The importance of what the Synod of Dort in 1619 accomplished in response to the protest or Remonstrance of the Arminians is seen in the acrostic: TULIP. These 5 points of Calvinism have historically been held by Presbyterian and Reformed churches and by many Baptists and are the backbone of Reformed Theology.
It’s not enough to know that God loves you and sent His Son to die for your sins, but to know why your redemption has been accomplished and how it is made effective. Since Christianity is a system of thought, not just and ‘only’ the way of salvation, it is important to link the truths of Scripture into a complete unit which ties these truths together into a systematic whole. It is only when we do this that the strength and beauty of our Judeo-Christian system of thought is clearly seen. These five points of Calvinism do that for us in answer to the questions we raised in ‘Predestination and Free Will: Some Preliminary Questions‘, my post of Feb. 21 found here: https://luvnotestodaughters.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/predestination-and-free-will-preliminary-questions/.
What we will attempt to do now is compare and contrast the 5 points of Calvinism with the 5 points of Arminianism. At first, we must realize that there is some disagreement today about what exactly the Arminian Remonstrants were positing. Many modern-day Arminians don’t understand the implications of what their historical brethren, the Historical Arminians, actually believed in their Remonstrance of 1610. This has caused some confusion. However, we can be assured that the church leaders at the Synod of Dort, and the canons that came out of the Synod of Dort, were not confused. They clearly understood the five articles the Remonstrants posited, and refuted each one, one by one, with TULIP, or five points of Calvinism.
An important aspect of this debate, like that with Luther and Erasmus, has to do with the nature of the Fall of Adam. We must remember this critical point, for it pops up again and again throughout history. Was Adam’s Fall complete ruin in body, soul, and spirit (intellect, will, emotions), or did man only have a partial Fall, affecting only part of his being, while retaining other aspects of his being intact? The Biblical-Augustinian-Lutheran-Calvinist-monergistic position, and that affirmed by the Synod of Dort, was that the Fall had ruined the whole human race, and plunged man into physical and spiritual death, entangling his will into bondage to sin. The Synod of Dort condemned the idea that man could save himself by an exercise of his will apart from the grace of God (Pelagius), or that man could contribute to his own salvation by cooperating with the grace of God (semi-Pelagianism), labeling them both heresy; a step away and in the other direction from that of the Reformation, and back to Roman Catholicism.
With love, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas!