Historical Foreword Addressed to the Reformed Churches of Christ (In which the origin and progress of the differences in the Netherlands, for the removal of which this Synod was chiefly convened, are briefly and faithfully recounted).
At first he sought to free himself from all suspicion of strange doctrine, to such a degree that he even defended the doctrine of the Reformed Churches concerning the satisfaction of Christ, concerning justifying faith, concerning justification through faith, concerning the perseverance of true believers, concerning the certainty of salvation, concerning the imperfection of men in this life, and other chief points of doctrine, all of which he later contradicted and which are today opposed by his disciples, contrary to his own views (as Johannes Amoldi Corvenus openly admits in a certain Ger
To this the States-General declared that this clause must not be understood as if by it they wanted something in the doctrine of these Churches changes, seeing that review does not always bring with it change, but can also imply establishment of the doctrine. But even so, they declared that the clause could not be left out without the preceding judgment of this Province, which had expressly added it. Accordingly, on March 15, 1606, they gave to the Deputies of the Churches letters of consent in which this clause was also included.
Many among them also showed that this was their mandate from their Churches and also from the States of their Provinces. This division of judgment and advice constituted a new obstacle to the National Synod. For those who up to this time had been against the convening of the Synod, eagerly grasping this opportunity, worked in every way to the end that the convening of the Synod, although promised, might be prevented.
At the Synod of the South Holland Churches, held at Dordrecht, they took cognizance of the fact that none of the Ministers siding with Arminius had been willing until now to reveal his objections against the adopted doctrine to his fellow Ministers, but that with various alibis they had all made mockery of the admonitions of the Churches and the decisions of the Synods. It was again decided that they should earnestly order them anew, within one month after this warning, to make known their objections, under penalty of ecclesiastical censures against those who stubbornly refused.
At the beginning of the Conference they again debated concerning the order of the Articles which would be treated. Arminius seemed to think that it was advantageous for his cause to begin with predestination. But, seeing that the article concerning justification seemed to be more necessary, Gomarus believed that they should begin with this; and this was also the pleasure of the States. Concerning this point of doctrine there was the same dispute as that which had taken place earlier before the High Council, namely; whether faith itself, in respect of the fact that it is a deed, is.
(Connection: In the preceding section we saw Gomarus, accompanied by several of his fellow ministers, debating against Arminius, accompanied by several of his fellows. The subject was the various points of doctrine about which they disagreed. The conference was held in the presence of the States. At the conclusion of the conference, the States promised to convene a Provincial Synod; but to this promise conditions were attached with which the Reformed ministers could not comply. They also ordered both parties to submit their views in writing.
(Connection: In the previous installment we learned: 1) That the Remonstrants were pushing for the appointment of Vorstius as the replacement for Arminius at Leiden. 2) That the Remonstrants gained a certain legal standing for their Five Points, so that candidates for the ministry could not be questioned about these. 3) That in this process the document called the Remonstrance finally came into the possession of the Reformed party. 4) That all of this led to the Conference at the Hague in 1611.
Connection: In the preceding section we saw: 1) That Conrad Vorstius, the Socinian nominee to replace Arminius at Leiden, returned to the Netherlands. 2) That King James I, of Great Britain, strongly warned against Vorstius. 3) That the Curators of the Academy were ordered not to proceed with the call of Vorstius. 4) That the Hague Conference resulted in no solution to the problems in the churches.)
(Connection: In the last installment we saw the conflict become more intense. In some parts of the country actual separation began to take place, and even the formation of so-called “nood-gemeenten” (emergency congregations). Meanwhile, Simon Episcopius, on advice of the Remonstrants, was called to the Academy of Leiden. Again pleas were made to the States-General to authorize a National Synod; but this was prevented through the influence of. the Remonstrants. The latter continued to make open and shameful propaganda, to the grief and injury of the churches.)