How Do I Apply Doctrine Personally? – Daniel Doriani

How Do I Apply Doctrine Personally? by Daniel Doriani | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT May 2015Sunday I finished reading the last articles in the May Tabletalk, including this one by Dr.Daniel Doriani, professor of theology at Covenant Seminary (PCA) in St.Louis.

As the entire issue focuses on the importance of doctrine to the believer, Doriani addresses the importance of applying biblical, Reformed doctrine to ourselves personally. At the end of his article he refers to Calvin and how he applies doctrine in his Institutes. This is a model for us, he says.

I agree, and think you will find plenty to ponder as Calvin shows us how to apply the truth of God’s providence to our daily lives.

This is how Doriani ends his article:

While it’s easy to name one or two implications of almost any doctrine, many doctrines invite numerous applications. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin shows this as he explores the implication of God’s providence for many pages. Let’s consider five of these implications. First, those who know God’s power “safely rest in the protection” of the one who controls all the harmful things we fear (Institutes 1.16.3). Second, God’s providence requires humility, for we should not call God to account for His actions, but “reverence his secret judgments” and “consider his will the truly just cause of all things” (1.17.1–2). Third, the godly will neither murmur against God’s will nor fatalistically give up planning. We order our affairs, knowing God employs our means to effect His providence. We submit our plans to His will (1.17.1–5). Fourth, rather than straining against God’s providence, we find solace in it, since “the Lord watches over the ways of the saints with … great diligence.” Therefore, we must enjoy “patience in adversity and … freeom from worry about the future” (1.17.6–7). Finally, the doctrine of providence helps us in our adversities. Remembering that God willed them, we have an “effective remedy for anger and impatience.” He even permits “the acts of our enemies” (1.16.8). Yes, dangers threaten at every turn, but instead of letting them terrify us, we trust that God lets nothing touch us unless He has ordained it.

Calvin exemplifies the wise practice of theologians who join doctrine, piety, and practice. They meditate on doctrine, asking, “Who needs this truth? How does it warn, rebuke, call to repentance? How does it offer hope, direction, redemption, and healing?” If we take our time with these questions, we will find doctrine to be most practical.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This is a comforting summary.

    Liked by 1 person


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