Historical Forward to the Acts of the National Synod of Dordrecht (30)

The following is our final excerpt from “The Voice of Our Fathers: An Exposition of the Canons of Dordrecht” and is used by permission from the Reformed Free Publishing Association

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Meanwhile, the States General on June 25 sent letters to his Royal Majesty James I of Great Britain, to the deputies of the Reformed churches of France, to the illustrious Elector of the Palatinate and Brandenburg, to the most Illustrious Count of Hesse, to the four Reformed Republics of Switzerland (Zurich, Bern, Bazel, and Schaffhuizen), to the Dukes of the Wetterau, to the Republics of Geneva, Bremen, and Emden. In these letters they requested them to send to this synod some of their theologians who were outstanding in learning, godliness, and wisdom, who with their counsel and judgment, along with the delegates of the Netherlands churches, could diligently labor to still the differences that had arisen in these Netherlands churches to bring peace again to those churches. When all of this was thoroughly arranged and accomplished, at the set time the delegates of the Netherlands churches and the foreign theologians, with few exceptions, arrived at Dordrecht and the national synod was begun in the name of the Lord on November 13.

“When all of this was thoroughly arranged and accomplished…the national synod was begun in the name of the Lord on November 13.”

What was treated in this synod the understanding reader will learn in detail from the Acts and Proceedings of Synod that are published for the benefit and advantage of the Reformed churches. Added to these Acts, besides other documents submitted to this synod, are the opinions of all the theologians concerning the five articles of the Remonstrance as they had been presented to the synod in order for the Reformed churches more clearly to understand on which scriptural passages and reasons the Canons are based. There is no doubt that the understanding reader will discover in these opinions an altogether wonderful and complete agreement. In case it might appear to anyone that in certain less important things a degree of diversity arose, this will be a proof that in this gathering there was the proper freedom of prophecy and judgment, and that nevertheless they all together with united voice agreed in the doctrine expressed in the Canons, which were subscribed to by everyone, not one being excepted or objecting, for a testimony of unity.

Finally, all Reformed churches are begged to embrace, preserve, advance, and pass on to their descendants this orthodox doctrine, so solemnly declared and established from God’s word in this synod, to the honor of God and to the comfort and salvation of souls.

“Finally, all Reformed churches are begged to embrace, preserve, advance, and pass on to their descendants this orthodox doctrine, so solemnly declared and established from God’s word in this synod, to the honor of God and to the comfort and salvation of souls.”

At the same time they are asked to hold in esteem the godly and never sufficiently praised zeal and diligence of the States General of the United Netherlands for the preservation of the purity and soundness of the Reformed religion, as well as the labor and blessedness of so many outstanding teachers of the churches who were present at this synod to stand for this doctrine and to be favorable toward it. Above all they are asked earnestly to pray the good and almighty God that he will mercifully preserve the Netherlands churches and all others who with them confess the same sound doctrine in unity of the faith, of peace, and of rest, and that he will impart to the Remonstrants and to all others who are in error, better senses and understanding, and by the grace of his Spirit bring them at last to the knowledge of the truth, to the honor of his divine name, to the edification of the churches, and to the salvation of us all, through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the one true and immortal God, be praise, honor, and glory forever. Amen.