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All Articles For Dordt 400: Memorial Stones

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“…These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.”—Joshua 4:7c Sessions 155-180 of the Synod of Dordt, held from May 13 to 29, 1619, constituted the Synod’s fourth and final phase. These are called the Post-Acta sessions because they were held after the Synod had finished its primary business (judging the Remonstrants and drafting the Canons) and after the foreign delegates had left. In Dutch versions of the Acts of Synod, the minutes of these sessions are found in the very back of the book, following all of the judgments relating to the Remonstrant matter that the...

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“…These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.”—Joshua 4:7c In early May of 1619 the Synod of Dordt treated three cases of alleged false teaching: it condemned four Remonstrant ministers; it condemned Conrad Vorstius (see the issue of April 15); and it exonerated John Maccovius. Maccovius and the charge against him John Maccovius was born and raised in Poland. He attended various European universities, including the one in Franeker, Friesland. In July 1614 he began teaching theology at Franeker, with Sibrand Lubbertus (delegate to Dordt) as his senior colleague. It soon became evident that Maccovius maintained...

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“…These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.”—Joshua 4:7c The third phase of the Synod included sessions 58­-154, lasting from January 14 to May 9, 1619. During this phase Synod deliberated regarding its response to the Remonstrant error and prepared the Canons of Dordt. In early May Synod also treated three cases of alleged false teaching: it condemned the four Remonstrant ministers from Kampen (see blog posts at dordt400.org); it condemned Conrad Vorstius; and it exonerated John Maccovius. This article will focus on the case of Vorstius, and the next one will focus on the case...

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“These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.”—Joshua 4:7c During its sessions the Synod treated four distinct matters relating to the administration of the sacrament of baptism. Baptism in the Dutch East Indies Synod met during the Dutch Golden Age. The Dutch had established a merchant colony in the East Indies. Dutch families who moved there had adopted or enslaved some of the native children. At session 18 (December 1, 1618), the delegates from North Holland (the province from which ships were ready to sail) asked whether these children could be baptized if the ones bringing...

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“…These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.”—Joshua 4:7c The Synod of Dordt’s 180 sessions can be divided into four phases (December 15, 2018 issue). During the first phase, from November 13 to December 5, 1618, Synod treated four matters: 1) Bible translation (sessions 6-13); 2) Heidelberg Catechism preaching (sessions 14-17, 20); 3) baptism of slaves and adopted children in the Dutch East Indies (sessions 18-19); and 4) training students for the ministry (sessions 18-20). More detailed comments about these matters can be found at https://dordt400.org/category/400_years_ago/. The May 1, 2019 issue of the Standard Bearer (a...

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The Synod was growing frustrated with the Remonstrants. The Acts1 helps us understand why: the Remonstrants would not directly answer questions put to them; they tried to divert the discussion to other matters; and they repeatedly referred to the Synod as a conference, viewing themselves as equals with the delegates. They would not submit to the Synod or cooperate with its investigation into their views. At the momentous 57th ses­sion, on January 14, 1619, the matter came to a head: Pres­ident Johannes Bogerman ex­pelled the Remonstrants from the Synod. Bogerman’s speech His expulsion speech is not recorded in the official Acts,...

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Between November 13, 1618 and May 29, 1619, the Synod of Dordt met in 180 sessions. The interested reader can find a weekly summary of the Synod’s work at www.dordt400.org. In this article I will give only a broad overview of the sessions.1 180 sessions The Synod’s sessions included four phases: before the Arminians appeared (sessions 1-21, Nov. 13 to Dec. 5); the examination of the Arminians (sessions 22- 57, Dec. 6 to Jan. 14); the deliberations regarding the Arminians and the drafting of the Canons of Dordt (sessions 58-154, Jan. 14-May 9); and after the foreign delegates left (sessions...

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The Synod of Dordt met in the city of Dordrecht, in a building called the Kloveniersdoelen. The city Two other cities were considered as possible locations for the synod: The Hague (the national capital) and Utrecht. Utrecht was ruled out because it was “a stronghold of Remonstrants.”1 On November 20, 1617, the national government decided that the synod should meet in Dordrecht.2 This city had been the site of a significant provincial synod in 1574, and of the first national synod in 1578. More importantly, the city was considered safe. It was an island city with walled gates, so entry...

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“…These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.”—Joshua 4:7c Of the 104 men delegated to the Synod of Dordt (see last article in the Sept. 1 issue), 18 represented the Dutch national government, known as the States General. Why were they there? The Reformed church in the Netherlands was supervised and supported by the national government. Without the government’s permission, no national synod could meet. Only three national synods had been held previously (at Dordt in 1578; Middelburg, 1581; and ’s Gravenhage, 1586). It would be thirty-two years before the government permitted the fourth national synod....

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…These stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever. Joshua 4:7c Delegates to the Synod of Dordt numbered 104 men. They fall into four groups: 1) minister and elder delegates from the provincial synods, 2) theological professors, 3) international delegates, and 4) delegates from the national government. Of the ten Dutch provincial synods that sent del­egates, nine were synods of geographical regions— Gelderland-Zutphen, South Holland, North Hol­land, Zeeland, Utrecht, Friesland, Overijssel, Gron­ingen, and Drenthe. The tenth, the Walloon synod, was made up of French-speaking refugees from southern Belgium who had organized churches in the Netherlands. These ten...

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