Highlights from the Canons of Dort
CHAPTER 1: Divine Election and Predestination
Article 7: Before the foundation of the world … [God] chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race. … Those chosen were neither better nor more deserving than the others.
Article 8: This election is not of many kinds; it is one and the same election for all who were to be saved in the Old and the New Testament.
Article 9: Election is not based on foreseen faith. This same election took place, not on the basis of foreseen faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, or of any other good quality and disposition, as though it were based on a prerequisite cause or condition in the person to be chosen.
Article 10: But the cause of this undeserved election … does not involve his choosing certain human qualities or actions from among all those possible as a condition of salvation.
Article 11: … neither can his chosen ones be cast off, nor their number reduced.
Article 12: The Assurance of Election. … Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God's Word-- such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.
Article 16: Those who do not yet actively experience within themselves a living faith in Christ or an assured confidence of heart, peace of conscience, … such people ought not to be alarmed at the mention of reprobation, nor to count themselves among the reprobate; rather they ought to continue diligently in the use of the means, to desire fervently a time of more abundant grace, and to wait for it in reverence and humility.
On the other hand, those who seriously desire to turn to God, to be pleasing to him alone, and to be delivered from the body of death, but are not yet able to make such progress along the way of godliness and faith as they would like--such people ought much less to stand in fear of the teaching concerning reprobation, since our merciful God has promised that he will not snuff out a smoldering wick and that he will not break a bruised reed.
Article 17: The Salvation of the Infants of Believers. … children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.
Error I: [The synod rejects those] who teach that the will of God is to save those who would believe.
Error V: [The synod rejects those] who teach that the incomplete and non-peremptory election of particular persons to salvation occurred on the basis of a foreseen faith, repentance, holiness, and godliness … [The synod rejects] that faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, godliness, and perseverance are prerequisite in those who are to be chosen in the complete election, and which are foreseen as achieved in them.
Error VI: [The synod rejects those] who teach that not every election to salvation is unchangeable, but that some of the chosen can perish and do in fact perish eternally, with no decision of God to prevent it.
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