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Konrad von der Vorst

1569- 1622. Reformed theologian, a leader of the Remonstrant party in the Dutch Reformed Church.* Born in Cologne, he studied at Heidelberg, and then at Geneva under Beza. Teaching at the academy at Steinfurt near Heidelberg, he was charged with Socinian* tendencies and had to clear himself before the Heidelberg theological faculty. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands the “Remonstrant controversy” was in full swing. Arminius,* at Leyden, tried to soften the orthodox Calvinist teachings on predestination. After Arminius's death (1609), Uytenbogaert and other followers issued the Remonstrance* of 1610. Vorstius was asked to take Arminius's place at Leyden, and accepted (1610). But a book on the nature and attributes of God aroused an immediate storm; the theological faculty at Heidelberg, and James I of England, an amateur theologian, were among those who felt that Vorstius followed Socinius and denied the divinity of Christ. Vorstius became involved in a series of bitter polemics with the Contra-Remonstrants,* and especially with the Frisian theologian Lubbertus.*

In 1612, though his salary at Leyden was continued, he was forbidden to teach; he retired to Gouda, where he translated some of Socinius's works. The Remonstrant controversy continued, mixed in with political factionalism, and grew more embittered. The Synod of Dort* (1618-19) upheld traditional Calvinist orthodoxy, condemned the Remonstrants, and arranged the exile of the Remonstrant leaders. Vorstius spent his last years in Holstein, dying at Tönningen.