Richard Ellis, Correcting Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary on Arminius

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In a previous post I critiqued a video made by Ligonier. In this article I wish to give you my notes on a different video posted by PRC Theological Seminary called “Who was Jacob Arminius.” The speaker is Professor Russell Dykstra, and like before I think its content is somewhat bad.


So, without further ado, here are my thoughts:


~0:35: “The Lowlands: Reformation, Persecution, and Revolt is what preceded Arminius.”


Notes: The Revolt was in full swing before and during Arminius’s lifetime.


~0:45-50: “Reformation Came Early to the Netherlands via Germany…. But it wasn’t long that Calvinism came through the French people.”


Notes: The story is a bit more complicated than this. Christian Humanism definitely played a role, along with the Anabaptist and Lutherans. But Early Dutch Protestantism was quite fluid and it was only later that the Reformed Church started to become more prominent in the Netherlands.


As for its development, it was thought that Calvinism came from France, but now modern scholars believe Calvinism came largely from the Dutch-speaking refugee churches in London and in Germany.




“The rise of North European Christian humanism, one of the most crucial cultural shifts in western history, began in the Netherlands in the 1570s and 1480s, in the relatively remote north-eastern provinces of Overijssl and Groningen. It may seem odd that a cultural development of such significance for all Europe should have originated in a locality which, at the time, was becoming a backwater both economically and politically. But the ground for this great upheaval in thought and piety had been prepared in precisely this area by devotional and educational developments reaching far back into the medieval past.” (Israel, The Dutch Republic, 41)


“Erasmus’ works in Dutch translation in fact contributed substantially to the rapid progress of the Reformation in the Low Countries during the crucial 1520s. Some of Erasmus’ writings highly prized today were at that time not especially esteemed or thought relevant to the wider public. Thus, the Praise of Folly did not figure prominently and no Dutch version appeared until as late as 1560. But Erasmus’ Enchiridion, commentaries on the New Testament, and version of the New Testament itself, were by crypto-Protestant publicists and printers to be highly effective in spreading pro-Reformation attitudes, and they appeared in Dutch versions from 1523 onwards, at Amsterdam, Leiden, Delft, Antwerp, and Kampen. The Enchiridion in particular was often reprinted, despite being quickly identified by the authorities as an obvious vehicle of the Reformation and banned. (Israel, The Dutch Republic, 53-54)


“Dutch Protestantism was eventually, to be dominated by Calvinism. But Calvinism appeared late on the scene in the Low Countries and played no real role before the 1550s.” (Israel, The Dutch Republic, 74)


“Early Dutch Protestantism was so fluid that it was unable to fragment. In the 1530s only one doctrinal rift had any broad significance- that between mainstream Dutch crypto-protestantism, on the one hand, and Anabaptism on the other. Before 1530 no Protestants in the Low Countries were Anabaptists and after 1530 only a small minority were. …Although a tiny minority- and doctrinally untypical- they were, nevertheless, the vanguard of the Dutch Reformation during the long period of gestation between 1530 and the 1560s, except in East Friesland, where non-Anabaptist Dutch Protestant exiles, such as Hinne Rode, could organize freely, and in Lutheran enclaves, along the Julich, Cleves, and Gelderland borders. … The anabaptist movement which arose frist in Zurich, in the mid-1520s, subsequently spread rapidly to other parts of Switzerland and Germany but did not reach the Low Countries until June 1530 when Melchior Hoffman arrived in Emden, from Stratsburg, and spent several months organizing a community. Emeden served as the hub of early Dutch Anabaptism.” (Israel, The Dutch Republic, 85-86)


