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The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt (6) Week Five: Sessions 25-33

Session 25: Monday, December 10 AM
     The previous week, Synod had permitted the three Remonstrant delegates from Utrecht to remain as delegates on five conditions. These delegates agreed to three of the five, including taking the synodical oath, but had reservations about the first two, including stating that they were able to judge the fallacy of the Remonstrant position. After further discussion, two of them agreed to join the Remonstrants seated in the middle of the room. The third was ready to take the synodical oath, but Synod asked him not to return as a delegate.
     Do you remember that Episcopius had made a long speech the previous Friday? After he had finished, when President Bogerman asked him for a copy to enter into Synod’s record, he said he did not have a presentable copy. Synod became aware that he had given a copy to some foreign delegates. President Bogerman rebuked Episcopius for his deception.
     Synod then asked the Remonstrants to present their opinions regarding the Five Points of the Remonstrants, and their objections to the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism. They responded by presenting a paper that set forth twelve conditions that a synod must meet for it to be considered a proper synod.

Session 26: Monday, December 10 PM
     Synod rejected the idea that these twelve conditions defined a proper synod, and exhorted the Remonstrants to submit to the Synod. The Remonstrants retorted by calling the Synod schismatic.

Session 27: Tuesday, December 11 AM
     Again Synod asked the Remonstrants to present their opinions and objections. This time the Remonstrants expressed two grievances: the Synod was prejudiced against them, and President Bogerman and the States General were treating them unfairly. They compared themselves to Athanasius who left the council that Constantine called because he knew the council was biased against him. They also pointed out that the Reformed would not attend the Council of Trent for the same reason. The Remonstrants said they would not have come to the Synod at all, were it not for the presence and authority of the national government, which they said they honored.
     The ecclesiastical and state delegates all sided with Bogerman on the charge against Episcopius.

Session 28: Tuesday, December 11 PM
     Synod expressed that if anything, President Bogerman had been too soft in his words to the Remonstrants. Synod declared that the Remonstrants could not say that they honored the national government, while at the same time despising the Synod which the national government had called. Synod assigned each delegation to prepare written advice how further to respond.

Session 29: Wednesday, December 12 AM
     The judgments of the foreign delegates regarding the protest that the Remonstrants had made the previous day were read. Always the judgments of the foreign delegates were presented in the same order: first England, then the Palatinate (Heidelberg), then Hesse, Switzerland, Nassau-Wetterau, Genevan, Bremen, and Emden.
     The States General delegation reprimanded Episcopius for his speech and conduct.

Session 30: Wednesday, December 12 PM
     When Synod asked the Remonstrants if they were ready to proceed to business, Episcopius asked permission to read a prepared writing. He was given permission only after the state delegation reviewed his writing to be sure it did not contain new allegations against the Synod.
     Episcopius recounted the injury done to his reputation, and explained his actions regarding not providing Synod with a copy of his speech. He had written notes, he said, but they were not complete; and he did not provide them because he knew the Synod was against him, and he expected the Synod to use his speech against him. He had given the States General delegation a copy at their request, but without comparing it to the original. Synod responded that it did not need to hear his explanation; it knew the truth of the matter well enough.
     Now would the Remonstrants get down to business? They said they would. The States General delegation reminded them to speak to the point, and not to speak without permission.
     Encouraged that progress could be made, Synod asked if the Remonstrants would provide their written opinions regarding predestination (the first of the Five Articles). They responded that they had prepared to discuss the matter, not to provide a written statement. They had never understood that Synod desired a written statement from them; they had come to attend a “conference.” The States General delegation read aloud the letters requiring them to appear before Synod, showing that the letters had informed them that they were to give their explanation of the Five Articles, after which Synod would judge the matter. The Remonstrants reiterated that a verbal discussion would be the better route. Synod instructed them to provide their written opinions regarding divine predestination at the morning session the following day.
    And, had they written out their objections to some teachings of the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism? No. They had objections, but the objections were not written out.

Session 31: Thursday, December 13 AM
     Episcopius read aloud the opinion of the Remonstrants concerning the First Article, and predestination. (See Homer Hoeksema, The Voice of our Fathers, 103). Each Remonstrant was asked if he agreed with Episcopius’ comments, and each said he did.

