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Trinity ChurchTri-Cities, Washington

Worship Sunday 10:30 a.m.
1007 Wright Ave, Richland, WA [MAP]

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The Canons of Dort

The Canons of Dort, also called the Five Articles Against the Remonstrants, are statements of doctrine adopted by the great Reformed Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-1619. This Synod had a truly international character, since it was composed not only of the delegates of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands but also of twenty-seven delegates from foreign countries.

The Synod of Dordrecht was held in view of the serious disturbance in the Reformed Church by the rise and spread of Arminianism. Arminius, a theological professor at the University of Leyden, departed from the Reformed faith in his teaching concerning five important points. He taught conditional election on the ground of foreseen faith, universal atonement, partial depravity, resistible grace, and the possibility of a lapse from grace. These views were rejected by the Synod, and the opposite views were embodied in what is now called the Canons of Dort or the Five Articles Against the Remonstrants. In these Canons the Synod set forth the Reformed doctrine on these points, namely unconditional election, limited atonement, total depravity, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints.

Each of the Canons consists of a positive and a negative part, the former being an exposition of the Reformed doctrine on the subject, and the latter a repudiation of the corresponding Arminian error. Although in form there are only four chapters, occasioned by the combination of the third and fourth heads of doctrine into one, we speak properly of five Canons, and the third chapter is always designated as Chapter III-IV.

Although these chapters are often called the Five Points of Calvinism, they are in no way to be construed as a complete summary of Scripture. They limit themselves to certain points of doctrine.

View a PDF of the full text of the Canons of Dort here.