“It has long been supposed by historians that the predominantly Calvinist character of the later Dutch Reformation must have derived from these early advances in Wallonia and that, therefore, Calvinism entered the Dutch-speaking area essentially from France. Recent research has shown, however, that this was, in fact, not the case and that intellectual and religious interaction across the language line in the souther Netherlands was comparatively weak. Even in the parts of Dutch-speaking Flanders immediately adjoining the Walloon area, the main impulse behind the rise fo the Reformed Church to dominance within the Netherlands Reformation flowed not from the Walloon towns but the Dutch-speaking refugee churches in London and in Germany. In London the Advance of Calvinism among the Netherlands refugees was interrupted, in 1553, when Mary Tudor came to the throne and a catholic reaction set in. But this only strengthened the growing Calvinist tendency among the German refugee churches whither the leading exiles form London now went. Calvinism in the Dutch refugee churches in Germany- at Emden, Wesel, Duisburgm Frankfurt, and Frankenthal- was grafted on to an earlier Reformed tradition, a mélangeof burceran and Zwinglian influences which remained a vital part of the Dutch, as of the German and Swiss, Reformed traditions. The Reformed movement in the Netherlands was thus by no means purely Calvinist in origin and, in its early stages, had a few lings with Calvin, Geneva, or with French Protestantism.” (Israel, The Dutch Republic, 101-102)


~03:00-03:30: “There were Unreformed pastors…”


Notes: Of course there were unreformed pastors. And of course they came into conflict with the Reformed Confessions. They weren’t reformed. Depending on the time frame, Dutch Protestantism was quite fluid. Even William the Orange (William the Silent) was an advocate for religious toleration. You also had the libertines, Anabaptist, Lutherans, and more. You even have John Smyth, who was once an Anglican priest, in Amsterdam in 1608. It is therefore not as black-and-white as this video wants to claim.




“Early Dutch Protestantism was so fluid that it was unable to fragment.” (Israel, The Dutch Republic, 85)


“The Baptist arose mostly among these independents. One of their early leaders was John Smyth (1554-1612), an Anglican priest who decided that Anglicanism had not gone far enough in the process of reformation and established an independent- and therefore illegal- congregation. As this congregation grew, Smyth and his followers decided to flee to Amsterdam. There he continued his study of the Bible, and came to the point of refusing to use translations of the Bible in worship, for only the original text had absolute authority.” (Justo González, The Story of Christianity vol. II, 195)


“Most of Smyth’s early years are obscure, but it is known that he studied at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he was a fellow during 1594–98. He was a city preacher at Lincoln from 1600 to 1602, but he renounced Anglicanism in 1606 and became minister at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, to a group of Separatists who had similarly abandoned the Church of England. For two years with John Robinson, the minister to the Pilgrims in England and later in Holland, Smyth helped organize Separatists in Nottinghamshire. In 1608 both Smyth and Robinson went with their followers to Amsterdam. Adopting Baptist principles there, Smyth baptized first himself and then others, including Thomas Helwys, later an influential London Baptist. He admitted that “wee are inconstant in erroer” and frequently revised his convictions according to conscience, a characteristic that naturally caused divisions among his congregation. When he was excommunicated by it, he sought in vain a favourable reception from Dutch Mennonites. He eventually rejected the doctrine of original sin and asserted the right of every Christian to hold his own religious views. Among Smyth’s works is The Differences of the Churches of the Separation (probably 1608 or 1609).” (John Smyth | Puritan leader, Separatist, Dissenter | Britannica)


~03:45-03:53: “They wanted the government to be involved in the Church because the Government was not as Reformed as the consistory’s were.”


Notes: Who does he have in mind? To blanketly say that all nonreformed pastors were Erastian in their Church polity seems to neglect the Anabaptist and their ideas of the church being, to some degree, a voluntary community distinct from the state. In turn, if by unreformed he means the reformed Remonstrants at this time vs. the contra-Remonstrants— it should be noted that both sides supported the government when it suited their theological/political agendas.