Session 32: Friday, December 14 AM
     Synod required the Remonstrants to provide their written opinions regarding Articles Two through Five by the following Monday. Synod also instructed the Remonstrants to express their opinions positively, because they had previously stated what they did not believe rather than what they did believe.

Session 33: Saturday, December 15 AM
     Abraham Schultetus, professor from Heidelberg, preached a sermon on Psalm 122, in which he exhorted the delegates to peace. Brandt notes that earlier in the Synod, Schultetus had desired a way to reconcile the Remonstrants and orthodox, but that after finding such impossible, he stood firmly with the orthodox.

Conference Schedule

Dordt 400 will be held April 25 – 27, 2019 and will feature 7 speeches.  In addition there will be a question and answer session, some short biographical speeches,  as well as opportunities to praise our Lord with music and song.

THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2019 

7:00 pm – 9:00 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019

8:30 AM – 8:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2019

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Rev. Mark Shand

Mark Shand was ordained in 2001 as a minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia.  From 2001-2009, He served as the minister in the Winnaleah congregation of the EPC and from 2009 to the present he has been the minister of the Launceston congregation.  

Rev. Mark Shand will speak on The Call of the Gospel

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt (5) Week Four: Sessions 19-24

Session 19: Monday, December 3 AM
     Should heathen slave children in the East Indies be baptized? Synod decided that only those children should be baptized who had come to years, had been instructed in the faith and made profession of faith, and who desired baptism. It applied the same decision to heathen adopted children who had not been sufficiently taught to that point.
     Synod then began hearing the judgments of the delegations regarding preparing students for the ministry.

Session 20: Tuesday, December 4 AM
     President Bogerman broadened the issue regarding preparing students for the ministry by putting these questions before the Synod: May these students preach? May they administer baptism? May they attend consistory and classis meetings? May they read the Holy Scriptures during the church worship services? Synod insisted that only ordained ministers may baptize. Regarding the other activities, Synod said that while students may do them, Synod was not ready to make a rule for all churches. It encouraged each church and classis to face these questions themselves, stressing the urgency of students gaining experience.
     The Utrecht Remonstrants presented written objections to previous decisions (sessions 14, 17) regarding Heidelberg Catechism preaching and teaching, and asked Synod to enter their objections in its minutes. President Bogerman responded that Synod’s decision was made by majority vote (requiring submission to it), and that the States General had instructed that the minutes include only final decisions, not discussions or objections.

Session 21: Wednesday, December 5 AM
     Being ill, one delegate had never arrived. His alternate appeared, presented his credentials, and was seated.
     The Remonstrants whom the Synod had instructed to appear for examination (session 4) were to appear before Synod on this day, but were not present. The Remonstrant delegates from Utrecht assured Synod that these would appear soon. (Remember that the Arminians were called “Remonstrants” because the core teachings of Arminianism had been written in a document called “The Remonstrance,” written in 1610).
     Books had been published, some anonymously, that had caused unrest in the churches (presumably because they promoted Arminian teachings). Some churches asked the Synod to provide a way to regulate book publishing. The foreign delegations informed Synod how their churches had addressed the matter. Synod decided that this was not an ecclesiastical matter, but one that belonged to the civil government.

Session 22: Thursday, December 6 AM
      Having just arrived in Dordrecht, the Remonstrants who were required to appear before Synod asked permission not to appear until Saturday or Monday. This would give them time to find lodging and put their books and writings in order. Synod decided that they should briefly appear at this session, since they had not appeared the previous day as required.
     On this date the States General published a notice that no one was permitted to write, print, distribute, or sell a book which speaks ill of the civil authorities, and that no book may be published without being approved by a government agency.
     The Remonstrants appeared and were shown their table in the middle of the room. Their spokesman (Simon Episcopius) explained their delay and explained why they desired not to appear before the Synod for several more days. But if Synod desired, he said, they were ready to begin their “conference” immediately. Synod agreed to let them come the next day, but reminded them that they were not at a “conference” for mutual discussion, but were at a synod to be examined and judged.

