M. Horton: Pilgrim Theology, Applying Four Coordinates to Key Doctrines
I found an interesting (and I hope useful) chart that I wanted to share with friends on the forum. In the context of a reformed systematic theology, Dr. Horton uses four different "coordinates" in a chart of summary statements to briefly explain the interaction and interplay of many dynamics and topics associated with biblical principles:
* The "Drama" coordinate identifies the nature of the tension portrayed in the bible around God's redemptive work;
* The "Doctrine" coordinate references the "master-key" principle that is show-cased as God's resolution for the tension revealed in the "Drama";
* The "Doxology" coordinate is the cathartic principles of praise and worship for God's people that represents a normative religious "response" on the part of humankind for what God has done,
* While "Discipleship" summarizes a core application for the doctrines in the life of the contemporary believer
Another way to look at these four D's might be illustrated by choosing a specific row and contemplating the statements in it; for example, here is my brief commentary contemplating the row of statements labeled "The Work of Christ: Substitution":Drama: "As our covenantal head, Christ fulfilled all righteousness in our place and bore God's wrath in our place on the cross" … scripture teaches that Christianity is not just 12 step personal improvement program, nor a program of self-help to unlock an untapped hidden human potential, but is instead the right, just and equitable resolution to the tension between God's desire to love sinners and God's desire to administer Creation with justice; scripture shows through the examples of people who came before us (patriarchs, examples from the ancient nation of Israel, examples from the 1st century Roman world) that humankind has an objectively evil and wicked bias and disposition and that divine justice rightly demands that sinners pay an eternal penalty for such sin; yet, in love, God provides a judicially legitimate means for avoiding that penalty and restoring his original intent: fellowship, communion and eternal life.Doctrine: "The active obedience of Christ (in his life) and passive obedience (on the cross) form the ground of our salvation" … Jesus Christ, with his substitutionary death on the cross, provides the right, just and equitable satisfaction for the fundamental tension between God's love for the sinner, and God's just administration of Creation. This knowledge of this substitutionary mechanism is introduced indirectly through the ceremonial laws and cultural obligations given to the OT patriarchs and nation of Israel, directly through the testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the gospels, and explained in the epistles of the apostles.Doxology: "We praise God for all his works, but even these works of God assume a lively color when Christ's redeeming work is the centerpiece of our worship" … As believers contemplate, meditate and reflect upon the resolution to the tension of the judicial penalty of sin, a catharsis of praise, worship and adoration for the loveliness of Christ ought to be the religious response that humankind has to the revelation of the knowledge in our hearts, minds and lives. Responses of disbelief, rejection and disapproval do not have a normative quality, and should/ought to be seen, judged and reproved for the shameful, inadequate responses that they are.Discipleship: "When forgiveness and reconciliation with God are the basis, rather than the goal of our lives, we are free to live as secure heirs rather than as slaves. Further, we are free to forgive others rather than record their offenses" … The famous quote "To err is human, to forgive divine" may be laudable and true, but it is only the mechanism of the substitutionary atonement of Christ that supplies the basis with which such a quote can be equitably and judicially established. Life as a believer is different, it saves us from the need to find a covering for our own shame and guilt before God, and from vainly seeking sanctuary from that shame and judicial guilt; but our new life is instead about praise, worship and adoration to God for the forgiveness he has freely and graciously supplied; as well as a lively, vibrant and vivifying concern for others and an eye towards gospel mercy and compassion for them, remembering that we in our sins were no better, but that we still received the gift of sovereign grace, eternal peace, gospel life and glory!
I like the series of statements for use as a high level representative statement and starting point for interacting with believers and non-believers alike; each summary succinctly provides an opening for deeper discussions that focus on more individual specifics, and relating those particular statements to Christianity as a whole ...