One cannot speak of a reformation in Hope in the same sense that we have been reading of reformations in our other churches in Beacon Lights. With us it was not a case of a revival of the reformed truths our forefathers enjoyed. Long before 1924, our pastor of that time, the Rev. G. M. Ophoff, taught us the truth of God’s Word, so that we were taught the truth of God’s sovereign grace long before the Protestant Reformed denomination was established.
Our congregation at this time numbered about 25 families. When our pastor, the Rev. Ophoff began to write in the Standard Bearer and express therein his views which condemned the Arminian doctrine of Common Grace, he, too, was vigorously opposed by the leaders of the Christian Reformed Church who maintained this lie. Our consistory consisted of three elders and two deacons. The three elders agreed whole heartedly with our pastor while the two deacons sided against his preaching. Things developed until Classis instructed our consistory to demand of the Rev. Ophoff whether he would subscribe to the three points of Common Grace. The three elders, assured these three points were a departure from the truth of Scripture, refused to do this. It was then up to the two deacons to ask the Rev. Ophoff and also these three elders whether they would subscribe. All four refused. It was only a matter of time until the Rev. Ophoff with the three elders, G. De Jong, I. Korhorn and R. Newhouse were illegally and unrighteously deposed in 1925. Sixteen families went along with our pastor and these three elders and formed our present Hope Protestant Reformed Church.
Classis illegally took from us our church, parsonage, $800.00 we had in the bank and dared sometime later to ask for the communion set and baptismal fonts, too. Our services were held across the street from the church which was taken from us, in the Riverbend schoolhouse. Not unusual was it at all on a Sabbath morning to hear floating across the street the singing from the Christian Reformed church services, and no doubt they heard us singing praises to God.
In 1929, the Rev. Ophoff received a call to Byron Center and accepted it. For seven long years we were without a pastor, but by no means were we without the grace of God, and we steadily grew spiritually and in numbers so that in 1930 we were able to build a church of our own again. In 1936, the Rev. H. De Wolf became our pastor and remained with us till the year 1940. In 1941, our present pastor, the Rev. J.A. Heys began his labor in our midst. In 1940, we were able to build a parsonage of our own, and at present we number 23 families.
A note of interest to our western readers no doubt is the fact that our church is not in Hope, Michigan, although there is such a city. When the Christian Reformed church was organized in 1916 in a little settlement a few miles west of Grand Rapids, called Riverbend because Grand River, flowing in a southwestern direction through and out of Grand Rapids makes a sharp bend and begins here to flow northward, it was called the Hope Christian Reformed Church because of the hope that filled our breasts for our newly organized congregation. In Grand Rapids you have similar Reformed Church names as Calvary Reformed, Trinity Reformed and Grace Reformed. When we were cast out of the Christian Reformed Church, we were still full of zeal and hope and saw no reason for not calling ourselves the Hope Protestant Reformed Church. In that sense there was no reformation in Hope, for we still have the same hope, the hope of salvation which God’s Word teaches us and we have the same truth, the truth of Scripture that God is God.
I. Korhorn, R. Newhouse