Francis Gomar

ALSO “Gomarus”) (1563-1641. Low Countries Calvinist theologian. Born in Bruges as the revolt of the Lowlands against Spanish rule was imminent, he studied as a boy at Strasbourg under Johann Sturm, went on in theology under Zanchius at Neustadt, continued at Oxford and Cambridge, and received his doctorate at Heidelberg in 1593. In his thirties he became professor of theology at Leyden. An ardent and skilled defender of Calvinist orthodoxy, he protested against the teachings of Arminius (see Arminianism), from 1603 his colleague at Leyden, seeing these as effectively denying the doctrine of election. The growing controversy soon spread through the Dutch Calvinist churches, with “Gomarist” and “Arminian” factions in increasingly bitter debate. Arminius's death (1609) was followed by the Arminian Remonstrance of 1610 and by the Contra- Remonstrance of 1611.

Meanwhile, when the Remonstrant Conrad Vorst (Vorstius) was appointed at Leyden to replace Arminius, Gomar resigned in disgust. As the Remonstrant controversy raged, increasingly mixed with political factionalism, Gomar taught in the Huguenot seminary at Saumar (1614-18) and was then called back to be professor of theology at Groningen. Known for his Contra- Remonstrant* views, he was chosen as a delegate to the Synod of Dort,* played a prominent role there, and rejoiced at the condemnation of the Remonstrants. The rest of his career was spent at Groningen. He held to a scholastic version of Calvinism, stressed the importance of doctrine, and took a supralapsarian position regarding predestination (Dort left the question open). His Opera theologica omnia were published soon after his death (2 vols., 1645).

See G.P. Van Itterzon, Franciscus Gomar (1930).