The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt, Week Sixteen: Sessions 91-97

Session 91: Monday, February 25 AM
Synod continued to discuss the third and fourth articles of the Remonstrants. It faced the questions whether unregenerate man can understand the scriptures by himself, and whether unregenerate man has the power to do good and avoid evil.

President Bogerman gave Synod a catalogue of Remonstrant writings regarding the fifth point of doctrine.

On this day the Remonstrants presented the States-General delegates with an eighty-page defense of their second article. The States-General delegation again rebuked them for supplying a partial response, not completing it. Episcopius said that the length and incompleteness of their documents to Synod was “not of choice, but of necessity” (Brandt 3:234), and that they needed three or four more weeks to finish the task.

The States-General delegation was informed that two Remonstrant ministers from Utrecht, who were present at synod, had been deposed from the ministry, and that the family of one of them had been ordered to move out of the house by Easter (mid-April). This minister asked permission to leave the Synod in order to attend to his family’s needs. The States-General delegation told the men that it would consider the matter.

Session 92: Tuesday, February 26 AM
Synod read the Remonstrant explanation of the extent of Christ’s death. The Remonstrants were explicit that Christ died for all men in particular, not only for the elect.

Session 93: Wednesday, February 27 AM
Synod continued reading the document of the Remonstrants.

Session 94: Wednesday, February 27 PM
Theodore Tronchinus, professor at the Genevan Academy, explained and defended the doctrine of the perseverance of true believers. Since January 17, the Dutch and foreign professors had taken turns orally explaining and defending the orthodox view over against the five points. With Tronchinus’s speech, this aspect of Synod’s work was now finished, with one exception (session 106).

Session 95: Thursday, February 28 AM
Synod read more of the Remonstrants’ defense of the second article.

Session 96: Thursday, February 28 PM
Synod discussed the doctrine of perseverance.

Session 97: Friday, March 1 AM
Synod continued the discussion of the previous session.

Douglas Kuiper, Professor of Church History and New Testament
Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary