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Artifacts

There will be several artifacts on display at the Dordt400 conference. The seminary will have two old Bibles on display. Chuck Terpstra has some information on one of the Bibles on his blog. We anticipate having an early Latin edition of the Canons on display. There will also be some pictures and a wood carving on display.

In addition, conference-goers will be able to buy replicas of the medallions that were given to the delegates.


The Dort-400 Anniversary Limited Edition Medallion Set

A portion of the certificate of authenticity is quoted below.

As the deliberations were drawing to a close, the momentous significance of this Synod was beginning to dawn upon observers as well as the appointees.

So in commemoration of the event, two medallions were minted for the occasion. A gold penning was presented to the international delegates and silver to the domestic participants. The 17th Century artist is unknown.

The obverse side of the medal pictures what has become the iconic depiction of the great Synod itself meeting in the Great Hall of the Kleveneiersdoelen building. Circling the scene are the words, “Religione Asserta”—Defending Religion.

The reverse represents secure-eternal Mount Zion, with threatening winds of false doctrine beating down upon the church from all sides. Undeterred, pilgrims are faithfully making their journey up to the heavenly Jerusalem under the shining light of the Name of the Lord, etched in Hebrew. The circumference is imprinted with, “Erunt ut
mons Sion CIC IC CXIX” [ORN 1000+500+119]—They shall be as Mount Zion 1619, echoing Psalm 125:1.

Certificate of Authenticity The Dort-400 Anniversary Limited Edition Medallion Set

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt: The Drafting Committee

The following information is gleaned from one main source: Donald Sinnema, “The Drafting of the Canons of Dordt: A Preliminary Survey of Early Drafts and Related Documents,” in Revisiting the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), edited by Aza Goudriaan and Fred van Lieburg (Leiden: Brill, 2011): 291-311.

The committee that drafted the Canons worked from March 26 through April 15. Using President Bogerman’s proposed drafts of Heads 1 and 2 as its starting point (see sessions 125-128), the committee completed its first draft of Head 1 by Thursday, March 28. On that day, while the committee continued working, one of synod’s secretaries dictated the draft to a representative of each delegation. The first draft of Head 2 was similarly copied out on March 29, the draft of Heads 3 and 4 on April 4, and the draft of Head 5 on April 5.

Each delegation considered these drafts and sent their responses to the drafting committee. On the basis of these responses, the committee drew up its second draft, containing almost 200 changes to the first draft. The committee completely redrafted the second Head in light of concerns expressed by the British and Bremen delegations. On April 8-10, these amendments were dictated to a representative of each delegation. On Friday, April 12, the delegations gave their comments in the morning, and the drafting committee responded to them in the afternoon.

On Monday, April 15, the third draft was dictated, containing over 100 changes to the second. That afternoon all the delegates except the British signed this version of the Canons. The British would not sign before seeing a neat, finished copy.

Although this third draft was signed, it was not the final draft. A few editorial changes still needed to be made, and two articles in the Rejection of Errors of Head 2 needed to be changed. The committee would eventually entirely delete of these articles, and would revise the second article in the second Head’s Rejection of Errors.

When the synod reconvened on April 16 it began reading and discussing the Canons. On Friday, April 19, the committee made the final changes to the Canons and drafted the Conclusion to the Canons.

The Canons of Dordt have stood the test of time in Reformed churches: four hundred years later they are still taught and loved. One reason for this is the carefulness with which they were drafted. Another is that the Canons explicitly set forth the teachings of Scripture regarding the doctrines of sovereign grace. These teachings have not changed, and God’s sovereign grace is as wonderful and lovely today as it ever was!

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

Interviews on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio

Tomorrow, April 5 between 4 and 6 ET Rev. Stewart will be on Iron Sharpens Iron radio to talk with Chris Arnzen about the Canons as the original five points of Calvinism and about the doctrines of grace in Northern Ireland. Listen at http://www.ironsharpensironradio.com/

Yesterday, April 3, Prof. Kuiper and Prof. Engelsma were interviewed by Chris Arnzen. Prof. Kuiper discussed “The Doctrine of the Covenant in the Canons of Dordt,” and Prof. Engelsma spoke about “The Great War: What Led to the Synod of Dordt.” You can listen to that broadcast by clicking the link below.

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt, Week Twenty: Session 128

Session 128: Monday, March 25 AM
The previous week President Bogerman had dictated his proposed draft of the first two heads of the Canons to a representative of each delegation. This representative copied Bogerman’s proposal and brought it to his delegation so that the delegations could discuss it.

