The Canons of Dort is the explanation of the judicial decision regarding objections to the faith of the Reformation, from the official church council held in The Netherlands in 1618-1619. Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) was a Dutch theologian and prominent pastor in Amsterdam. He was eloquent and well educated, his sermons attracting large audiences not only for their content but for their controversy. According to Arminius, the orthodox faith of the Reformation was wrong. He taught that God chooses for salvation only those whom He has foreseen will believe. By 1592 Arminius had been formally accused of heresy. In 1610, his zealous followers presented five objections to the standard confessions of faith from the Reformation; the theology behind these objections came to be called Arminianism.
The whole church was caught up with theological debate, and a council was called to resolve the controversy. The Synod of Dort concluded with a rejection of Arminianism, and in The Canons of Dort set forth the orthodox Reformed doctrine on each point; today these are sometimes referred to as the doctrines of grace. As termed in the original preface, it is a “judgment, in which both the true view agreeing with God’s Word concerning the aforesaid five points of doctrine is explained, and the false view disagreeing with God’s Word is rejected.”
HT Chapel Library