Session 23: Friday, December 7 AM
     Ready to turn its full attention to the Remonstrant controversy, Synod confronted a problem: three delegates from Utrecht were Remonstrant. Could they judge impartially, or should they give up their seat at Synod and join the Remonstrants in the middle of the room? When President Bogerman put this question to the delegates, they asked for time to consider the matter.
     Episcopius then read from prepared notes for an hour and a half. Aftewards, Episcopius was rebuked for speaking at length when the Synod had not yet asked the Remonstrants any questions.
     On this day the delegates took an oath, required of them by the States General, to judge the Arminian issue on the basis of God’s Word alone. Synod would not permit the Utrecht Remonstrant delegates to take it until they decided whether to sit with the Synod or with the Remonstrants.

Session 24: Saturday, December 8 AM
     The Utrecht Remonstrants expressed their desire to remain seated as delegates to the Synod, noting that the instructions on their credentials did not mandate them to take a certain position. After reading their credentials again, the Synod permitted them to remain under five conditions. Synod would hear their response to these conditions the following Monday.

Douglas Kuiper, Professor of Church History and New Testament
Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches

Rev. Brian Huizinga

Rev. Brian Huizinga has been the pastor at Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Redlands California since 2011.  He is a graduate of the
Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary.  He and his wife Michelle have 5 children

Rev. Huizinga will be speaking on  The Polemics of the Canons

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt (4) Week Three: Sessions 13-18

Session 13: Monday, November 26 AM
     Previously the Synod had decided to appoint three men to translate the Old Testament, and three to translate the New. At this session the Synod named those men. It also appointed men from each province to oversee the translation work.
     Do you remember that the provincial synod of Utrecht sent to Dordt three delegates who favored Arminianism, and three who opposed it? Those who opposed it asked the Synod not to appoint overseers from Utrecht, but to permit the Utrecht provincial synod to appoint them later. Dordt agreed to this. Because the Utrecht churches had many Arminian ministers, the list of men available for the work of overseeing the translation would change significantly if the Synod were later to condemn Arminianism and insist that Arminian ministers be put out of office (which it later did).

Session 14: Tuesday, November 27 AM
     The previous national synod (‘s Gravenhage, 1586) had required every minister to explain briefly the Heidelberg Catechism at the Sunday afternoon services. For various reasons, this practice had fallen on hard times: the Remonstrants opposed the practice, some country churches had lively preaching only once a Sunday because they shared ministers, and many Dutch people preferred to spend their Sunday afternoons in work or recreation.
     The Synod of Dordt reiterated this requirement, later embodying it in Article 68 of its Church Order. Synod then asked the magistrates to forbid work and recreation on the Sabbath, and insisted that the church visitors ask whether the churches were complying with the requirement regarding catechism preaching. In the case of the country churches, Synod permitted the Catechism to be taught every other week.
     Hendrik van Hell, elder delegate from Zutphen, died on this day.

Session 15: Wednesday, November 28 AM
     The Synod deemed it necessary to provide more catechism instruction than was given on Sunday. The foreign delegations explained the methods of catechizing that their churches used.

Session 16: Thursday, November 29 AM
     Dr. Joseph Hall, a delegate from Great Britain, preached on Ecclesiastes 7:16. He exhorted the delegates to be righteous in their actions. He encouraged the Synod to maintain the Heidelberg Catechism and Belgic Confession, and advised it to require the Remonstrants to submit an explanation of Romans 9, “short, clear, and explicit, without colouring or artifice” (Milton, 131). He urged all to seek peace as brothers and members of the same body. His concluding wish was that error would be opposed, “that truth alone may see the light, alone may reign, and may bring safety to you, glory to the Church, and peace to the State” (Milton, 132-133).

Session 17: Friday, November 30 AM
     The Synod resumed its discussion regarding catechizing. The Remonstrant delegates from Utrecht continued to object to preaching and teaching the Heidelberg Catechism (see session 9).
     The synod emphasized the need for catechism instruction in three spheres: the homes, the schools, and the churches. In the churches, the Heidelberg Catechism itself would be preached; in the schools, a summary of the Catechism; and in the homes, a short catechism containing an explanation of the Apostle’s Creed, Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, sacrament, and church discipline, to all of which would be added some short prayers and Scripture passages.
     A committee was appointed to draw up the catechisms for school and home.