By proposing a draft of the Canons, some thought Bogerman was taking too much authority to himself. The States-General delegation advised Synod to appoint a committee of several delegates to work with the president and his two assistants in drafting the Canons. Agreeing with this proposal, Synod formed a committee of nine. It included Bogerman and the two vice-presidents (Rolandus and Faukelius), three foreign delegates (Bishop Carleton from Great Britain, Jean Diodati from Geneva, and Abraham Scultetus from Heidelberg), and three Dutch delegates (Johannes Polyander, Antonius Walaeus, and Jacob Trigland).

This committee worked at least eight hours a day for over three weeks. While the committee met, Synod recessed; its next session would be held on April 16. Because of this, there will be no blog post next week. The following week the blog post will highlight some aspects of the work of the drafting committee.

On March 26 the Remonstrants informed the States-General by letter that they thought the Synod had wronged them, and asked permission to return home. The States-General denied their request. On the same day, the two Remonstrant ministers from Kampen submitted their written answer to the charges that Synod had leveled against them (see session 108).

March 31, 1619 was Easter Sunday . On that day the Remonstrants at Dordt gathered in a private house for a worship service that included the baptism of an infant. Some consider this date to mark the beginning of a Remonstrant church that was separate from the state Reformed church.

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

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt, Week Nineteen: Sessions 118-127

Session 118: Monday, March 18 AM
The Synod of Dordt had been in session for four full months. Due to sickness and other circumstances, the delegates from Brandenburg had never arrived (see session 3). At session 118, Synod received a letter from the Marquis of Brandenberg explaining the absence of his delegates. Convinced that Synod’s response to the Remonstrants would conform to the Reformed confessions, the Marquis asked Synod to send him its final judgment so that the clergy in his realm might sign it. The Acts of Synod do not indicate how Synod responded to this letter.

Synod continued to read the judgments of the various delegations regarding the third and fourth articles of the Remonstrants. At this session Synod read the judgments of the delegates from South Holland, North Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht.

Session 119: Monday, March 18 PM
Synod concluded reading the judgments regarding the third and fourth articles. The judgments of the delegations from Friesland, Overijsel, Groningen, Drenthe, and the Walloon churches were read.

Session 120: Tuesday, March 19 AM
Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Great Britain and from the Palatinate regarding the fifth article of the Remonstrant teachings. This article regarded the preservation of the saints.

On this day the Remonstrants presented the States-General delegates with the Remonstrants’ defense of the fourth and fifth articles. In their conclusion they expressed why they rejected the orthodox (Contra-Remonstrant) position: “being instructed by the Holy Scriptures, we firmly believe that they are repugnant to the honour of God, destructive to piety, and a scandal to the Christian religion” (Brandt 3:258).

Session 121: Tuesday, March 19 PM
Synod read the judgments of the delegates from Switzerland, Hesse, Wetteravia, Geneva, and Bremen, regarding the fifth article. All of these opposed the Remonstrant position.

Session 122: Wednesday, March 20 AM
Synod read the judgments of the Emden delegates, the Dutch professors, and the delegations from Gelderland and South Holland.

Session 123: Wednesday, March 20 PM
In a session open to visitors, Professor Crocius from Bremen addressed Synod regarding the question whether God, in justifying humans, accepts our activity of faith as a substitute for the righteousness that God requires of us in His law. The Arminians and Socinians taught that God did indeed do so; the orthodox denied this. Crocius defended the orthodox position.

Session 124: Thursday, March 21 AM
Synod read the judgments from the delegations of North Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, and Friesland regarding the Remonstrants’ fifth article.

Session 125: Thursday, March 21 PM
Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Overijssel, Groningen, Drenthe, and the Walloon churches. This concluded the reading of the judgments of the various delegations.

The nineteen delegations (eight international, the Dutch professors, and ten Dutch provincial) had each submitted their written judgment regarding the five articles of the Remonstrants. In total, Synod had read seventy-six reports responding to the teachings of the Remonstrants.

President Bogerman noted with thanks to God that the delegations were united in their doctrinal convictions. This unanimity would make the next step, formulating a final response to the Remonstrants, easier. The States-General was hoping that Synod would finish this work by the end of the month–that is, within ten more days.

