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Index of Doctrinal Points
Article 5: The Inadequacy of the Law
In this respect, what is true of the light of nature is true also of the Ten
Commandments given by God through Moses specifically to the Jews. For man cannot obtain saving grace
through the Decalogue, because, although it does expose the magnitude of his sin and increasingly
convict him of his guilt, yet it does not offer a remedy or enable him to escape from his misery,
and, indeed, weakened as it is by the flesh, leaves the offender under the curse.
Article 6: The Saving Power of the Gospel
What, therefore, neither the light of nature nor the law can do, God accomplishes
by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Word or the ministry of reconciliation. This is the
gospel about the Messiah, through which it has pleased God to save believers, in both the Old and
the New Testament.
Article 7: God's Freedom in Revealing the Gospel
In the Old Testament, God revealed this secret of his will to a small number; in
the New Testament (now without any distinction between peoples) he discloses it to a large number.
The reason for this difference must not be ascribed to the greater worth of one nation over another,
or to a better use of the light of nature, but to the free good pleasure and undeserved love of God.
Therefore, those who receive so much grace, beyond and in spite of all they deserve, ought to acknowledge
it with humble and thankful hearts; on the other hand, with the apostle they ought to adore (but
certainly not inquisitively search into) the severity and justice of God's judgments on the others,
who do not receive this grace.
Article 8: The Serious Call of the Gospel
Nevertheless, all who are called through the gospel are called seriously. For seriously
and most genuinely God makes known in his Word what is pleasing to him: that those who are called
should come to him. Seriously he also promises rest for their souls and eternal life to all who
come to him and believe.
Article 9: Human Responsibility for Rejecting the Gospel
The fact that many who are called through the ministry of the gospel do not come
and are not brought to conversion must not be blamed on the gospel, nor on Christ, who is offered
through the gospel, nor on God, who calls them through the gospel and even bestows various gifts
on them, but on the people themselves who are called. Some in self-assurance do not even entertain
the Word of life; others do entertain it but do not take it to heart, and for that reason, after
the fleeting joy of a temporary faith, they relapse; others choke the seed of the Word with the
thorns of life's cares and with the pleasures of the world and bring forth no fruits. This our
Savior teaches in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13).
Article 10: Conversion as the Work of God
The fact that others who are called through the ministry of the gospel do come
and are brought to conversion must not be credited to man, as though one distinguishes himself by
free choice from others who are furnished with equal or sufficient grace for faith and conversion
(as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains). No, it must be credited to God: just as from eternity
he chose his own in Christ, so within time he effectively calls them, grants them faith and repentance,
and, having rescued them from the dominion of darkness, brings them into the kingdom of his Son, in
order that they may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called them out of darkness into this
marvelous light, and may boast not in themselves, but in the Lord, as apostolic words frequently
testify in Scripture.
Article 11: The Holy Spirit's Work in Conversion
Moreover, when God carries out this good pleasure in his chosen ones, or works
true conversion in them, he not only sees to it that the gospel is proclaimed to them outwardly,
and enlightens their minds powerfully by the Holy Spirit so that they may rightly understand and
discern the things of the Spirit of God, but, by the effective operation of the same regenerating
Spirit, he also penetrates into the inmost being of man, opens the closed heart, softens the hard
heart, and circumcises the heart that is uncircumcised. He infuses new qualities into the will, making
the dead will alive, the evil one good, the unwilling one willing, and the stubborn one compliant;
he activates and strengthens the will so that, like a good tree, it may be enabled to produce the
fruits of good deeds.
Article 12: Regeneration a Supernatural Work
And this is the regeneration, the new creation, the raising from the dead, and the
making alive so clearly proclaimed in the Scriptures, which God works in us without our help. But
this certainly does not happen only by outward teaching, by moral persuasion, or by such a way of
working that, after God has done his work, it remains in man's power whether or not to be reborn
or converted. Rather, it is an entirely supernatural work, one that is at the same time most powerful
and most pleasing, a marvelous, hidden, and inexpressible work, which is not lesser than or inferior
in power to that of creation or of raising the dead, as Scripture (inspired by the author of this
work) teaches. As a result, all those in whose hearts God works in this marvelous way are certainly,
unfailingly, and effectively reborn and do actually believe. And then the will, now renewed, is not
only activated and motivated by God but in being activated by God is also itself active. For this
reason, man himself, by that grace which he has received, is also rightly said to believe and to repent.
