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400 Years After Dort: Owning It & Letting It Go

May 9, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

The Great Synod of Dort was convened in the city of Dordrecht, the Netherlands, in response to a national crisis precipitated in the young republic over the question of human free will. Meeting in 180 sessions between November, 1618, and May, 1619, the Synod not only addressed that question, but touched on issues of liturgy and government as well, and not only involved the Dutch, but also brought in theologians from across Europe. And the effects of wat happened at Dort and how the world understood Reformed thought have echoed through the Reformed world to this very day—and not always in positive ways.

On Thursday, May 9, from 9:30 to 3:00, the Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary will celebrate the anniversary of the end of the Great Synod of Dort by hosting a discussion: 400 Years After Dort: Owning It and Letting It Go. We will be led in our discussion by some leading Reformed thinkers as we look at the effects od the Synod and discuss which aspects of Dort should be kept, refreshed, and built upon, and which we might well let go of as we enter a new century. 

Daniel Meeter is pastor of the Old First Reformed Church of Brooklyn, New York, with degrees from New Brunswick Theological Seminary and Drew University. He has published extensively, and his book Meeting Each Other in Doctrine, Liturgy, and Government (Eerdmans, 1993) is considered one of the most important modern works on the Constitution of the Reformed Church in America. One area of his concern is the texts and contexts of Reformed baptismal liturgies. And he will be looking at what Dort said about baptism.
David D. Daniels III is the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary, having joined the faculty in 1987.  He is the author of over 50 essays, academic articles, and book chapters on topics related to African Christians in early modern Europe, Black Church history, Pentecostal Studies, and World Christianity.  He has served as a member of research projects funded by various foundations, including the Eli Lilly Endowment, the Luce Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, and the Institute of Classical Christianity. His presentation will be “Prelude to a “Post-Racial” Future:  Interrogating the Baptism Debate at the Synod of Dort.”
Allan Janssen is emeritus professor of Theological Studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and a General Synod professor emeritus of the Reformed Church in America. He has taught and spoken internationally on Reformed polity and doctrine, and is the author, editor, and translator of several books, most recently Confessing the Faith Today: A Fresh Look at the Belgic Confession (Wipf and Stock, 2017) and A Ministry of Reconciliation: Essays ion Honor of Gregg Mast (Eerdmans, 2017) as well as the upcoming revised edition of his classic work on RCA church order, Constitutional Theology. He will speak on Dort’s effects on public theology in the Reformed world.
Suzanne McDonald is professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. She is ordained in the Christian Reformed Church, and has written books and essays on a range of subjects, including the doctrine of election, John Knox, and the theology of John Owen. In her presentation, “The Canons of Dort for the Church Today: Polemics, Pastoring, and Pulling up TULIPs,” she will argue that, once we have recognized the limits of what the Canons set out to do, and why they take their particular form, the theology of the Canons still matters deeply, and that they have a strong pastoral polemic.
Matthew van Maastricht is the pastor at Altamont, New York and teaches Reformed standards and church polity for Western and New Brunswick Theological Seminaries. He is a doctoral candidate at the Free University of Amsterdam and General Editor of The Congregational History Series of the Reformed Church in America. He will be speaking about the impact of Dort on Reformed polity.

In addition to our presenters, we will have respondents who come from various non-Dutch backgrounds, yet who represent peoples who, by becoming part of the RCA, have been adopted into the legacy of Dort, including RCA pastors, Alfred Correa, Kent McHeard, Young Aie Na, and Imos Wu, and Janice McLean-Farrell, the Dirck Romeyn Assistant Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry at NBTS.

The suggested donation for the day is $10.00, but seminarians are welcome for free and everyone else is welcome regardless of the ability to pay. RSVP to by Monday, May 6.


May 9, 2019
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


James Hart Brumm, Director, The Reformed Church Center


NJ Campus
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 08901 United States
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