“Also, by insisting on emphasizing the contrast between the church and civil society, the Anabaptists implied that the power structures within civil society should not be adopted by the church… All this the Anabaptists undid with their insistence on the church as a voluntary community, totally distinct from the civil community.” (Justo González, The Story of Christianity vol. II, 70)


“After the Stadholder Maurice of Orange made public his support of the Contra-Remonstrant party, he began what can properly be called a coup d’etat. Beginning in January 1618, he traveled around the country, disbanding city councils and replacing them, in many cases with the approval of the townspeople, with Contra-Remonstrants. By June of 1618, Maurice held more power in the United Provinces than anyone had held since his father William of Orange, who had been assassinated in 1584. By the end of the year, the government, which had heavily favored the Remonstrant cause, was now populated by Contra-Remonstrant sympathizers, from the States General down to city councils. On 29 August 1618, the Advocate of Holland, Oldenbarnevelt, was arrested on trumped-up charges of treason.” (Keith Stanglin, The Remonstrant Perspective and the Synod of Dordt, 342)


~05:20- 05:40: “Both of which [Geneva and Basel] were staunchly in favor of sovereign grace and sovereign predestination… At this point he is not telling anyone what he believed about reprobation and election as he would later reveal.”


Notes: I don’t know what is meant by “staunchly in favor of…” It seems to be inaccurate, given the fact that Beza tolerated Charles Perrot and other students who disagreed with him on predestination. In fact, in Beza’s lifetime, there were many who would go on to be taught and later espouse the Arminian view after Arminius’s departure.




“Beza was, in fact, in spite of his reputation of rigidity and even harshness, not a despot. He tolerated the presence on the faculty of the more liberal Charles Perrot, and he tolerated among the students many who disagreed with him on predestination, including especially Arminius’ close friend Uitenbogaert and another liberal Dutch student, Conrad Vorstius. Beza’s friendship for these three primary founders of Remonstrantism, Arminius, Uitenbogaert and Vorstius, has led de Vries to disceren in Beza a duality of loyalties. ON the one hand, he was the faithful and forceful defender of Calvin; on the other, having been delivered from Roman authority, he was not willing simply to inmpose his own. There is a sense, then, in which Arminius and his friends were indeed disciples of Beza, in that they adhered firmly not to ecclesiastical authority but to the “Word of God,” in which they found the basis for their doctrine of the liberty of conscience. Other students sucha s Johannes Bogerman and Gosvinus Geldorpius were disciples of Beza in holding to the content of his doctrines. It si a mistake to say either that Arminius followed the content of the doctrines or that Beza did not know of the difficulties his students were having with these doctrines. Jacobus Triglandius, the violent critic of the early Remonstrants, has tried to maintain that Arminius and Uitenbogaeert concealed their true opinions from Beza. There is no need for this hypothesis; indeed, available evidence is against it. Uitenbogaert’s views were known during his stay in Geneva, and as late as 1595 and Vorstius enjoyed cordial relations. Charles Perrot has been mentioned. Most accounts of Arminius fail to explain the importance of this Geneva theologian. Neither Bertius nor Caspar Brandt mentions Perrot. James Nichols mentions the fact that Arminius studied under Anthony Faye and Perrot, but he says nothing about the significance of this for the development of Arminius’ views. The importance of perrot is seen by H.D. Foster and de Vries. Gerard Brand mentions Perrot more extensively but does not connect him with Arminius. Perrot, who taught theology and presided over students’ discussion of theses, was a liberal force in theology at Geneva. He was critical of Beza’s extreme emphasis on grace and is reported to have said respecting it, “Justification by faith only has been preached up too much; it is time to speak of works.” Perrot argued for tolerance in theological matters and, when Uitenbogaert was about to leave Geneva for the Netherlands, Perrot gave him this advice:


“Never assist in condemning any for not agreeing in every point of religion with the established church, so longa s they adhere to the fundamentals of Christianity, and are disposed to maintain the peace of the Church, and bear with others their brethren who do not reject the fundamentals of religion, though a little differing from them. For this is the way to avoid schisms, and to arrive a the pious union and tranquility of the Christian Church.”


… To overlook the presence of Perrot on the theological faculty at Geneva and to assume that Beza’s influence was all-compelling distorts the situation. Arminius’ later statements on religious toleration are certainly closer to Perrot than to Beza.”


