Canons of Dordt

Simply for historical interest and reference (this is an important historical document, NOT for what constitutes true Biblical Christianity, but for an informative example of the diversity of the Reformed Tradition). This website is labeled as "Genuine Historical Calvinism" because custom has made "Calvinism" or "the 5-points of Calvinism" familiar and easier to recognize. According to some, however, a more precise title or description would be "Reformed catholic" or "Reformed catholicity" (which, by this descriptor, its genuineness would be assumed).

 Title: Synod of Dort
      Creator(s): Anonymous
          Rights: Public Domain
   CCEL Subjects: All; Creeds

                                 SYNOD OF DORT

Synod of Dordrecht

  November 13, 1618 - May 9, 1619



ARTICLE 1. As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are
   deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving
   them all to perish and delivering them over to condemnation on account
   of sin, according to the words of the apostle: "that every mouth may be
   silenced and the whole world held accountable to God." (Rom 3:19). And:
   "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom 3:23).
   And: "For the wages of sin is death." (Rom 6:23).

   ARTICLE 2. but in this the love of God was manifested, that He "sent
   his one and only Son into the world, that whoever believes in him shall
   not perish but have eternal life." (1 John 4:9, John 3:16).

   ARTICLE 3. And that men may be brought to believe, God mercifully sends
   the messengers of these most joyful tiding to whom He will and at what
   time He pleases; by whose ministry men are called to repentance and
   faith in Christ crucified. "How, then, can they call on the one they
   have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they
   have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to
   them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?" (Rom 10:14-15).

   ARTICLE 4. The wrath of God abides upon those who believe not this
   gospel. But such as receive it and embrace Jesus the Savior by a true
   and living faith are by Him delivered from the wrath of God and from
   destruction, and have the gift of eternal life conferred upon them.

   ARTICLE 5. The cause or guilt of this unbelief as well as of all other
   sins is no wise in God, but in man himself; whereas faith in Jesus
   Christ and salvation through Him is the free gift of God, as it is
   written: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and
   this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8). Likewise:
   "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe
   on him, but also to suffer for him" (Phil 1:29)

   ARTICLE 6. That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do
   not receive it, proceeds from God's eternal decree. "For now unto God
   are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18 A.V.).
   "who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will"
   (Eph 1:11). According to which decree He graciously softens the hearts
   of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe; while He
   leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and
   obduracy. And herein is especially displayed the profound, the
   merciful, and at the same time the righteous discrimination between men
   equally involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation,
   revealed in the Word of God, which, though men of perverse, impure, and
   unstable minds wrest it to their own destruction, yet to holy and pious
   souls affords unspeakable consolation.

   ARTICLE 7. Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before
   the foundation of the world, He has out of mere grace, according to the
   sovereign good pleasure of His own will, chosen from the whole human
   race, which had fallen through their own fault from the primitive state
   of rectitude into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to
   redemption in Christ, whom He from eternity appointed the Mediator and
   Head of the elect and the foundation of salvation. This elect number,
   though by nature neither better nor more deserving than others, but
   with them involved in one common misery, God has decreed to give to
   Christ to be saved by Him, and effectually to call an draw them to His
   communion by His Word and Spirit; to bestow upon them true faith,
   justification, and sanctification; and having powerfully preserved them
   in the fellowship of His son, finally to glorify them for the
   demonstration of His mercy, and for the praise of the riches of His
   glorious grace; as it is written "For he chose us in him before the
   creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he
   predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in
   accordance with his pleasure and will-- to the praise of his glorious
   grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Eph 1:4-6).
   And elsewhere: "And those he predestined, he also called; those he
   called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Rom

   ARTICLE 8. There are not various decrees of election, but one and the
   same decree respecting all those who shall be saved, both under the Old
   and New Testament; since the Scripture declares the good pleasure,
   purpose, and counsel of the divine will to be one, according to which
   He has chosen us from eternity, both to grace and to glory, to
   salvation and to the way of salvation, which He has ordained that we
   should walk therein (Eph 1:4, 5; 2:10).

   ARTICLE 9. This election was not founded upon foreseen faith and the
   obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition
   in man, as the prerequisite, cause, or condition of which it depended;
   but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness,
   etc. Therefore election is the fountain of every saving good, from
   which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and
   finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to
   the testimony of the apostle: "For he chose us (not because we were,
   but) in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless
   in his sight." (Eph 1:4).

   ARTICLE 10. The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious
   election; which does not consist herein that out of all possible
   qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of
   salvation, but that He was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to
   adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to Himself, as it is
   written: "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or
   bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works
   but by him who calls--she (Rebekah) was told, 'The older will serve the
   younger.'Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'"
   (Rom 9:11-13). "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and
   honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal
   life believed." (Acts 13:48).

   ARTICLE 11. And as God Himself is most wise, unchangeable, omniscient,
   and omnipotent, so the election made by Him can neither be interrupted
   nor changed, recalled, or annulled; neither can the elect be cast away,
   nor their number diminished.

   ARTICLE 12. The elect in due time, though in various degrees and in
   different measures, attain the assurance of this their eternal and
   unchangeable election, not by inquisitively prying into the secret and
   deep things of God, but by observing in themselves with a spiritual joy
   and holy pleasure the infallible fruits of election pointed out in the
   Word of God - such as, a true faith in Christ, filial fear, a godly
   sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, etc.

   ARTICLE 13. The sense and certainty of this election afford to the
   children of God additional matter for daily humiliation before Him, for
   adoring the depth of His mercies, for cleansing themselves, and
   rendering grateful returns of ardent love to Him who first manifested
   so great love towards them. The consideration of this doctrine of
   election is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of the
   divine commands or from sinking men in carnal security, that these, in
   the just judgment of God, are the usual effects of rash presumption or
   of idle and wanton trifling with the grace of election, in those who
   refuse to walk in the ways of the elect.

   ARTICLE 14. As the doctrine of election by the most wise counsel of God
   was declared by the prophets, by Christ Himself, and by the apostles,
   and is clearly revealed in the Scriptures both of the Old and the New
   Testament, so it is still to be published in due time and place in the
   Church of God, for which it was peculiarly designed, provided it be
   done with reverence, in the spirit of discretion and piety, for the
   glory of God's most holy Name, and for enlivening and comforting His
   people, without vainly attempting to investigate the secret ways of the
   Most High (Acts 20:27; Rom 11:33f; 12:3; Heb 6:17f).

   ARTICLE 15. What peculiarly tends to illustrate and recommend to us the
   eternal and unmerited grace of election is the express testimony of
   sacred Scripture that not all, but some only, are elected, while others
   are passed by in the eternal decree; whom God, out of His sovereign,
   most just, irreprehensible, and unchangeable good pleasure, has decreed
   to leave in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged
   themselves, and not to bestow upon them saving faith and the grace of
   conversion; but, permitting them in His just judgment to follow their
   own ways, at last, for the declaration of His justice, to condemn and
   punish them forever, not only on account of their unbelief, but also
   for all their other sins. And this is the decree of reprobation, which
   by no means makes God the Author of sin (the very though of which is
   blasphemy), but declares Him to be an awful, irreprehensible, and
   righteous Judge and Avenger thereof.

   ARTICLE 16. Those in whom a living faith in Christ, and assured
   confidence of soul, peace of conscience, an earnest endeavor after
   filial obedience, a glorying in God through Christ, is not as yet
   strongly felt, and who nevertheless make use of the means which God has
   appointed for working these graces in us, ought not to be alarmed at
   the mention of reprobation, nor to rank themselves among the reprobate,
   but diligently to persevere in the use of means, and with ardent
   desires devoutly and humble to wait for a season of richer grace. Much
   less cause to be terrified by the doctrine of reprobation have they
   who, though they seriously desire to be turned to God, to please Him
   only, and to be delivered from the body of death, cannot yet reach that
   measure of holiness and faith to which they aspire; since a merciful
   God has promised that He will not quench the smoking flax, nor break
   the bruised reed. But this doctrine is justly terrible to those who,
   regardless of God and of the Savior Jesus Christ, have wholly given
   themselves up to the cares of the world and the pleasures of the flesh,
   so long as they are not seriously converted to God.

   ARTICLE 17. Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word,
   which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature,
   but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they together with the
   parents are comprehended, godly parents ought not to doubt the election
   and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this
   life in their infancy (Gen 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor 7:14).

   ARTICLE 18. To those who murmur at the free grace of election and the
   just severity of reprobation we answer with the apostle "But who are
   you, O man, to talk back to God?" (Rom 9:20), and quote the language of
   our Savior: "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own?"
   (Matt 20:15). And therefore, with holy adoration of these mysteries, we
   exclaim in the words of the apostle: "Oh, the depth of the riches of
   the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and
   his paths beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or
   who has been his counselor?''Who has ever given to God, that God should
   repay him?'For from him and through him and to him are all things. To
   him be the glory forever! Amen." (Rom 11:33-36).


   The true doctrine concerning election and reprobation having been
   explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those:

   PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach: That the will of God to save those who would
   believe and would persevere in faith and in the obedience of faith is
   the whole and entire decree of election, and that nothing else
   concerning this decree has been revealed in God's Word.

   For these deceive the simple and plainly contradict the Scriptures,
   which declare that God will not only save those who will believe, but
   that He has also from eternity chosen certain particular persons to
   whom, above others, He will grant in time, both faith in Christ and
   perseverance; as it is written "I have revealed you to those whom you
   gave me out of the world. (John 17:6). "and all who were appointed for
   eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)". And "For he chose us in him
   before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
   (Eph 1:4)."

   PARAGRAPH 2. Who teach: That there are various kinds of election of God
   unto eternal life: the one general and indefinite, the other particular
   and definite; and that the latter in turn is either incomplete,
   revocable, non-decisive, and conditional, or complete, irrevocable,
   decisive, and absolute. Likewise: That there is one election unto faith
   and another unto salvation, so that election can be unto justifying
   faith, without being a decisive election unto salvation.

   For this is a fancy of men's minds, invented regardless of the
   Scriptures, whereby the doctrine of election is corrupted, and this
   golden chain of our salvation is broken: "And those he predestined, he
   also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he
   also glorified. (Rom 8:30)."

   PARAGRAPH 3. Who teach: That the good pleasure and purpose of God, of
   which Scripture makes mention in the doctrine of election, does not
   consist in this, that God chose certain persons rather than others, but
   in this, that He chose out of all possible conditions (among which are
   also the works of the law), or out of the whole order of things, that
   act of faith which from its very nature is undeserving, as well as it
   incomplete obedience, as a condition of salvation, and that He would
   graciously consider this in itself as a complete obedience and count it
   worthy of the reward of eternal life.

   For by this injurious error the pleasure of God and the merits of
   Christ are made of none effect, and men are drawn away by useless
   questions from the truth of gracious justification and from the
   simplicity of Scripture, and this declaration of the apostle is charged
   as untrue: "who has saved us and called us to a holy life, not because
   of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This
   grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Tim

   PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That in the election unto faith this condition
   is beforehand demanded that man should use the light of nature aright,
   be pious, humble, meek, and fit for eternal life, as if on these things
   election were in any way dependent.

   For this savors of the teaching of Pelagius, and is opposed to the
   doctrine of the apostle when he writes: "All of us also lived among
   them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and
   following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature
   objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is
   rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in
   transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us
   up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ
   Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable
   riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
   For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not
   from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one
   can boast (Eph 2:3-9)."

   PARAGRAPH 5. Who teach: That the incomplete and non-decisive election
   of particular persons to salvation occurred because of a foreseen
   faith, conversion, holiness, godliness, which either began or continued
   for some time; but that the complete and decisive election occurred
   because of foreseen perseverance unto the end in faith, conversion,
   holiness, and godliness; and that this is the gracious and evangelical
   worthiness, for the sake of which he who is chosen is more worthy than
   he who is not chosen; and that therefore faith, the obedience of faith,
   holiness, godliness, and perseverance are not fruits of the
   unchangeable election unto glory, but are conditions which, being
   required beforehand, were foreseen as being met by those who will be
   fully elected, and are causes without which the unchangeable election
   to glory does not occur.

   This is repugnant to the entire Scripture, which constantly inculcates
   this and similar declarations: Election is "not by works but by him who
   calls (Rom 9:12)." "And all who were appointed for eternal life
   believed (Acts 13:48)." "For he chose us in him before the creation of
   the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (Eph 1:4)." "You did
   not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit
   that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my
   name (John 15:16)." "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works
   (Rom 11:6)." "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us
   and sent his Son (1 John 4:10)."

   PARAGRAPH 6. Who teach: That not every election unto salvation is
   unchangeable, but that some of the elect, any decree of God
   notwithstanding, can yet perish and do indeed perish.

   By this gross error they make God be changeable, and destroy the
   comfort which the godly obtain out of the firmness of their election,
   and contradict the Holy Scripture, which teaches that the elect can not
   be led astray (Matt 24:24), that Christ does not lose those whom the
   Father gave him (John 6:39), and that God also glorified those whom he
   foreordained, called, and justified (Rom 8:30).

   PARAGRAPH 7. Who teach: That there is in this life no fruit and no
   consciousness of the unchangeable elect to glory, nor any certainty,
   except that which depends on a changeable and uncertain condition.

   For not only is it absurd to speak of an uncertain certainty, but also
   contrary to the experience of the saints, who by virtue of the
   consciousness of their election rejoice with the apostle and praise
   this favor of God (Eph 1); who according to Christ's admonition rejoice
   with his disciples that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20);
   who also place the consciousness of their election over against the
   fiery darts of the devil, asking: "Who will bring any charge against
   those whom God has chosen? (Rom 8:33)."

   PARAGRAPH 8. Who teach: That God, simply by virtue of His righteous
   will, did not decide either to leave anyone in the fall of Adam and in
   the common state sin and condemnation, or to pass anyone by in the
   communication of grace which is necessary for faith and conversion.

   For this is firmly decreed: "God has mercy on whom he wants to have
   mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden (Rom 9:18)." And also
   this: "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been
   given to you, but not to them (Mat 13:11)." Likewise: "I praise you,
   Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things
   from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes ,
   Father, for this was your good pleasure (Mat 11:25-26)."

   PARAGRAPH 9. Who teach: That the reason why God sends the gospel to one
   people rather than to another is not merely and solely the good
   pleasure of God, but rather the fact that one people is better and
   worthier than another to which the gospel is not communicated.

   For this Moses denies , addressing the people of Israel as follows: "To
   the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the
   earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD set his affection on your
   forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above
   all the nations, as it is today (Deu 10:14-15)." And Christ said: "Woe
   to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were
   performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have
   repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Mat 11:21)."



   ARTICLE 1. God is not only supremely merciful, but also supremely just.
   And His justice requires (as He has revealed Himself in His Word) that
   our sins committed against His infinite majesty should be punished, not
   only with temporal but with eternal punishments, both in body and soul;
   which we cannot escape, unless satisfaction be made to the justice of

   ARTICLE 2. Since, therefore, we are unable to make that satisfaction in
   our own persons, or to deliver ourselves from the wrath of God, He has
   been pleased of His infinite mercy to give His only begotten Son for
   our Surety, who was made sin, and became a curse for us and in our
   stead, that He might make satisfaction to divine justice on our behalf.

   ARTICLE 3. The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect
   sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value,
   abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.

   ARTICLE 4. This death is of such infinite value and dignity because the
   person who submitted to it was not only begotten Son of God, of the
   same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
   which qualifications were necessary to constitute Him a Savior for us;
   and, moreover, because it was attended with a sense of the wrath and
   curse of God due to us for sin.

   ARTICLE 5. Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever
   believes in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life.
   This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to
   be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons
   promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good
   pleasure sends the gospel.

   ARTICLE 6. And, whereas many who are called by the gospel do not repent
   nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief, this is not owing to any
   defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the
   cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves.

   ARTICLE 7. But as many as truly believe, and are delivered and saved
   from sin and destruction through the death of Christ, are indebted for
   this benefit solely to the grace of God given them in Christ from
   everlasting, and not to any merit of their own.

   ARTICLE 8. For this was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will
   and purpose of God the Father that the quickening and saving efficacy
   of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect,
   for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to
   bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God
   that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new
   covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation,
   and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen
   to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that He should confer upon
   them faith, which, together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy
   Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them from all
   sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after
   believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should
   at last bring them, free from every spot and blemish, to the enjoyment
   of glory in His own presence forever.

   ARTICLE 9. This purpose, proceeding from everlasting love towards the
   elect, has from the beginning of the world to this day been powerfully
   accomplished, and will henceforeward still continue to be accomplished,
   notwithstanding all the ineffectual opposition of the gates of hell; so
   that the elect in due time may be gathered together into one, and that
   there never may be wanting a Church composed of believers, the
   foundation of which is laid in the blood of christ; which may
   stedfastly love and faithfully serve Him as its Savior (who, as a
   bridegroom for his bride, laid down His life for them upon the cross);
   and which may celebrate His praises here and through all eternity.


   The true doctrine having been explained, the Synod rejects the errors
   of those:

   PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach: That God the Father has ordained His Son to the
   death of the cross without a certain and definite decree to save any,
   so that the necessity, profitableness, and worth of what christ merited
   by His death might have existed, and might remain in all its parts
   complete, perfect, and intact, even if the merited redemption had never
   in fact been applied to any person.

   For this doctrine tends to the despising of the wisdom of the Father
   and of the merits of Jesus Christ, and is contrary to Scripture. For
   thus says our Savior: "I lay down my life for the sheep . . . and I
   know them. (John 10:15, 27)." And the prophet Isaiah says concerning
   the Savior: "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to
   suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will
   see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will
   prosper in his hand (Isa 53:10)." Finally, this contradicts the article
   of faith according to which we believe the catholic Christian Church.

   PARAGRAPH 2. Who teach: That it was not the purpose of the death of
   Christ that He should confirm the new covenant of grace through His
   blood, but only that He should acquire for the Father the mere right to
   establish with man such a covenant as He might please, whether of grace
   or of works.

   For this is repugnant to Scripture which teaches that "Jesus has become
   the guarantee of a better covenant that is a new covenant . . ." and
   that "it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. (Heb
   7:22; 9:15, 17)."

   PARAGRAPH 3. Who teach: That Christ by His satisfaction merited neither
   salvation itself for any one, nor faith, whereby this satisfaction of
   Christ unto salvation is effectually appropriated; but that He merited
   for the Father only the authority or the perfect will to deal again
   with man, and to prescribe new conditions as He might desire, obedience
   to which, however, depended on the free will of man, so that it
   therefore might have come to pass that either none or all should
   fulfill these conditions.

   For these adjudge too contemptuously of the death of Christ, in no wise
   acknowledge that most important fruit or benefit thereby gained and
   bring again out of the hell the Pelagian error.

   PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That the new covenant of grace, which God the
   Father, through the mediation of the death of Christ, made with man,
   does not herein consist that we by faith, in as much as it accepts the
   merits of Christ, are justified before God and saved, but in the fact
   that God, having revoked the demand of perfect obedience of faith,
   regards faith itself and the obedience of faith, although imperfect, as
   the perfect obedience of the law, and does esteem it worthy of the
   reward of eternal life through grace.

   For these contradict the Scriptures, being: "justified freely by his
   grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented
   him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood (Rom
   3:24-25)." And these proclaim, as did the wicked Socinus, a new and
   strange justification of man before God, against the consensus of the
   whole Church.

