Our April theme for the Today devotions, written by George Vink, is “Bedrock Beliefs.”
Do you know what a canon is? I’m not referring to a cannon—a weapon of war that shoots cannonballs. Neither am I referring to a repeating musical genre—as in Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D—although it is spelled the same.
The word “canon” has many different dictionary definitions. At the core, canon refers to a standard for measurement, like a gram or mile. In the church, canon refers to doctrines or principles by which teachings or behaviors can be measured. It could even be defined as a law or code of laws established by a church.
The Protestant Reformation clarified the teaching of the Bible for many churches, but also raised new questions that the church sought to answer. Back in 1618-19, 400 years ago, a group of Reformed theologians convened in the city of Dordtrecht, in the Netherlands, to sort out some of those questions and to find answers. Among other things, they drafted what we know today as The Canons of Dort. These statements, which summarize some of the Bible’s teaching on salvation, can be summarized as follows: (1) we are miserably lost in sin; (2) we are chosen by God to be saved; (3) we are saved through Christ’s death for our sake; (4) we are renewed and transformed by the Holy Spirit; and (5) we are held safe in God’s care forever.
The Christian Reformed Church, the denomination that sponsors this Today devotional, holds strongly to these teachings, and this year celebrates the 400th anniversary of this document. And in keeping with this celebration, the Today devotional is devoting this month to explain these five basic beliefs, putting them in terms that we can all understand. It seems entirely appropriate to commemorate the last days of Lent and also celebrate Easter as we seek to apply the truth of the Canons of Dort to our lives today.
George Vink, our author for the month of April, states in the introduction to this month, “As we reflect on these insights together this month, may they help us all gain or regain a firm foundation for our faith in Christ.” Let’s study together “Bedrock Beliefs.”
George Vink pastored churches both in the United States and Canada during his career as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Since his retirement, he has served as interim pastor in several churches. He and his wife Shirley currently live in Michigan, and they enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
As you read the Today devotionals this month, may you be refreshed, refocused, and renewed in God’s Word!