… Even during Arminius’ stay in Geneva there were students who dissented from Beza’s rigid Calvinism. Uytenbogaert has been mentioned; there were also Joannes Halsbergius, Cornelis Royenburgh, and ht emoderate Calvinists Franciscus Junius, Werner Helmichius, Jeremias Bastingius, Johannes Becius, Thysius, Adrianus Lymphaius, and Johannes Polyander. Geneva continued to produce opponents of strict Calvinism after Arminius had finished his work there, including Jacob de Graeff, Vorstius, Adriaan van der Miljle, Theophilus Rickwaert, Henricus Leo, Isaacus Diamantius, Nicolas Grevinchovius, Cornelius Burchvliet, Daniel Wittius, the later Remonstrant professor Stephanus Curcellaeus (de Courcelles), Johannes Arnoldus Corvinus, and Niclaes van Sorgen- all in the days of Beza himself. De Vries has called Geneva the “seedbed of Dutch Calvinism.” It is almost as fitting to call it the “seedbed of Dutch Arminianism.” (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 75-77)


~05:58-06:15: “And apparently it was worked out that Arminius smoothed it over and convinced them that he didn’t believe that man had a free will.”


Notes: This is once again a bit disingenuous. Arminius wasn’t trying to trick anyone. He may have been working on his own perspective, but altogether he wasn’t trying to trick anyone.




January 2: The Consistory discusses Arminius’s preaching of Romans 7; trouble mostly stirred up by Plancius (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 142-143)

January 7th (or 14th): A meeting with neither burgomasters or elders was held by the classis where Plancius was able to raise his objections against Arminius. Bangs notes that Plancius accused Arminius for “teaching Pelagianism, was overtly dependent on the early fathers, deviated from the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism, and held incorrect views on predestination and on the perfection of man in this life. Arminius defended himself on all but the last two charges, denying Pelagianism, defending the authority of the fathers, and denying any departure from the doctrinal formulas. Predestination he refused to discuss on the grounds that there was nothing about it in Romans 7. On the issue of perfection he had already explained himself at such length in his preaching, he said, that nothing more was to be added.” (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 143-144)

January 23: In a meeting with the classis or possibly the consistory,  Plancius rectified his statements made against Uitenbogaert, having previously said he held to improper views on original sin and other topics. (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 143)


Regarding Chapter Nine:



Arminius Preaches on Romans 9 (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 147)

March 25th: Hallius addresses Arminius sternly, mentioning complaints of the citizens about his sermons on Romans 9. (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 147)

April 22nd: Another consistory meeting was held without Arminius knowledge. Bangs notes that the consistory decided that “Arminius should be called upon to “declare distinctly and without any circumlocution his opinion on all the articles of faith.”

May 6th: Arminius Learns of the April 22nd meeting and asked for a reasonable time for preparation (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 148)

May 20th: Another consistory meeting was held. Bangs writes: “his enemies brought the matter up, and Arminius came up fighting. He called out in a loud voice, challenging anyone to stand forth and produce anything from any of his sermons which might call for censure. No one accepted the challenge, but one person made the objection “that from the testimony of Martinists [Lutherans], Anabaptists [Mennonites], and even libertines [humanists of the style of Coornhert] themselves, who gloried in his discourses on the ninth chapter of Romans, it was not unwarranteable to infer that he had taught and maintained something different from that which was taught by his brother ministers and everywhere taught by Reformed divines.” Arminius found it strange that no one present could cite an erroneous passage from his sermons. One of the elders replied that Arminius had been on his guard, and that he had used ambiguous expressions. Arminius denied the allegation and demanded proof, but no one would attempt to produce any evidence. (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 148-149)

  • May 27th: Arminius renewed his challenge a week later at another Consistory meeting. Cuchlinus asks: “Where is Plancius now? Insomuch as he had raised doubts about Arminius’ preaching, he should now, in the presence of Arminius and of the consistory, speak his mind.” Plancius gives three objections, and Arminius responds (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 149)


