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Doctrines of Grace

James Dodson

The Synod of Dort, from whence come the Canons of Dort defending the five controverted points against the Arminians.

The Synod of Dort, from whence come the Canons of Dort defending the five controverted points against the Arminians.


"The grace of God is the undeserved favour of God, or it is that whereby God favoureth his creature without any desert of his.  The Apostle doth intimate this much, Ephes. i.9, in that he putteth no difference between these words, grace and a good pleasure; for whereas he saith in that verse, that God hath elected us according to his free grace, it seems to be spoken in the same sense and meaning with that with which he said before in that same chapter, ver. 7, In him we have redemption according to the riches of his grace."—Robert Rollock, A Treatise of God's Effectual Calling. (1603). 

Works on the Doctrines of Grace:


The Bondage of the Will.-1525-Martin Luther.-This is one of Luther's most important works. It demolishes the counter claims of Erasmus and sets forth the true state into which man has fallen out of which he cannot draw himself because his will is captive to the world, the flesh and the devil. It presents a very strong view of predestination.

Of the True, Real, and Safe Grounds of Encouragement to Believe in Jesus Christ; or, Upon What Warrants a Sinner May Adventure to Rest and Rely Upon Christ for Salvation.-1649-George Gillespie.-A short but very important essay by Gillespie on the nature and extent of the atonement. In it, he shows that the notion that the atonement was of universal scope is destructive to the Gospel and the undermines the exercise of true saving faith.

The Sum of Saving Knowledge:-1650-David Dickson and James Durham.-This is a compendium of theology set in a practical format for the instruction and use by the people of the Church of Scotland. It contains a very full account of covenant theology together with application.

The Doctrine of the Atonement.-1810-Alexander M'Leod.-This series of articles appeared in The Christian's Magazine.  M'Leod gives a very good explanation of the orthodox doctrine of the atonement together with a defense of limited atonement, or particular redemption.  This was written in the midst of the Hopkinsian controversy and presents a soundly Calvinistic view.

Historical Sketch, &c.-1817-James Renwick Willson.-An informative, if uneven, treatment of the history of the doctrine of the atonement. This portion of the book contains Willson's historical insights together with a wealth of information about numerous early American Reformed and Presbyterian bodies complete with an outline of their controversies.

Argument on the Arminian Controversy. [Published in Overture.]-1836-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, prepared by Rev. Moses Roney, a member of the Synod, presents an excellent overview of the Arminian controversy in its history and doctrine. It presents a vigorous defense of Calvinism following the order of the "five points" as discussed at Dort. His discussion on the Arminian assertion of "common grace" is particularly helpful.

Lutheranism and Calvinism.-1844-Jean-Henri Merle D'Aubigne (1794-1872).-In this essay, D'Aubigne examines the peculiar principles of both the Lutheran and Reformed Reformations. He has many helpful insights and explains why the Reformed should be respectful toward Lutheranism without losing its own excellence.