Session 18: Saturday, December 1 AM
     The Synod met during the Dutch Golden Age. Dutch merchants sent their ships to the Dutch East Indies, stopping at other Dutch colonies along the way. Dutch Reformed Christians inhabited these colonies, and took heathen children into their families, not as adopted children, but as servants. The delegates from North Holland asked whether these children might be baptized. The various delegations gave their advice, but the Synod did not finish treating the matter.
     Some reasons for the lack of Heidelberg Catechism preaching and teaching have already been given. Could another reason be that students for the ministry were not well trained? The delegates from Zeeland were of this opinion, and they presented suggestions how better to prepare students for the ministry. Synod decided that it would take up this matter the following Monday, and each delegation should prepare written advice over the weekend.
     After recessing, the Synod attended the burial of Elder Hendrik van Hell.

Douglas Kuiper, Professor of Church History and New Testament
Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches

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

Click here to start at the beginning of the series. 


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.

Historical Forward to the Acts of the National Synod of Dordrecht (29)

The following is an 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

Click here to start at the beginning of the series. 


Meanwhile the States General, after they had often ordered especially those of Utrecht to dismiss the new soldiers, or city militia, who had been engaged for the purpose of hindering by armed force the execution of the resolutions of the coming national synod, in case the Remonstrants could not approve the resolutions, rejected and dismissed the thousands of militia. After his Excellency the Prince of Orange accomplished this with unbelievable bravery, caution, dexterity, and skill, without any bloodshed, and imprisoned the foremost of them who by force opposed or prevented this dismissal, Johannes Uytenbogaert, Jacobus Taurinus, and Adolphus Venator, being aware of danger and forsaking their churches, fled from the United Netherlands. A short time afterward Nicolaus Grevinchovius, having been cited by the court of Holland to answer for the same thing, also fled.

When the particular synod gathered in September in Delft, South Holland, many Remonstrants, despising the previous resolution of the States, refused to delegate anyone to the synod. Instead, by petition they besought the States of Holland and West Friesland on September 13 that instead of the national synod that had been authorized, to convene another gathering according to the same twelve conditions that those who had been cited also proposed in the national synod. The States, having heard the advice of the synod of Delft concerning this request (which is also in these Acts), ordered the synod to obey the appointed order and the command of the States and besides, fully to declare in writing their views concerning the articles presented in 1613 at the Delft Conference to the synod of Delft and all their accusations against the Confession and the Catechism. They delivered the declaration of their views concerning the aforementioned articles. This was translated into Latin by the delegates of this synod and shortly afterward was forwarded to the national synod. Instead of accusations against the Confession and the Catechism, the synod sent quotations from writings that conflicted with the Confession and the Catechism.

Johannes Uytenbogaert and Nicolaus Grevinchovius were cited before this synod. When the one, being a fugitive, did not dare to appear and the other stubbornly refused to appear, they were both deposed from ecclesiastical office by the sentence of the synod after it had heard and investigated the accusations brought against them. Because there were some who had been forced upon the churches, contrary to their desires and without lawful calling, during these disunities, some who had scattered abroad Socinian errors in addition to the five articles, some who had grievously offended the churches with evil and disorderly actions, and some who led evil lives, it was judged necessary to purge the churches of these offenses, to reestablish the neglected discipline of the ministry of the churches (cleri), and to summon all those irregular ministers to give accountof their calling, doctrine, and lives. It was further judged that this must be done before the national synod was held, in order that if anyone had felt aggrieved by the sentence of this synod, he could appeal to the judgment of the national synod.

“…it was judged necessary to purge the churches of these offenses, to reestablish the neglected discipline of the ministry of the churches (cleri), and to summon all those irregular ministers to give account of their calling, doctrine, and lives.

