted.

“4. That Synod declare that it appreciates the striving for unity with other Reformed Churches which is reflected in these overtures and that it encourages further efforts toward promoting such unity.

“5. That Synod declare that it is itself willing to discuss differences between us and other Reformed Churches in an effort to clarify our common Reformed confession and thus to remove whatever obstacles may exist.

“6. That Synod respond to the communication of the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland by informing them that:

“a. It observes that if there are statements in one of the conclusions that seem to leave room for the misinterpretation to which those churches properly object, other statements in that conclusion clearly forbid maintaining such interpretation.

“The statement of the conclusions, ‘That according to the confession of our churches the seed of the covenant, by virtue of the promise of God, must be held to be regenerated and sanctified in Christ…’ is understood by our church in the light of the conclusions themselves, not as a judgment concerning the nature of the child, but rather as a statement of the church’s proper approach in dealing with the covenant child. We recognize that the promises of the covenant given to parents and their children impel them to seek the grace that is promised, and in no way absolve them from the responsibility and duty of seeking the fulfillment of those promises in the way of true conversion. We share the fear of the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken of a false sense of security and see the need for guarding against it.

“b. That Synod, in anS\ver to the request of the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken that we set aside or withdraw the conclusions, refers them to recommendations 1 through 5.

“c. That Synod express to the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken its appreciation of their communication regarding this matter and assure them that we share with them a concern for maintaining a faithful witness to the gospel that will endeavor to further the unity of Christ’s church.”

All of the above recommendations were adopted after a debate, which we would summarize as follows, took place:

Rev. A. De Jager, Classis Toronto, felt that it was Synod’s duty to demonstrate that the Conclusions of Utrecht were essential to our Confession of Faith as a church. He declared that other people of Reformed Convictions do have objections to these Conclusions, and therefore feel themselves excluded from the fellowship of our churches. This is especially true in Canada, he said. He agreed that these Conclusions were perhaps necessary in 1908 when they were adopted by our Church, but are they equally necessary today? He pointed to The Netherlands (where the Gereformeerde Kerken have withdrawn themselves from a part of these Conclusions) , and said that we were alone in our maintenance of these Conclusions.

Rev. C.O. Buus, Classis Minnesota South, felt that we ought to adopt the answer of the Committee which states that these Conclusions are not an obstacle to unity. He asked, “Do we want to remove these Conclusions just in order to bring in people who object to them?”

Rev. B.J. Haan, Classis Sioux Center, urged that the questions posed by Rev. A. De Jager be answered. Rev. Siebert Kramer, Classis Grand Rapids South, agreed that we must determine if these Conclusions are essential to our doctrinal position as a Church. He pointed to the fact that ministers accepting calls to our churches who come from other denominations are now required to indicate agreement with these Conclusions. In answer to the speech of Mr. De Jager he declared that if these Conclusions are not doctrinally objectionable then they ought not to be ecumenically objectionable either.

Prof. C. Kromminga, “It is the duty of those who feel that the Conclusions are an obstacle to unity among Reformed people to spell out the reasons why they think so.” Prof. Kromminga felt that the basic question involved in 1908 as well as today was and is to keep the peace of the Church.

Prof. A.A. Hoekema, adviser to the Committee, reporting: These Conclusions must be considered in their entirety. There are three possibilities here. First, we might set them aside. Second, we might retain them and compel assent on the part of all who are members of our Church. Third, we might adopt a middle course, in which we would not set them aside, but would not use them as a test for membership or office either. This latter possibility is the one recommended by your committee. This is in agreement with the history of the Conclusions, which were designed to put oil on the troubled waters of the Church in 1905 and in 1908. They were not intended to be a “definitive pronouncement” with respect to the teachings in question, but were rather designed to set consciences at rest and to prevent one-sidedness. There is no need to set them aside. These Conclusions are still of value today. They must be interpreted correctly, of course. Only the most extreme, radical people would have difficulty with these Conclusions. In The Netherlands only D. of the Conclusions (dealing with our approach to the covenant child–J.H.P.) has been set aside.

Prof. W. Bergema, fraternal delegate from The Netherlands, affirmed that points A., B., and C. of the Conclusions were still in force in the Gereformeerde Kerken.

Dr. R. J. Danhof, stated clerk, stated that the letter of last year from the Gereformeerde Kerken corroborates this observation (viz., that the first three of Utrecht’s four points are still in force).

Rev. R. Groeneboer, Classis British Columbia, agreed that Utrecht did attempt to apply oil to troubled waters. It did so by trying to bring divergent points of view together in one document. The result is that certain parts of the Conclusions are unacceptable to some people. The Christelijke Gereformeerden and the Gereformeerden upholding art. 31 are such people. This kind of method often results in something that is unacceptable to everyone. “I am happy that the Conclusions are no longer a test.” This is an advance, and perhaps in the future we shall all agree that the first and last parts of the fourth declaration of the Conclusions are out of harmony with each other.

