Rev. Jason L. Kortering: In memoriam
Reformed Free Publishing Association
This is an excerpt from an article written by Mr. Don Doezema. The article will be published in the October 1, 2021 issue of The Standard Bearer.
Just one more early-ministry experience of Rev. Kortering. This one from his first round of family visitation. One of those visits he recalled clearly, even after 50 years. It was, he says, with a “nice spiritual family—an older couple.” “Are you edified by the word?” he asked. “No!” “No?” “No, you take away all our comfort.” (No wonder that the recollection of that visit remained vivid years later!) “I thought, What? I’m preaching my heart out—and taking away all their comfort?” Not knowing, at the moment, what they were talking about, young Rev. Kortering asked them for an explanation. “Well, they did some explaining. And it went along this line that, ‘when you preach, you call us to do something. And we can’t do anything. So you lead us to complete frustration. We have to do something we can’t do. And we have no comfort.’ I discovered, later on, that that’s very typically antinomian. They saw the Reformed faith to be that Jesus has done it all, and that we have no responsibility. In a certain sense our Split of 1953 had that effect on some people. Rev. Heys told me this. He said, ‘Jay, at the time of the Split, you couldn’t even preach the commands of the Bible without being charged with conditions.’” On reflection, therefore, Rev. Kortering saw the explanation offered by the old couple to be “bad, bad theology. But, as a young preacher, to have someone say that on a first round of family visitation, wow, that set me back. The whole night I couldn’t sleep.”
Hardly was that reaction to Rev. Kortering’s preaching representative of that of his parishioners generally. To be convinced of that, one need only read a few of the expressions of deep appreciation for his ministry by those who profited from it. There is this, for example, from a man in Calvary PRC, concerning sermons preached there after Rev. Kortering’s retirement: “For myself, I must take issue with the old saying that ‘You can’t go home.’ For me to close my eyes, and listen to you begin a prayer, brought me right back to my childhood [in Hull], and the many worship services and catechism classes that I attended, led by you. It was truly a comfort and joy for me to hear the voice of the shepherd that I knew as an immature lamb.”
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