Remonstrants

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Remonstrants

Remonstrants (rĕmŏn´strənts), Dutch Protestants, adherents to the ideas of Jacobus Arminius, whose doctrines after his death (1609) were called Arminianism. They were Calvinists but were more liberal and less dogmatic than orthodox Calvinists and diverged from the teachings of the Dutch Reformed Church. After the death of Arminius and under the leadership of Simon Episcopius, they set forth their articles of faith for Holland and West Friesland in a petition that became known as the Remonstrance. Their main variations from orthodox views, as set forth, were conditional, rather than absolute, predestination; universal atonement; the necessity of regeneration through the Holy Ghost; the possibility of resistance to divine grace; and the possibility of relapse from grace. A movement to suppress the Remonstrants was led by Franciscus Gomarus and Prince Maurice of Nassau, and finally, after a hearing at the Synod of Dort (1618–19), the orthodox position prevailed. Remonstrants were denied church services, and their leaders were persecuted and exiled. With the death of Prince Maurice in 1625 the ban was lifted and the religion was tolerated until 1795, when it was recognized as an independent church. The Remonstrants survive as a small group in the Netherlands. They have had a liberalizing influence on Calvinist doctrine as well as on other evangelical churches.

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