Synod of Dort

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DORT, SYNOD OF

DORT, SYNOD OF. Convened in 1618 in the Dutch city of Dordrecht, the Synod of Dort met to settle the Arminian, or Remonstrant, controversy within the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. This controversy, which had developed over the course of a decade, centered around the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. Other issues, including the precise confessional status of the Belgic Confession (an early doctrinal statement of the Reformed churches in the Low Countries) in the church and the relationship between civil and ecclesiastical authority, also played a role in the controversy. The synod included delegates from the Dutch Reformed Church as well as representatives from other Reformed churches throughout Europe. With the presence of foreign delegates, the synod took on an international character and represented an important step in defining and codifying seventeenth-century Calvinism. Meeting over the course of 180 sessions, the delegates examined and rejected the central doctrines of the Arminian party and confirmed the doctrine of double predestination along with a number of its corollaries, including the sovereignty of God, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. These doctrinal decisions, formulated in the Canons of Dort, gave the Reformed Church of the Netherlands greater coherence but also made it clear that the Arminian position would not be accepted within the Dutch Reformed Church. After the synod ended in May 1619, the Remonstrants were expelled from the church and faced persecution within the Dutch Republic. The Canons of Dort became one of the confessional standards of the Dutch Reformed Church and gained general acceptance throughout the Reformed churches of Europe as a clear expression of Calvinist orthodoxy.

See also Calvinism ; Dutch Republic ; Oldenbarneveldt, Johan van .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benedict, Philip. Christ's Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism. New Haven, 2002. See Chapter 10 (especially pp. 297317).

Israel, Jonathan. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 14771806. Oxford and New York, 1995. See Chapters 1620 (especially pp. 421477).

Michael A. Hakkenberg

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Synod of Dort (conference to prepare doctrine for Protestant Church): see DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH.

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Dort, Synod of: see DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH.