Dutch Church (First Nederduitsche) Is Adverse To Papers
Don't Care To Have Others Know Of Their Manner of Worship
Have But Fifteen Pastors
For Forty-seven Churches Located In This Country and In the Netherlands
Adverse to publicity of any form, the congregation of the First Nederduitsche church on North Division avenue, is one of the most interesting religious organizations in the city.
But few persons outside of the Holland families in the city know that the church exists. It is not known because the members of the congregation do not want the church to be known to others than themselves. Not only did the pastor, Rev. J. Minderman, refuse to give one of his photographs for publication, but also refused an interview, and declared that neither himself or members of his congregation care to have anything to do with newspapers.
The congregation represents one of the oldest and most strict denominations in the Netherlands. The pastor who has charge came to this country about a year ago from the Netherlands. It was impossible for the congregation to get a pastor of their belief in this country.
One of the most peculiar things of the congregation is that it does not believe in giving its pastor a stated salary. Two boxes are placed at the entrance of the church. They bear the inscription, "For the Pastor", and every Sunday when the people leave the church, after the morning, afternoon and evening services, every man, woman and child will place an offering in the box. After the services the pastor empties the boxes, and nobody knows how much he receives. One has to but attend the services and watch the congregation leave the church, and one can readily see that the pastor gets more than he would get if he got a salary the same as the pastors of the other Holland churches.
Sermons Are Very Long
The congregation contends that they do not merely follow this custom because
it is a habit, but because it is according to the teachings of the bible. They
further contend that the churches which pay their pastors a specified salary are
The Services which are held every Sabbath are extremely long. Services begin at 9 o'clock in the morning and continue until 11:15 o'clock. In the afternoon they commence at 2 o'clock and continue for more than two hours. In the evening again services of equal length are held. It is the custom for members of the congregation to attend all three services. The sermon of the minister constitutes about seven-eighths of the time that is required for a service.
Services Are Old-Fashioned
The sermons are exceedingly old fashioned. Not only is hell fire constantly preached, but the terrible condition of man is emphasized continually. Man is born and conceived in sin and is continually increasing his sin. The only possible means for escape is the saving grace of Christ. One immediately recognizes the Calvinistic doctrine which is preached in all the Holland churches of the Reformed and Christian Reformed churches. The chief difference with this church and the other churches is in the partaking of the communion, and the significance of the service. The other Holland churches contend that it is but a means to strengthen the faith, while the people of the Nederduitsche church believe that one must be almost holy in order to partake of that service.
The attendance at the Sunday services is very large. The church is a large structure patterned after the old churches in the Netherlands. Even the old sounding board is found above the pulpit. The parsonage is situated in front of the church which is another custom which finds its origin in the Netherlands.
Don't Believe In Insurance
The member of the congregation do not believe in life insurance and if anyone tries to argue with them, they will try to prove it is not in accordance with teachings of the bible. They contend that if a person has his life insured he is not trusting sufficiently in God. More than that, they do not even believe in fire insurance and a great many of the members have no insurance whatsoever upon their homes.
Although in some respects this congregation is similar to the other Dutch congregations, they do not agree. In fact, in some instances, they are antagonistic. A year ago when the Nederduitsche church without a pastor, the students of the Christian Reformed theological seminary on Franklin street offered their services. Rather than have anyone of a different denomination preach in their church the congregation refused the offer and were contented in having one of the elders read a long sermon every Sunday.
But Seven Churches In This Country
The denomination is not very large and has but few pastors. There are seven churches of the denomination in this country and but three pastors. There are 40 churches of this kind in the Netherlands and 12 pastors. Although there are three churches in Grand Rapids which have the same name and are known as the Nederduitsche churches, the one on North Division street is the only one that belongs to the denomination. The Nederduitsche church on Clancy avenue has but a small congregation and is comprised of people who contended that the teachings even of the Nederduitsche churches were too liberal, and seceded. The denomination in the Netherlands is known as the Christian Reformed churches of the Netherlands. They have no affiliation whatsoever with the Christian Reformed churches of America, and in order to keep them separate the churches of this country have called themselves the Free Nederduitsche church.
Created: 18 Oct 2010