Article 13: The Incomprehensible Way of Regeneration
In this life believers cannot fully understand the way this work occurs; meanwhile,
they rest content with knowing and experiencing that by this grace of God they do believe with the
heart and love their Savior.
Article 14: The Way God Gives Faith
In this way, therefore, faith is a gift of God, not in the sense that it is offered
by God for man to choose, but that it is in actual fact bestowed on man, breathed and infused into
him. Nor is it a gift in the sense that God bestows only the potential to believe, but then awaits
assent--the act of believing--from man's choice; rather, it is a gift in the sense that he who works
both willing and acting and, indeed, works all things in all people produces in man both the will
to believe and the belief itself.
Article 15: Responses to God's Grace
God does not owe this grace to anyone. For what could God owe to one who has nothing
to give that can be paid back? Indeed, what could God owe to one who has nothing of his own to give
but sin and falsehood? Therefore the person who receives this grace owes and gives eternal thanks
to God alone; the person who does not receive it either does not care at all about these spiritual
things and is satisfied with himself in his condition, or else in self-assurance foolishly boasts
about having something which he lacks. Furthermore, 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. But for others who have
not yet been called, we are to pray to the God who calls things that do not exist as though they
did. In no way, however, are we to pride ourselves as better than they, as though we had distinguished
ourselves from them.
Article 16: Regeneration's Effect
However, just as by the fall man did not cease to be man, endowed with intellect
and will, and just as sin, which has spread through the whole human race, did not abolish the nature
of the human race but distorted and spiritually killed it, so also this divine grace of regeneration
does not act in people as if they were blocks and stones; nor does it abolish the will and its properties
or coerce a reluctant will by force, but spiritually revives, heals, reforms, and--in a manner at
once pleasing and powerful--bends it back. As a result, a ready and sincere obedience of the Spirit
now begins to prevail where before the rebellion and resistance of the flesh were completely dominant.
It is in this that the true and spiritual restoration and freedom of our will consists. Thus, if
the marvelous Maker of every good thing were not dealing with us, man would have no hope of getting
up from his fall by his free choice, by which he plunged himself into ruin when still standing upright.
Article 17: God's Use of Means in Regeneration
Just as the almighty work of God by which he brings forth and sustains our natural
life does not rule out but requires the use of means, by which God, according to his infinite wisdom
and goodness, has wished to exercise his power, so also the aforementioned supernatural work of God
by which he regenerates us in no way rules out or cancels the use of the gospel, which God in his
great wisdom has appointed to be the seed of regeneration and the food of the soul. For this reason,
the apostles and the teachers who followed them taught the people in a godly manner about this grace
of God, to give him the glory and to humble all pride, and yet did not neglect meanwhile to keep
the people, by means of the holy admonitions of the gospel, under the administration of the Word,
the sacraments, and discipline. So even today it is out of the question that the teachers or those
taught in the church should presume to test God by separating what he in his good pleasure has wished
to be closely joined together. For grace is bestowed through admonitions, and the more readily we
perform our duty, the more lustrous the benefit of God working in us usually is and the better his
work advances. To him alone, both for the means and for their saving fruit and effectiveness, all
glory is owed forever. Amen.
Rejection of the Errors
Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those:
I. Who teach that, properly speaking, it cannot be said that original sin in itself is
enough to condemn the whole human race or to warrant temporal and eternal punishments.
For they contradict the apostle when he says: Sin entered the world through one
man, and death through sin, and in this way death passed on to all men because all sinned (Rom.
