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Calvin and the Canons of Dordt (1619)

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Despite the fact that the so-called “Five Points of Calvinism” are based on the five main points of the Canons of Dordt, it is misleading to assume that these five points are drawn directly from Calvin. The documents of the Synod of Dordt rarely refer to any theological source, including Calvin. However, a comparison of Calvin and the Canons suggests that Calvin was a probable influence on the Canons on the issue of double predestination and a possible influence on the themes of the universal call of the gospel, human depravity, efficacious grace, and perseverance. But Calvin was an unlikely influence on the Canons’ infralapsarian stance and on its formulations regarding negative-positive reprobation, particular grace, and the sufficient-efficient distinction. These latter issues became formulated in a more precise manner after Calvin, so later Reformed theologians were more likely influences. In sum, Calvin’s influence on the Canons could only have been moderate.

Affiliations: 1: Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL, USA


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