Canons of Dordt (Part One)

By Wes Nunley

The Canons of Dordt are among the many confessional documents of Christianity that arose out of a need to defend the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. So where does this confession come from? The Confession comes to us from the Dutch Churches of the 16th century in the Netherlands.

The Synod met in 1618-1619 to address a controversy that had risen in the Dutch Church. This controversy was brought on by the spread of an unbiblical man centered view of Christianity, specifically pertaining to salvation known as Arminiainism. Jacob Arminius a professor of theology at Leiden University started questioning clearly biblical teachings such as: the reality of mans plight, salvation by grace alone and perseverance of the saints. Arminius advocated for election that was based on foreseen faith, making faith a work not a gift. If election is based on foreseen faith the ultimate reason some are saved and some are not lies within themselves and not within God .

After the death of Professor Arminius his followers presented his views on five key points of doctrine known as the Remonstrance . To address the error of Jacob Arminius’s followers the Reformed Churches assembled on November 3rd, 1618 with 27 representatives of foreign Churches and delegates from Germany, Switzerland and England. The Synod convened 154 times meeting for the last time on May 9th of 1619. The reformed Churches arrived at a consensus producing a confession aptly titled “The Canons of Dordt”.
It is my hope to blog through this gem over the next few months. I will post the confession article by article and demonstrate how each article of the confession is thoroughly biblical. The Canons of Dordt is a clear articulation of the Gospel, and there is no message in all the universe more important than the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Other confessional documents produced to defend the faith include: The Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.

Arminians, followers of Jacob Arminius were the first group to come up with the “five points”. Five points often refers to the Doctrines of Grace and is labeled “Calvinism”. What is commonly called the five points of Calvinism was simply a response to the five errors of Arminianism and actually has little to do with John Calvin. The so called “five points of Calvinism” are derived from “The Canons of Dordt”. John Calvin died in 1564, 55 years before The Canons of Dordt and was a Reformer in France, Dordt took place in the Netherlands. The “five points of Calvinism” is a misnomer.


Wes is a student at Boyce College. You can follow him on Twitter @yelnunsew

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