All Articles For Vol 95 Issue 03 11/1/2018

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The Synod of Dordt condemned heresy and upheld the truth of the gospel. The heresy that it condemned was not only an error that concerned the content of the gospel. But it was also a heresy that concerned the preaching of the gospel. In a unique way the error of Arminianism concerned not only the message of the gospel, but also the way in which the gospel was proclaimed. It concerned both what was preached and how it was preached. For the Synod of Dordt condemned the Arminian perversion of the gospel as an offer of faith and salvation. Sadly,...

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After long deliberation, the Great Synod officially adopted both the Canons themselves and a Conclusion. Although the Conclusion is not a part of our Reformed creed, it is very helpful to understand what the fathers said in it, and why. The Conclusion is instructive, not only for students interested in history. It has important application for Reformed believers today. We can learn from it. But who has read it? To spur on the reader to read the Conclusion itself, I present my own somewhat loose paraphrase of it. I trust even teenagers will understand my paraphrase, who might not make...

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Conditional versus unconditional perseverance (or preservation) Conditionality is the key to Arminianism, where salvation depends on the activity of the sinner: God chooses you if He foresees you will believe (conditional election); Christ redeems you by the cross if you accept it (conditional atonement); the Spirit saves you if you do not resist Him (resistible grace); and God will keep you in the state of salvation if you cooperate with His grace (conditional perseverance). Of course, conditional salvation requires that the sinner be partially depraved, so that he retains some power of free will (partial depravity). If you wanted to...

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In Head IV of the Canons, the head that sets forth the truth of “irresistible grace,” are to be found some of the most exquisite phrases not only in the Canons but in all the great Reformed confessions. When describing how the Holy Spirit deals with those whom He intends to save, the Canons declare that the Spirit’s regenerating grace does not do violence to our wills, “…but spiritually quickens, heals, corrects, and at the same time sweetly and powerfully bends it; that where carnal rebellion and resistance formerly prevailed, a ready and sincere spiritual obedience begins to reign…” (III/IV,...

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The title of the third and fourth heads of doctrine in the Canons of Dordt is “Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.” In the familiar acronym used to summarize the five main doctrines treated in the Canons, “TULIP,” the third and fourth heads explain the “T,” total depravity, and the “I,” irresistible grace. This article will cover the first part of these heads, treating the subject of fallen man’s total depravity (Arts. 1-5; rejection of errors, Arts. 1-5). Before explaining the content of this opening section of Heads III/IV, a question worth asking...

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Introduction The second of the doctrines in the Canons of Dordt that teach and defend the gospel of salvation by grace alone is the truth of the death of Jesus Christ as effectual atonement of God’s elect people, and of the elect only. Atonement is the reconciliation of sinful humans to God by the satisfying of the justice of God. This satisfaction is the payment to God of the suffering of the punishment of sin that God’s justice demands and the rendering to God of the obedience to His law that His justice requires. The lifelong obedience climaxing in the...

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The first head of doctrine in the Canons of Dordt sets forth the Reformed teaching regarding divine predestination, and exposes some errors regarding that doctrine. I will explain the Arminian error that our Reformed fathers rejected, summarize the positive teaching of the first head, and evaluate the Reformed response. Unless otherwise noted, every article of the Canons to which I refer is found in Head I. The Arminian error: Reprobation Simon Episcopius, the Arminians’ spokesman at the Synod of Dordt, said: “We do not so much scruple at the doctrine of Election; but it is in that of Reprobation that...

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The Canons of Dordt is an amazing document with an amazing history to match. Drawn up by the Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-19, it sets forth the Reformed doctrine of salvation, explaining further the teaching of the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession. Our purpose is to explore some of this history and its significance. What occasioned the Synod of Dordrecht? And how did God accomplish His purposes in the meeting of this great Synod? The setting of the Synod was, first of all, Dordrecht, a city in the province of South Holland, in the Lowlands.1 The Lowlands was an...

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Four hundred years ago, theologians—pastors and professors—from Reformed churches all over Europe were wending their way to the town of Dordrecht, in the province of Utrecht, in the Lowlands. They were coming by invitation of the Reformed churches and the States General, the governing political body of the provinces. These men came knowing that they were facing a difficult task, namely, confronting a dangerous heresy with many heads and much deception. Did they know that they were leaving behind their families and their labors for six months? Probably not. But they were willing to pay the cost, to sacrifice and...

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*Translated and edited by Prof. Douglas Kuiper and Dr. H. David Schuringa. Balthasar Lydius was a Reformed minister in Dordrecht from 1602-1629, and was delegated by the Synod of South Holland to attend the great synod.[1] As the local pastor, two honors fell to him on November 13, 1618: that of preaching a Dutch sermon in the morning before the Synod opened, and that of opening the first session of the Synod with prayer. He prayed in Latin. A partial English translation of the prayer has been available for centuries,[2] but it is based on the memory of some in...

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