5:12); also: The guilt followed one sin and brought condemnation (Rom. 5:16); likewise: The wages
of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
II. Who teach that the spiritual gifts or the good dispositions and virtues such as goodness,
holiness, and righteousness could not have resided in man's will when he was first created, and
therefore could not have been separated from the will at the fall.
For this conflicts with the apostle's description of the image of God in Ephesians
4:24, where he portrays the image in terms of righteousness and holiness, which definitely reside
in the will.
III. Who teach that in spiritual death the spiritual gifts have not been separated from
man's will, since the will in itself has never been corrupted but only hindered by the darkness
of the mind and the unruliness of the emotions, and since the will is able to exercise its innate
free capacity once these hindrances are removed, which is to say, it is able of itself to will or
choose whatever good is set before it--or else not to will or choose it.
This is a novel idea and an error and has the effect of elevating the power of free
choice, contrary to the words of Jeremiah the prophet: The heart itself is deceitful above all things
and wicked (Jer. 17:9); and of the words of the apostle: All of us also lived among them (the sons
of disobedience) at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts
IV. Who teach that unregenerate man is not strictly or totally dead in his sins or deprived
of all capacity for spiritual good but is able to hunger and thirst for righteousness or life and
to offer the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit which is pleasing to God.
For these views are opposed to the plain testimonies of Scripture: You were dead
in your transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5); The imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is
only evil all the time (Gen. 6:5; 8:21). Besides, to hunger and thirst for deliverance from misery
and for life, and to offer God the sacrifice of a broken spirit is characteristic only of the regenerate
and of those called blessed (Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:6).
V. Who teach that corrupt and natural man can make such good use of common grace(by which
they mean the light of nature)or of the gifts remaining after the fall that he is able thereby gradually
to obtain a greater grace-- evangelical or saving grace--as well as salvation itself; and that in
this way God, for his part, shows himself ready to reveal Christ to all people, since he provides
to all, to a sufficient extent and in an effective manner, the means necessary for the revealing
of Christ, for faith, and for repentance.
For Scripture, not to mention the experience of all ages, testifies that this is
false: He makes known his words to Jacob, his statutes and his laws to Israel; he has done this for
no other nation, and they do not know his laws (Ps. 147:19-20); In the past God let all nations go
their own way (Acts 14:16); They (Paul and his companions) were kept by the Holy Spirit from speaking
God's word in Asia; and When they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit
would not allow them to (Acts 16:6-7).
VI. Who teach that in the true conversion of man new qualities, dispositions, or gifts
cannot be infused or poured into his will by God, and indeed that the faith [or believing] by which
we first come to conversion and from which we receive the name "believers" is not a quality
or gift infused by God, but only an act of man, and that it cannot be called a gift except in respect
to the power of attaining faith.
For these views contradict the Holy Scriptures, which testify that God does infuse
or pour into our hearts the new qualities of faith, obedience, and the experiencing of his love:
I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts (Jer. 31:33); I will pour water on
the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring (Isa.
44:3); The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to
us (Rom. 5:5). They also conflict with the continuous practice of the Church, which prays with the
prophet: Convert me, Lord, and I shall be converted (Jer. 31:18).
VII. Who teach that the grace by which we are converted to God is nothing but a gentle
persuasion, or (as others explain it) that the way of God's acting in man's conversion that is most
noble and suited to human nature is that which happens by persuasion, and that nothing prevents this
grace of moral suasion even by itself from making natural men spiritual; indeed, that God does not
produce the assent of the will except in this manner of moral suasion, and that the effectiveness
of God's work by which it surpasses the work of Satan consists in the fact that God promises eternal
benefits while Satan promises temporal ones.
For this teaching is entirely Pelagian and contrary to the whole of Scripture, which
recognizes besides this persuasion also another, far more effective and divine way in which the Holy
Spirit acts in man's conversion. As Ezekiel 36:26 puts it: I will give you a new heart and put a new
spirit in you; and I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.…
VIII. Who teach that God in regenerating man does not bring to bear that power of his
omnipotence whereby he may powerfully and unfailingly bend man's will to faith and conversion, but
that even when God has accomplished all the works of grace which he uses for man's conversion, man
nevertheless can, and in actual fact often does, so resist God and the Spirit in their intent and
will to regenerate him, that man completely thwarts his own rebirth; and, indeed, that it remains
in his own power whether or not to be reborn.
