This is the second post of three written by Mike Vermeer. Mike is also leading a series of Bible studies on the principles of Reformed education. This Bible study is being put on by Genesis Reformed Protestant School; information can be found here.
As noted in the prior installment, I have been hearing a question pressing some in the PRC: Some pose it as an innocent question: “Why did you need to start a school and abandon the PR Schools?” Others are more direct and simply assert, “I think your school is wrong, and you should have continued to use the PR Schools.”
This post will continue the first answer to the question: we were thrown out.
What astounded me, and betrayed how ignorant my generation had become of the truth, however, was the reason that we were thrown out of the schools.
I am not talking about being removed from the school board. After being removed, I was undeterred in my desire to use the PR schools. Some people just don’t learn easily.
I wanted to show that I was not angry for having been removed from the board and, if possible, ease the path towards using the school anyways. When after a discussion with a board member, it became clear that they did not want the association to have to vote on my removal (that would have been messy), I willingly sent this letter of resignation; not only that, but I also urged my fellow saints to do the same – many of whom followed my lead.
Now, as a newly minted non-association member, It was time for enrollment interviews.
I knew the men on the education committee fairly well. I had been secretary for them for the past two years, so I knew what lay ahead…I thought. The only question in the back recesses of my mind was who they would bring in to replace me on the committee.
As soon as we walked into the room, I knew that the interview would not go as I had anticipated. The man selected to replace me on the committee to conduct enrollment interviews was one of the most powerful men of Crete PRC, notorious for his hatred of Rev. Langerak’s preaching.
On reflection, he was there for a very specific purpose. It was his job to make it clear to the education committee – probably knowing they were too polite for his purposes – that under his cross-examination, I would defend myself. All I needed to do was to respond to his accusations, and he would meet his objective. When, after the 3rd or 5th time (I lost count), I was asked, “Why would you want to use this school?” finally, I responded, “Men, I have made clear to you that I desire to use this school, and am willing to work with you to do so. It is becoming clear to me that you do not want us to use this school, but that is your decision to make, not mine.”
We were soon complete with the interview, and they made their decision. But what grounds would they use?
In a very brief and sterile letter sent by US mail informing me of their decision, they noted as the first of three grounds my “not being willing to have my children catechized with other students by a Protestant Reformed minister.”
Yes, you read that correctly. First, they sidelined the association; now, they drag in the church. We were cast out of a parent-run school because we were unwilling to participate in Protestant Reformed catechism.
I have always been taught that catechism is the preaching of the gospel to our children. That is why the church conducts catechism, not the school. We expressed this as a firm conviction that we could not have our children in PR catechism – it would make us liars if we left the PRC and then sent our children to PR catechism. We also provided an alternative, that we could arrange for our children to be supervised while the others were in catechism. Nonstarter.
At our school, convenience had apparently turned into law and, for some, was even considered to be part of the curriculum. After two or three generations of having our children catechized during the school day as a convenience to the parents, “there arose a generation that knew not” that catechism is the work of the church.
So they cast us out. By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Because He knew exactly what we needed to be delivered from.
To be concluded…