Mondays are for Church History - 1/9/17
Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 2. New York: HarperCollins, 2010b. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 21 “Reformed Orthodoxy” Loc. 3536-3653.
Reformed orthodoxy was clearly defined in the 17th century in the Synod of Dort and the Westminster Assembly (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3542). In the early 1600s, Jacobus Arminius in Amsterdam, working to defend Calvin’s doctrine, concluded he disagreed about predestination (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3550). Arminius viewed predestination as a result of God’s foreknowledge of faith, while Calvin saw the predestination as what would create faith. After Arminius’ death in 1609, the debate carried on. Gonzalez reminds his readers that it was not between Calvin and Arminius, but their followers (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3558).
Politics became involved when Calvinists did not wish alliance with Spain but the wealthier Arminians did. The political battle became theological again with the 1610 identification of five Remonstrances, statements about the nature of predestination (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3572).
The articles state that God’s predestination was made before creation, that Jesus died for all, that all humans are in sin, that grace can be resisted, and that it is not clear whether Christians can fall away from the faith (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3572). A Synod assembled in Dort, 1618-19, discussed these ideas (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3587). The assembly rejected Arminianism and agreed on five statements. Election is unconditional, the atonement is only for the elect, human nature cannot choose to believe, grace is irresistible, and Christians cannot fall from grace (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3602). Arminianism was outlawed, though it was tolerated again by 1631.
Gonzalez next returns to the Westminster Confession, which is longer and more detailed than that of Dort (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3625). It is a classic articulation of Calvinist doctrine, with extensive explanation. Gonzalez observes that the strict systematization may have been difficult even for Calvin to agree with, as it spelled out so very many details of how life should be conducted, while Calvin found the Gospel to be liberating (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 3648).
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