Bonus Lesson: Robert Godfrey Lectures “Reformation in the Netherlands”, A Brief History of the Reformation; The Canons of Dordt and the Remonstrants

Dr. Robert Godfrey, A.B., Stanford University; M.Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; M.A. and Ph.D., Stanford University. Dr. Godfrey has taught church history at Westminster Seminary California since 1981, having previously taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Stanford University, and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is the third President of Westminster Seminary California and is a minister in the United Reformed Churches. This first class of his course titled Reformation in the Netherlands offers a survey of the late middle ages. Dr. Godfrey provides marvelous insights into the late medieval theology that was under attack for its preoccupation with theological minutia. He also addresses the Dutch humanist Erasmus and his contribution to bible study, one that impacted Luther, in his new Latin translation which supplanted Jerome’s earlier Latin version, the accepted standard in the Roman Catholic church. Click here to go the media player at YOU WILL WANT TO DRAG THE PLAYER TO 12 MIN. 50 SECONDS TO AVOID CLASS ORGANIZATION COMMENTS THAT PRECEDE THE LECTURE.

Dr. Godfrey returns with valuable insights into the problems in medieval Catholicism that led Luther to recognize the popular theology of the Church distorted biblical truths. He provides us with a different kind of lecture on the reformation and reform churches by also contrasting them briefly with Revivalist churches, specifically Aimee Semple McPherson who was an early 20th century pentecostal evangelist and founder of the Foursquare Church. Click on A Brief History of the Reformation.

The Dutch Reformation: The Canons of Dordt

From The Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics we learn,

“The Decision of the Synod of Dordt on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands is popularly known as the Canons of Dordt. It consists of statements of doctrine adopted by the great Synod of Dordt which met in the city of Dordrecht in 1618-19. Although this was a national synod of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, it had an international character, since it was composed not only of Dutch delegates but also of twenty-six delegates from eight foreign countries.

The Synod of Dordt was held in order to settle a serious controversy in the Dutch churches initiated by the rise of Arminianism. Jacob Arminius, a theological professor at Leiden University, questioned the teaching of Calvin and his followers on a number of important points. After Arminius’s death, his own followers presented their views on five of these points in the Remonstrance of 1610. In this document or in later more explicit writings, the Arminians taught election based on foreseen faith, universal atonement, partial depravity, resistible grace, and the possibility of a lapse from grace. In the Canons the Synod of Dordt rejected these views and set forth the Reformed doctrine on these points, namely, unconditional election, limited atonement, total depravity, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of saints.” [Please go to the original document by clicking on the Canons of Dordt above. You will be able to read the entire document. For additional documents of the Reformation, particularly in the Netherlands, you should click here.]


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