Rev. H. Hollander, Classis Toronto, agreed that in Canada the Conclusions are a hindrance to fellowship with some people whom we regard as Reformed in confession. These people are troubled by the Conclusions, and feel that they cannot join our churches.

Rev. S. Van Dyken, Classis Chicago South, applauded the speech of Dr. Hoekema. He felt that Synod was not prepared to enter upon a scholarly theological discussion of these matters, and that it ought to move ahead and adopt the recommendations offered.

Prof. A.A. Hoekema added that these Conclusions must be recognized to have brought peace to the Church. Prof. H. Bavinck, he claimed, was in agreement with both parts of the fourth declaration, and he was and is one of the most respected of all theologians in the Reformed tradition.

Rev. D.J. Scholten, Classis Hamilton, stressed the need for recognizing the unity of all believers, and reiterated that which other Canadian delegates had said, viz., that certain Reformed Christians there felt that our maintaining of these Conclusions prevented their joining the Christian Reformed Church. He felt that recommendation No.3 was very good, therefore.

Rev. C.O. Buus stressed that this was a matter far more serious than many seemed to realize. He felt that he was old enough to observe that when the Church retracts or backs down from a long-held position it is usually because someone or some group somewhere wish it to be done. These people later go around saying that they never did believe the doctrine or position which was withdrawn. This provokes others to return to Synod a following year with overtures to re-adopt, say, the Conclusions of Utrecht. Then Synod has to prove things, and we get a theological debate with strife and divisions eventuating. We should not pass recommendation No.1, nor should we ask anyone to bear the burden of proof. We are now at peace! This thing could be explosive, and we ought to remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Let us keep things as they are on this score.

Rev. A. De Jager, “I do not believe that there is real danger in setting these Conclusions aside.” Agreed with Dr. Hoekema in his historical analysis of the circumstances surrounding the drafting and adoption of the Conclusions. But, we still find them to be an obstacle to ecclesiastical fellowship with some of our Reformed brethren. Is there a real need to retain these decisions?

Rev. R. Groeneboer opined that if we take away the Conclusions as binding or as a test for office or membership no war would be aroused, and we would enable some who are now outside to come into the Christian Reformed Church. It doesn’t really go far enough, but this decision will help to convince many that we are seriously working at these problems.


Classis Alberta North overtured Synod “to refrain from using the expressions ‘layman’ and ‘lay-member’ when referring to non-ministerial members of the Church.” Synod replied that “these terms: ‘laymen’ and ‘lay-member’ are commonly used, and furthermore it must be observed that Classis Alberta North has not presented an acceptable substitute.” This provoked a debate which ran something like this:

Rev. L. Tamminga, Classis Alberta North, felt that this was a poor answer on the part of Synod. To object to the overture by appealing to “common usage” was ridiculous, in his opinion, since the very point Classis Alberta North was trying to make was that these terms are being used all too commonly, and shouldn’t be. The expression layman is not Reformed, he asserted.

Rev. J.P. Smith said that it was one of the “facts of life” that these words were common usage and there was no sense trying to eliminate them.

Rev. L. Siofstra, Classis Chatham, agreed that Synod’s answer was very bad. He used the illustration of a parent who could hardly be expected to say to his children when they used bad words, “That is all right because those words are very commonly used.”

Rev. H. Roelofs, Classis Orange City, offered the opinion that the historical connotation of these terms had disappeared, and that they no longer indicated a necessary subordination of one class of people to another in the Church.


An overture from Classis Grand Rapids South requesting a study committee “to study anew the proper status of lay-evangelists in our ecclesiastical structure” was declared out of order upon the basis of Synod’s rule that the minor bodies should carry such studies as far as possible before requesting Synod to do so. This same overture called for a study of “the proper place of the Reformed Bible Institute among the educational institutions.” This was rejected upon the ground that “this matter is outside the jurisdiction of Synod,” since the Institute is not owned or operated by the Christian Reformed Church.


The Capital Punishment overture from Classis Grand Rapids South had been hailed by some as one of Synod’s most important items, but this did not seem to be the mind of Synod. It was the opinion of the Advisory Committee that a study of this subject was required before Synod could make a pronouncement, but it continued to recommend that this study ought to be carried out on the lower level of the ecclesiastical assemblies as far as possible. This overture was also ruled out of order.


