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The teaching of the Canons of Dordrecht, in regard to the subject we are now discussing, is very clear and emphatic.
On the one hand they present election as unconditional and absolute. The Remonstrants, as we all know, did not literally deny the scriptural truth of election, but made it contingent upon the faith of man and upon his perseverance to the end. But our fathers of Dordt rejected the Arminian doctrine, and maintained that election is unconditional and absolute. It is not contingent upon anything in man or upon anything that he can do or must accomplish, but rests in the sole good pleasure of his will.
Some professing Christians deny the necessity of church membership. Others join a church for unsubstantial reasons or leave a church for trivial, often selfish reasons. Many remain members of apostatizing churches because of family or traditional ties. Some Christians find themselves in areas or countries where no true church exists or can be formed. They ask, sometimes in anguish, "What must we do?"
Seemingly forgotten today is the truth that Jesus Christ institutes his catholic church in organized congregations that are clearly identified by objective marks. These are true churches, in distinction from false and apostatizing churches.
In the form of letters to an inquiring (though not always appreciative) European audience, this book addresses the issue of church membership in the twenty-first century. This instruction is applicable to all believers and is based on scripture, the Belgic Confession, and the important, but little known, controversy of John Calvin with the Nicodemites.