Tuesday, 21 November 2006

How to settle a theological debate

The Synod of Dort (1618-19) is well known for its confessional formulation of Calvinist soteriology against the theology of the Dutch Arminians. At the Synod, there was extensive debate within the Calvinist party over the question whether predestination is an “infralapsarian” or a “supralapsarian” decree (i.e. whether or not the decree of election logically precedes the decree to permit the fall).

This debate became so heated that on two occasions Francis Gomarus (a high Calvinist) challenged Matthias Martinius (a moderate Calvinist) to a duel.

I suppose that’s a fairly definite way of settling a theological debate – in any case, this sort of thing would certainly add a bit of liveliness to some of our religious studies conferences...

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