Plancius Objections on May 27th 1593


“They boiled down to three. First, Arminius, in preaching on Romans 9, had taught that “no one is condemned except on account of sin,” which amounted to excluding infants from condemnation. In other words, the doctrine of predestination as Beza taught it was imperiled. Second, Arminius had taught that “too much could not be ascribed to good works, nor could they be sufficiently commended, provided no merit were attributed to them.” Third, Arminius had taught that “angels are not immortal.” To the first accusation Arminius replied that Plancius was overlooking original sin. It was an answer well designed to discomfit Plancius, and at the same time it did not require Arminius to deal with the problem of predestination, an action which he still carefully avoided. As for the charge concerning good works, Arminius had nothing to recant; he would stand by the statement. As for angels, Arminius pointed out that he had never mentioned the matter in public but only in private, in Plancius’ home in fact, and that his point was that God alone possesses immortality of himself and that the immortality of the angels is not by nature but by sustenance of God. He reiterated his assent to the Confession and Catechism, offering only one scruple- over the interpretation but the words of the sixteenth article of the Belgic confession. It is the article on “eternal election,” which affirms that God delivers and preserves “all whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable council, of mere goodness hath elected in Jesus Christ our Lord.” His scruple was this: Does the “all” refer to believers, or is it an arbitrary decree to bestow faith? He accepted the first interpretation and rejected the latter. The terms of the article, however, he accepted. The consistory found Arminius’ statement acceptable and declared the matter closed…” (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation,149)



~06:39: “Asked to refute predestination by a man by the name of Coolhaus.”


Notes: This happened in 1589-1591, before the Romans 7/ Romans 9 controversies already mentioned. Bangs, as well as others (Stanglin, Muller, McCall) believe this story is a bit warped. It stems from a Eulogy given by Petrus Bertius the Younger at Arminius’s funeral. In any case, Arminius’s inability to produce a written document was not due to a shift of theological opinion.




“Indeed, according to Caspar Brandt, the Consistory of Amsterdam asked Arminius to write such a refutation, and Arminius’ failure to do so was caused by the intervention of Lydius with his request for a refutation of the delft ministers. Later writes often carelessly conflate these stories, sometimes to assert that Arminius was trying to refute Coornhert and went over to Coornhert’s humanism. … Arminius reports that it is being debated whether guilt or depravity comes first. Then a remarkable statement: “Our opponents, who are numerous here, deny it [original sin] altogether.” His opponents reject original sin, and they are many. Who are they? It is obvious for one thing that he does nor refer here to the Calvinists. His opponents are the humanists sympathizers of Coornhert ….” (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 139-140)


… All this evidence points to one conclusion: namely, that Arminius was not in agreement with Beza’s doctrine of predestination when he undertook his ministry at Amsterdam; indeed, he probably never had agreed with it. The issue had not been raised sharply for him, however, until the events just related here, at which time he took a specific stand against both the high Calvinist position then proposed- supralapsarianism and sublapsarianism. He suddenly found himself faced with a new set of propositions: liberty of conscience, the proper interpretation of the Confession and Catechism, and the authority of the consistory and classis over a minister. What he had learned from his early teachers, what had been widely held in the Dutch churches in the earlier decades, suddenly became controversial, and he was in the middle of the turmoil. (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 141)


~08:21: “The people who supported Arminius wanted a national synod to change the confession.”


Notes: As was agreed upon years prior. Before Arminius came to Leiden to teach there were calls for such changes back in the 1590s.




“As such, the national synod that convened at Dordt was qualitatively different from the one that Arminius desired and described in detail twelve years earlier and that the Remonstrants had hoped for in the subsequent years. They had requested a synod comprised of wise and peace-loving delegates, in which all parties who subscribed to the Confession and Catechism would have equal status, where one invested party would not sit in judgment over another. It was to be a synod in which all were allowed to speak their mind, a synod that would discuss whether the confessional standards should be revised on the basis of Scripture, a synod that guaranteed safety and freedom during and after it to those summoned and, regardless of its doctrinal outcome, would end with peace and toleration, the right hand of either fellowship or friendship. These were not last-minute demands of a group that was being stubborn simply for the purpose of hindering the synodical process. They were conditions that were supported by the States back in the 1590s, as well as in 1606 when the States called for the council and took steps to prepare for it. Moreover, from the Remonstrant perspective, they were not unreasonable conditions. When the synod to which they were cited was manifestly the opposite of the one they had requested and envisioned, then it is no wonder that they fought as hard as they did—and as thoroughly as they could within that system—to persuade the foreign delegations and anyone who would listen. All of this background should be remembered when considering the “attitude of the Remonstrants” at the synod.” (Keith Stanglin, The Remonstrant Perspective and the Synod of Dordt, 352)


