Vorstius (Voorst), Conrad

Vorstius (Voorst), Conrad an Arminian theologian, was born July 19, 1569, at Cologne, of parents who became converted from the Roman Catholic to the Protestant faith. He was educated at Düsseldorf and Cologne, but could not obtain the academical degrees at the latter place because he would not subscribe the Confession of Trent. He now resolved to adopt a mercantile career, but, after two years (in 1589), went to Herborn and resumed his learned studies. He was made doctor of theology at Heidelberg in 1594, and in 1596 accepted a theological professorship at Steinfurt, after having declined a position offered him at Geneva through Beza's intervention in his favor. At Steinfuirt he so distinguished himself as a teacher that calls to other schools were repeatedly addressed to him; but he also began to earn the name of a Socinian through the books which he gave to the world, and even found it necessary to prove his orthodoxy at Heidelberg (1599). The Socinians endeavored to win him to their side by offering him the presidency of the Lublin gymnasium, and subsequently a theological professorship, but without success. In 1605 Torstius became preacher and consistorial assessor at Steilnfurt, and in 1610, after the death of Arminius, he accepted a call to Leyden. He was preceded thither by his Disputationes X de Natura et Attribitis Dei (1st ed. Steinfart, 1602; and again 1610), and was at once violently assailed by the Contra-Remonstrants, or Gomarists, as a Socinian and archeretic, because of the views he had set forth in that work respecting God, his attributes, and respecting Christ and predestination. He was charged with denying the pure spirituality of the divine nature, and its simplicity, eternity, immutability, and omnipresence; and also the Trinity, the personal union of two natures in Christ, his deity, and perfect satisfaction made for our sins. The Heidelberg theologians also decided against his book, and the Leyden zealots managed to involve even king James I of England in the dispute. Vorstius's book was publicly burned at London, Oxford, and Cambridge, and the king wrote out a list of errors which he had found it to contain Vorstius replied to the Heidelbergers in Protestatio Epistolica contra Theologoorum Heeidelb., etc. (Hag. 1610); and to the king in Christianar ac Modesta Responsio ad Articulos quosdam nuper ex Anglia Transmissos (Lond., 1611). The Estates were, however, obliged to dismiss him from his post, and to oblige him to retire to privacy at Tergowy; but even then the assaults upon him were not interrupted. His principal adversaries were J. Bogermann, S. Lubbert of Franeker, M. Sladus at Amsterdam, etc. Vorstius defended himself vigorously in a series of tractates until the Synod of Dort (1619) banished him from the country as a heretic, after which he lived in concealment until 1622, when the duke of Holstein afforded a refuge to Arminians. He arrived a at Tonningen July, 1622, but died on the following Sept. 29. He was buried at Friedrichstadt. It is said that he wrote out a confession of faith a short time before his death, in which he avowed his adoption; of the Socinian views. See Walch, Hist. u. theol. Einl. in d. Religionsstreitigkeiten (Jena, 1734), 3, 565 sq.; (1736), in, 281; Schröckh, Chr. Kirchengesch, seit d. Reformation (Leips. 1806), p. 240 sq.; and the literature there cited. —Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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