The Grote Kerk played an important role in the Synode of Dordrecht. The Synod was a special church meeting where numerous politicians and theologians from the Netherlands and abroad gathered to end a long religious and political conflict in the Dutch Republic. The Synod lasted more than six months, from 13 November 1618 to 29 May 1619.
The main goal of the Synod of Dordrecht was to come to a decision on overcoming the continuing differences of opinion within the new Calvinistic church. At Leiden University, a theological dispute had occured, which had passed to the group of preachers and also church congregations.
The dispute focused on the doctrine of Predestination (‘electoral doctrine’), the eternal fate of mankind. According to the Calvinists, man was not capable – by himself- of good. Salvation could only come from above, from God. God decides the eternal destiny of man, eternal salvation or hellfire.
Predestination is the doctrine that God determined in advance, which people he will choose and which he will reject.
The key question was whether God had taken into account the way a man would live on earth when making that decision.
Besides this theological dispute, there was also a political dispute. Remonstrants were seen as willing to cooperate with Spain.
Besides representatives of all the provinces affiliated to the republic, representatives of eight foreign reformed churches were also invited.
Before the first meeting of the Synod began, a church service was held on November 13, 1618 in the Grote Kerk.
More than half a year later, on May 29, 1619, the 154th and last meeting was also concluded there. Chairman of the Synod was the Frisian minister Johannes Bogerman, a counter-remonstrant. He was considered a theological and administrative heavyweight.
Canons of Dordt
During the Synod, rules of learning, later known as the Canons of Dordt or Five Points of Calvinism, were established.
Today, the Canons of Dordt form part of the Three Forms of Unity, one of the confessional standards of many of the Reformed churches around the world.
They were originally drawn up in the National Synod of (held in 1618 and 1619) and accepted as a concord of ecclesiastic community by the Reformed Churches in the
In addition to the Canons of Dordt, the Dordrecht church order was also established. This church order described the practical course of events in church life.
The Synod also gave the starting sign to produce a translation of the Bible from the basic languages into Dutch. During seven meetings of the Synod, an official translation of the Bible was discussed.
At the Synod of Dordrecht, it was also deemed necessary to have a new translation accurately based on the original languages. The synod requested the States-General of the Netherlands to commission it.
The translation owes its name to its sponsor. The States-General understood that a new bible would benefit both the unity and the prestige of the young republic. That is why they paid for this translation and it is called the “Statenvertaling”.
This translation was completed almost 20 years later. Johannes Bogerman, chairman of the Synod, also made a major contribution to the translation. The Statenvertaling has had a great influence on language development and Dutch culture.
The Kloveniersdoelen were demolished in 1857. The Kloveniersdoelen was built as a meeting place and practice hall of the local militia. After the cessation of the militias, the building lost its main purpose.