“Arminius was confident that the synod would convene soon, and there was good reason for the hope. Both parties were agitating for it. Earlier in the winter, on November 39, 1605, the deputies of the two synods had requested the States General to call a national synod, and now Arminius, in the capacity of Rector Magnificus, had made a public plea for the same. The next month, on March 15, 1606, the States General granted their approval. Far from bringing the two parties together, however, it drove them even farther apart, for the supralapsarians were dismayed by the wording of the sanction. The States General had authorized the calling of the synod on the same terms as those laid down by the States of Holland in 1597; namely, that in the national synod the Confession and Catechism should be revised.” (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 280)


~09:18: A quote from a Student of Arminius


Notes: A letter from Arminius to Burgomaster Sebastian Egbertszoon seems to refute this comment. I don’t know of any scholar who believes this remark by Sibelius.




“Now, when the populace was aroused over Oldenbarnevelt’s dealig with a priestly agent of Spain, Arminius was accused of advising his students to read the works of the Jesuits and of Coornhert. The two rumors should have canceled each other out, so far apart were the parties named, but logic does not prevail when passions are high. Arminius wrote to his friend Burgomaster Sebastian Egbertszoon in Amsterdam that the rumors were nothing but lies: So far from this, after the reading of Scripture, which I strenuously inculcate, and more than any other (as the whole university indeed, the conscience of my colleagues will testify) I recommend that the Commentaries of Calvin be read, whom I extol in higher terms than Helmichius himself, as he owned to me, ever did. For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable, and that his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the Fathers- so much so that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all.” Arminius esteemed Calvin Commentaries . What about Calvin’s other writings? “His Institutes, so far as respects Commonplaces [loci communes], I give out to be read after the Catechism as a more extended explanation. But here I add- with discrimination, as the writings of all men ought to be read.” — 1607 (Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 288-289)


“Late in the Spring of 1607, Arminius was accused of requiring his Leiden students to read the Jesuits as well as the theological opinions of Dirck Coornhert. We may remember that Coornhert was, in the minds of the preciezen Calvinists, quite liberal. Evidently, Arminius experienced this widely circulated but false rumor as adding insult to injury. He wrote to Burgomaster Sebastian Egbertszoon, a friend in the Amsterdam church, that these accusations were pure falsehood. “So far from this, after the reading of Scripture, which I strenuously inculcate, and more than any other (as the whole university indeed, the conscience of my colleagues will testify) I recommend that the Commentaries of Calvin be read, whom I extol in higher terms than Helmichius himself, as he owned to me, ever did. For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable, and that his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the Fathers- so much so that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all.” (W. Stephen Gunter, Arminius and His Declaration of Sentiments, 82-83)


“In the history of Dutch theology in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Sepp records the comments of one Caspar Sibelius, a student at the University of Leiden during the years 1608 and 1609: “I observed, among a number of fellow students enrolled in the private theological class of doctor Arminius, many things that, had I been ignorant, might easily have led me into dark and abominable errors. For in that class we were utterly drawn away from reading the works and treatises of Calvin, Beza, Zanchi, Martyr, Ursinus, Piscator, Perkins, and other learned and valuable theologians of the church of Christ, we were commanded to examine only holy scripture, but equally so the writings of Socinus, Acontius, Castellio, Thomas Aquinas, Molina, Suárez and other enemies of grace were commended to us.” Sepp draws attention to the point that Arminius was known as a biblical teacher and argues that a contrast must be made between the “churchly dogmatics” of Gomarus- who drew on Calvin, Beza, Zanchi, and the others- and the “biblical theology” of Arminius. This view of Arminius is typical of those who contrasted his thought with scholastic orthodoxy. A similar accusation is recorded in the preface to the Acts of the Synod of Dort and taken up by Brandt in his life of Arminius together with the claim that Arminius and Uitenbogaert had received a letter from the pope promising financial rewards in return for advocacy of Roman theological views. Brandt refutes the charges with an excerpt from a letter of Arminius to Sebastian Egbertszoon, the burgomaster of Amsterdam, where Arminius denies that he ever recommended “the works of the Jesuits and of Coornhert” and states that he continually encouraged students to read commentaries and the Institutes of Calvin. Arminius expresses a high appreciation of Calvin’s commentaries and adds that the Institutes must be read “with discrimination, as the writings of all men ought to be read.” Arminius’ protestations notwithstanding, the accusations continued to be made.” (Richard Muller, God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius 27-28)



