Dear Young People:
A pertinent article appeared in the Beacon Lights of December, written by Mr. A. Heemstra, This editorial gave me the desire to write a few words from “this side of the border”.
We have gone through a year of varied experiences and reactions. I am of the opinion that you are interested in learning about them.
Many of you were undoubtedly enthused about our church in Hamilton. May I assure you, young people, that we, too, were enthused. When we were convinced that the Lord’s hand was leading us to labor here, everything, except the church, seemed to lose significance. The change was tremendous in many ways but we were desirous to acquaint these immigrants with the truth which we have learned to love as a Protestant Reformed denomination.
I accompanied my husband on many visits. Though we often heard remarks that made “our ears ring” as far as the Reformed truth is concerned, our enthusiasm continued unabated for four and one half months. We opened our home for catechism, society, and visiting. Many enjoyable hours were spent. We brought people to and from church (often I had eight or nine passengers in our car). During the winter we would huddle around little coal stoves to discuss the truth. At times we ate with the people. And we were glad we had come!
Gradually, however, fear clutched at our hearts. We began to realize that many things could be enjoyed if only the line between the Liberated (as they revealed themselves around Hamilton) and the Protestant Reformed Churches did not have to be crossed in our direction. Some agreed with many of our views but others often made very strange remarks. You will be interested, I am sure, in some which I heard personally. And I assure you that these remarks were uttered by members of our congregation here. For example: If we had known, when we were organized as a church or joined this church, that we could neither interpret the Confessions and Scriptures as we see fit, nor convince others of our convictions, we certainly would never have become members; Do not stress anything of your doctrine or of ours, and we will have peace; There is no use doing more immigration work if we have not the liberty to say to our children: that is what the minister says but this is the way it is; You (to my husband) bother yourself too much with the Confessions; Why do you say (also to my husband), “Protestant Reformed”, and not simply, “Reformed”, when you speak of your church.
You may say, “How easy it would have been to give in to this trend and have a large congregation.” But you think amiss! If you had been there, I am sure your reaction would have been: For the sake of the truth, as proclaimed by our churches, we crossed the border; we surely cannot give that up, too!
Our hearts are “large enough” to welcome hundreds from across the ocean but not at the expense of our churches and truth and history. I recall a day when I attended Christian High School in Grand Rapids at the time we were “put out” of the church. A student who went home for lunch came bounding up the steps upon his return saying, “Hey Kids we’re out!” The same penetrating love for our churches has been brought to the fore due to our recent experiences.
Little does anyone know the anxious moments we have had nor how high our spirits soared at the least sign of re-encouraging remarks.
We trust that as our churches are again being weighed in the balance for purity of doctrine, we will pray for strength to let the truth be our guide. Also as young people!
With Christian greetings,