This article aims to decipher the spirit of the notion ‘predestination’ codified in the Canons of
Dordt. It reconsiders the relevance of these dogmatic propositions about predestination as a
grammar of the faith language which originated in a very specific context, namely the political
concerns and the religious convictions held in the uniting Dutch provinces as a nation-state.
In this context Calvin’s views about predestination became instrumental to the establishment
of an upcoming nationalistic ideology, based on different interpretations and perceptions of
Calvin’s theology. Within the context of the Protestant Dutch resistance against the Roman-
Catholic Spanish-Habsburg hegemony, the Canons were formulated during the Synod
of Dordrecht in 1618–1619 as a Calvinistic movement against the Remonstrants who were
stigmatised as collaborators of the Spanish-Habsburg reign over the Netherlands. This article
demonstrates that different receptions of Dordt heighten the dogmatic gap between the socalled
liberal modernism of the Remonstrants and a strict confessionalism of neo-Calvinism
which has influenced the present-day understanding of the Canons of Dordt. It is argued that
the grammar of the Canons of Dordt needs to be understood against this background and the
meaning of the faith language it reflects, interpreted accordingly.