White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

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Last night Mike Horton participated in the Lausanne Movement’s “12 Cities 12 Conversations” gathering at Saddleback Church. This is the second conversation Mike participated in; the first was at Fuller Seminary. The Lausanne Movement’s worldwide congress on missions is to be held in Cape Town, South Africa this October. These conversations are leading up to that congress and are taking up important issues of the church’s identity and mission.

The best report from last night’s gathering is that Rick Warren hugged White Horse Inn producer Shane Rosenthal, calling himself a “purpose driven hugger!”  Shane also got this pic of Mike Horton and Rick Warren, proving once again that nothing (not even Rick Warren) gets between Mike Horton and his Calvins.

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Horton in NYC this Summer

Join Mike Horton, James White, Voddie Baucham, and others at the John 10:16 Conference in New York City, August 4-5, 2011.

You only have two more days to register at the early bird rate of $89. Get 10 or more people to come and you can qualify for a group discount. Pastors, missionaries, students, and military personnel also get discounts.

We hope to see you there!

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Really? 1,000? You don’t look that old…

The June 6, 2010, broadcast of White Horse Inn was a very special episode as it was the ONE THOUSANDTH episode of the show to air! From its humble beginnings as a live call-in show on KKLA in Los Angeles, CA, the show has developed into a nationally syndicated show on over 60 stations in the United States, Canada, and the Philippines (not to mention that our website gets hits from about 100 countries a month). The hosts are still going strong in their desire to help people “know what they believe and why they believe it.”

As a special treat for this occasion we are opening up the vault and taking you back to the very first episode that aired on September 16, 1990 (back then Kim actually had hair, Mike just finished puberty, but Rod was still “Dad Rod”).

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While you are listening perhaps you can tell us when you first heard the White Horse Inn and how long you have pulled up a stool and heard what was on “tap” at the INN.

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Horton on Wright’s Latest

UPDATE: Wright responds

Matthew Miller of Christianbook.com interviewed N. T. Wright recently and asked him about this review. Here is the exchange:

Matthew: In a recent review, Michael Horton, writing for Christianity Today, was generally supportive of your book. Yet, he took issue with your, at times, negative articulation of the Reformation and its impact on Christian ethics stating, “in addition to caricaturing Luther’s positions, [Wright’s] criticisms lack any nuance in distinguishing between Reformation traditions.” He argues that your critique is actually more characteristic of “Wesleyan” tradition, rather than the Reformed or Lutheran.

How do you respond to this critique?

Wright: I’m not a church historian and defer to those who are, from whom I hope to learn. I was fascinated by the critique of the medieval ‘virtue’ tradition I found in various sixteenth-century writers, and tried to note that as I went by. I wasn’t trying to give a systematic account of how the different post-Reformation traditions have understood virtue, but was hoping rather to show that the cultural pressures towards a romantic ‘spontaneity’ and an existentialist ‘authenticity’, both of which I see as radically undermining a proper appropriation of NT ethics, have gained (spurious) validation in many quarters by appearing to say what the Reformers say. Some have indeed argued that Luther paved the way for the Enlightenment.

There is a sense in which I think this is true – just as, more obviously, Luther paved the way for Rudolf Bultmann. But life is always more complicated than these over-simplifications. I am much, much more concerned by the fact – and it is a fact – that the Reformers, whom I love and revere, and their various would-be successors to this day, have caricatured St Paul and failed to distinguish different things in his thought. That’s a larger debate I suspect Michael Horton and I ought to have some day. I’ve never met him but I think we would have an interesting conversation.

Christianity Today has posted a review by Mike Horton of N. T. Wright’s newest book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters. Horton’s review of this latest book by Wright follows a similar trajectory to his reviews of his other recent books: there is much to be appreciated, especially the way in which Wright paints his word pictures; but Wright’s constant mischaracterization of the Reformers and the confessional traditions that emanated from them is frustrating.

In spite of a few quibbles, I was impressed by this book’s popular presentation of themes that I have come to appreciate in Reformed theology. The eschatological emphasis on cosmic renewal (resurrection, not escape) as the impetus for our lives here and now, the emphasis on the church—in fact, just about everything in After You Believe was a fresh way of exploring many familiar truths.

Hence my surprise at the jarring, frequent caricatures of the Reformation, even when the author articulates long-standing emphases in that tradition. As in his other works, indictments of the Reformation rarely come with footnotes. Wright seems to read the Reformers through the distorted lens of liberal existentialists (Rudolf Bultmann and company) or evangelical pietism. Oddly, he blames the Reformation for the romantic, spontaneous, and existentialist view of the Christian life.

In spite of the rich and varied discussions of virtue by the Reformers, the Puritans, and a host of Protestants since, Wright asserts, “Basically, the whole idea of virtue has been radically out of fashion in much of Western Christianity ever since the sixteenth-century Reformation.” Since we are justified through faith apart from works, “why bother with all this morality? … That, in fact, is more or less what Martin Luther declared, thumbing his nose at the long medieval tradition of virtue.” A footnote to Shakespeare’s Hamlet is brought in as a witness, but there is no footnote for Luther’s alleged proposal.

With many evangelicals, we appreciate Bishop Wright’s work on the historical Jesus but we remain perplexed by his refusal to deal substantively with the Reformation on its own terms in his books on Paul, justification, and now even ethics! At some point one wonders if it’s more than just a difference of opinion; is there an axe to grind?

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Scary Horton Hair

Nathan Bingham sent this over to us this weekend, a series of videos of Mike Horton speaking about one of his earliest books, The Agony of Deceit.  That book still gets Horton invitations to speak to national news media about the likes of Benny Hinn. Thankfully, his hairstyle has changed!  (Around the office here we refer to that era as the “flock of seagulls” hair days!)

