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"O, Ye Women, Think Of Thy Innocent Children, When They Die Young!" The Canons Of Dordt (First Head, Article Seventeen) Between Polemic And Pastoral Theology

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Chapter Summary

Are there infants who must be counted as reprobates because there is simply either election or reprobation? The subject of this chapter is how this emotionally laden question pertaining to the salvation of infants who die in their infancy was debated, and how the answer was established at the Synod and in the Canons of Dordt. Medieval theology and spiritual care struggled with the consequences of the emphasis Augustine had placed on original sin. The Synod of Carthage had confirmed over-against the Pelagians that baptism of infants was necessary to cleanse them from original sin, even though they themselves had not yet sinned. The Contra-Remonstrants could not remain silent about the election of young children. In the doctrine of predestination the biblical notion of election from the mothers womb was discussed.

Keywords: Canons of Dordt; children; Contra-Remonstrants; National Synod of Dordrecht; original sin; pastoral theology; polemic theology; predestination



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