   PARAGRAPH 5. Who teach: That all men have been accepted unto the state
   of reconciliation and unto the grace of the covenant, so that no one is
   worthy of condemnation on account of original sin, and that no one
   shall be condemned because of it, but that all are free from the guilt
   of original sin.

   For this opinion is repugnant to Scripture which teaches that we are by
   nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3).

   PARAGRAPH 6. Who use the difference between meriting and appropriating,
   to the end that they may instil into the minds of the imprudent and
   inexperienced this teaching that God, as far as He is concerned, has
   been minded to apply to all equally the benefits gained by the death of
   Christ; but that, while some obtain the pardon of sin and eternal life,
   and others do not, this difference depends on their own free will,
   which joins itself to the grace that is offered without exception, and
   that it is not dependent on the special gift of mercy, which powerfully
   works in them, that they rather than others should appropriate unto
   themselves this grace.

   For these, while they feign that they present this distinction in a
   sound sense, seek to instil into the people the destructive poison of
   the Pelagian errors.

   PARAGRAPH 7. Who teach: That Christ neither could die, nor needed to
   die, and also did not die, for those whom God loved in the highest
   degree and elected to eternal life, since these do not need the death
   of Christ.

   For the contradict the apostle, who declares, Christ: "loved me and
   gave himself for me (Gal 2:20)." Likewise: "Who will bring any charge
   against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he
   that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died (Rom 8:33-34)", namely, for them;
   and the Savior who says: "I lay down my life for the sheep (John
   10:15)." And: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
   Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his
   friends (John 15:12-13)."



   ARTICLE 1. Man was originally formed after the image of God. His
   understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his
   Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright, all
   his affections pure, and the whole man was holy. But, revolting from
   God by the instigation of the devil and by his own free will, he
   forfeited these excellent gifts; and an in the place thereof became
   involved in blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity, and
   perverseness of judgment; became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in
   heart and will, and impure in his affections.

   ARTICLE 2. Man after the fall begat children in his own likeness. A
   corrupt stock produced a corrupt offspring. Hence all the posterity of
   Adam, Christ only excepted, have derived corruption from their original
   parent, not by limitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted, but by the
   propagation of a vicious nature, in consequence of the just judgment of

   ARTICLE 3. Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and are by nature
   children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in
   sin, and in bondage thereto; and without the regenerating grace of the
   Holy Spirit, they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to
   reform the depravity of their nature, or to dispose themselves to

   ARTICLE 4. There remain, however, in man since the fall, the
   glimmerings of natural light, whereby he retains some knowledge of God,
   or natural things, and of the difference between good and evil, and
   shows some regard for virtue and for good outward behavior. But so far
   is this light of nature from being sufficient to bring him to a saving
   knowledge of God and to true conversion that he is incapable of using
   it aright even in things natural and civil. Nay further, this light,
   such as it is , man in various ways renders wholly polluted, and
   hinders in unrighteousness, by doing which he becomes inexcusable
   before God.

   ARTICLE 5. In the same light are we to consider the law of the
   decalogue, delivered by God to His peculiar people, the Jews, by the
   hands of Moses. For though it reveals the greatness of sin, and more
   and more convinces man thereof, yet, as it neither points out a remedy
   nor imparts strength to extricate him from his misery, but, being weak
   through the flesh, leaves the transgressor under the curse, man cannot
   by this law obtain saving grace.

   ARTICLE 6. What, therefore, neither the light of nature nor the law
   could do, that God performs by the operation of the Holy Spirit through
   the word or ministry of reconciliation; which is the glad tidings
   concerning the Messiah, by means whereof it has pleased God to save
   such as believe, as well under the Old as under the New Testament.

   ARTICLE 7. This mystery of His will God reveals to but a small number
   under the Old Testament; under the New Testament (the distinction
   between various peoples having been removed) He reveals it to many. The
   cause of this dispensation is not to be ascribed to the superior worth
   of one nation above another, nor to their better use of the light of
   nature, but results wholly from the sovereign good pleasure and
   unmerited love of God. Hence they to whom so great and so gracious a
   blessing is communicated, above their desert, or rather notwithstanding
   their demerits, are bound to acknowledge it with humble and grateful
   hearts, and with the apostle to adore, but in no wise curiously to pry
   into, the severity and justice of God's judgments displayed in others
   to whom this grace is not given.

   ARTICLE 8. As many as are called by the gospel are unfeignedly called.
   For God has most earnestly and truly declared in His Word what is
   acceptable to Him, namely, that those who are called should come unto
   Him. He also seriously promises rest of soul and eternal life to all
   who come to Him and believe.

   ARTICLE 9. It is not the fault of the gospel, nor of Christ offered
   therein, nor of God, who calls men by the gospel and confers upon them
   various gifts, that those who are called by the ministry of the Word
   refuse to come and be converted. The fault lies in themselves; some of
   whom when called, regardless of their danger, reject the Word of life;
   other, though they receive it, suffer it not to make a lasting
   impression on their heart; therefore, their joy, arising only from a
   temporary faith, soon vanishes, and they fall away; while others choke
   the seed of the Word by perplexing cares and the pleasures of this
   world, and produce no fruit. This our Savior teaches in the parable of
   the sower (Matt 13).

   ARTICLE 10. But that others who are called by the gospel obey the call
   and are converted is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free
   will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others equally furnished
   with grace sufficient for faith and conversion (as the proud heresy of
   Pelagius maintains); but it must be wholly ascribed to God, who, as He
   has chosen His own from eternity in Christ, so He calls them
   effectually in time, confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues
   them from the power of darkness, and translates them into the kingdom
   of His own Son; that they may show forth the praises of Him who has
   called them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and may glory not
   in themselves but in the Lord, according to the testimony of the
   apostles in various places.

   ARTICLE 11. But when God accomplishes His good pleasure in the elect,
   or works in them true conversion, He not only cause the gospel to be
   externally preached to them, and powerfully illuminates their minds by
   His Holy Spirit, that they may rightly under and discern the things of
   the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit
   He pervades the inmost recesses of man; He opens the closed and softens
   the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised;
   infuses new qualities into the will, which, though heretofore dead, He
   quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, He renders it
   good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a
   good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

   ARTICLE 12. And this is that regeneration so highly extolled in
   Scripture, that renewal, new creation, resurrection from the dead,
   making alive, which God works in us without out aid. But this is in no
   wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral
   suasion, or such a mode of operation that, after God has performed His
   part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to
   be converted or to continue unconverted; but it is evidently a
   supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful,
   astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable; not inferior in efficacy to
   creation or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scripture inspired
   by the Author of this work declares; so that all in whose heart God
   works in this marvelous manner are certainly, infallibly, and
   effectually regenerated, and do actually believe. Whereupon the will
   thus renewed is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in
   consequence of this influence becomes itself active. Wherefore also man
   himself is rightly said to believe and repent by virtue of that grace

   ARTICLE 13. The manner of this operation cannot be fully comprehended
   by believers in this life. Nevertheless, they are satisfied to know and
   experience that by this grace of God they are enabled to believe with
   the heart and to love their Savior.