For this does away with all effective functioning of God's grace in our conversion
and subjects the activity of Almighty God to the will of man; it is contrary to the apostles, who
teach that we believe by virtue of the effective working of God's mighty strength (Eph. 1:19), and
that God fulfills the undeserved good will of his kindness and the work of faith in us with power
(2 Thess. 1:11), and likewise that his divine power has given us everything we need for life and
godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).
IX. Who teach that grace and free choice are concurrent partial causes which cooperate
to initiate conversion, and that grace does not precede--in the order of causality--the effective
influence of the will; that is to say, that God does not effectively help man's will to come to
conversion before man's will itself motivates and determines itself.
For the early church already condemned this doctrine long ago in the Pelagians,
on the basis of the words of the apostle: It does not depend on man's willing or running but on
God's mercy (Rom. 9:16); also: Who makes you different from anyone else? and What do you have that
you did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7); likewise: It is God who works in you to will and act according
to his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).
The Fifth Main Point of Doctrine
The Perseverance of the Saints
Article 1: The Regenerate Not Entirely Free from Sin
Those people whom God according to his purpose calls into fellowship with his Son
Jesus Christ our Lord and regenerates by the Holy Spirit, he also sets free from the reign and slavery
of sin, though in this life not entirely from the flesh and from the body of sin.
Article 2: The Believer's Reaction to Sins of Weakness
Hence daily sins of weakness arise, and blemishes cling to even the best works of
God's people, giving them continual cause to humble themselves before God, to flee for refuge to
Christ crucified, to put the flesh to death more and more by the Spirit of supplication and by holy
exercises of godliness, and to strain toward the goal of perfection, until they are freed from this
body of death and reign with the Lamb of God in heaven.
Article 3: God's Preservation of the Converted
Because of these remnants of sin dwelling in them and also because of the temptations
of the world and Satan, those who have been converted could not remain standing in this grace if
left to their own resources. But God is faithful, mercifully strengthening them in the grace once
conferred on them and powerfully preserving them in it to the end.
Article 4: The Danger of True Believers' Falling into Serious Sins
Although that power of God strengthening and preserving true believers in grace
is more than a match for the flesh, yet those converted are not always so activated and motivated
by God that in certain specific actions they cannot by their own fault depart from the leading of
grace, be led astray by the desires of the flesh, and give in to them. For this reason they must
constantly watch and pray that they may not be led into temptations. When they fail to do this, not
only can they be carried away by the flesh, the world, and Satan into sins, even serious and outrageous
ones, but also by God's just permission they sometimes are so carried away--witness the sad cases,
described in Scripture, of David, Peter, and other saints falling into sins.
Article 5: The Effects of Such Serious Sins
By such monstrous sins, however, they greatly offend God, deserve the sentence
of death, grieve the Holy Spirit, suspend the exercise of faith, severely wound the conscience,
and sometimes lose the awareness of grace for a time--until, after they have returned to the way
by genuine repentance, God's fatherly face again shines upon them.
Article 6: God's Saving Intervention
For God, who is rich in mercy, according to his unchangeable purpose of election
does not take his Holy Spirit from his own completely, even when they fall grievously. Neither does
he let them fall down so far that they forfeit the grace of adoption and the state of justification,
or commit the sin which leads to death (the sin against the Holy Spirit), and plunge themselves,
entirely forsaken by him, into eternal ruin.
