Canons of Dort
In less than a month’s time
, many Reformedchurches around the world would be commemorat-ing the Great Protestant Reformation which begunin Germany on 31 October, 1517. On that providen-tial day, Martin Luther nailed his famed
on the door of the castle church of Wittenberg. In notime, without Luther’s knowledge, this paper wascopied, and reproduced in great numbers with thethen recently invented printing machine, and dis-tributed throughout Europe. This paper was to beused by our Sovereign Lord to ignite the Reforma-tion, which saw the release of the true Church of Christ from the yoke and bondage of Rome. Fourhundred and eighty-three years have gone by sincethen. Today, there are countless technically Protes-tant churches (i.e., those which can trace back tothe Reformation in terms of historical links) aroundthe world, but there are few which still rememberthe rich heritage of the Reformers. In fact, a greatnumber of churches which claim to be Protestanthave, in fact, gone back to Rome by way of doctrineand practice, and some even make it their businessto oppose the Reformers and their heirs.I am convinced that one of the chief reasons for thisstate of affair in the Protestant Church is a contemp-tuous attitude towards past creeds and confessionsand the historical battles against heresies. When, forexample, there are fundamental defenders of the faithteaching in Bible Colleges, who have not so much asheard of the
Canons of Dort
or the Synod of Dort,
The Canons of Dort
but would lash out at hyper-Calvinism, then youknow that something is seriously wrong within thecamp. Yet, this is indeed what is happening. Mostbelievers in the pews are not comfortable with theo-logical jargons, not to mention being able to detectthe incursion of subtle errors into the church. Butwhen ministers of the Gospel are also unconcernedabout what errors have already been dealt with bythe Church in the ages of learning in the past, thenwe know the floodgates of apostasy are being opened;and who knows how far the torrents will carry theChurch in the next generation? The attitude of preachers, we must remember, will inevitably rub off on the members of the church, some of whom maybecome leaders of the church by and by.It is for this reason, I believe, that we must go backto our past. We must remember the great work of God in and through the Church in the past, and seekto learn from the mistakes of our forebears (cf. Deut2:30; 3:3; Ps 105:5–6). It is especially pertinent forus to do so as we remember the Great Reformation.Last year
, we look at five key Reformers who weregreatly used by God to shape His Church. This year,we shall move a hundred years ahead to look in-stead at the history and doctrine of the
Canons of Dort
(or Dordrecht). In this article, we shall take aquick look at the events leading up to the Synod of Dort. From next Lord’s Day, we shall examine thedoctrine of the
in the order of the well-known
This article was written on 15 October, 2000.
That is, 1999.