Bogerman informed synod that he had begun to formulate a proposed response. The next day each delegation was to send someone to copy Bogerman’s proposal as he read it. That person would then return to his delegation so that the delegations could discuss the proposal in committee, and could suggest any changes to Bogerman or his assessors (assistants).

Session 126: Friday, March 22 AM
President Bogerman read his proposed response to the first article of the Remonstrants, while representatives of the various delegations wrote it out. He also expressed his desire that the Canons have a preface, a section explaining the true doctrine and rejecting the Remonstrant error, and a conclusion.

Session 127: Friday, March 22 PM
The president read his proposed response to the second article of the Remonstrants.

Four hundred years ago the clerks of the synod and the scribes of the various delegations had no electronic word processors, no manual typewriters, no copy machines, and no carbon paper. They wrote many pages by hand. This in itself must have taken weeks. We can be thankful for the technology available today, and the greater ease with which we can do our work.

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

The Synod of Dordt (8) Baptism

This blog submission is written by Prof. Douglas Kuiper. It is a republication of the article that appeared in Standard Bearer, March 15, 2019 (95.12.284).

During its sessions the Synod treated four distinct matters relating to the administration of the sacrament of baptism.

Baptism in the Dutch East Indies
Synod met during the Dutch Golden Age. The Dutch had established a merchant colony in the East Indies. Dutch families who moved there had adopted or enslaved some of the native children. At session 18 (December 1, 1618), the delegates from North Holland (the province from which ships were ready to sail) asked whether these children could be baptized if the ones bringing them for baptism promised to raise them according to the Christian faith.

On December 3 (session 19), Synod answered that baptism should be administered only to those children who have been instructed in the faith and have made profession of faith. Often the Dutch had not instructed these children: many of these children did not understand the Dutch language, and some Dutchmen may have been concerned more with their own earthly interests than with teaching the gospel to such children.

Baptism Form
An overture to Synod requested that it require consistency in the churches regarding how baptism is administered. The Dutch already had the Form for Infant Baptism that we use. Synod required the churches to use this Form (session 162, May 16, 1619). At the same session it also decided to draw up the Form to be used for adult baptism. This Form was adopted on May 25 (session 175). Synod expressed this same requirement that all Reformed churches use the same Form when it adopted its Church Order (Art. 58).

Baptism by non-Reformed ministers
What if one had been baptized by a Romish priest or an Anabaptist, and then came to the Reformed faith? Should such be baptized again?

At session 162 (May 16, 1619), Synod said that such baptisms must not be repeated if the baptism had the form and essence of Christian baptism. (Although the Acts does not spell this out, the point is that one was baptized with water, in the name of the Triune God.)

Baptism outside the public worship service
Synod also faced the question whether sick people may be baptized outside the public worship service, if they cannot come to the worship service. At session 163 (May 17), Synod answered in three points: 1) only in instances of “great need” could such baptisms be administered; 2) such administrations must be with the knowledge of and in presence of the consistory; and 3) only with advice of classis could such baptism be administered to a condemned criminal.

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt, Week Eighteen: Sessions 107-117

Session 107: Monday, March 11 AM
On January 18 (session 63) Johannes Biesterveld, a member of the Nassau-Wetteravian delegation, died. His replacement, Georg Fabricius, arrived at the present session, presented his credentials, took the synodical oath, and was seated.

The previous Friday Synod had begun reading the judgment of the Dutch professors regarding the first article of the Remonstrants. Synod continued that now. The professors agreed that the Remonstrant position was wrong, but disagreed whether God’s decree of election was supralapsarian or infralapsarian (see session 105 for a fuller explanation).

Session 108: Monday, March 11 PM
At numerous sessions (36, 56, 62, 81, 83, 85, 98) Synod had discussed the matter of the four Remonstrant ministers from Kampen whom it had summoned. Two had never appeared, and had been suspended from the ministry. Synod required the other two to submit a written defense of the charges against them, but they had not met the deadline Synod gave them. Synod decided that if these did not provide their answer within two weeks, it would declare them also to be suspended from the ministry.

Synod continued to read the judgments of the various deputies regarding the first article of the Remonstrants (election and reprobation). At this session, Synod read the judgments of the deputies from Gelderland, South Holland, North Holland, and Zeeland. All stated that they disagreed with Gomarus’ supralapsarian position, but the delegates of South Holland also stated that they did not see the need to resolve the matter.

Session 109: Tuesday, March 12 AM
Synod read the judgments of the deputies from Utrecht, Friesland, Overijssel, and Groningen.

