The History of Dort

I posted an exploration of the Synod of Dort over at the BH blog. I focused on the points of controversy between the British and the Gomarists, noting what did and did not make it into the final version.

This whole study has been enriching for me personally, and so I hope that others find it of service.


Fashion Police at Dort

George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury, writing to Sir Dudley Carleton regarding the British delegates to the Synod of Dort, states:

We understand here that Mr Balcanquall doth not go here in his apparrell like a grave divine, but in his double double ruffes and his cloake lined thorough with velvett. I heare that it is not well taken where he is, and I am certaine that if his Majesty did take notice thereof he would be very much offended. It were good that some insinuation were fairely made unto him that this may be redressed and the scandall removed.

~ from Anthony Milton The British Delegation and the Synod of Dort pg. 183

Carleton replies:

Our English Divines have from the first time of Mr Ballcanqualls arrivall their admitted him to their [sic] consultations; and now they joine likewise in suffrage, and in the distribution of the diverse parts of the business; as those who all make but one colledge. I do not finde by what I heare from Dort, or that I observed here that Mr Balcanquall doth give any just subject for the report which is raysed of his undecencie of apparell; but that on the contrary in all respects he gives much satisfaction. (186)

No One is Satisfied with their Denomination

At the Auburn Ave. Pastors’ Conference there were Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, and various assortments of “Reformed” ministers. They all agreed that the status quo needs reform. When I went to the Augustine Conference at Fordham there were Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and a few Reformed people, and again, all agreed that the status quo needs reform. There are even voices of truth in the PCUSA and United Church of Christ.

We’ve got to have big-picture glasses.

The Church simply will not be the same in one generation. People are willing to look through other perspectives, and the desire to reduce every theological question to a historical battle is waining quickly.

If you don’t like your denomination, do not immediately freak out. Decide whether or not you trust your leadership, and if you are a minister, whether or not you can possibly hold a job. If the answers are positive, then I’d say make friends and plan for the long haul.