   ARTICLE 14. Faith is therefore to be considered as the gift of God, not
   on account of its being offered by God to man, to be accepted or
   rejected at his pleasure, but because it is in reality conferred upon
   him, breathed and infused into him; nor even because God bestows the
   power or ability to believe, and then expects that man should by the
   exercise of his own free will consent to the terms of salvation and
   actually believe in Christ, but because He who works in man both to
   will and to work, and indeed all things in all, produces both the will
   to believe and the act of believing also.

   ARTICLE 15. God is under no obligation to confer this grace upon any;
   for how can He be indebted to one who had no previous gifts to bestow
   as a foundation for such recompense? Nay, how can He be indebted to one
   who has nothing of his own but sin and falsehood? He, therefore, who
   becomes the subject of this grace owes eternal gratitude to God, and
   gives Him thanks forever. Whoever is not made partaker thereof is
   either altogether regardless of these spiritual gifts and satisfied
   with his own condition, or is in no apprehension of danger, and vainly
   boasts the possession of that which he has not. Further, with respect
   to those who outwardly profess their faith and amend their lives, we
   are bound, after the example of the apostle, to judge and speak of them
   in the most favorable manner; for the secret recesses of the heart are
   unknown to us. And as to others who have not yet been called, it is our
   duty to pray for them to God, who calls the things that are not as if
   they were. But we are in no wise to conduct ourselves towards them with
   haughtiness, as if we had made ourselves to differ.

   ARTICLE 16. But as man by the fall did not cease to be a creature
   endowed with understanding and will, nor did sin which pervaded the
   whole race of mankind deprive him of the human nature, but brought upon
   him depravity and spiritual death; so also this grace of regeneration
   does not treat men as senseless stocks and blocks, nor take away their
   will and it properties, or do violence thereto; but is spiritually
   quickens, heals, corrects, and at the same time sweetly and powerfully
   bends it, that where carnal rebellion and resistance formerly
   prevailed, a ready and sincere spiritual obedience begins to reign; in
   which the true and spiritual restoration and freedom of our will
   consist. Wherefore, unless the admirable Author of every good work so
   deal with us, man can have no hope of being able to rise from his fall
   by his own free will, by which, in a state of innocence, he plunged
   himself into ruin.

   ARTICLE 17. As the almighty operation of God whereby He brings forth
   and supports this our natural life does not exclude but require the use
   of means by which God, of His infinite mercy and goodness, has chosen
   to exert His influence, so also the aforementioned supernatural
   operation of God by which we are regenerated in no wise excludes or
   subverts the use of the gospel, which the most wise God has ordained to
   be the seed of regeneration and food of the soul. Wherefore, as the
   apostles and the teachers who succeeded them piously instructed the
   people concerning this grace of God, to His glory and to the abasement
   of all pride, and in the meantime, however, neglected not to keep them,
   by the holy admonitions of the gospel, under the influence of the Word,
   the sacraments, and ecclesiastical discipline; so even now it should be
   far from those who give or receive instruction in the Church to presume
   to tempt God by separating what He of His good pleasure has most
   intimately joined together. For grace is conferred by means of
   admonitions; and the more readily we perform our duty, the more clearly
   this favor of God, working in us, usually manifest itself, and the more
   directly His work is advanced; to whom alone all the glory, both for
   the means and for their saving fruit and efficacy, is forever due.


   The true doctrine having been explained, the Synod rejects the errors
   of those:

   PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach: That it cannot properly be said that original
   sin in itself suffices to condemn the whole human race or to deserve
   temporal and eternal punishment.

   For these contradict the apostle, who declares: "Therefore, just as sin
   entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this
   way death came to all men, because all sinned (Rom 5:12)." And: "The
   judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation (Rom 5:16)." And
   "the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23)."

   PARAGRAPH 2. Who teach: That the spiritual gifts or the good qualities
   and virtues, such as goodness, holiness, righteousness, could not
   belong to the will of man when he was first created, and that these,
   therefore, cannot have been separated therefrom in the fall.

   For such is contrary to the description of the image of God which the
   apostle gives in Eph. 4:24, where he declares that it consists in
   righteousness and holiness, which undoubtedly belong to the will.

   PARAGRAPH 3. Who teach: That in spiritual death the spiritual gifts are
   not separate from the will of man, since the will in itself has never
   been corrupted, but only hindered through the darkness of the
   understanding and the irregularity of the affection; and that, these
   hindrances having been removed, the will can then bring into operation
   its nature powers, that is, that the will of itself is able to will and
   to choose, or not to will and not to choose, all manner of good which
   may be presented to it.

   This is an innovation and an error, and tends to elevate the powers of
   the free will, contrary to the declaration of the prophet: "The heart
   is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jer 17:9)" and of the
   apostle: "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the
   cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts
   (Eph 2:3)."

   PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That the unregenerate man is not really nor
   utterly dead in sin, nor destitute of all powers unto spiritual good,
   but that he can yet hunger and thirst after righteousness and life, and
   offer the sacrifice of a contrite and broken spirit, which is pleasing
   to God.

   For these things are contrary to the express testimony of Scripture:
   "you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph 2:1, 5)." And:
   "every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the
   time. (Gen 6:5, 8:21)." Moreover, to hunger and thirst after
   deliverance from misery and after life, and to offer unto God the
   sacrifice of a broken spirit, is peculiar to the regenerate and those
   that are called blessed (Ps 51:17; Matt 5:6).

   PARAGRAPH 5. Who teach: That the corrupt and natural man can so well
   use the common grace (by which they understand the light of nature), or
   the gifts still left him after the fall, that he can gradually gain by
   their good use a greater, that is, the evangelical or saving grace, and
   salvation itself; and that in this way God on His part shows Himself
   ready to reveal Christ unto all men, since He applies to all
   sufficiently and efficiently the means necessary to conversion.

   For both the experience of all ages and the Scriptures testify that
   this is untrue. "He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and
   decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not
   know his laws (Psa 147:19-20)." "In the past, he let all nations go
   their own way (Acts 14:16)." And: "Paul and his companions traveled
   throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the
   Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they
   came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the
   Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16:6-7)."