Session 110: Tuesday, March 12 PM
Synod read the last of the judgments regarding the first article of the Remonstrants–those of the deputies from Drenthe and from the Walloon churches.

Synod then turned to the judgments of the various delegations regarding the second article of the Remonstrants, which pertained to the extent and effectiveness of Christ’s work. Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Great Britain, the Palatinate, Hesse, and Switzerland. The last three delegations stated that when Scripture says Christ died for all, it means He died for the elect, not for every individual. For the elect, they added, His death effectively saved.

The delegates from Great Britain did not touch on this point. These delegates had realized earlier (session 74) that they were not agreed among themselves on the interpretation of their own creed, the Thirty-Nine Articles. This realization led them to ask advice from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He responded that the British delegates should not speak more specifically than did the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Session 111: Wednesday, March 13 AM
Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Wetteravia, Geneva, Emden, and Bremen regarding the second article. The first three of these delegations agreed that Christ died only for the elect. The delegates from Bremen disagreed among themselves. Heinrich Isselburg was of the mind that Christ died for the elect throughout the world, and effectually saved them. Matthew Martinius held the opposite view, that Christ died for all and every human. The third took a middle ground, but in the end opposed Martinius.

Session 112: Wednesday, March 13 PM
Professor Isselburg addressed Synod regarding Christ’s atoning work. He opposed the error of Socinianism, which Synod understood Conrad Vorstius to be defending (see sessions 100, 152). Isselburg emphasized the necessity of satisfaction, and that Christ fully satisfied for the sins of God’s elect. Brandt relates a quotable: according to Isselburg, “in Christ were one person, two natures, three offices, and four capital benefits, he [Christ] being to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and perfect redemption,” and all this can be considered “the four wheels, upon which the chariot of salvation moved” (Brandt, 3:256).

Session 113: Thursday, March 14 AM
Synod read the judgment of the five Dutch professors. These all agreed that Christ died only for all the elect, and that for them His death was both sufficient and effective. Synod then read the judgments of the delegates from the Provincial Synods of Gelderland, South Holland, and North Holland.

Session 114: Thursday, March 14 PM
Synod read the judgments of the delegates from Zeeland, Utrecht, Friesland, Overijsel, and Gronigen, regarding the second article. On the matter of the extent of Christ’s atonement, these all agreed with the majority consensus that would be later expressed in the Canons, Head II, Article 8.

Session 115: Friday, March 15 AM
Synod concluded reading the judgments of the delegations regarding the second article; the last two judgments that it read were those of the delegates of Drenthe and the Walloon churches.

In their third article, the Remonstrants taught that fallen man could do nothing good in himself, and needed to be regenerated. In their fourth article, they taught that humans can resist God’s grace. Synod, recognizing that the real error of the Remonstrants regarding fallen man manifested itself in the fourth article, decided to treat the two articles together. At this session, Synod heard the judgments of the delegations from Great Britain and the Palatinate regarding these two articles.

Session 116: Friday, March 15 PM
Synod read the judgments of the delegates from Hesse, Switzerland, Wetteravia Geneva, and Bremen, and began reading the judgment of the delegates from Emden.

Session 117: Saturday, March 16 AM
Synod concluded reading the judgment of the Emden theologians, which was rather lengthy. It also read the judgments of the Dutch professors and the deputies from Gelderland.

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

The Sessions of the Synod of Dordt, Week Seventeen: Sessions 98-106

Session 98: Monday, March 4 AM
Synod continued its discussion of the doctrine of the preservation of the saints that it had begun the previous week.

The magistrates of Kampen informed Synod by letter that, acquiescing to Synod, they suspended the two ministers whom Synod had summoned but who had not appeared (sessions 83, 85). The ministers had given several reasons for not coming to Synod, one being that the church in Kampen needed them. The magistrates informed Synod that ministers from the church in Zwolle would help the church in Kampen for the time being.

Synod also received a letter from Dr. David Pareus, theologian from Heidelberg, who had been invited to the Synod but who could not come because of old age (he was seventy years old). In this letter he expressed his judgment against the teachings of the Remonstrants in their five articles. Synod read the cover letter at this session.

Session 99: Tuesday, March 5 AM
Synod read the judgment of Dr. Pareus regarding the first two articles of the Remonstrants.