Among these were some who appeared and, after proper investigation of their cases, were suspended from office, while others were immediately deposed. But of those who because of the brevity of time could not be cited or heard or who, having been cited, did not appear, five ministers were appointed, to whom the States added their deputies, to hear and judge their cases in the name of the synod. These deputies were expressly mandated to exercise no censure over anyone on account of his views of the five articles, since the judgment of these must be entirely reserved for the national synod. Although they partly suspended and partly immediately deposed many in various places on account of the aforesaid and very weighty reasons, they never exercised censure on anyone on account of his views of the five articles, even during the national synod, as can be clearly proven from the minutes.

In North Holland they acted similarly in the synod of Hoorn, in which the ministers of Hoorn, Johannes Valesius, Johannes Rodingius, and Isaacus Welsingius, being suspended from the office of minister, appealed to the national synod. When the deputies of this synod and the commissioners of the States in the classis of Alkmaar investigated the cases of Johannes Geystranus, minister of Alkmaar, and of his brother Petrus Geystranus, minister at Edmond, they were found to be entirely committed to the blasphemous and accursed errors of Socinus, as appears from their confessions, which to the horror of all were openly read in the national synod and is included in the Acts.

The synod of Overijsel ordered some of the Remonstrants to give account of their doctrine and their actions. Among them were the four ministers of the church of Kampen,Thomas Goswinius, Assueris Matthisius, Johannes Schotlerus, and especially Emerardus Vosculius, who were accused of many errors and of various disorderly actions. After the synod investigated the case it decided to forward it to the national synod. Accordingly it was afterward brought to that synod.

(To be continued…)

Historical Forward to the Acts of the National Synod of Dordrecht (28)

The following is an 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

Click here to start at the beginning of the series. 


When these letters were received, the States of each province convened the provincial or particular synods of their churches, which received the objections that would be brought to the national synod and delegated by common vote of the churches the persons who would be sent there with their mandates and instructions. These things took place in every province according to the manner that had been followed in these Reformed churches, with the exception of Holland and the Bishopric of Utrecht. Because of the great number of Remonstrants there, the ordinary procedure could not be followed in all things. Because in some classes of Holland there were separations, and the Remonstrants held separate classical meetings, the States of Holland thought that the classes in which there were no separations, according to the manner previously followed, should delegate by majority vote four men to send to the particular synod with regular power. To avoid confusion in the classes with separations both sides would delegate two men to be sent to the particular synod with equal power. In the Bishopric of Utrecht the churches were not divided into various classes. The States of that province thought that all the Remonstrants should gather separately in a synod, that the ministers who did not follow the Remonstrants’ views, of whom there were a goodly number, should gather in another synod, and that from each synod and each party three men with the power to judge should be delegated to the national synod. However, since the church of Utrecht was divided into parties, one of which followed the Remonstrants’ views and the other rejected their views and recently had been delivered from the oppression of the Remonstrants, it was not provided with ordinary ministers but was being served by Johannes Dibetz, minister of Dordrecht. Therefore he was lawfully delegated by the other synod in the name of the Utrecht churches that did not follow the Remonstrants.

When the synod of the churches of Gelderlandand of Zutphen gathered in Arnhem on June 25, the Remonstrants who were delegated from the classis of Bommel did not want to sit with the others unless certain conditions were promised to them beforehand, conditions that the synod judged to be in conflict with the resolution of the States. Because before this time the Remonstrants of the classes of Nijmegen, Bommel, and Tiel had delivered to the States of Gelderland and to the honorable court their ten articles that they said the other ministers taught, they were mandated to name openly those preachers who taught these things, in order to hail them before the synod and lawfully to determine whether this was true. For it was known that the Remonstrants had slanderously fabricated these articles against the Reformed ministers in order to make the government hate these articles. However, they could mention no one in the entire province besides the minister of Hattem, who had abundantly cleared himself in the classis. When the synod nevertheless wanted to hail him and to hear him, the Remonstrants no longer persisted. Henricus Arnoldi, minister at Delft,who was present there in the name of the South Holland churches, also declared that there was no one in South Holland who taught or agreed with the aforesaid articles.On this account the synod earnestly rebuked the Remonstrants for these grievous slanders and at once declared that the churches of Gelderland did not accept or support the doctrine comprehended in those articles as they had proposed them, although there were certain clauses in them that in themselves and taken in a proper sense could not be rejected.

