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Remonstrants

REMONSTRANTS.

Remonstrants is a name given to the adherents of Jacobus Arminius (q.v.) after his death, from the "Remonstrance" which they drew up in 1610 as an exposition and justification of their views (see below). Their history may be divided into four periods, the first extending to the Synod of Dort, 1618; the second comprising the years of persecution until 1632; the third the time of toleration during the existence of the Republic of the United Netherlands until 1795; the fourth the period of their existence as an independent church community.

I. History to 1618.

1. The Remonstrance.

After the death of Arminius (see i. 296 sqq. of this work) those who shared his conviction drew together more closely. They repudiated the name Arminians, but upheld the principle that the free investigation of the Bible should not be hampered by subscription to symbolical books. They addressed themselves to the States of Holland, urging the convocation of a synod for the reconsideration and examination of the Netherland confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. On the invitation of Oldenbarneveldt, the Dutch liberal statesman and a sympathizer with the Remonstrants, forty-one preachers and the two leaders of the Leyden state college for the education of preachers met in The Hague on Jan. 14, 1610, to state in written form their views concerning all disputed doctrines. The document in the form of a remonstrance was drawn up by Jan Uytenbogaert (q.v.) and after a few changes was endorsed and signed by all and in July presented to Oldenbarneveldt. It treats of the value of formulated confessions of faith, of the effect of the grace of God in opposition to 482their Calvinistic opponents, and of the power of secular authorities in the affairs of the Church. The Remonstrants did not reject confession and catechism, but did not acknowledge them as permanent and unchangeable canons of faith. They ascribed authority only to the word of God in Holy Scripture and were averse to all formalism. They also maintained that the secular authorities have the right to interfere in theological disputes to preserve peace and prevent schisms in the Church.

2. Doctrines.

Their views concerning the operation of divine grace they expressed in the following five articles ("The Five Articles of Arminianism" ), the positive part of the Remonstrance:

ARTICLE I.—That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ's sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John iii. 36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," and according to other passages of Scripture also.

ART. II.—That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption, and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins, except the believer, according to the word of the Gospel of John iii. 16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; and in the First Epistle of John ii. 2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only. but also for the sins of the whole world."

ART. III.—That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free-will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. 5: "Without me ye can do nothing."

ART. IV. — That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of an good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting; awakening, following, and co-operative grace, elm neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, inasmuch as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost,—Acts vii, and elsewhere in many places.

ART. V.—That those who an incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand; and if only they are ready for the conflict. and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ's hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But whether they are capable. through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.

3. Counter-remonstrance.

The Confessionalists presented to the States of Holland a Counter-remonstrance in which the view of the Remonstrants was sharply condemned. The States requested six deputies of both parties to discuss the five articles before them. There participated in this Conference of The Hague (1610), Uytenbogaert and Episcopius on the one side and Festus Hommius and Ruardus Acronius, two preachers, on the other; but the dissenting parties agreed neither here nor at another conference held two years later at Delft. As the dissensions led to disturbances, the States in 1614 passed a resolution of peace in which the discussion of disputed points was forbidden in the pulpit. Owing to the influence of Oldenbarneveldt and of the States, the controversies assumed a political character. Zealous Calvinists separated from the congregations of the Remonstrants and held special church services. The majority in the States of Holland persistently refused to convene a national synod as advocated by the Counterremonstrants, but matters changed as soon as Prince Maurice publicly avowed the cause of the latter. A national synod was convoked (May 30, 1618) by the States-general at Dort, where the five articles of the Remonstrants were condemned (see Dort, Synod of).

II. From 1618 till 1632.

By the decrees of the Synod of Dort, the church services of the Remonstrants were prohibited. Episcopius, with the other Remonstrants summoned before the synod, was deposed, as were more than 200 preachers. Those who were not willing to renounce all further activity as preachers, were banished. They united in 1619 at Antwerp, where the basis for a new church community was laid, under the name Remonstrant Reformed Brotherhood. Uytenbogaert and Episcopius, who had found a refuge in Rouen, and Grevinchoven, formerly a preacher of Rotterdam, now in Holstein, assumed the leadership of the Brotherhood while three exiled preachers secretly returned to their country to care for the congregations left there; for in spite of the unfavorable decree, there was still left a considerable number who would not hear the doctrine of absolute grace preached, and there were not wanting deposed preachers who dared to serve them. In 1621 Episcopius drew up a Confessio sive declaratio sententiæ pastorum qui Remonstrantes vocantur, which found a large circulation in its Dutch translation. Its value to-day is only historical. Owing to the lack of preachers, there originated in Warmond a movement in favor of the lay sermon, the adherents of which settled later at Rynsburg and founded the Society of Collegiants (see Collegiants). On the invitation of Sweden and Denmark some preachers went to Glückstadt, Danzig, and other places, founding congregations, which, however, were only of short duration, except that of Friedrichstadt, under the favor and protection of Duke Frederick of Holstein. The congregations in Holland which had separated from the Reformed church were harassed and persecuted. The preachers were punished with lifelong imprisonment 483at the castle of Loevestein. The conspiracy of the sons of Oldenbarneveldt against Prince Maurice (1623) gave new impulse to the persecution. It was only after the latter's death (1625) that a better time dawned for the Remonstrants. Prince Frederick Henry was of a milder spirit, so that Episcopius and Uytenbogaert could return from exile. All captives, seven in number, fled in 1631 from the castle of Loevestein, without any serious attempt being made to rearrest them. Churches were built, and the congregations received their own preachers. Thus the Brotherhood was established as the Remonstrant Reformed Church Community.

