Who was Episcopius?

, posted by Godismyjudge

Simon Bisscop (better known by his Latinized last name, Episcopius) was James Arminius’ student and close friend. He attended the University of Leiden when the hot debates between Arminius and Gomarus were going on. He visited Arminius on his death bed and after Arminius died, Episcopius experienced persecution, being excluded from the Lord’s table and blocked from the pastorate. Episcopius was one of the authors and 43 signers of the 5 points of the Remonstrants. (link)

After that Episcopius became a professor of theology at Leiden, but there he experience the same controversy that Arminius did. Only now the conflict had gotten too hot and had moved from verbal to physical. Arminians were being attacked in the streets. They needed protection. Episcopius saw only one answer, a national synod. Wtenbogaert, the leader of the Remonstrants, feared for his life and fled the country, leaving Episcopius as the Arminian leader going into the synod of Dort.

The synod itself was heavily slanted towards the Calvinists. Thirteen of the 400+ participants were Armininan and they were treated as the accused, not equals. Episcopius was the spokesman for the Arminians. They were not allowed to criticize Calvinist positions and after they figured out that the synod was not going to be balanced, they walked out. The council led to two documents, the Cannons of Dort which give us the famous five points of Calvinism (link) and the Arminian confession which Episcopius authored. (link)

As a result of the synod, Johan van Oldenbarneveldt the political supporter of the Remonstrants was killed, Hugo Grotius was imprisoned and Simon Episcopius was exiled. Twenty years later Episcopius returned and started a Remonstrant College.