Book Review: The Belgic Confession Of Faith And The Canons Of Dordt

The Belgic Confession Of Faith and The Canons Of Dordt, by Joel R. Beeke

I must admit that I found this very brief (4 page) work to be highly entertaining, although I suspect it was not meant to be that way.  In four pages, the author manages to give a brief historical summary of two important documents in the history of the Dutch Reformed Church and of Calvinism in general.  As someone who has strong opinions about the Council of Dort and Calvinism in general, I found it a worthy read even if my perspective is not that of the author or his intended audience [1].  The first of these documents provides a look at the Belgic Confession of Faith as an attempt by early Dutch Calvinists to frame their beliefs as being loyal and biblical and law-abiding so as to avoid persecution from the ruling Spaniards.  This effort was, sadly, unsuccessful.  The Canons of Dort, on the other hand, argue the traditional Calvinist TULIP model of God’s workings with humanity and as someone who follows the Remonsrants, I find little in this document to approve of, although the author waxes briefly if eloquently about its excellence.

Obviously, this book was written by a loyal Calvinist and is intended to be read by a Calvinist audience which (incorrectly) understands Calvinism and its doctrines and positions to be biblical.  Originally, this work appears to have been part of a larger collection of papers and essays but separated out, and it would have been made considerably better by including translations of the Belgic Confessions and Canons of Dordt.  Perhaps it is uncharitable for me to be amused by a work like this, as the author was undoubtedly sincere in viewing his worldview as biblical even though it is not.  But when one is relatively frequently confronted with the bumptiousness of arrogant and presumptuous Calvinism in various forms, it is an understandable and appropriate response to find humorous what one would find, if forced to take it seriously, as deeply alarming and unpleasant.  It is lamentable that the way I find Calvin far easier to take than that of many of his followers started rather early and continues to this day when one reads works, even short ones like this one, that seek to promote the Calvinist historical heritage.  While I feel comfortable researching that heritage, I must admit I find little to appreciate in celebrating Calvinist persecutors and their approach.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/06/30/the-five-point-biblical-covenant-model/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/11/08/calvinisms-cold-comfort/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/07/07/book-review-on-the-christian-life/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/07/04/book-review-the-necessity-of-reforming-the-church/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/06/12/avoiding-total-depravity/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christianity, History and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: The Belgic Confession Of Faith And The Canons Of Dordt

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings and commented:
    Reblogging for future reference:

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Crazy Busy | Edge Induced Cohesion

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