Rev. Jason Kortering was born in Holland, Michigan on January 15, 1936. His parents were Justin and Edith Kortering. Justin Kortering was a buttermaker who worked at the Artic Ice Cream Company.
As a boy, Rev. Kortering enjoyed building models. Now he enjoys photography as a hobby.
Rev. Kortering attended the Christian grade school and high school in Holland, Michigan. After high school, he attended Calvin College and the Protestant Reformed Seminary.
As a teenager, Rev. Kortering didn’t have to deal with peer pressure because he was busy working and studying.
After they married in 1919, Rev Kortering’s parents left the Reformed Church in Overisel, Michigan to travel to California. His father wanted to use his trade as a buttermaker to make money and see the world. Over a ten year period, his parents moved from one city to another city neglecting to attend church. Through his mother’s persistence, they finally moved to Holland, Michigan.
One of Mr. Kortering’s coworkers was so impressed when she read a copy of the Standard Bearer, that she gave it to him to read. The Lord used this to lead Mr. Kortering to start reading the Standard Bearer and all the Reformed literature he could obtain. Soon the Korterings became members of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland.
Having led Mr. Kortering to the Reformed faith, the Lord instilled in him a desire to see his son called to the ministry. It seemed that this was not meant to be when his firstborn son suffered permanent brain damage from spinal meningitis. But four years later, Rev. Kortering was born. Even as a young boy, Rev. Kortering was encouraged to desire the ministry. He had to speak loudly at the Sunday School Christmas program and sing loudly like a minister would. He even had to play the piano like a minister would. Through all this, he felt the call of the Lord to pursue the ministry.
Rev. Kortering was 17 years old when the split of 1953 took place. He had made confession of faith only few months before. His father was in the consistory at the time a motion was made to suspend the pastor because he was not abiding by the decisions of Classis East. Rev. Kortering remembers vividly how the people who witnessed the court case in Grand Rapids were ruthless and hateful of each other. It made him resolve never to put a church through a court case no matter what the cost.
Rev. Kortering was the only student in the seminary during his three years of study. At the end of his first year of study, Rev. Ophoff suffered a stroke which made it impossible for him to continue teaching. Seminarian Kortering would visit him occasionally and also pick him up for Rev. Herman Hoeksema’s Dogmatics class. Rev. Ophoff and other ministers would sit in on this class and make it more interesting especially since Seminarian Kortering was the only student. During Seminarian Kortering’s second year, Rev. Hoeksema and Rev Ophoff would constantly argue over their differences concerning the inspiration of the Bible. One day it got so bad that Rev. Hoeksema told Rev. Ophoff that he would no longer be allowed to sit in on Dogmatics class, and if he didn’t stop arguing, he couldn’t come to school anymore. Seminarian Kortering had to take Rev. Ophoff home. Two giants differing with each other made a BIG impression on Seminarian Kortering because they both would not give up. He agreed with Rev. Ophoff then, and still does, but of course he never told Rev. Hoeksema.
While he was a seminarian, Rev. Kortering married Jeanette Faber who was a member of First Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They were married on June 11, 1957. The Lord blessed their home with five daughters, all of whom are married, and have given them 24 grandchildren. Rev. and Mrs. Kortering “have grown in love for each other, a love which has stood the test of raising a family and also meeting each other’s needs in a foreign culture for ten years.”
In September, 1960, Rev. Kortering became an ordained minister of the Word in the Protestant Reformed Churches. His first charge was in the congregation of Hull, Iowa where he labored until 1966 when the Lord called him to Hope Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1970, he was called to return to our church in Hull, Iowa where he labored until 1976 when he was called to go to Redlands, California. He served as pastor of Hope Church in Redlands until he was called to Loveland, Colorado in 1979. The Lord called him to labor in Loveland until 1984 when he was called to serve the new congregation in Grandville, Michigan. In 1992, the Lord called him to become Associate Pastor of Hope, Grand Rapids to serve as Minister on Loan to the Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore.
One of Rev. Kortering’s most memorable experiences in teaching catechism occurred on a Saturday afternoon in Hull, Iowa. Some of the children were waiting between classes and rang the doorbell. They were all excited because they had found a rabbit in the bushes. Rev. Kortering decided to check out the situation and noticed that it was a pregnant female rabbit. When one of the children poked her, she jumped out of the bushes and began to drop newborn bunnies along the edge of the lawn. That took care of rest of class period.
Rev. Kortering’s first graveside funeral was on an unbearably cold January day in Hull, Iowa. Funeral services were usually done outside and consisted of a graveside service and a committal. Since it was so cold, they had the service in the farm house. At the end of the service, the funeral director suggested that they also do the committal inside the house. Rev. Kortering had no idea what a committal was, and had to ask the man what he meant. All the funeral director could remember was that the minister would say something about dust to dust. He hadn’t received any seminary training about funerals, and he was so embarrassed.
Some of the congregations in which Rev. Kortering labored were hurting because of the split of 1953 or other difficulties. Rev. Kortering’s greatest joy was to see how quickly these issues were resolved and how God restored peace and vitality to the congregations.
Rev. Kortering remembers other controversies that our churches have faced such as hymn singing, divorce and remarriage, and other issues which synod has had to deal with. None of them have been as major as the split of 1953.
Rev. Kortering’s advice to young men considering the ministry is to search your hearts to be sure that God has called you to this work. You will be able to endure all difficulties. God has promised that He will enable you to do whatever work He gives you to do. Those who desire the ministry for the wrong reasons will not make it.
Rev. Kortering has not been around our young people much in the past ten years. From what he has seen, he says “they appear very normal, but they may take too much for granted the many privileges they have of Christian homes, schools, and churches. They are a VERY privileged youth.”