III. From 1632 till 1795.

The Remonstrants were tolerated, but not officially recognized until 1795. They were not allowed to build their churches on the street and had to support their preachers by voluntary gifts. In the beginning there were forty congregations, mostly in South Holland. In North Holland there were only four and as many in Utrecht; others were in Gelderland, Overyssel, and Friesland. The delegates of these congregations met every year alternately at Rotterdam and Amsterdam. At one of the first meetings there was established a church order. Uytenbogaert wrote an Onderwysinge in de christelycke religie in strict accordance with the confession. A theological seminary was founded at Amsterdam, with Episcopius at its head, who in 1634 delivered his first lectures; this institution educated many distinguished preachers. Gerard Brandt and his sons Caspar, Johannes, and Gerard the Younger belonged to the best preachers of the country in the seventeenth century. As the Remonstrants were not bound by any confession, schism frequently showed itself among them, while tendencies toward Socinianism and Rationalism were not wanting.

IV. The Period of Independent Existence.

When Church and State were separated, after the revolution of 1795, the Brotherhood of the Remonstrants was recognized as an independent church community, and they then made an attempt to unite all Protestants. In Sept., 1796, the convention of the Brotherhood sent a letter to the clergymen of all Protestant churches in which the plan was fully discussed; but the Reformed Church refused cooperation. The chief tenet of the Remonstrants was to confess and preach the Gospel of Christ in freedom and tolerance. Their communities suffered considerably during the French rule, but after the restitution of the earlier conditions their cause began to flourish. Many country congregations died out in the last century; but new congregations originated in cities like Arnheim, Groningen, and Dort, where the adherents of the modern tendency in the Netherland Reformed Church joined the Brother hood under the pressure of confessionalism. It numbers at present twenty-seven congregations with about 12,500 members, all of the congregations being in a flourishing condition.

(H. C. Rogge†.)

Bibliography: Besides the works by Simon Episcopius, Philippus van Limborch, and Jan Uytenbogaert, and the literature under the articles on them, consult: The life of Coolhaes by H. C. Rogge, 2 vols., Amsterdam, 1856–1858; of Coornhert by F. D. J. Moorrees, Nijmegen, 1887, and by C. Lorentzen, Jena, 1886; G. Brandt, Historie der Reformatie, 4 parts, Amsterdam, 1671–1704, Eng. transl., Hist. of the Reformation . . . in . . . the Low Countries, 4 vols., London, 1720–23; A. a Cattenburgh, Bibliotheca scriptorum Remonstrantium, Amsterdam, 1728; J. E. I. Walch, Religionsstreitigkeiten ausser der lutherischen Kirche, iii. 540 sqq., 10 vols., Jena, 1733–39; J. Regenborg, Historie der Remonstranten, 2 parts, Amsterdam, 1774–76; F. Calder, Memoirs of Simon Episcopius, London, 1838; A. des Amorie van der Hoeven, Het tweede Eeuwfest van het Seminarium der Remonstranten, Leeuwarden, 1840; J. Tideman, De Remonstr. Broederschap, Haarlem, 1847; idem, De Remonstratie en het Remonstratisme, ib. 1851; idem, De catechetische Literatuur der Remonstranten, Rotterdam, 1852; idem, De Stichting der Remonstr. Broederschap, 1619–34, 2 vols., Amsterdam, 1871–72; A. Schweitzer, Die protestantischen Centraldogmen, ii. 66 sqq., Zurich, 1856; G. Frank, Geschichte der protestantischen Theologie, i. 403 sqq., Leipsic, 1862; W. Cunningham, Historical Theology, ii. 371–513, Edinburgh, 1864; Gedenkschrift van het 250 jarig Bestaen der Remonstr. Broederschap, Rotterdam, 1869; P. H. Ditchfield, The Church in the Netherlands, London, 1893; H. Y. Groenewegen, De Remonatrantie op haren driehonderdsten gedenkag, 1610–14, Januari 1910, Leyden, 1910; Schaff, Creeds, i. 516 sqq., iii. 550 sqq.; the literature under Dort, Synod of; and Holland.

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