Remonstrants, Contra-Remonstrants, And The Synod Of Dordt (1618-1619): The Religious History of the Early Dutch Republic -- By: William VanDoodewaard

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 04:1 (Jan 2012)
Article: Remonstrants, Contra-Remonstrants, And The Synod Of Dordt (1618-1619): The Religious History of the Early Dutch Republic
Author: William VanDoodewaard


Remonstrants, Contra-Remonstrants, And The Synod Of Dordt (1618-1619):
The Religious History of the Early Dutch Republic1

William VanDoodewaard

The year 2011 marked four hundred years since the penning of the first formal Reformed statement, The Counter-Remonstrance of 1611, in response to the Arminian Remonstrance of 1610, signaling the intensifying of the controversy leading to the Synod of Dordt. While past decades have seen a few publications on aspects of this important chapter of church history, there remains surprisingly little English- language publication on the Synod of Dordt and correspondingly little awareness of its history—despite its relevance to ongoing discussions in contemporary Christianity.2 Some of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that in the English-speaking world the Westminster Confession of Faith stands as the preeminent confessional statement of Reformed orthodoxy. However, the present paucity was not always the case: among both contemporary seventeenth-century Scottish Presbyterians and English Reformed theologians, and their

later successors, there was both a pervasive awareness of the Synod of Dordt and a deep sense of gratitude for its theological contribution.3 This article seeks to contribute to filling the contemporary popular and scholarly gap in English-language studies of the Synod of Dordt by revisiting its history and theology in the context of the history of the United Provinces.4

The United Provinces In The Early Seventeenth Century

The political events of the Union of Utrecht (1579) and the Act of Abjuration (1581) in part laid the foundations for the seventeenth-century “Golden Age” of the Netherlands. This “Golden Age” of republican independence and Protestant liberty in the northern United Provinces was one of cultural development and national progression. It would be the era of the formation of the prosperous Dutch East and West Indies Companies, with exploration, trade, and colonization attempts ranging from the New Netherlands and Suriname to the East Indies and Formosa. Great artists, including Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and others, began their careers. The increasingly metropolitan and well-connected Republic of the United Provinces, despite its comparatively small size and population, exerted substantial influence globally. While the primary conflict with a declining Roman Catholic Spain continued, the global influence of the Protestant United Provinces was also attested in episodic ten...

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