Towards the end of the seventeenth century a controversy erupted over the interpretation\ud of the relation between the historical death of Christ and the associated doctrine of the\ud forgiveness of sins. This controversy had its origin in the dissemination of the ideas of the\ud Leyden professor Johannes Cocceius (1603-1669) and his followers. Resistance to these\ud ideas came from the followers of the Utrecht professor Gisbertus Voetius (1587-1676).\ud The discussion centered on the interpretation of the concept of Christ's sponsio or\ud suretyship and was essentially an intensification of standing differences between these\ud two strands in the Reformed Church of the seventeenth century, namely, on the\ud interpretation of the fourth commandment (the Sabbath) and the doctrine of justification.\ud While these issues may initially seem of merely academic interest, much more proved to\ud be at stake as the debate developed. The theological quarrel had repercussions at the\ud social and political level, and worked as a catalyst in the formation of group identity
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