~09:45: His followers were a minority in the reformed churches,”


Notes: I don’t know what minority means here. After the Synod of Dordt, about 200 Arminian ministers were deposed, with 80 of them banished. 200, in my mind, is no small number. I guess he could have the Forty-three men in mind.




“In this way, many months went by before at last, in April 1619, the Synod drew to a close with ‘common consent and subscription in public’ to the canons. For the Remonstrants, the conclusion of the Synod meant acquiescence or exile. They were condemned as disseminators of false doctrine and disturbers of state and church. The British delegation protested against the harshness of the proceedings against the Remonstrants, which had been decided upon without the knowledge of the foreign delegates:


We were never made acquainted with it before the very instant in which it came to be

read, and because the delegates must not be stayed from their going to The Hague,

therefore all the synod must say Amen to it; between the forenoon and the afternoon

session, there was strange labouring with the Exteri for getting their consent to it; yet

we meddled not with it; all I can say, me thinketh it is hard, that every man should be

deposed from his ministery, who will not hold every particular canon; never did any

church of old, nor any Reformed Church, propose so many articles to be held sub poena

excommunicationis…None of us have the Canons yet, neither shall till the Estates

have approved them.


Yet the Contra-Remonstrants were hardly to be moved on this point. Remonstrant ministers who continued to refuse to subscribe to the Canons of the Synod were given the choice to sign the ‘armistice treaty’ (‘Acte van Stilstand’), allowing them to live as private citizens, or to face exile. Only one of the members of the delegation, Henricus Leo, could be persuaded to sign. In the purges that followed the Synod of Dort, about two hundred Arminian ministers were deposed, of which eighty were banished, while a slightly lesser number signed the ‘armistice treaty’. The banished preachers were transported on carts to the border town of Waalwijk from where they moved on to the Southern Netherlands, and later on, to France, and Northern Germany. In exile, the Remonstrant leadership began the construction of what had now become the Remonstrant church under the cross. Under the guidance of Episcopius, a confession was drafted. Yet although the Remonstrant confession stressed that its authority was not absolute, but that it rather served as a point of orientation, this still went too far for some members, including prominent figures like the poet Dirk Rafaëlsz Camphuyzen, who would never submit to it.” (Freya Sierhus, The Literature of the Arminian Controversy, 169)


~10:13-11:33: The Five Articles of the Remonstrant


Note: Here are the Articles in full. I don’t think Article one mentions election on foreseen faith, but it is probably implied. … He talks as if the Remonstrants wanted to sneak in heresy. No, they believed this to be an accurate portrayal of scripture. In turn, it is stupid to assume that they didn’t believe in Article III.




ARTICLE I.  That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John iii. 36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” and according to other passages of Scripture also.


ART. II. That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption, and the forgiveness ef sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins, except the believer, according to the word of the Gospel of John iii. 16: “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”; and in the First Epistle of John ii. 2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only. but also for the sins of the whole world.”


ART. III.  That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free-will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. b: “Without me ye can do nothing.”


ART. IV.  That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of an good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting; awakening, following, and co-operative grace, elm neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, inasmuch as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost, -Acts vii., and elsewhere in many places.


ART. V.  That those who an incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his lifegiving spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand; and if only they are ready for the conflict. and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ’s hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” But whether they are capable. through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.

[Link to original post and comments at Richard Ellis’ website]