Session 100: Tuesday, March 5 PM
Martinius (professor from Bremen) addressed Synod regarding the person and natures of Jesus Christ, particularly emphasizing that Christ was both the eternal Son of God and truly human. The Remonstrants were in error not only regarding the five points of doctrine, but regarding other doctrines as well. Martinius’ speech was a defense of orthodox Christology over against the Remonstrants. Particularly he opposed Conrad Vorstius, who succeeded Arminius as professor of theology in Leiden in 1610, and whom the Synod would later condemn for teaching false doctrine. Although sound in his theology on this point, Martinius excused the Remonstrants for some of their statements.

Session 101: Wednesday, March 6 AM
Synod read the judgment of Dr. Pareus regarding the last three articles of the Remonstrants, and decided to thank him for sending his judgment to the Synod.

Session 102: Wednesday, March 6 PM
All the delegations had handed in their judgments regarding the five articles. Synod discussed whether to read these on the floor of synod in open or closed session. The English delegation favored open session. Although the English generally opposed the Remonstrants, the English also opposed some expressions by the orthodox regarding reprobation, and they desired this to be publicly heard. However, Synod decided to read all the judgments in closed session.

Synod read the judgments of the English and Heidelberg delegations regarding the Remonstrant teaching of election and reprobation. Both of these delegations agreed that the Remonstrant position was wrong. However, the Heidelberg delegation also expressed its judgment that ministers should treat the doctrine of reprobation “cautiously, seldom, and sparingly in their pulpits.”

Session 103: Thursday, March 7 AM
Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Hesse, Switzerland, and Wetteravia regarding the first point.

Session 104: Thursday, March 7 PM
Synod read the judgments of the delegations from Geneva, Bremen, and Emden regarding the first article. Most delegations either did not touch on the matter of the salvation of infants dying in infancy, or said that parents of such infants have no reason to doubt their salvation (as Synod later expressed it in Canons I.17). The delegates from Bremen put the matter more strongly: every baptized child who died in infancy was, without question, saved.

Session 105: Friday, March 8 AM
Synod finished reading the judgment of the delegation from Emden, then read the judgment of the Dutch professors. The great point of dispute in the judgment of the professors was whether God, when He predestined some to eternal life, viewed the human race as fallen (infralapsarianism) or not yet fallen, using the fall as a means to carry out His decree of election and reprobation (supralapsarianism). Professors Polyander, Thysius, Waleus, and Lubbertus took the infralapsarian viewpoint, while Gomarus took the supralapsarian position.

Session 106: Friday, March 8 PM
Deodatus, professor in Geneva, had twice been scheduled to address the Synod regarding the preservation of the saints, but could not because of illness. He now explained that many who appeared for a time to be believers were in fact reprobate, and manifested this by unbelief and ungodliness later in life. At the same time, though the elect do fall into grievous sins, God grants them repentance and brings them to heaven.

A Google search for average temperatures in Dordrecht in March revealed that the average low temperature is just above freezing, while the high is almost 10̊C, or 50̊F. The winter of 1618-1619 was colder than this, for there was “frost,” and the severest cold was felt in late February and early March 1619. How were the Remonstrants to complete writing their defense when it was so cold? Brandt writes that the Remonstrants informed the States-General delegation “that by reason of the long and sharp frost, they could not get their papers ready against the appointed time; they therefore prayed their Lordships to admit of their excuses, and promised to complete the whole before the end of the next week.”

Another excuse? It would be easy to conclude that it was. However, we who have central heating in our homes cannot appreciate how cold hampers one’s work.

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

The Synod of Dordt (7) Training Students for the Ministry

This blog submission is written by Prof. Douglas Kuiper. It is a republication of the article that appeared in Standard Bearer, February 15, 2019 (95.10.233).

The Synod of Dordt’s 180 sessions can be divided into four phases. During the first phase, from November 13 to December 5, 1618, Synod treated four matters: 1) Bible translation (sessions 6-13); 2) Heidelberg Catechism preaching (sessions 14-17, 20); 3) baptism of slaves and adopted children in the Dutch East Indies (sessions 18-19); and 4) training students for the ministry (sessions 18-20). The May 1, 2019 issue of the Standard Bearer (a special issue commemorating the Synod) will include articles that examine the first two of these matters in more depth.

The Dutch Reformed churches have historically understood the need for a trained ministry. They permit gifted men to enter the ministry without formal training (see Article 8 of the Church Order of Dordt). However, this is the exception; the rule is that men be trained, and that the churches do the training (Articles 8, 19).

