One Practical Benefit Of Remembering The Synod Of Dort

Eight years ago my colleague at Abounding Grace Radio, Chris Gordon, wrote some important essays calling attention to the parallels between contemporary Federal Vision movement and the Arminian movement at the Synod of Dort. He was quite right to do so. Following his lead, I have found the same sorts of connections and others. Follow the link at the bottom of this post to the series now on the AGR Live Blog.

One practical benefit of remembering the Synod of Dort is that we will know Remonstrant when we see it in our time, in this case in the Federal Vision theology.

  1. The Arminius Paradigm
  2. The Arminius Paradigm: The Basement Tapes
  3. For Those Thinking Of Inviting Arminius Into The Pulpit
  4. Synod of Dort: Arminius Brought Out Of Hell


A few years back I found an extremely rare copy of John Hales’ Letters From the Synod of Dort (1688). John Hales (1584–1656), often called the Ever-Memorable for his Greek lectures at Oxford, became a well-known clergyman and scholar in the mid-seventeenth century. He served as Chaplain for Sir Dudley Carleton (1573–1632) and was given the responsibility to observe and record the proceedings at the Synod of Dort. These letters are somewhat scarce, and, to my knowledge, have not been reprinted since the seventeenth century. Recently, a friend rebound my volume, and for the past few nights I have read well into the night learning things about the Synod of Dort that I never knew.

What particularly interests me is how difficult it was for the Synod to get to the bottom of the Remonstrant errors. Charges of schism, disunity, incompetence, conscience wounding, heresy-hunting, over-scrupulous dissection of words, misunderstanding et al, were made by the Remonstrants against the Synod of Dort. Further, it was nearly impossible to get the Remonstrants to cooperate and be honest in declaring what they believed on the certain points in question. Since the Remonstrants would not cooperate at the Synod, the matter was finally resolved by going to their many teachings, books, and sermons delivered in public forum to discern what they were actually saying. Some of their brief “statements” set before the Synod were not clear and required further exploration of their views, especially when they refused to be open and honest. All this to say, there is much more agony we are unaware of that went on behind the scenes to finally produce what we enjoy and know today as the Canons of Dort. Read more»

Christ Gordon AGR Live

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    • Thank you! It seems to be the perennial struggle of the church to maintain the good news of the covenant of grace, that God in Christ has atoned for ours sins AND provided the perfect righteousness we require to stand justified before our perfect and holy God, against the wiles of “such people who are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.” Rom. 16:18
      It is a failure to comprehend the rôle of good works and obedience in the life of a Christian, whether good works function as doing our part for final justification, or as a response of love and gratitude to God, in faith and trust that He has done all for our justification. Tragically, when they insist that we need to do our part for final justification, they are turning the covenant of grace into the covenant of works, and it is impossible, since the fall, to be justified under the covenant of works. It is nothing short of denying the gospel altogether.

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