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Dad Rod Likes It!

Rod Rosenbladt, who early in White Horse Inn history was given the moniker “Dad Rod,” sent over this piece from Mark Galli that was featured on the Christianity Today website on April 15.  Mark Galli is the senior managing editor of Christianity Today, and his recent writing gives us goosebumps. We’re only sorry that it took us a month to redirect people to this–another insightful commentary on American Christianity.

Here’s a teaser:

A major motive for being a Christian and participating in its rituals and disciplines is about to collapse. This is going to make a lot of Christians panic, but I believe the recent development will be all to the good.

The development is the discovery that hallucinogenic drugs can give people an experience seemingly identical to powerful religious experiences.

Read the rest of this article and you’ll agree with Dad Rod: this is powerful stuff.

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Horton on Hannity.com

Mike Horton made a surprise guest appearance on Hannity.com Sunday night. On the “forums” section of political commentator Sean Hannity’s website, a discussion about “Reasonable” Christianity vs. Revivalism in America broke out and someone posted a link to Horton’s Modern Reformation (Jan/Feb 1995) article, “The Legacy of Charles Finney.”

In addition to reading the article, listen to this 2007 White Horse Inn episode on “Charles Finney and American Revivalism.”

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A former Presbyterian, Charles Finney is the godfather of American evangelicalism and his formative influence is felt today in churches across the denominational spectrum. Here’s how Mike Horton put it:

Finney’s one question for any given teaching was, “Is it fit to convert sinners with?” One result of Finney’s revivalism was the division of Presbyterians in Philadelphia and New York into Arminian and Calvinistic factions. His “New Measures” included the “anxious bench” (precursor of today’s altar call), emotional tactics that led to fainting and weeping, and other “excitements,” as Finney and his followers called them. Finney became increasingly hostile toward Presbyterian doctrine, referring in his introduction to his Systematic Theology to the Westminster Confession and its drafters rather critically, as if they had created, as he put it, a “paper pope,” and had “elevated their confession and catechism to the Papal throne and into the place of the Holy Ghost.” Remarkably, Finney demonstrates how close Arminian revivalism, in its naturalistic sentiments, tends to be to a less refined theological liberalism, as both caved into the Enlightenment and it’s enshrining of human reason and morality. Finney writes “that the instrument framed by that assembly (the Westminster Confession and Catechisms) should in the nineteenth century be regarded as the standard of the church, or of any intelligent branch of it, is not only amazing, but I must say that it is highly ridiculous. It is as absurd in theology as it would be in any other branch of science. It is better to have a living than a dead Pope.”

You can read the rest of Mike Horton’s opening commentary here.

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Horton at the Resurgence

We’re grateful to the folks at the Resurgence for hosting Mike Horton on their blog and video feed this spring.  If you missed any of it or want to bookmark it for further reading/viewing, here are the link:

Blog post on “Renewing the Great Commission”

Answer to questions regarding the balance of public, family, and private worship

Full video interview

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Ken Jones Moving to Florida

If you are in the Los Angeles area, you only have a few more weeks to see and hear White Horse Inn cohost Ken Jones before he takes up his new call at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, Florida.

Ken will be preaching through the end of May at Greater Union Baptist Church in Compton, California, where he has served as pastor since 1990.  This Saturday, May 22, at 9:00 a.m., you can also hear Ken speak at the men’s breakfast at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Glendale, California.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to (818) 244-3747 or office@churchonglendale.org.

Ken’s first Sunday at GMBC will be June 6. His formal installation as the fifth pastor of the church will take place on June 27th.  I asked Ken a few questions about his move and his future with White Horse Inn:

After 21 years at Greater Union, why did you accept a call to Glendale? I wasn’t looking to leave Greater Union. The church is going well; we’ve seen tremendous growth–not just in terms of attendance, but also in the quality of our members and their life as disciples.  But I could see that what we were privileged to participate in at Greater Union was needed at Glendale and that seemed like a great fit for me and my wife, Lisa.

You’ve been on the White Horse Inn panel for more than ten years. How will your work with White Horse Inn inform your work at Glendale Baptist? The thing that ties together all the different themes that Mike, Kim, Rod, and I take up each week on White Horse Inn is preaching. People and churches who encounter the Reformation can become intellectually convinced of the truth of the doctrine of justification, for instance, but it isn’t until that truth soaks through the preaching that a church experiences real change.  Preaching is the key. Too often it is inconsistent (I even saw that in my own life as I began to grapple with and understand the doctrines of the Reformation). So, I hope to bring consistent Christ-centered preaching and a Christ-centered hermeneutic to my new role as the pastor at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church.  It benefited Greater Union, it will benefit Glendale, and it will benefit any church that is new to the Reformation.

At the most recent taping for White Horse Inn, Ken made a few comments about his move.

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Ken and the elders and congregation at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church are committed to his continuing to participate as a cohost of White Horse Inn. So, even though his ministerial duties have changed, we’re glad to say that his voice will still be heard each week on White Horse Inn!

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What’s the point?

I wasn’t really prepared for something this good, but this article by Andrew Root at the Youth Specialties website is gold. Read it if you’re in youth work, or regularly preach or teach God’s people, or wonder why you don’t seem to fit in with the dominant Christian culture of giddiness.

Here’s a teaser:

I wonder if one reason even good kids know little about the Christian faith (as the National Study on Youth and Religion pointed out), may be because they sense there is little to know, for Christianity from the perspective of the shiny and happy is about being good and avoiding bad. They don’t see Christianity as living into an altogether different reality, where from death comes life, where the God of glory is found in shadows, in brokenness and yearning, rendering brokenness and yearning impotent to determine our destiny. From the perspective of trying to keep kids away from the bad, Christianity is about avoidance.

(ht Mockingbird)

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