Original Research - Special Collection: Impact of Reformed Theology

Certitudo coram Deo: Reframing a fascinating feature of Dort

P. Paul Kruger
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 2 | a2567 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i2.2567 | © 2020 P. Paul Kruger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2019 | Published: 11 June 2020

About the author(s)

P. Paul Kruger, The Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


This article combines celebratory contributions to Dort400 and TSP150. It attempts to reframe the fascinating perspective of faith-certainty in Canons of Dordrecht (5:5, 13), in as far as it is linked to a notion of persevering before the undivided face of the living God, alternatively, ’in thy light’ (meaning the light ‘from thy countenance’) – realising that besides the light-side of the fatherly face, there is also has a ‘shadow-side’. After explaining the theme in terms of the universal situation of humanity as being coram Deo (before the face of God or in the presence of God), the method of reframing is elucidated as a form of theologia reformanda. The fascinating Dortian feature in question – it is argued – was articulated within historical cadres, aimed at correcting Remonstrant caricaturing of the reformed intentions. The task of reframing this feature, firstly, entails a new ‘enframing’ thereof within a contemporary late-modern paradigm, captioned under the bird’s eye view analogy of a ‘Holy Saturday situation’. Aspects of this enframing are indicated as a ‘logic of embrace’, a stress on the paradoxical ‘nevertheless’ structure of faith-certainty and a retrieval of the comforting insight that believers participate in Christ’s own faith. Secondly, Luther’s and Calvin’s dramatic expository improvising of Jacob’s faith struggle at Jabbok, as he encountered the hidden and revealed face of God, is made transparent. It seems to be an example from an earlier scene in God’s great Kingdom drama to be re-improvised in a 21st-century framework.


Dordt; Coram Deo; Faith certainty; Reframing; Holy Saturday-age; Archimedian point; God’s hiddenness; Calvin; Luther; Faith-play


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