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I remember as a child hearing about the Canons of Dordt. Being a child and not knowing what the word “canon” meant, I often imagined cannons as you would find on a ship or a fort. I knew that the Canons of Dordt couldn’t be referring to actual cannons, but that image always stuck in my mind. I smile now when I think of my thought process as a young child, however, the more I think about it, maybe I wasn’t completely wrong. The production of the Canons of Dordt by the Great Synod was truly a cannon shot that resounded throughout the church-world. You might say a cannon shot has an unmistakable sound. When you hear it, you know what it is. The Canons of Dordt are the same. They are a document that is a clear statement of the truth of God’s sovereignty in salvation as it is found in scripture. The delegates of the Synod of Dordt, by creating this document, clearly and unmistakably said “This is what scripture says! This is what we believe!”
Do you believe the Canons of Dordt to be a faithful representation of the truth of scripture? Does your walk in life align with this confession? You might think these are silly questions. Your answer to these questions might be: “Of course I do, I am a member of a conservative reformed church.” That is good and how it ought to be, but the sad reality is that some reformed churches have forsaken the truths outlined in the Canons of Dordt, if not officially, then through ignoring them. “Shame on them,” you (and I) say. Yes, it is to their detriment that they have tossed aside such a beautiful proclamation of the truth that salvation is of God alone.
But have we also tossed aside the Canons of Dordt?
We confess that we believe the truths they contain, but is that all the further we go? Or do we read and study them? Do they have a practical impact on our lives day by day?
The Canons of Dordt are not a cold, dry outline of doctrinal truths. Rather, they are as all true doctrine is, of practical value for the life of every Christian. The most practical aspect of the Canons is that they point us to our utter inability to atone for our sins before the almighty God, pointing us to the cross.
Do you value the Canons?
Do you confess that they are a faithful rendering of the scriptural doctrine that salvation is of God alone?
Then, read them, study them, and may the practicality of their scriptural truths impact your life.