   PARAGRAPH 6. Who teach: That in the true conversion of man no new
   qualities, powers, or gifts can be infused by God into the will, and
   that therefore faith, through which we are first converted and because
   of which we are called believers, is not a quality or gift infused by
   God but only an act of man, and that it cannot be said to be a gift,
   except in respect of the power to attain to this faith.

   For thereby they contradict the Holy Scriptures, which declare that God
   infuses new qualities of faith, of obedience, and of the consciousness
   of His love into our hearts: ""This is the covenant I will make with
   the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my
   law in their minds and write it on their hearts (Jer 31:33)." And: "For
   I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I
   will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your
   descendants (Isa 44:3)." And: "God has poured out his love into our
   hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Rom 5:5)." This is
   also repugnant to the constant practice of the Church, which prays by
   the mouth of the prophet thus: "Restore me, and I will return (Jer

   PARAGRAPH 7. Who teach: That the grace whereby we are converted to God
   is only a gentle advising, or (as others explain it) that this is the
   noblest manner of working in the conversion of man, and that this
   manner of working, which consists in advising, is most in harmony with
   man's nature; and that there is no reason why this advising grace alone
   should not be sufficient to make the natural man spiritual; indeed,
   that God does not produce the consent of the will except through this
   manner of advising; and that the power of the divine working, whereby
   it surpasses the working of Satan, consists in this that God promises
   eternal, while Satan promise only temporal good.

   But this is altogether Pelagian and contrary to the whole Scripture,
   which, besides this, teaches yet another and far more powerful and
   divine manner of the Holy Spirit's working in the conversion of man, as
   in Ezekiel: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I
   will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh
   (Ezek 36:26)."

   PARAGRAPH 8. Who teach: That God in the regeneration of man does not
   use such powers of His omnipotence as potently and infallibly bend
   man's will to faith and conversion; but that all the works of grace
   having been accomplished, which God employs to convert man, man may yet
   so resist God and the Holy Spirit, when God intends man's regeneration
   and wills to regenerate him, and indeed that man often does so resist
   that he prevents entirely his regeneration, and that it therefore
   remains in man's power to be regenerated or not.

   For this is nothing less than the denial of all that efficiency of
   God's grace in our conversion, and the subjecting of the working of
   Almighty God to the will of man, which is contrary to the apostles, who
   teach that we believe accord to the working of the strength of his
   might (Eph 1:19); and that God fulfills every desire of goodness and
   every work of faith with power (2 Th 1:11); and that "His divine power
   has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3)."

   PARAGRAPH 9. Who teach: That grace and free will are partial causes
   which together work the beginning of conversion, and that grace, in
   order of working, does not precede the working of the will; that is,
   that God does not efficiently help the will of man unto conversion
   until the will of man moves and determines to do this.

   For the ancient Church has long ago condemned this doctrine of the
   Pelagians according to the words of the apostle: "It does not,
   therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy (Rom
   9:16)." Likewise: "For who makes you different from anyone else? What
   do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it (1 Cor
   4:7)?" And: "for it is God who works in you to will and to act
   according to his good purpose (Phil 2:13)."



   ARTICLE 1. Those whom God, according to His purpose, calls to the
   communion of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and regenerates by the
   Holy Spirit, He also delivers from the dominion and slavery of sin,
   though in this life He does not deliver them altogether form the body
   of sin and from the infirmities of the flesh.

   ARTICLE 2. Hence spring forth the daily sins of infirmity, and
   blemishes cleave even to the best works of the saints. These are to
   them a perpetual reason to humiliate themselves before God and to flee
   for refuge to Christ crucified; to mortify the flesh more and more by
   the spirit of prayer and by holy exercises of piety; and to press
   forward to the goal of perfection, until at length, delivered from this
   body of death, they shall reign with the Lamb of God in heaven.

   ARTICLE 3. By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and also
   because the temptations of the world and of Satan, those who are
   converted could not persevere in that grace if left to their own
   strength. But God is faithful, who, having conferred grace, mercifully
   confirms and powerfully preserves them therein, even to the end.

   ARTICLE 4. Although the weakness of the flesh cannot prevail against
   the power of God, who confirms and preserves true believers in a state
   of grace, yet converts are not always so influenced and actuated by the
   Spirit of God as not in some particular instances sinfully to deviate
   from the guidance of divine grace, so as to be seduced by and to comply
   with the lusts of the flesh; they must, therefore, be constant in
   watching and prayer, that they may not be led into temptation. When
   these are great and heinous sins by the flesh, the world, and Satan,
   but sometimes by the righteous permission of God actually are drawn
   into these evils. This, the lamentable fall of David, Peter, and other
   saints described in Holy Scripture, demonstrates.

   ARTICLE 5. By such enormous sins, however, they very highly offend God,
   incur a deadly guilt, grieve the Holy Spirit, interrupt the exercise of
   faith, very grievously wound their consciences, and sometimes for a
   while lose the sense of God's favor, until, when they change their
   course by serious repentance, the light of God's fatherly countenance
   again shines upon them.

   ARTICLE 6. But God, who is rich in mercy, according to His unchangeable
   purpose of election, does not wholly withdraw the Holy Spirit from His
   own people even in their grievous falls; nor suffers them to proceed so
   far as t lose the grace of adoption and forfeit the state of
   justification, or to commit the sin unto death or against the Holy
   Spirt; nor does He permit them to be totally deserted, and to plunge
   themselves into everlasting destruction.

   ARTICLE 7. For in the first place, in these falls He preserves in them
   the incorruptible seed of regeneration from perishing or being totally
   lost; and again, by His Word and Spirit He certainly and effectually
   renews them to repentance, to a sincere and godly sorrow for their
   sins, that they may seek and obtain remission in the blood of the
   Mediator, may again experience the favor of a reconciled God, through
   faith adore His mercies, and henceforward more diligently work out
   their own salvation with fear and trembling.

   ARTICLE 8. Thus it is not in consequence of their own merits or
   strength, but of God's free mercy, that they neither totally fall from
   faith and grace nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;
   which, with respect to themselves is not only possible, but would
   undoubtedly happen; but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible,
   since His counsel cannot be changed nor His promise fail; neither can
   the call according to His purpose be revoked, nor the merit,
   intercession, and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor
   the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

   ARTICLE 9. Of this preservation of the elect to salvation and of their
   perseverance in the faith, true believers themselves may and do obtain
   assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they surely
   believe that they are and ever will continue true and living members of
   the Church, and that they have the forgiveness of sins and life

   ARTICLE 10. This assurance, however, is not produced by any peculiar
   revelation contrary to or independent of the Word of God, but springs
   from faith in God's promises, which He has most abundantly revealed in
   His Word for our comfort; from the testimony of the Holy Spirit,
   witnessing with our spirit that we are children and heirs of God (Rom
   8:16); and lastly, from a serious and holy desire to preserve a good
   conscience and to perform good works. And if the elect of God were
   deprived of this solid comfort that they shall finally obtain the
   victory, and of this infallible pledge of eternal glory, they would be
   of all men the most miserable.