The Remonstrants at last acknowledged their guilt concerning these unjust slanders and begged forgiveness. Then in the same synod the differences between the Remonstrants and the other ministers were described, and this was later passed on to the national synod. Since in that province many ministers were suspected of many other errors besides the five articles of the Remonstrance, such as being unlawfully inducted into the ministry and leading a scandalous life, some of these ministers were hailed before the synod. For these reasons (but in no wise on account of their views of the five articles, which were reserved for the national synod) they were suspended from the ministry. The cases of others were committed to certain delegates in the name of the synod, to whom the States also added their commissioners. After they fully investigated the cases of those men in the classes, they suspended some and at once deposed others from the ministry.

(To be continued…)

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt (3) Week Two: Sessions 6-12

Session 6: Monday, November 19 AM
    In 1618, at least two Dutch Bible translations existed–a translation of the Latin Vulgate, and one of Luther’s German Bible. In response to a question which came from one of the provincial synods, the Synod of Dordt agreed that a new translation would profit the churches. Synod began to discuss how to implement this. (This translation would become the Statenvertaaling, the “States Translation”).

Session 7: Tuesday, November 20 AM
    The delegates from Great Britain explained the method used in translating the King James Version: six different committees were assigned separate portions of Scripture, after which the translation was carefully edited twice. The British delegation also mentioned the rules that governed the translators in their work.

Session 8: Tuesday, November 20 PM
    Continuing its discussion on Bible translation, the Synod decided that this translation: 1) should not be a revision of the existing translations, but a new translation directly from the Hebrew and Greek; 2) should be a careful translation of the Hebrew and Greek, treating God’s word carefully, and at the same time express the Scriptures in the vernacular Dutch; 3) should include a note on the side of the text, when the Hebrew or Greek was difficult to express in Dutch; and 4) should use a different font for words which were added to fill out the text (similar to the KJV’s use of italics).

Session 9: Wednesday, November 21 AM
    Should the Apocrypha also be translated? Some argued against it, because they were not inspired, they contradict the inspired Scriptures at some points, and neither the Jews nor the ancient Christian church included them. One of the Utrecht Remonstrant delegates retorted that the Heidelberg Catechism should be treated similarly. The Dutch Bibles of that day included the Catechism after the New Testament; this delegate said that the new translation should not include the Catechism, and that the Catechism should not be preached.
    The Synod did not make a final decision at this session.

Session 10: Thursday, November 22 AM
    Four hundred years later, the United States observes this day as Thanksgiving. We give thanks to God not only for His earthly and material gifts, but also for the Synod’s work, and the ways in which we benefit.
    After more discussion, the Synod decided to include the Apocryphal books in the Bible translation, but said that these did not need to be as carefully translated as did the inspired books, that the Apocrypha should be placed after the New Testament, and that it should be introduced by a disclaimer that these are human writings.
    Synod decided it would appoint three men to translate the Old Testament and three to translate the New. It also decided to ask the national government, through its delegation at the Synod, to promote and fund the translating work.

Session 11: Friday, November 23 AM
    The fifth Dutch professor delegated to the Synod (Prof. Lubbertus) arrived. So did John Hales, chaplain to the English delegate Carlton, who would observe the synod and write letters regarding the proceedings of the Synod.
    Synod decided that the work of Bible translation should begin three months after the Synod adjourned, and that the translators should report every three months regarding their progress.

Session 12: Saturday, November 24 AM
    Regarding Bible translation, Synod decided 1) to use the Dutch du when translating the second person singular pronoun referring to God (this meant that the less formal Dutch pronoun would be used); 2) to translate the word “Jehovah” in large letters (as the KJV does with LORD); 3) to use the Hebrew form, rather than the Dutch, in translating Old Testament proper names; 4) to use the current division of chapters and verses, but note in the margin where the chapter divisions are poor; and 5) to add a table of chronologies and genealogies at the end of the translation, but not to include any pictures.
    Not yet finished with the matter of Bible translation, Synod recessed for the Sabbath, as was its practice.

Douglas Kuiper, Professor of Church History and New Testament
Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches