Our fathers obviously cite the text in I Peter 1:23 in order to make one point, namely, that we are born again out of incorruptible seed. This, to them, makes the Arminian teaching of regeneration that can be lost and of frequent regenerations of the same individual absurd.
Article 8. Who teach: That it is not absurd that one having lost his first regeneration, is again and even often born anew. For these deny by this doctrine the incorruptibleness of the seed of God, whereby we are born again. Contrary to the testimony of the Apostle Peter: “Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,” I Peter 1:23.
As we mentioned last time, our fathers in this article reject the Arminian contention that temporary faith and saving faith differ only in duration with an appeal to the Parable of the Sower, or, more correctly, the Parable of the Four Kinds of Soil. And they make a comparison between one class of bad soil and the good soil. They single out the stony soil, undoubtedly because, as we have seen, Scripture specifically mentions that these believe for a while and later fall away.
Article 7. Who teach: That the faith of those, who believe for a; time, does not differ from justifying and saving faith except only in duration. For Christ himself, in Matt.
In brief this objection of the Arminians is that the doctrine of the certain perseverance of the saints and of the assurance thereof is intrinsically an immoral doctrine: it leads necessarily and inevitably to carelessness and profanity. It is a soft cushion on which the flesh may recline in ease and utter unconcern for morality and godliness. The Arminians argued that on the basis of this doctrine one will certainly assume that he has “arrived.” There is nothing more to be done. There is no more battle to be fought.
The third of the Three Forms of Unity commonly adopted by Reformed churches of Dutch extraction is usually known as the Canons of Dordrecht, or the Five Articles Against the Remonstrants. The full original title of this symbol reads as follows: “Judgment of the National Synod of the Reformed Churches of the united Netherlands: held in Dordrecht in the year 1618 and 1619.
It was not long after Arminius’ ordination at Amsterdam in 1588 that his erroneous views began to come to light. The occasion of this was Coornhert’s agitation against the doctrine of election. Arminius, whose views were not at this time in question as yet and who was accepted as being truly Reformed, was asked to refute the views of Coornhert and to defend the teachings of his former teacher, Beza.
By the name “de groote synode” Reformed people of Dutch ancestry are wont to call the National Synod of Dordrecht, 1618-19. And well may we continue to remember it as the “great synod”. For grep.t it was in every respect. In a way we may say that it marks the arrival at majority, the maturing, of the Reformation in the Netherlands. Great was this synod, to be sure, as far as its length was concerned. For it gathered in almost uninterrupted sessions from November of the year 1618 until May of 1619. Great it was, too, as far as its...
Besides the national and the foreign delegates to the synod, there, was one more group of officials whom we may mention in passing, not because their presence was so important but because to us, who are accustomed to the separation of church and state, their presence is a bit of a curiosity.