   ARTICLE 11. The Scripture moreover testifies that believers in this
   life have to struggle with various carnal doubts, and that under
   grievous temptations they do not always feel this full assurance of
   faith and certainty of persevering. But God, who is the Father of all
   consolation, does not suffer them to be tempted above that they are
   able, but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that
   they may be able to endure it (1 Cor 10:13), and by the Holy Spirit
   again inspires them with the comfortable assurance of persevering.

   ARTICLE 12. This certainty of perseverance, however, is so far from
   exciting in believers a spirit of pride, or of rendering them carnally
   secure, that on the contrary it is the real source of humility, filial
   reverence, true piety, patience in every tribulation, fervent prayers,
   constancy in suffering and in confessing the truth, and of solid
   rejoicing in God; so that the consideration of this benefit should
   serve as an incentive to the serious and constant practice of gratitude
   and good works, as appears from the testimonies of Scripture and the
   examples of the saints.

   ARTICLE 13. Neither does renewed confidence of persevering produce
   licentiousness or a disregard of piety in those who are recovered from
   backsliding; but it renders them much more careful and solicitous to
   continue in the ways of the Lord, which He has ordained, that they who
   walk therein may keep the assurance of persevering; lest, on account of
   their abuse of His fatherly kindness, God should turn away His gracious
   countenance from them (to behold which is to the godly dearer than
   life, and the withdrawal of which is more bitter than death) and they
   in consequence thereof should fall into more grievous torments of

   ARTICLE 14. And as it has pleased God, by the preaching of the gospel,
   to begin this work of grace in us, so He preserves, continues, and
   perfects it by the hearing and reading of His Word, by meditation
   thereon, and by the exhortations, threatenings, and promises thereof,
   and by the use of the sacraments.

   ARTICLE 15. The carnal mind is unable to comprehend this doctrine of
   the perseverance of the saints and the certainty thereof, which God has
   most abundantly revealed in His Word, for the glory of His Name and the
   consolation of pious souls, and which He impresses upon the hearts of
   the believers. Satan abhors it, the world ridicules it, the ignorant
   and hypocritical abuse it, and the heretics oppose it. But the bride of
   Christ has always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it as an
   inestimable treasure; and God, against whom neither counsel nor
   strength can prevail, will dispose her so to continue to the end. Now
   to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory
   forever. Amen.


   The true doctrine having been explained, the Synod rejects the errors
   of those:

   PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach: That the perseverance of the true believers is
   not a fruit of election, or a gift of God gained by the death of
   Christ, but a condition of the new covenant which (as they declare) man
   before his decisive election and justification must fulfil through his
   free will.

   For the Holy Scripture testifies that this follows out of election, and
   is given the elect in virtue of the death, the resurrection, and the
   intercession of Christ: "What Israel sought so earnestly it did not
   obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened (Rom 11:7)."
   Likewise: "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us
   all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all
   things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It
   is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who
   died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of
   God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love
   of Christ (Rom 8:32-35)?"

   PARAGRAPH 2. Who teach: That God does indeed provide the believer with
   sufficient powers to persevere, and is ever ready to preserve these in
   him if he will do his duty; but that, though all though which are
   necessary to persevere in faith and which God will use to preserve
   faith are made us of, even then it ever depends on the pleasure of the
   will whether it will persevere or not.

   For this idea contains outspoken Pelagianism, and while it would make
   men free, it make them robbers of God's honor, contrary to the
   prevailing agreement of the evangelical doctrine, which takes from man
   all cause of boasting, and ascribes all the praise for this favor to
   the grace of God alone; and contrary to the apostle, who declares that
   it is God, "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be
   blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:8)."

   PARAGRAPH 3. Who teach: That the true believers and regenerate not only
   can fall from justifying faith and likewise from grace and salvation
   wholly and to the end, but indeed often do fall from this and are lost

   For this conception makes powerless the grace, justification,
   regeneration, and continued preservation by Christ, contrary to the
   expressed words of the apostle Paul: "While we were still sinners,
   Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how
   much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him (Rom 5:8-9)."
   And contrary to the apostle John: "No one who is born of God will
   continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on
   sinning, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9)." And also
   contrary to the words of Jesus Christ: "I give them eternal life, and
   they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My
   Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can
   snatch them out of my Father's hand (John 10:28-29)."

   PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That true believers and regenerate can sin the
   sin unto death or against the Holy Spirit.

   Since the same apostle John, after having spoken in the fifth chapter
   of his first epistle, vs. 16 and 17, of those who sin unto death and
   having forbidden to pray for them, immediately adds to this in vs. 18:
   "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin (meaning a
   sin of that character); the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and
   the evil one cannot harm him (1 John 5:18)."

   PARAGRAPH 5. Who teach: That without a special revelation we can have
   no certainty of future perseverance in this life.

   For by this doctrine the sure comfort of the true believers is taken
   away in this life, and the doubts of the papist are again introduced
   into the Church, while the Holy Scriptures constantly deduce this
   assurance, not from a special and extraordinary revelation, but from
   the marks proper to the children of God and from the very constant
   promises of God. So especially the apostle Paul: "neither height nor
   depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
   from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:39)." And
   John declares: "Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in
   them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the
   Spirit he gave us (1 John 3:24)."

   PARAGRAPH 6. Who teach: That the doctrine of the certainty of
   perseverance and of salvation from its own character and nature is a
   cause of indolence and is injurious to godliness, good morals, prayers,
   and other holy exercises, but that on the contrary it is praiseworthy
   to doubt.

   For these show that they do not know the power of divine grace and the
   working of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And they contradict the apostle
   John, who teaches that opposite with express words in his first
   epistle: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be
   has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall
   be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope
   in him purifies himself, just as he is pure (1 John 3:2-3)."
   Furthermore, these are contradicted by the example of the saints, both
   of the Old and the New Testament, who though they were assured of their
   perseverance and salvation, were nevertheless constant in prayers and
   other exercises of godliness.

   PARAGRAPH 7. Who teach: That the faith of those who believe for a time
   does not differ from justifying and saving faith except only in

   For Christ Himself, in Matt 13:20, Luke 8:13, and in other places,
   evidently notes, beside this duration, a threefold difference between
   those who believe only for a time and true believers, when He declares
   that the former receive the seed on stony ground, but the latter in the
   good ground or heart; that the former are without root, but the latter
   have a firm root; that the former are without fruit, but that the
   latter bring forth their fruit in various measure, with constancy and

   PARAGRAPH 8. Who teach: That it is not absurd that one having lost his
   first regeneration is again and even often born anew.

