Christians love to celebrate grace, yet often talk about it in vague generalities. But such an important biblical concept ought to be clearly defined so it can be consistently defended. In this book, best-selling author Kevin DeYoung points modern readers back to an old document originally written to do just that. Warmly pastoral and broadly accessible, this book introduces readers to the Canons of Dort, a 17th-century work summarizing the central doctrines of the Christian faith. Widely regarded as a key pillar of the Reformed tradition, the Canons of Dort stand as a faithful witness to God's grace—offering a depth of understanding that the church still needs today. In three concise sections—covering history, theology, and practical application—DeYoung explores what led to the canons and why they were needed, the five important doctrines that they explain, and Dort's place in the Reformed tradition today.
Introduction: In Praise of Precision
Appendix 1: Rejection of the Errors by Which the Dutch Churches Have for Some Time Been Disturbed
Appendix 2: Conclusion: Rejection of False Accusations
Appendix 3: The Opinions of the Remonstrants (1618)
Appendix 4: Scripture Proofs in the Canons of Dort
Kevin DeYoung (PhD, University of Leicester) is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte). He serves as board chairman of the Gospel Coalition and blogs at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. He is the author of several books, including Just Do Something; Crazy Busy; and The Biggest Story. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have eight children.
“Though many Reformed Christians talk about TULIP, too often they neglect the rich soil from which that flower springs: the Canons of Dort. Yet this historic statement of faith abounds with biblical truth wisely designed to encourage love for the triune God and evangelism of the lost. DeYoung’s brief exposition of the canons is ideal for personal study, doctrine classes, and small groups that aim to better understand the controversy over Arminianism and why the Reformed doctrine of salvation by grace alone leads us to live for the glory of God alone.”
-Joel R. Beeke, President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; Pastor, Heritage Reformed Congregation, Grand Rapids, Michigan; author, Reformed Preaching
“Why would a finger-on-the-pulse, contemporary pastor-theologian like Kevin DeYoung take us on a journey four hundred years into the past to a place few of us could locate on a map to meet people whose names we are unable to pronounce? And why should we join him? I can think of at least three reasons. As twenty-first-century Christians we need to (1) remember that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’; (2) meet believers who thought deeply and cared passionately about the glory of God in the gospel; and (3) put roots into nourishing theological soil that will give clarity to our thinking, create stability in our living, and put doxology into our serving. Grace Defined and Defended helps us to do all three.”
-Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries
“DeYoung manages to bring an event from four hundred years ago right back into the present needs of the church and of theology, with clear style, solid theological insights, pastoral tone, and helpful clarification of difficult but biblical notions. This is a book that helps us understand that Dort certainly is not just history and we must keep working with its message.”
-Herman Selderhuis, Professor of Church History, Theological University Apeldoorn; Director, Refo500