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Harry Bultema Collection



Biographical Note

Detailed Description

Series 1

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Harry Bultema Collection, 1918-1947 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Harry Bultema Collection, 1918-1947

ID: COLL/032

Primary Creator: Bultema, Harry (1884-1952)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Subjects: Berean Bible Church, Borgman, William, First Christian Reformed Church (Muskegon, Mich.)

Forms of Material: Legal instruments


Minister of the Christian Reformed Church and of the Berean Bible Church. The collection includes a legal document (the court decision in the case of Harry Bultema vs. William Borgman), reports, pamphlets clippings, and correspondence.

Biographical Note

The Rev. Harry (Harke) Bultema was born in Uithuizen, the Netherlands, July 16, 1884.  His godly mother’s evangelical fervor made a decided impact on her son.

In 1901 the family arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He attended the Calvin Preparatory School until 1908 and the College in 1908-1909.  Bultema graduated from Calvin Seminary in 1912.

While he was a student at Calvin he became critically ill with typhoid fever.  At that time he experienced a renewal of purpose and promised the Lord that if he recovered he would devote himself fully to serve the Lord and to read His Word daily.

The premillenarian thinking of Bultema was already evident during his seminary years.  As a student he argued with Professor F. M. Ten Hoor, who later served on a synodical committee investigation the Maranatha Controversy (1918).

It is reported that the rivalry between Bultema and Herman Hoeksema came to a climax in the seminary when Bultema criticized a sermon of H. Hoeksema during a practice preaching session.  Herman Hoeksema became a “key” figure in the removal of Bultema from the CRC.

During his ministry in his first congregation in Peoria, Iowa (1912-1916), Rev. Bultema continued his studies of millenialism.  There he began his study of the premillennial and dispensational writings of J. N. Darby, the Plymouth Brethren leader.  He also came into contact with the Rev. John Isaac Fles, a premillenarian, pastor of the Second CRC of Pella, Iowa.  The premillennialism of the founder of Pella, Scholte, also made an impact on Bultema’s thinking.  Ultimately, H. Bultema adopted the position of Spirit baptism to the exclusion of water baptism.

In 1916, H. Bultema became the pastor of the First CRC of Muskegon, Michigan.  Rev. Fles, who had served this church sixteen years, participated in the installation service.  When Fles was pastor of the Muskegon church he had preached sermons on God’s program for the Jews in Palestine, the imminent return of Jesus, and the thousand-year reign.  Premillennialism was not considered a position contrary to the confessions.  It was held, at that time, by a number of Christian Reformed ministers.

Dr. Henry Beets had encouraged H. Bultema to put his thinking into book form.  The Book, Maranatha, when published, produced a stir in the church.  The point at issue was not the premillennialism but the dispensational thrust of Bultema’s premillenarian position.  He was judged to be contrary to the Scripture and the confessions of the Church because he denied the unity of the Church of Christ and the present Kingship of Christ over the Church.  The special committee of the Synod of 1918 included the names of H. Hoeksema and Professor F. Ten Hoor.  That committee moved Synod to bring the matter to the attention of the consistory of First CRC of Muskegon.

The majority of the consistory and of the congregation sided with their pastor and sought to keep the church property.  Classis Muskegon, however, in December of 1919, deposed Bultema.  Synodical delegates concurring in the decision were Y. P. De Jong and H. Hoeksema.  The matter of the church property was adjudicated by the Michigan Supreme Court in favor of the Christian Reformed Church.

A temporary “tabernacle” served as the first building for the new congregation.  A new building was constructed a short distance south of and on the same street as the First Christian Reformed Church.  The Rev. H. Bultema served as pastor of the Berean Church for thirty-three years. Rev. Harry Bultema passed away on September 21, 1952 from cancer. He was married to Dena Kuiper.

Subject/Index Terms

Berean Bible Church
Borgman, William
First Christian Reformed Church (Muskegon, Mich.)

Box and Folder Listing

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[Series 1],

Series 1
Box 1
Folder 1: Bultema Case- reports and protest, some originals --- 1918-1920
Folder 2: Het Onstaan der Eerste Bereer Gereformeerde Gemeente van Muskegon Michigan --- 1919?
Folder 3: Press clippings on Bultema Case
Folder 4: Verklaring - premillenarians appeal to the Synod of the CRC [Jacob Jonker and John A. Van Dyke] --- 1920
Folder 5: Circuit Court judgment on First CRC property --- 1920
Folder 6: Reactions to Bultema's book, Het Wettig Gebruik der Wet --- 1922
Folder 7: Doctrinal Statement of the Berean Reformed Church --- 1924
Folder 8: Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Berean Church Muskegon, Michigan, booklet and program --- 1921-1946
Folder 9: Sermon, "Building for Eternity," Berean Church, Muskegon, Michigan --- March 31, 1946
Folder 10: Berean Church Directory, Muskegon, Michigan --- 1971?
Box 2
Folder 1: De Belijdenis der Hope [HERH BV4254.D8 B8] --- 1920
Folder 2: De Opname der Gemeente --- 1921
Folder 3: De Eenheid der Geloovigen --- 1924
Folder 4: Wat Zegt de Schrift van de Algemeene Genade?  [HERH BT761.B8] --- 1925
Folder 5: My Trip to the Glory of All Lands [HERH DS107.3 .B85 1927] --- 1927
Folder 6: Be Ye Separate --- 1939
Folder 7: Followers of God --- 1939
Folder 8: The Gospel of Resurrection and Cheer --- 1939
Folder 9: Keep Not Silence --- 1939
Folder 10: Dr. E.W. Bullinger:  His Verities and Vagaries --- 1942
Folder 11: The Identification of Israel --- 1945
Folder 12: Plea of the Sovereign God for the Yielded Life --- 1945
Folder 13: The Apostacy, AntiChrist, and Advent --- 1946
Folder 14: The Berean Church in Its Distinctive Character [HERH BX6510.B42 B8] --- 1946
Folder 15: Annihilation of the Soul --- 1947
Folder 16: Erroneous Conceptions about the Angels --- 1947
Folder 17: Erroneous Theories about the Hereafter --- 1947
Folder 18: De Bijbelcritiek aan de Theologische School --- undated
Folder 19: De Brief van Judas [HERH BS2815.B8] --- undated
Folder 20: Ethiek Classnotes --- undated
Folder 21: Leerrede over de Huiselijke Opuoeding --- undated
Folder 22: Man Dead in Sin --- undated
Folder 23: The Names of Our Wonderful Lord --- undated
Folder 24: Outlines of Prophecy --- undated
Folder 25: Thirty Proofs for the Eternal Security of the Saints --- undated
Folder 26: Truth for the Young --- undated
Folder 27: De Twee Gewraakte Punten  [HERH BX6821.B8] --- undated
Folder 28: Verklaring van Openbaringen 20 --- undated
Folder 29: Zacharia [HERH BS1665.B8] --- undated
Folder 30: Zet Uw Hart Op Uwe Wegen --- undated
Folder 31: Weenen bij den Afval:  Vijf Leerredenen --- undated
Folder 32: The Bible and Baptism: A Study on Baptism --- 1932?
Folder 33: Het Wettig Gebruik der Wit --- 1922

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