   For these deny by this doctrine the incorruptibleness of the seed of
   God, whereby we are born again; contrary to the testimony of the
   apostle Peter: "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed,
   but of imperishable (1 Pet 1:23)."

   PARAGRAPH 9. Who teach: That Christ has in no place prayed that
   believers should infallibly continue in faith.

   For the contradict Christ Himself, who says: "I have prayed for you,
   Simon, that your faith may not fail (Luke 22:32)", and the evangelist
   John, who declares that Christ has not prayed for the apostles only,
   but also for those who through their word would believe: "Holy Father,
   protect them by the power of your name," and "My prayer is not that you
   take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one
   (John 17:11, 15, 20)."


   And this is the perspicuous, simple, an ingenuous declaration of the
   orthodox doctrine respecting the five articles which have been
   controverted in the Belgic Churches; and the rejection of the errors,
   with which they have for some time been troubled. This doctrine the
   Synod judges to be drawn from the Word of God, and to be agreeable to
   the confession of the Reformed Churches. Whence it clearly appears that
   some, whom such conduct by no means became, have violated all truth,
   equity, and charity, in wishing to persuade the public:

   "That the doctrine of the Reformed Churches concerning predestination,
   and the points annexed to it, by its own genius and necessary tendency,
   leads off the minds of men from all piety and religion; that it is a
   opiate administered by the flesh and the devil; and the stronghold of
   Satan, where he lies in wait for all, and from which he wounds
   multitudes, and mortally strikes through many with the darts both of
   despair and security; that it makes God the author of sin, unjust,
   tyrannical, hypocritical; that it is noting more than interpolated
   Stoicism, Manicheism, Libertinism, Turcism; that it renders men
   carnally secure, since they are persuaded by it that noting can hinder
   the salvation of the elect, let them live as they please; and,
   therefore, that they may safely perpetrate every species of the most
   atrocious crimes; and that, if the reprobate should even perform truly
   all the works of the saints, their obedience would not in the least
   contribute tot their salvation; that the same doctrine teaches that
   God, by a mere arbitrary act of his will, without the least respect or
   view to any sin, has predestinated the greatest part of the world to
   eternal damnation, and has created them for this very purpose; that in
   the same manner in which the election is the fountain and cause of
   faith and good works, reprobation is the cause of unbelief and impiety;
   that many children of the faithful are torn, guiltless, from their
   mothers'breasts, and tyrannically plunged into hell: so that neither
   baptism nor the prayers of the Church at their baptism can at all
   profit them;" and many other things of the same kind which the Reformed
   Churches not only do not acknowledge, but even detest with their whole

   Wherefore, this Synod of Dort, in the name of the Lord, conjures as
   many as piously call upon the name of our Savior Jesus Christ to judge
   of the faith of the Reformed Churches, not from the calumnies which on
   every side are heaped upon it, nor from the private expressions of a
   few among ancient and modern teachers, often dishonestly quoted, or
   corrupted and wrested to a meaning quite foreign to their intention;
   but from the public confessions of the Churches themselves, and from
   this declaration of the orthodox doctrine, confirmed by the unanimous
   consent of all and each of the members of the whole Synod. Moreover,
   the Synod warns calumniators themselves to consider the terrible
   judgment of God which awaits them, for bearing false witness against
   the confessions of so many Churches; for distressing the consciences of
   the weak; and for laboring to render suspected the society of the truly

   Finally, this Synod exhorts all their brethren in the gospel of Christ
   to conduct themselves piously and religiously in handling this
   doctrine, both in the universities and churches; to direct it, as well
   in discourse as in writing, to the glory of the Divine name, to
   holiness of life, and to the consolation of afflicted souls; to
   regulate, by the Scripture, according to the analogy of faith, not only
   their sentiments, but also their language, and to abstain from all
   those phrases which exceed the limits necessary to be observed in
   ascertaining the genuine sense of the Holy Scriptures, and may furnish
   insolent sophists with a just pretext for violently assailing, or even
   vilifying, the doctrine of the Reformed Churches.

   May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, seated at the Father's right
   hand, gives gifts to men, sanctify us in the truth; bring to the truth
   those who err; shut the mouths of the calumniators of sound doctrine,
   and endue the faithful ministers of his Word with the spirit of wisdom
   and discretion, that all their discourses may tend to the glory of God,
   and the edification of those who hear them. Amen.


Index of Scripture References


   [1]6:5   [2]8:21   [3]17:7




   [5]51:17   [6]147:19-20


   [7]44:3   [8]53:10


   [9]17:9   [10]31:18   [11]31:33




   [13]5:6   [14]11:21   [15]11:25-26   [16]13   [17]13:11   [18]13:20
   [19]20:15   [20]24:24


   [21]8:13   [22]10:20   [23]22:32


   [24]3:16   [25]6:39   [26]10:15   [27]10:15   [28]10:27
   [29]10:28-29   [30]15:12-13   [31]15:16   [32]17:6   [33]17:11
   [34]17:15   [35]17:20


   [36]2:39   [37]13:48   [38]13:48   [39]13:48   [40]14:16   [41]15:18
   [42]16:6-7   [43]20:27


   [44]3:19   [45]3:23   [46]3:24-25   [47]5:5   [48]5:8-9   [49]5:12
   [50]5:16   [51]6:23   [52]6:23   [53]8:16   [54]8:30   [55]8:30
   [56]8:30   [57]8:32-35   [58]8:33   [59]8:33-34   [60]8:39
   [61]9:11-13   [62]9:12   [63]9:16   [64]9:18   [65]9:20
   [66]10:14-15   [67]11:6   [68]11:7   [69]11:33   [70]11:33-36

   1 Corinthians

   [72]1:8   [73]4:7   [74]7:14   [75]10:13




   [77]1   [78]1:4   [79]1:4   [80]1:4   [81]1:4   [82]1:4-6   [83]1:5
   [84]1:11   [85]1:19   [86]2:1   [87]2:3   [88]2:3   [89]2:3-9
   [90]2:5   [91]2:8   [92]2:10   [93]4:24


   [94]1:29   [95]2:13

   2 Thessalonians


   2 Timothy



   [98]6:17   [99]7:22   [100]9:15   [101]9:17

   1 Peter


   2 Peter


   1 John

   [104]3:2-3   [105]3:9   [106]3:24   [107]4:9   [108]4:10   [109]5:18