Original Research - Special Collection: Synod of Dordrecht (1618-1619) - Synod's meaning and influence in South Africa

What can we learn from Dordrecht for a possible authentic Confessio Africana?

Carel F.C. Coetzee
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 2 | a2376 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i2.2376 | © 2018 Carel F.C. Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 2018 | Published: 29 November 2018


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Abstract

The year 2018 marks the 400th commemoration of the Synod of Dordt, the most important synod of reformed churches in the Post-Reformation era. The Synod was convened by the States General of the Netherlands after decades of serious conflict and unrest in the Dutch churches, over the Arminian heresy regarding the doctrine on predestination. The Synod also had an international character since it was also attended by theologians from churches all over Europe and England. The main purpose of the Synod was to seek a resolution of the Arminian controversy and formulate a judgement on the Remonstrance of 1610. After a wearisome process of evaluating the writings of the Remonstrants, and a thorough studying of Scripture, the Canons of Dordt was approved and signed by all the delegates. In the years to come it was recognised as a confessional standard together with the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. As far as a possible authentic Confessio Africana is concerned, efforts in the past to draft such a confession were not successful. We learn from Dordt (as well as the drafting of other reformed confessions through the ages) that a true reformed confession is born resulting from the judgement of the churches on a fundamental doctrinal issue. Such a confession must be recognised and accepted by churches internationally because it is in accordance with the Word of God.

Keywords

Synod of Dordt; Canons of Dordt; Characteristics of a Reformed confession; Confessio Africana;Lessons from Dordt

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