Article 7: Renewal to Repentance
For, in the first place, God preserves in those saints when they fall his imperishable
seed from which they have been born again, lest it perish or be dislodged. Secondly, by his Word and
Spirit he certainly and effectively renews them to repentance so that they have a heartfelt and godly
sorrow for the sins they have committed; seek and obtain, through faith and with a contrite heart,
forgiveness in the blood of the Mediator; experience again the grace of a reconciled God; through
faith adore his mercies; and from then on more eagerly work out their own salvation with fear and
Article 8: The Certainty of This Preservation
So it is not by their own merits or strength but by God's undeserved mercy that
they neither forfeit faith and grace totally nor remain in their downfalls to the end and are lost.
With respect to themselves this not only easily could happen, but also undoubtedly would happen;
but with respect to God it cannot possibly happen, since his plan cannot be changed, his promise
cannot fail, the calling according to his purpose cannot be revoked, the merit of Christ as well
as his interceding and preserving cannot be nullified, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit can neither
be invalidated nor wiped out.
Article 9: The Assurance of This Preservation
Concerning this preservation of those chosen to salvation and concerning the
perseverance of true believers in faith, believers themselves can and do become assured in accordance
with the measure of their faith, by which they firmly believe that they are and always will remain
true and living members of the church, and that they have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Article 10: The Ground of This Assurance
Accordingly, this assurance does not derive from some private revelation beyond
or outside the Word, but from faith in the promises of God which he has very plentifully revealed
in his Word for our comfort, from the testimony of the Holy Spirit testifying with our spirit that
we are God's children and heirs (Rom. 8:16-17), and finally from a serious and holy pursuit of a
clear conscience and of good works. And if God's chosen ones in this world did not have this well-founded
comfort that the victory will be theirs and this reliable guarantee of eternal glory, they would
be of all people most miserable.
Article 11: Doubts Concerning This Assurance
Meanwhile, Scripture testifies that believers have to contend in this life with
various doubts of the flesh and that under severe temptation they do not always experience this
full assurance of faith and certainty of perseverance. But God, the Father of all comfort, does
not let them be tempted beyond what they can bear, but with the temptation he also provides a way
out (1 Cor. 10:13), and by the Holy Spirit revives in them the assurance of their perseverance.
Article 12: This Assurance as an Incentive to Godliness
This assurance of perseverance, however, so far from making true believers proud
and carnally self-assured, is rather the true root of humility, of childlike respect, of genuine
godliness, of endurance in every conflict, of fervent prayers, of steadfastness in cross bearing
and in confessing the truth, and of well-founded joy in God. Reflecting on this benefit provides
an incentive to a serious and continual practice of thanksgiving and good works, as is evident from
the testimonies of Scripture and the examples of the saints.
Article 13: Assurance No Inducement to Carelessness
Neither does the renewed confidence of perseverance produce immorality or lack
of concern for godliness in those put back on their feet after a fall, but it produces a much greater
concern to observe carefully the ways of the Lord which he prepared in advance. They observe these
ways in order that by walking in them they may maintain the assurance of their perseverance, lest,
by their abuse of his fatherly goodness, the face of the gracious God (for the godly, looking upon
his face is sweeter than life, but its withdrawal is more bitter than death) turn away from them
again, with the result that they fall into greater anguish of spirit.
Article 14: God's Use of Means in Perseverance
And, just as it has pleased God to begin this work of grace in us by the proclamation
of the gospel, so he preserves, continues, and completes his work by the hearing and reading of the
gospel, by meditation on it, by its exhortations, threats, and promises, and also by the use of the
Article 15: Contrasting Reactions to the Teaching of Perseverance
This teaching about the perseverance of true believers and saints, and about their
assurance of it--a teaching which God has very richly revealed in his Word for the glory of his
name and for the comfort of the godly and which he impresses on the hearts of believers--is something
which the flesh does not understand, Satan hates, the world ridicules, the ignorant and the hypocrites
abuse, and the spirits of error attack. The bride of Christ, on the other hand, has always loved
this teaching very tenderly and defended it steadfastly as a priceless treasure; and God, against
whom no plan can avail and no strength can prevail, will ensure that she will continue to do this.
To this God alone, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.
