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All Articles For The Covenant and Dordt

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Assurance was a significant doctrine faced at the Synod of Dordt in 1618–19. The Arminians insisted no man could have assurance that salvation was his unless he was told: “God loves you and wants to save you.” And, said the Arminians, that might not be said to him unless it is true that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and God’s desire is to save all. Assurance is also a significant issue in the doctrine of the covenant. The conditional covenant touts itself as the covenant theology that gives the most assurance. The assurance it gives (so it is...

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The Canons’ positive treatment of the Reformed doctrine of total depravity is straightforward and relatively brief. And yet, all nine articles of the Rejection of Errors condemn errors of the Remonstrants connected with total depravity. The reason for this is simple. The Canons set forth the Reformed truth over against the specific teaching of the Remonstrants. However, the Reformed doctrine of total depravity was explicitly set forth in the existing confessions, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession of Faith. The Remonstrants did not write what they really believed about fallen man. If they had, they would obviously contradict the...

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Head 2 of the Canons sets forth the Reformed truth that Jesus’ death is an effectual atonement for sin, because it was a substitutionary death and a satisfaction for the sins of the elect only. In harmony with that, the gospel never promises salvation to all who hear the preaching. Rather, in the preaching, though all hearers are commanded to repent and believe, the promise of eternal life is specifically spoken to those who believe. Only the elect can and do believe, for election is the fountain of faith. And since the sacrament of baptism is a sign and seal...

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The second head of the Canons teaches that Christ’s death on the cross was an effectual redemption of the elect. The Canons rejected the Remonstrants’ (Arminian) teaching that Christ died “for all men and every man.” The Remonstrants also maintained that not all for whom Christ died receive the saving benefits but only those who believe, which is to say, only those who fulfill the condition of faith. Accordingly, they perverted the preaching of the gospel, turning it into a general offer of salvation from God to all who hear the preaching. They insisted that God wills (desires) the salvation...

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The Reformed theology of God’s everlasting covenant of grace must be in harmony with the doctrines of grace set forth in the Canons of Dordt. That is the premise of these editorials. That the covenant and salvation are inseparable is admitted even by those who teach that the covenant is a conditional relationship with every baptized child, for they insist that God promises salvation to each of these children (conditionally). We have shown that God established His covenant with Christ and those chosen eternally in Him. This is the teaching of both Scripture and the Canons. Since the covenant is...

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