A Reformation in Hudsonville, Mich.

It was in the summer of 1924, the same summer of the infamous synod which adopted the “Three Points” of “common grace”, that the Rev. H. Hoeksema was invited to speak at a school rally, which was to be held in the Jamestown woods, four miles south of Hudsonville, by the school board of the Hudsonville Christian School. He spoke on the subject, “De Strijd Aller Eeuwen” (The Battle of All the Ages). It was an inspiring and heart stirring address, by the then outstanding minister of the Christian Reformed Churches. At the conclusion of the address, the Rev. Krohne, who at that time was the minister of the Hudsonville Christian Reformed Church, made the remark, “Wiens hart door deze rede niet vertederd wierd, moet wel een hait van steen hebben”, (Whose heart was not touched my this stirring address must have a heart of stone). Was it any wonder that there were many hearts that were touched, when, but a few months later, the news flashed through the community of Hudsonville, that this same Rev. H. Hoeksema was deposed, together with his consistory, by the classical authorities. Soon after, several families went to hear the Rev. H. Hoeksema preach in his own congregation in Grand Rapids, and after having heard him extol the truths of God’s sovereignty, of man’s depravity, and of God’s sovereign elective grace, they went again and again. Because of this several families were banned from the Lord’s supper by their consistory, and as a result of this some seven families severed their relationship with the Christian Reformed Church of Hudsonville, and affiliated themselves with the then known Protesting Christian Reformed Church of Eastern Avenue, at Grand Rapids.

Early in the spring of 1926 the Rev. H. Hoeksema was asked to speak on the “Three Points” in the village of Hudsonville. Whereas no other place was available for the occasion, this meeting was held in the old Spoelman barn on Main Street, which was located on the same spot which is now adorned by the Town Hall and Fire Department. In this improvised meeting place, standing alongside the cow stables and horse manger, this same fiery orator, who but a little more than a year before had given such a stirring address on the “Battle of All the Ages” was battling against the heresies contained in the doctrine of “common grace” as it was embodied in the “Three Points” adopted at the synod of 1924. There was a mixed audience. As stated above, there were some who had already severed their relation with the Christian Reformed Churches, and were members of the congregation of which the Rev. Hoeksema was pastor. Others were still members of the Christian Reformed Churches, some of which after having listened to the address, could not understand how it was possible that their synod had adopted such corrupt doctrines as were expressed in the “Three Points”, and that such men as Reverends Hoeksema, Danhof and Ophoff were deposed from office, together with their consistories. Still others, although they could find no fault with the truths that were set forth, neither with the manner in which the heresies of the “Three Points” were exposed, said that they would have nothing more to do with this new movement. Those that were interested requested that meetings be held each Friday evening, in order that they might know more about the matter. Soon it became evident that there was quite a group who were more and more convinced that the Christian Reformed Churches, in the adoption of the “Three Points” had departed from the .faith of their fathers, and were desirous of being organized into a Protesting Christian Reformed Congregation, and that services we conducted each Lord’s day. This was realized on the 26th day of August of that same year, namely 1926, when 22 families were organized into a Protesting Christian Reformed Church. At this meeting the Rev. H. Hoeksema presided, the Rev. G. M. Ophoff preached) the sermon, and the Rev. H. Danhof installed the three elders and two deacons into their respective offices. The rest of that summer the services were continued in the old Spoelman bam. It was far from an attractive meeting place, especially during the hot and sultry summer days, or during the cold days of late autumn. Soon after having been organized into a congregation it was decided to build a church building. The pledges for the building fund were made readily and cheerfully. The response was a very generous one. Three large corner lots were purchased at the corner of School and Main Streets. On the corner lot there stood an old house, in the which the congregation met from late in the fall until the following spring when the church building was completed. On the 8th of April, 1927, just a year after the Rev. H. Hoeksema had first addressed us in the old barn of Spoelman, the new church building was dedicated. How the hearts of the congregation were filled with gratitude to God when they might take their places in the pews of their new place of worship with voices of thanksgiving. How the air resounded with they might sing the songs of Zion accompanied with the musical strains of the organ.