Rev. C. Hanko
Prof. Schilder Comes to America
Editor’s Notes—Prof. Schilder of the Netherlands was unjustly cast out from his churches over various doctrinal differences, just as Rev. Hoeksema had been from his. The two men formed a bond because of this common ground. When Dr. Schilder came to this country, as Rev. Hanko tells us, the rest of the denomination also received him as a friend and a brother, even though he differed with our churches on the covenant. This friendship later soured, but too late to save the churches a great deal of grief.
In 1939, Prof. Klaas Schilder of the Netherlands was invited by William B. Eerdmans of the well-known Eerdman’s Publishing Company, and another prominent member of the CRC to come to the USA. A rather extensive schedule had been arranged for a preaching and speaking tour through our country.
Now for some time discussions had been carried on in the Netherlands by means of pamphlets and brochures on such subjects of self examination, the two natures of Christ, the covenant and common grace. As to the last two subjects, those of common grace and the covenant, Prof. V. Hepp of the Free University of Amsterdam, who represented the segment of the followers of Dr. Abraham Kuyper, and Prof. Schilder of the Kampen Theological School, who represented the segment that followed the Afscheiding of 1834, were engaged in a discussion.
When some of the professors of Calvin Seminary became aware of Dr. Schilder’s coming, they were afraid that sleeping dogs would be aroused, especially in regard to the subject of common grace. They published a notice in the church papers, The Banner and De Wachter, warning the churches not to allow Prof. Schilder on their pulpits.
The result was that when the professor arrived in America, he discovered that most of his scheduled appointments had been canceled. Somewhat in disgust, somewhat in frustration, he called upon Rev. Hoeksema to have a talk with him, since Hoeksema did not agree either with Dr. A. Kuyper’s common grace. The result was that a conference of our ministers who were in the area, was held in Rev. Hoeksema’s living room. A very pleasant evening was spent especially in exchanging experiences in the conflict our churches had experienced here in America and the struggle that was going on in the Netherlands. Soon a number of speaking engagements were arranged by our various churches.
Thus it came about, quite unexpectedly, that Prof. Schilder came into contact with all of our ministers and congregations. He was a congenial person, pleasant to have in our homes; we all enjoyed his visit. Also the members of our congregations were impressed by his speeches. True, he had a speech impediment, which, along with the fact that he spoke in Dutch, made it a bit difficult to follow him, but it was refreshing to hear him. He was well received.
I was still in Manhattan at the time of his visit. He did come and speak for us there. In one of our conversations he said, “I despise your covenant view.” I said to him, “That’s mutual.” I figured our churches would never get along with him for any length of time. Yet it appeared that the ministers of classis west were especially impressed by his friendliness and his intelligence. One of them made the remark that it grieved him to see that a greater light than Rev. Hoeksema had risen among us even while the latter was still living.
Rev. Hoeksema was no less attracted to the professor. It should be understood that in a sense Rev. Hoeksema was a loner. True, this was partly due to his character, his determination to be well prepared for any important event, and his peculiar position in defense of the truth. He was virtually a lone warrior, and he was very much aware of it. At times he would complain, “I’m all alone. I have no intimate friend, none whatever.” His closest colleague was Rev. Ophoff. He loved him dearly, admired him for his faithful and determined stand for the truth, and would defend him when anyone tried to say anything against him. Yet Rev. Ophoff was younger than he and did not think himself equal to his colleague. All the other ministers were younger, with the possible exception of Rev. Vos, but he also was his former student.
read the whole article (and whole series) here:
http://www.prca.org/current/Beacon%20Li ... htm#memoir