Rejection of the Errors
Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those:
I. Who teach that the perseverance of true believers is not an effect of election or a
gift of God produced by Christ's death, but a condition of the new covenant which man, before what
they call his "peremptory" election and justification, must fulfill by his free will.
For Holy Scripture testifies that perseverance follows from election and is granted
to the chosen by virtue of Christ's death, resurrection, and intercession: The chosen obtained it;
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, along with him, grant us all things? Who will bring any charge against
those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ Jesus who
died--more than that, who was raised--who also sits 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).
II. Who teach that God does provide the believer with sufficient strength to persevere
and is ready to preserve this strength in him if he performs his duty, but that even with all those
things in place which are necessary to persevere in faith and which God is pleased to use to preserve
faith, it still always depends on the choice of man's will whether or not he perseveres.
For this view is obviously Pelagian; and though it intends to make men free it
makes them sacrilegious. It is against the enduring consensus of evangelical teaching which takes
from man all cause for boasting and ascribes the praise for this benefit only to God's grace. It
is also against the testimony of the apostle: It is God who keeps us strong to the end, so that we
will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:8).
III. Who teach that those who truly believe and have been born again not only can forfeit
justifying faith as well as grace and salvation totally and to the end, but also in actual fact do
often forfeit them and are lost forever.
For this opinion nullifies the very grace of justification and regeneration as well
as the continual preservation by Christ, contrary to the plain words of the apostle Paul: If Christ
died for us while we were still sinners, we will therefore much more be saved from God's wrath through
him, since we have now been justified by his blood (Rom. 5:8-9); and contrary to the apostle John:
No one who is born of God is intent on sin, because God's seed remains in him, nor can he sin, because
he has been born of God (1 John 3:9); also contrary to the words of Jesus Christ: I give eternal
life to my sheep, 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
IV. Who teach that those who truly believe and have been born again can commit the sin
that leads to death (the sin against the Holy Spirit).
For the same apostle John, after making mention of those who commit the sin that
leads to death and forbidding prayer for them (1 John 5: 16-17), immediately adds: We know that anyone
born of God does not commit sin (that is, that kind of sin), but the one who was born of God keeps
himself safe, and the evil one does not touch him (v. 18).
V. Who teach that apart from a special revelation no one can have the assurance of future
perseverance in this life.
For by this teaching the well-founded consolation of true believers in this life
is taken away and the doubting of the Romanists is reintroduced into the church. Holy Scripture,
however, in many places derives the assurance not from a special and extraordinary revelation but
from the marks peculiar to God's children and from God's completely reliable promises. So especially
the apostle Paul: Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ
Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39); and John: They who obey his commands remain in him and he in them. And
this is how we know that he remains in us: by the Spirit he gave us (1 John 3:24).
VI. Who teach that the teaching of the assurance of perseverance and of salvation is by
its very nature and character an opiate of the flesh and is harmful to godliness, good morals, prayer,
and other holy exercises, but that, on the contrary, to have doubt about this is praiseworthy.
For these people show that they do not know the effective operation of God's grace
and the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and they contradict the apostle John, who asserts the
opposite in plain words: Dear friends, now we are children of God, but what we will be has not yet
been made known. But we know that when he is made known, 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).
Moreover, they are refuted by the examples of the saints in both the Old and the New Testament, who
though assured of their perseverance and salvation yet were constant in prayer and other exercises
VII. Who teach that the faith of those who believe only temporarily does not differ from
justifying and saving faith except in duration alone.
For Christ himself in Matthew 13:20ff. and Luke 8:13ff. clearly defines these further
differences between temporary and true believers: he says that the former receive the seed on rocky
ground, and the latter receive it in good ground, or a good heart; the former have no root, and the
latter are firmly rooted; the former have no fruit, and the latter produce fruit in varying measure,
with steadfastness, or perseverance.
VIII. Who teach that it is not absurd that a person, after losing his former regeneration,
should once again, indeed quite often, be reborn.
For by this teaching they deny the imperishable nature of God's seed by which we
are born again, contrary to the testimony of the apostle Peter: Born again, not of perishable seed,
but of imperishable (1 Pet. 1:23).
