Richard Newhouse

Dear Prof. Engelsma,

I read with great interest your article in the January Beacon Lights, and am looking forward to reading the February article as well. I have a couple of questions about the January article.

First of all, regarding Richard Newhouse’s question to Prof. Volbeda on his inconsistency in defending sovereign, particular grace, but not Hoeksema, Danhof and Ophoff, do you know what response Volbeda gave, if any?

Secondly, I have seen some old pictures of the consistory of Hope CRC of Riverbend, which was deposed by Classis Grand Rapids West. In these pictures is a certain R. Niewenhuis. Is this Richard Newhouse as well, with the Dutch spelling?

Thank you for writing this series. I find it both interesting and edifying.


If Prof. Volbeda replied to Richard Newhouse, the answer has not come down in the tradition.

It is just as well.

Newhouse’s question was rhetorical.

The “little Dutchman,” having only a third-grade education, but possessing the wisdom of the Spirit, pointed out a truth that holds today, as much as it held then. If a man will not speak out on behalf of the cause of Christ in the arena where it is being attacked and at the time that the issue is being decided (the church papers and the meeting of the church assemblies), all his pious talk to the people elsewhere and at times convenient and safe for himself is so much self-serving “praatje” (as Newhouse would have said). “Praatje” is Dutch for idle chatter.

Richard Newhouse is indeed the R. Niewenhuis of the Protestant Reformed histories. You will find him (at Rev. Ophoff’s right hand) in the picture of the consistory of the Hope Christian Reformed Church, Riverbend, Michigan, that was deposed by Classis Grand Rapids West of the Christian Reformed Church in January 1925, on page 21 of Herman Hoeksema’s The Protestant Reformed Churches (2nd ed., 1947).

You will find him also, now as R. Newhouse, in the picture of the consistory of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in the twenty-fifth anniversary book of the Protestant Reformed Churches, Twenty-five Year Jubilee of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America 1925-1950 (p.18, back row, far left).

—Prof. David J. Engelsma