Arminians and Gomarians

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Arminians and Gomarians


religious trends in the Dutch Reformed Church that became important as religious and political groups at the beginning of the 17th century. As distinct from orthodox Calvinists, the Arminians—whose founder was the theologian J. Arminius—left a place for free will in their doctrine of predestination; they advocated a policy of tolerance for other faiths and even of compromise with reactionary Catholic circles. In 1610 they presented the States General with the so-called Remonstrance (hence their other name, remonstrants), which set forth the fundamental principles of Arminianism. The opponents of the Arminians were the Gomarians, named after the theologian F. Gomaras. In 1611 they presented the States General with the Counter-Remonstrance, in which they defended the dogmas of orthodox Calvinism (counter-remonstrants).

Between the Arminians and the Gomarians a religious and political struggle flared up that was basically a reflection of the struggle between the national, industrial, and petite bourgeoisie and the urban lower classes (the Gomarians) against the ruling merchant oligarchy of the Dutch provinces (the Arminians). The latter were striving to ensure their complete political domination in the republic; they were opposed to centralization and an increase in the stadtholder’s power. HugoGrotius and J. Olden Berneveldt, who was the leader of the merchant oligarchy, were on the side of the Arminians; the Gomarians were supported by Stadtholder Maurice of Orange. With the defeat of Olden Barneveldt, Arminianism was condemned as a heresy by the Calvinist General Synod at Dordrecht (1619).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.