Counter Remonstrance of 1611

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The Counter-Remonstrance of 1611 was the Dutch Reformed Churches' response to the controversial Remonstrants' Five Articles of Remonstrance, which challenged the Calvinist theology and the Reformed Confessions that the Remonstrants had sworn to uphold. The Counter Remonstrance was written primarily by Festus Hommius and defended the Belgic Confession against theological criticisms from the followers of the late Jacob Arminius, although Arminius himself claimed adherence to the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism till his death. Prior to the Canons of Dort, the Counter Remonstrance of 1611 was the earliest and clearest representation of what is in modern times commonly referred to as the "five points of Calvinism."[1]

History

Dutch theologian James Arminius (1560–1609) died without much fanfare in 1609. He left behind a mixed legacy - a brilliantly gifted scholar whose career was marred with accusations that he had departed from the standard Calvinist interpretation of Romans 7, among other passages. Despite some strong criticism from some of his peers, Arminius insisted that he held the doctrines outlined in the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism until his death. If was after his death that a controversy errupted in 1610, when a critical document (called a Remonstance) from forty-three of his like-minded colleagues appeared, declaring themselves "the Remonstrants."[2]

James T. Dennison summarized the events, "On March 10, 1611, at The Hague, the famous Collatio Hagensis (Conference of the Hague) convened with six members of the Remonstrant party and six members of the opposition. Festus Hommius (1576–1642), pastor at Leiden, delivered his answer to the 1610 affirmation in 'counter remonstrance.'"[3]

The Counter-Remonstrance's Seven Points of Doctrine

Point 1

The doctrine of Total_depravity is covered under point 1. This doctrine states that Adam's fall into sin lead to the condemnation of the whole human race. Since the time of Adam's fall into sin, now "all men are conceived and born in sin and thus are by nature children of wrath, lying dead in their trespasses so that there is within them no more power to convert themselves truly unto God and to believe in Christ than a corpse has power to raise itself from the dead."[4][5]

Point 1 also covered the doctrine of Unconditional_election, which states that from eternity, God, out of a common mass of condemned men, chose and elected a certain specific individuals, referred to in the Bible as "the elect" (Matthew 24:22, 24, and 31, etc).[6] God determined according to the good pleasure of his will to choose out of mere grace, these "elect" individuals and bring them to salvation within historical time. God also determined to pass by the rest of condemned mankind, leaving them in their sins, and submitting these to his just and righteous judgment.[7][8]

Point 2

The doctrine of Unconditional_election is further covered under point 2 of the Counter Remonstrance. This point states that God's "elect children" include both adults and the children of the covenant; "therefore believing parents, when their children die in infancy, have no reason to doubt the salvation of these their children."[9][10]

Point 3

Point 3 also covers the doctrine of Unconditional_election, in its firm rejection of the Remonstrance's claim that God's election was based on His looking into the future to see which sinful men would choose God. Point 3 states that "God in his election has not looked to the faith or conversion of his elect, nor to the right use of his gifts, as the grounds of election; but that on the contrary He in his eternal and immutable counsel has purposed and decreed to bestow faith and perseverance in godliness and thus to save those whom He according to his good pleasure has chosen to salvation."[11][12]

Point 4

The doctrine of Limited Atonement is defended in point 4, which declared that Christ was delivered to the cross in order to save only His elect, and not all of mankind. The Remonstrance's claim that Christ died for each and every individual is refuted.[13][14]

Point 5

The doctrine of Irresistible Grace is outlined in point 5 where it is taught that the Holy Spirit uses the gospel preached broadly to many men to call and draw only God's elect. The Spirit "illumines their minds, transforms and renews their wills, removing the heart of stone and giving them a heart of flesh, in such a manner that by these means they not only receive power to convert themselves and believe but also actually and willingly do repent and believe."[15][16]

Point 6

The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is taught in point 6.

Point 7

The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is taught in point 7.

References

  1. ^ Document translated in DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  2. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  3. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  4. ^ DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  5. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  6. ^ Further Scripture references: Mark 13:20, 22, 27; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:33, 9:11, 11:7, 28; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:10; 2 John 1; 2 John 13
  7. ^ DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  8. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  9. ^ DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  10. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  11. ^ DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  12. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  13. ^ DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  14. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
  15. ^ DeJong, Peter Y. (1968). Crisis In The Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformed Fellowship, Inc. pp. 209–213. .
  16. ^ Dennison, James T. (2014). Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. pp. Kindle Locations 47065–47079; Chapter 98. .
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