An interesting item came by overture from Classis Lake Erie, requesting “Synod to establish a denominational file of information about each minister and the yearly candidates for the ministry, and to make this information available to the consistories and other bodies who must nominate men for particular fields of labor.” The principal motion adopted was this; “that Synod do not accede to the request of Classis Lake Erie that Synod establish a file of information on ministers.” Here is part of the debate which took place:

Rev. John Hofman, Classis Lake Erie, felt that the overture was not getting the attention it deserved and emphasized that his classis had worked hard on this matter. He reported that a number of churches had used this method and the questionnaires prepared by his classis, and that in each instance they had gotten a minister soon, and, in his opinion, He reported that a number of churches had used this method and the questionnaires prepared by his classis, and that in each instance they had gotten a minister soon, and, in his opinion, had obtained the one best suited to the needs of that field.

Rev. S. Van Dyken felt that though this plan might be impracticable in the Christian Reformed Church with its unique tradition and practice, it was practicable in a couple of other denominations with which he was acquainted, and that there the the was even more detailed than the one suggested by Classis Lake Eric.

Rev. C. Witt, Classis Lake Erie, asked Synod how it could know that this method is impracticable without trying it out. He urged a trial of the system proposed.

Rev. A. Pontier, Classis Grand Rapids West, felt that the blind way in which churches now go about calling ministers is leading to sad results, and wondered if this matter could not be given more consideration.

Rev. L. Tamminga raised serious objections to the Lake Erie proposal. He felt that he did not at all care to be “on file.” He referred to the fact that everything could not possibly be included, that there was much that just exactly ought not to be filed, and that the advisory committee was right in declaring this matter to be impracticable.

Elder H.J. Ten Hove, Classis Alberta North, pointed to the questionnaire suggested and said that we could better place a recent picture of each minister in the Yearbook if we wanted to know such things about our pastors.

Rev. L. Tamminga (whose earlier speech had been met with gales of laughter by the delegates) spoke again to say that although he was not incapable of enjoying humor, he thought this was not a laughing matter. In his opinion he was happy to be a minister in a church in which ministers were regarded as bearers of a sacred office, and not as mere church administrators or employees. He didn’t think it advantageous to compare ourselves too much with other denominations, since their view of the nature of the ministry is not identical with ours.

Elder C. Groenendyke, Classis Pella, rose to agree with Rev. L. Tamminga, and said that in his opinion too much of the merely personal element was entering into our people’s thinking about ministers.

The last item handled by Committee II dealt with the Articles of Incorporation as they are found in our local congregations. Historical summary:

The Synod of 1961 instructed the classes to investigate the Articles of Incorporation of each congregation and to bring them into harmony with the model form found in Schaver’s Polity of the Churches, II, 243–246. This model form was approved and adopted by the Synod of 1926. Four classes, however, have submitted overtures to this Synod (Eastern Ontario, Orange City, Pacific, and Toronto) in which they advance certain legal and practical objections to this form, as well as certain objections based on church polity.

The advisory committee’s Analysis of the problem was as follows:

The form for the Articles of Incorporation contains elements which have to do with tho distinctive features of our denomination (for example: the discipline, rules, and usages of the Christian Reformed Church; our doctrinal standards, our church order, our synodical resolutions), but it also contains elements which have to do with legal matters. Your advisory committee has sought legal advice, and has been informed that each state has different incorporation laws. It may be presumed that the same situation obtains in the various provinces of Canada. This variation in the legal aspects of incorporation makes it impossible, in the judgment of your Advisory Committee, to draw up a form for incorporation which would satisfy the legal requirements of all the states and provinces in which our churches are found.

The principal motion adopted was the following:

1. That Synod appoint a study committee of five, including two members of the legal profession, with the following mandate:

a. This committee shall draw up the introductory paragraphs of the Articles of Incorporation, taking into account the problems raised in Overtures 12, 23, 36, and 41. These introductory paragraphs shall deal with matters which concern our distinctive position as a Christian Reformed Church—matters which must, therefore, be included in every draft of the Articles of Incorporation. (Note: this part of the mandate is to be completed in one year.)

b. After the above-mentioned report shall have been adopted by Synod and shall have been incorporated into the Acts, this committee shall request each classis of the denomination:

1) To draw up a suitable form for incorporation (which will include the introductory paragraphs submitted by the study committee ) for all the churches in its territory. It is understood that if any c1assis should have churches located in more than one state or province, a separate form shall be drawn up for the churches of each state or province.

Ground: This is the only way in which Articles of Incorporation can be drawn up which will satisfy the legal requirements of the various states and provinces.

2) To send a copy of the form (or forms) for incorporation which it has adopted to this committee for review.

Ground: In this way the denomination may be assured that the various churches will obtain suitable Articles of Incorporation.

Synod finished its work at about 11 p.m. on Friday, June 22. The president, Rev. J. C. Verbrugge, offered the traditional speech of farewell, to which the vice-president, Rev. Peter Holwerda, fittingly responded.