Grace Worth Fighting For

Recapturing the Vision of God’s Grace in the Canons of Dort

By Daniel R. Hyde
About this book

Was the battle over grace worth it?

Calvinists are well known for their fighting, and on the rare occasions when the Synod of Dort is remembered, it is often highlighted as an example of Calvinist squabbling and dogmatism. But few know the real story, or why the battles at Dort were worth fighting. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Canons of Dort, pastor and scholar Daniel Hyde reminds us what Dort was all about: protecting and proclaiming the glorious gospel of grace! Dispelling harsh caricatures and whitewashed hagiographies alike, Hyde leads us on a patient journey through the history and text of the Canons, illuminating the fine-grained theological distinctions and simple Scriptural truths encapsulated in their ninety-three articles. Along the way, the reader will discover the startling catholicity and breadth of this foundational statement of Calvinism, and its remarkable pastoral value for nourishing Christian faith, hope, and love today.

Paperback | 437 pages | 6×9 | Published March 3, 2019 | ISBN 978-1949716924

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From the Introduction

We need the canons in our fight to preserve and propagate a pristine doctrine of God’s grace in the salvation of sinners like you and me. Here we are plunged to the depths of depravity then raised to behold the eternal love of God. Here we are taken to the cross where we bow before the satisfaction made for us but then arise because it is so sufficient that we must promiscuously publish its news to all tribes, in every nation, on every continent. Here we experience the uncontrollable power of the Holy Spirit (John 3) efficaciously applying the infinite merit of the Son of God to the hearts of sinners like us. Here we feel the pain and struggle that comes with being Christian, loved by the Father but struggling to love, buried with Christ but constantly digging up our sins, filled with the Holy Spirit but being led astray by our own passions. Yet God the triune God is powerful to preserve us in his loving arms and to bring us to the Celestial City.

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According to Time, “New Calvinism” is one of the top ten religious trends in the world today. But where did original “Calvinism” come from? Danny Hyde provides an expert but accessible tour of the actual conference where these “doctrines of grace” were defined. Hardly a marginal movement, the Synod of Dort was one of the most ecumenical events of the early modern period. Representing not only the Dutch Reformed churches and others in England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland and France, the conclusions of Dort were even embraced for a brief time by the Greek Orthodox Church. Displaying the continuity of Dort’s teaching with the historic Christian church, Hyde also provides us with a winsome account of its relevance for today.

Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology & Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California


Introduction: Why Grace Was (And Still Is) Worth Fighting For

Outline of the Canons of Dort

THe Grace of Predestination

What We Confess (Articles 1-18)


What We Reject (Rejection of Errors 1-9)

THe Grace of Satisfaction

What We Confess (Articles 1-9)


What We Reject (Rejection of Errors 1-7)

THe Grace of Regeneration

What We Confess (Articles 1-17)


What We Reject (Rejection of Errors 1-9)

THe Grace of Preservation

What We Confess (Articles 1-15)


What We Reject (Rejection of Errors 1-9)


Appendix I: The Remonstrance of 1610

Appendix II: The Opinions of the Remonstrants (1619)

Praise for this work

“Danny Hyde is an expert guide to the theology of the Synod of Dort. In this fascinating and edifying volume he explores the history and theology of that seventeenth century world so full of genius and grace with his characteristic gusto.”

– Lee Gatiss

Director of Church Society and author of For Us and For Our Salvation: Limited Atonement in the Bible, Doctrine, History, and Ministry

“Danny Hyde’s Grace Worth Fighting For may be the most thorough exposition of the Canons of Dort to date. Through careful exegesis and attention to the historical context, he not only explains what these canons mean but why they are biblically grounded and theologically essential. One of the best features of Hyde’s scholarship is his refusal to detach the doctrines of grace from pastoral ministry and Christian piety. A careful reading of the Canons knows that this marriage between theology and doxology is original to Dort, contrary to common caricatures. Hyde also busts every myth–and there are a lot!–surrounding Dort, removing the centuries of stereotypes to present readers with Calvinism in pure form. This book is indispensable for students of Reformed theology and irresistible to its skeptics.”

– Matthew Barrett

Associate Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; executive editor of Credo Magazine; author of The Grace of Godliness: An Introduction to Doctrine and Piety in the Canons of Dort

“The 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) has occasioned a number of articles and books celebrating and detailing how this Synod preserved the Reformation in the Netherlands and produced a remarkable confession on salvation by grace alone. Among these studies of the Synod, Hyde’s is among the best. He provides a lively account of the historical occasion for the convening of the Synod as well as a comprehensive commentary on the points of doctrine that were set forth in its Canons. Contrary to the popular myth that these points represent a peculiar set of Reformed distinctives, Hyde persuasively argues that they represent a catholic consensus set forth by most of the churches of the Reformation. As his title intimates, these doctrines of grace remain a testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ that is worth recapturing today.”

– Cornelis Venema

President & Professor of Doctrinal Studies, Mid-America Reformed Seminary, and author of But for the Grace of God: An Exposition of the Canons of Dort

About the Author

Rev. Daniel R. Hyde serves as Pastor of Oceanside United Reformed Church (Carlsbad/Oceanside, California). He is the author of over 20 popular books on Reformed theology, biblical exposition, and Christian piety as well as academic work on John Owen and liturgical theology. He is also Adjunct Instructor of Ministerial Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary (Dyer, Indiana) and Adjunct Instructor of Systematic Theology and Missions at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, Michigan). He is married and has four children.


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