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In Pilgrim Theology, the concise, lay-level version of Michael Horton’s Systematic Theology, Horton explains the four coordinates of the compass for integrating faith and practice as pilgrims seeking to glorify God:

All of our faith and practice arise out of the drama of Scripture, the “big story” that traces the plot of history from creation to consummation, with Christ as its Alpha and Omega, beginning and end.

And out of the throbbing verbs of this unfolding drama God reveals stable nouns—doctrines.

From what God does in history we are taught certain things about

  • who he is
  • and what it means to be created in his image, fallen, and redeemed, renewed, and glorified in union with Christ.

As the Father creates his church, in his Son and by his Spirit, we come to realize

  • what this covenant community is and what it means to belong to it;
  • what kind of future is promised to us in Christ, and
  • how we are to live here and now in light of it all.

The drama and the doctrine provoke us to praise and worship—doxology

and together these three coordinates give us a new way of living in the world as disciples.

This rubric—of disciples living in the drama expressed through doctrines for the purpose of doxology—is a very helpful way to think through the various aspects of theology.

Zondervan has put together a nicely designed version of Horton’s application for each of the major doctrines.


For PDFs of these images, go here and here.

Thanks for Zondervan for permission to post these images.

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One thought on “Michael Horton’s Four Coordinates on the Compass of Pilgrim Theology”

  1. Steve Simms says:

    I just read a book that relates to this. It’s a 382 page manual about unity in the body of Christ and it fits nicely in the drama, doctrines, doxology, and discipleship framework. It’s called: “ONE: Unfolding God’s Eternal Purpose From House To House” and is available @

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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