Original Research - Special Collection: Synod of Dordrecht (1618-1619) - Important missiological perspectives

The perseverance of the saints, persecution and mission, and its implications for Reformed churches

Pieter Verster
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 3 | a2446 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i3.2446 | © 2019 Pieter Verster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 January 2019 | Published: 22 August 2019

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Pieter Verster, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

The confession of saints’ perseverance in the Canons of Dort gives much comfort to the Christian. This was one of the most important challenges the Synod of Dort had to address. It also has many implications for the mission of the church. Not only does it highlight the message that God, in his salvation, will always complete his act of redemption, but also that he will not reject the believer once he or she has become a true Christian. It also comforts many in times of persecution, because God, in his faithfulness, will be the One to empower the believer to remain steadfast and also to vow for those who doubt and even struggle to keep the faith. For Reformed churches, this means that, in the endeavour of mission, a message of great comfort can be proclaimed to all. In Jesus Christ there is certainty of eternal life not because of human power or godliness, but because of God’s faithfulness. Theologically it is, however, also important to challenge philosophical views where certainty of faith is rejected for a worldview of uncertainty. The truth of faith is, however, found in God, not in the human possibilities. In this regard, Dort is important for the church to be guided to the fullness of service to the triune God. Mission becomes a wonderful act of peace for the troubled soul in a troubled world.

Keywords

Perseverance; Saints; Persecution; Eternity; Reformed churches

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