Our post today is excerpted from the Minutes of the 157th General Synod of the RPCES (page 172), and concerns one of the great leaders of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod:
When the Lord took the Rev. Max Belz home to heaven on December 2, 1978, the Midwestern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, lost one of its most colorful and most beloved members. He had been a member of this presbytery continuously since his entrance into the denomination in 1948 at the time when he led his congregation at Cono Center near Walker, Iowa, to throw off the shackles of the compromising fellowship of the Presbyterian Church in the USA.
Although his was a rural church, it was always under his leadership a veritable beehive of activity. Max Belz was one of the first pastors in the denomination to recognize the significant importance of the preservation of the faith and nurture of the hearts and minds of children of the church in an age when the public school systems were becoming increasingly anti-Christian. With the support and encouragement of some of his faithful elders and friends he established Cono Christian School. The influence of this institution has been a blessing throughout the entire denomination. It has set an example of high quality Christian education which has been followed in a good many of our churches.
Max Belz was always deeply involved in the work of the church as a whole. He was a member of the founding board of Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary. He has also served on the board of Christian Training, Inc. It was through his initiative that the Bulletin News Supplement was begun, and for years he was responsible not only for its editing but also its printing-and he rejoiced in serving the church he loved so well.
His last extended journey away from his home was to the Grand Rapids meeting of the synod last June. Of this visit his son, Joel, wrote, “I think he sensed a foretaste of his welcome to heaven itself as he was embraced by so many with whom he has worked in the last 30 years.
Surely the greatest witness to the life and testimony of Max Belz and his dear wife, Jean, is the family that he left behind when he was taken to glory. Every one of his eight children is an active, dedicated Christian reflecting the godliness that their father and mother exhibited day after day in their home. Max and Jean Belz instilled in their children an appreciation for the value of hard work, but they also surrounded them with parental love and tender care even as they taught them of the love of God.
Although he lived in a rural area there are some respects in which Max Belz was ahead of his time. His founding of the Cono Educational Network is an example of this. Everyone who has been closely associated with him is grateful to God for this gifted servant of the Lord whose zealous commitment to his Saviour was an inspiration that remains even though Max Belz himself is with the Lord he loved so fervently.