Teaching Our Children About Dort

The context of Dort, as a deliberative assembly meant to clarify biblical doctrines, teaches modern children that truth is worthy of contention (Jude 3). The world sees theological controversy as hairsplitting but God’s children must continue to distinguish truth from error; to do so is God-like. Dort, part of the great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1), speaks against contemporary theological apathy. Theology matters. We must engage vital topics that can easily be misunderstood and which rouse strong opinions, such as predestination. Immature Christians are fond of lumping nearly every imaginable topic into the bin of “secondary” (read, unimportant) matters. The Canons are inherently polemical; they not only seek to defend the truth but also identify errors that should be rejected.

But Dort also teaches us and our children how to contend as members of the catholic, universal church. Healthy Christians will carefully listen to the voice of the historic and contemporary family of God; the great Synod of 1618–19 was made up of pastors, elders, professors and civic leaders from Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and England. The Dortian tradition eschews contention that promotes sectarianism. The Canons put it this way: “following the example of the apostles, we are to think and to speak in the most favorable way about those who outwardly profess their faith and better their lives, for the inner chambers of the heart are unknown to us” (3/4.15). Creedal religion, like that promoted at Dort, gives greater weight to the fundamentals of the faith than to the agendas of our micro-traditions.

By William Boekestein

Similar Posts