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A Brief Outline of the Canons of Dordt (1618-19),
the Original Five Points of Calvinism

Rev. Angus Stewart


Head I: Of Divine Predestination (Unconditional Election)

A. History

  1. All have sinned and deserve eternal death
  2. God sent His Son
  3. God sends preachers
  4. Not all believe

B. Explanation

  1. The source of faith and unbelief
  2. Faith is according to God’s decree

C. Meaning

  1. Definition of election
  2. One election
  3. Unconditional election
  4. Sovereign election
  5.  Unchangeable election

D. Elaboration

  1. The assurance of election
  2. Election and piety
  3. Election must be preached
  4. Reprobation commends election

E. Different classes of people

  1. Those alarmed at reprobation
  2. Children of believers dying in infancy
  3. Murmurers


Head II: Of the Death of Christ and the Redemption of Men Thereby (Limited Atonement)

A. The necessity of Christ’s redemption

  1. God’s justice demands satisfaction
  2.  Christ makes satisfaction
  3.  Christ’s satisfaction is of infinite value
  4.  Why Christ’s satisfaction is of infinite value

B. The preaching of Christ’s redemption

  1. The promise of the gospel
  2. The guilt of unbelief
  3. The gift of faith

C. The accomplishment of Christ’s redemption

  1. Particular redemption
  2.  Effectual redemption


Heads III and IV: Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God and the Manner Thereof (Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace)

A. Man’s corruption (see I:1)

  1. The fall
  2. Original sin
  3. Total depravity

B. The way of salvation

  1. The light of nature (No)
  2. The law (No)
  3. The Holy Spirit applying the gospel (Yes)

C. The preaching

  1. Its extent in OT and NT days (see I:3)
  2. Its serious call (see II:5)

D. The two responses

  1. Why some refuse to come (see II:6)
  2.  Why others are converted (see II:7)

E. Regeneration

  1. The nature of regeneration
  2. The wonder of regeneration
  3. The incomprehensibility of regeneration

F. Faith

  1. Faith is the gift of God
  2. Faith is unmerited

G. Man’s responsibility

  1. We are not stocks and blocks
  2. We must use the means of grace


Head V: Of the Perseverance of the Saints (Perseverance of the Saints)

A. The saint’s depravity

  1. Our remaining sin
  2. Our sins and spots
  3. Our inability to persevere of ourselves

B. The saint’s sins

  1. Our falling into sins
  2. The results of our sins
  3. Yet we cannot fall away

C. Why the saints cannot fall away

  1. Our regeneration and renewal
  2. The works of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit

D. The assurance of preservation and perseverance

  1. It is obtained by us
  2. How it is obtained by us
  3. It does not exclude our having carnal lusts

E. The fruit of the saint’s assurance of preservation and perseverance

  1. Not pride or carnal security but godliness
  2. Not licentiousness or a disregard to piety but carefulness

F. Different perspectives on the perseverance of the saints

  1. God uses the means of grace to preserve the saints
  2.  The views of the ungodly and of the church on the perseverance of the saints

Click here to read a special edition of the Standard Bearer on the Synod of Dordt.