An Overture from the Synod of Zeeland
The provincial Synod of Zeeland overtured the Synod of Dordt to adopt a uniform policy for the Dutch churches regarding how these students should be trained. At the eighteenth session (Friday, December 1, 1618), the delegates from Zeeland informed the Synod of their proposal. (Footnote 1)

First, they desired that wealthy parents finance the education of their sons who studied for the ministry, but that the national government finance the education of other promising men.

Second, the men who would be trained must be children of godly believers. The men must give evidence of godliness, modesty, and ability. They would be educated in a Dutch university for five or six years (which education included their theological training), then study for a time at a foreign university.

Regarding the duration of the training for the ministry, the delegates from Zeeland were consciously trying to avoid two extremes: on the one hand, having zealous men enter pastoral ministry with relatively little training; and on the other, having the churches support students so long that the churches benefit from their service for a relatively short time, or having the students become lifelong students.

To study awhile at a foreign university and visit foreign churches “would not be unprofitable,” said the overture. The profit would be that of broadening the student’s horizon; he ought remain there until he has learned what he can and observed how the foreign churches operate.

Third, the students must gain experience and become known to the churches by reading Scripture during the worship service and by exhorting. The students were to be judged both as to the content of their sermons and as to their delivery. They would also accompany pastors in visiting the sick and comforting the oppressed, thus learning how to do the pastoral work of the ministry. In addition, the students would attend classis, consistory, and diaconal meetings in order to understand the work of church government and care for the poor.

When examining prospective ministers, the practice to that point had been to ask only regarding their doctrinal convictions. The fourth point of the overture from Zeeland was that Synod mandate that the examinations include questions regarding practical matters, such as their own godliness and their ability to teach. For that matter, their university training must include instruction in practical theology.

Synod’s Treatment of this Overture
The various delegations spent Saturday afternoon preparing their individual judgments regarding this proposal. When these judgments were read Monday morning (session 19), many referred positively to the advice of the delegates from Zeeland. The delegates from Great Britain particularly emphasized the need for students to accompany pastors to observe them doing their labors. (Footnote 2)

Not every delegate favored every aspect of these decisions. Gomarus opposed the idea of students delivering a sermon. Others opposed the idea of students observing consistory, diaconal, and classical meetings. However, as a whole Synod saw the need to promote the concept of preparing students for the ministry by giving them hands-on experience.

On Tuesday, December 4, at its twentieth session, Synod decided not to make a rule for all the churches, but to encourage the various classes (plural of classis) to consider how best to prepare students for the ministry. One matter the Synod did not leave to the discretion of the classes: it insisted, contrary to the proposal from Zeeland, that students may not baptize; only ordained ministers were to administer the sacraments.

We appreciate and implement the essential aspects of this overture from Zeeland. We too insist on a trained ministry. Let us continue to pray for our seminary as it gives that instruction, and pray that God will continually provide students who are knowledgeable and faithful in doctrine as well as in life.

We do distinguish between those already in the office of minister and those training for the office. The seminary faculty licenses our students to speak a word of edification in the churches, and the consistories do evaluate them for the benefit of the faculty. However, these students are not yet ministers. Realizing that they are still learning, we can bear patiently with them if we recognize weaknesses.

And, how valuable we have found our internship program for seminary students to be. During it, the students gain valuable insights and experience. Let us continue to pray that by this program our students will be well prepared for the work to which God will call them.

Footnote 1: I glean this information from four sources: 1) J. H. Donner and S. A. Van Den Hoorn, eds, Acta of Handelingen der Nationale Synod te Dordrecht (Kampen: J. H. Bos), 44-46 [This is the Dutch translation of the Acts of the Synod]; 2) Theodore G. Van Raalte, “Summary,” in Donald Sinnema, Christian Moser and Herman J. Selderhuis, eds., Acta et Documenta Synodi Nationalis Dordrechtanae (1618-1619), vol. II/2: Early Sessions of the Synod of Dordt (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018), 168-169; 3) Gerard Brandt, The History of the Reformation and Other Ecclesiastical Transactions In and About the Low-Countries (London: T. Wood, 1722), 3:34-37; and 4) John Hales, Golden Remains of the Ever Memorable, Mr. John Hales (London: Theo. Newcomb, 1673), 17-18, 21-22.

Footnote 2: Anthony Milton, ed., The British Delegation and the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2005),144-145.