Monday, June 27, 2016

In Translatiōne

Franciscus Gomarus on Roman Catholic Baptism

By Dr. Ryan McGraw (from The Confessional Presbyterian)

Introduction and Background

Franciscus Gomarus (1563–1641) was one of the leading Dutch Reformed theologians of the period of Reformed orthodoxy. He was one of the primary theological opponents of Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and a prominent member of the Synod of Dort. He served both as a Reformed minister and as a professor of theology at the University of Leiden.

The translation presented here of his treatment of Roman Catholic baptism is taken from his theological disputations, which were based on material that he taught to his students at Leiden. He did not write the material himself, but these disputations are brief abstracts gathered together from his lectures. This means that the arguments presented in these disputations are necessarily brief and each of them requires further development. This selection is historically important because it is one of the few examples outside of sixteenth century Scotland in which a Reformed orthodox author explicitly rejected Roman Catholic baptism. The Scots Confession of 1560 is the only major Reformed confessional document that explicitly stated that Roman Catholic baptism was invalid (because it is not administered by “lawful ministers,” or “in the elements and manner which God has appointed; and thus “we abandon the teaching of the Roman Church and withdraw from its sacraments;” Chapter 22). Gomarus provides evidence of this opinion continuing and reappearing elsewhere in the period of Reformed orthodoxy.