IX. Who teach that Christ nowhere prayed for an unfailing perseverance of believers in faith.
For they contradict Christ himself when he says: I have prayed for you, Peter,
that your faith may not fail (Luke 22:32); and John the gospel writer when he testifies in John 17
that it was not only for the apostles, but also for all those who were to believe by their message
that Christ prayed: Holy Father, preserve them in your name (v. 11); and My prayer is not that you
take them out of the world, but that you preserve them from the evil one (v. 15).
Rejection of False Accusations
And so this is the clear, simple, and straightforward explanation of the orthodox teaching on
the five Articles in dispute in the Netherlands, as well as the rejection of the errors by which
the Dutch churches have for some time been disturbed. This explanation and rejection the Synod declares
to be derived from God's Word and in agreement with the confessions of the Reformed churches. Hence
it clearly appears that those of whom one could hardly expect it have shown no truth, equity, and
charity at all in wishing to make the public believe:
--that the teaching of the Reformed churches on predestination and on the points
associated with it by its very nature and tendency draws the minds of people away from all godliness
and religion, is an opiate of the flesh and the devil, and is a stronghold of Satan where he lies
in wait for all people, wounds most of them, and fatally pierces many of them with the arrows of
both despair and self-assurance;
--that this teaching makes God the author of sin, unjust, a tyrant, and a hypocrite;
and is nothing but a refurbished Stoicism, Manicheism, Libertinism, and Mohammedanism;
--that this teaching makes people carnally self-assured, since it persuades them
that nothing endangers the salvation of the chosen, no matter how they live, so that they may commit
the most outrageous crimes with self-assurance; and that on the other hand nothing is of use to the
reprobate for salvation even if they have truly performed all the works of the saints;
--that this teaching means that God predestined and created, by the bare and
unqualified choice of his will, without the least regard or consideration of any sin, the greatest
part of the world to eternal condemnation; that in the same manner in which election is the source
and cause of faith and good works, reprobation is the cause of unbelief and ungodliness; that many
infant children of believers are snatched in their innocence from their mothers' breasts and cruelly
cast into hell so that neither the blood of Christ nor their baptism nor the prayers of the church
at their baptism can be of any use to them; and very many other slanderous accusations of this kind
which the Reformed churches not only disavow but even denounce with their whole heart.
Therefore this Synod of Dordt in the name of the Lord pleads with all who devoutly call on the
name of our Savior Jesus Christ to form their judgment about the faith of the Reformed churches, not
on the basis of false accusations gathered from here or there, or even on the basis of the personal
statements of a number of ancient and modern authorities--statements which are also often either
quoted out of context or misquoted and twisted to convey a different meaning--but on the basis of
the churches' own official confessions and of the present explanation of the orthodox teaching which
has been endorsed by the unanimous consent of the members of the whole Synod, one and all.
Moreover, the Synod earnestly warns the false accusers themselves to consider how heavy a judgment
of God awaits those who give false testimony against so many churches and their confessions, trouble
the consciences of the weak, and seek to prejudice the minds of many against the fellowship of true
Finally, this Synod urges all fellow ministers in the gospel of Christ to deal with this teaching
in a godly and reverent manner, in the academic institutions as well as in the churches; to do so,
both in their speaking and writing, with a view to the glory of God's name, holiness of life, and
the comfort of anxious souls; to think and also speak with Scripture according to the analogy of
faith; and, finally, to refrain from all those ways of speaking which go beyond the bounds set for
us by the genuine sense of the Holy Scriptures and which could give impertinent sophists a just
occasion to scoff at the teaching of the Reformed churches or even to bring false accusations against
May God's Son Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and gives gifts to men, sanctify
us in the truth, lead to the truth those who err, silence the mouths of those who lay false accusations
against sound teaching, and equip faithful ministers of his Word with a spirit of wisdom and discretion,
that all they say may be to the glory of God and the building up of their hearers. Amen.