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

’n Vraag ‘door de Christelijke predikanten uit Oost-Indië overgezonden’. Die Dordtse Sinode (1618–1619), die sending en die doop van kinders uit nie-Christelike ouers

Rudolph M. Britz
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 3 | a2464 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i3.2464 | © 2019 R.M. Britz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2019 | Published: 22 August 2019

About the author(s)

Rudolph M. Britz, Theological University Kampen, Kampen, the Netherlands; and, Department of Philosophy, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein,, South Africa


A question sent over by the Christian ministers from East-India: The Synod of Dordt (1618–1619), mission and the baptism of children born of non-Christian parents: It is well-known that the renowned Synod of Dordt (1618–1619) decided that children, born of non-Christian (ethnici) parents, but adopted into Christian house holdings in East-India, should not be baptised, unless foundational teaching in the Christian doctrine and confession of faith occurred. It was a decision of theological, ecclesiastical and historical consequence, also for the church in Africa. The decision was taken by a majority vote, since the issue divided the Synod. It gave effect to one of the most significant theological debates in the Synod. The article traces the dispute, with consideration of the differentiating views that arose among the delegates as it was recorded in the original acts of the Synod. The decision had after-effects and repercussions. It would be instrumental in shaping the character of the church in a non-Christian colonial context. The article indicates that the effects of the decision were not necessarily carried by the theology of mission, formulated in such an inspiring way by the Canons of Dordt.


Colonialism; East-India; Infant baptism; Mission; Slavery; Synod of Dordt 1618–1619


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