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WHI-1120 | Your Own Personal Jesus

Posted by on in 2012 Show Archive
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It is often said that Christianity is a relationship not a religion. But is this statement accurate? What are people really saying when they boil the gospel down to the idea of a "personal relationship with Jesus"? Why does this approach appeal to so many Christians in our time? On this edition of White Horse Inn, the hosts interact with this popular idea and compare it to Scripture.

It is often said that Christianity is a relationship not a religion. But is this statement accurate? What are people really saying when they boil the gospel down to the idea of a "personal relationship with Jesus"? Why does this approach appeal to so many Christians in our time? On this edition of White Horse Inn, the hosts interact with this popular idea and compare it to Scripture.


Gnostic Worship
Michael Horton


Zac Hicks

[audio:http://www.whitehorseinn.org/whiarchives/2012whi1120sep23.mp3|titles=WHI 1120|artists=White Horse Inn]
Click here to access the audio file directly

What is Faith?
J. Gresham Machen

Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Tullian Tchividjian


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  • Guest - Bobby Durning

    Excellent. Thank you for unpacking this. I definitely need to re-think this.

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  • [...] The White Horse Inn  Your Own Personal Jesus [...]

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  • Guest - Joseph

    Hello, I was just listening to the "Your own personal Jesus" show and although really admire Michael Horton's work, I do not agree with what was being said in this segment. I understand the dangers of having your "own personal Jesus" because we can go off of what we like and want to believe over who he actually is and we can lose sight of Jesus over the Body, the community of believers, but the Bible does speak of Jesus living in us. You mention how in John 15 where Jesus talks about abiding, that it's taken out of context, but you do not talk about what is the proper context, even though Jesus said that we can abide in Him just as He abides in the Father. I'm not sure what you were saying regarding the Holy Spirit if He lives in us or is just working in us, but if the Holy Spirit lives in us then Christ lives in us because the trinity is one and the Holy Spirit is also known as the Spirit of Christ as it says in Romans and Philippians. In Revelations 3 Jesus says "If any man" not church, but man. A scripture that you did not mention though is Galatians 2:20a where Paul writes, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me..." It is definitely personal, He does live in me, but it's more than that and I like how Matt Chandler describes the Gospel as the Gospel on the ground, personal and communal with the Church, but also Gospel in the air because it's cosmic in restoring the earth and renewing all things. So although I admire a lot of what Michael Horton says and I love the book and currently reading "Christless Christianity" I do not agree with what was said in this segment.

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  • Guest - Josh Hanson

    Could you provide a reference to that de Tocqueville quotation?

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  • Guest - Bill

    Joseph, I think you are missing the point. This was without a doubt Mike Horton (and the ch-hosts) at his best. Mike would not disagree that Christ lives in us, he would not disagree that the holy spirit is in us (christians), where the problem is how do you get there? And it is by faith alone when we embrace Christ's mercy and accept his atoning work on the cross that we are united with Christ. The problem with evangelicals is that they don't preach the gospel, so how can you say Jesus is your friend or lives in your heart or all these mushy ideas that evangelicals fabricate outside the gospel. It's nowhere in the bible, only the gospel and preaching christ crucified produces a personal relationship. But you don't preach about a personal relationship as if Christ is your boyfriend or girlfriend, if you preach a personal relationship how is anybody going to get converted? They won't, but if you preach the gospel then a personal relationship will follow, but the bible doesn't even mention we have a personal relationship with Christ so it's not something that ought to be be preached. This program of the White Horse Inn was brillian, nobody gets the gospel like the White Horse Inn, nobody understands the christless christianity that dominates the evangelical church like the White Horse Inn does. Another amazing program. Thank you guys.

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  • Guest - Joseph

    Thank you so much brother Bill for clarifying that for me. I do agree with preaching the gospel over preaching Having a personal relationship with Jesus. I guess I misunderstood what was being said. Thanks

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  • Guest - Chris

    Dr. Horton,

    This comment is related to the topic insofar as it concerns you:

    Your systematic theology (The Christian Faith) is ...

    Ludicrously good! Helpful in so many ways.

    Thank you, thank you,

    Chris Jager
    Tillamook, OR

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  • Guest - Pete

    Gentlemen - Thank you so much for the White Horse Inn; an incredible resource!

    Question please - The comment at 11:45' about the Reformers vs. Anabaptists in "means/method". Happen to be reading Bruce Shelley's history book and a chapter about Zwingli's time in Switzerland, and the beginnings of Anabaptists with two fellows named Feliz Manz and Conrad Grebel. The book discusses their "radical" non-baby baptizing view and efforts to return to a simple NT church (vs the strict (Reformed?) Zurich "City-State-Church" model), but I hadn't seem much discussion yet much on what you briefly contrast (Reformers Word & Sacraments vs "what exactly" were the Anabaptist "means"). FWIW, As I understand it, "Anabaptist" here refers more to it's descendants in the Mennonite and Hutterite communities vs our US Evangelical Baptists (Northern/Southern). Thanks!

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  • Guest - Mike Horton

    Some Baptists (more Arminian-leaning), like William R. Estep, see Baptists as descendants of the Anabaptist tradition, with “Calvinistic Baptists” as an aberration. Others point out that while this is true of Arminian (General) Baptists, Calvinistic Baptists are an offshoot of Independent (Congregational) Puritans in England. Leaders like John Bunyan and John Gill affirmed much of the Westminster Standards. The amended version is the 1689 London/Philadelphia Confession. Judging by this move, and much of its history, Calvinistic Baptists can’t be simply defined as “Anabaptist.” On one hand, they reflect some continuity with the Anabaptist tradition. For example, they reject infant baptism and the aspects of covenant theology that undergird it. They also identify “church” as independent local churches, with a regenerate membership. On the other hand, they also tend to take a more “Calvinistic” (rather than either Zwinglian or Anabaptist) view of the Supper. General (Arminian) Baptists typically rejected creeds and confessions, in contrast to Calvinistic Baptists. In the Netherlands and England, Anabaptist and Arminian communities had considerable interaction and sometimes even merged, while more Calvinistic Baptists found themselves isolated from both Reformed and Anabaptist bodies.

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  • [...] my favorite quote from the White Horse Inn podcast, Your Own Personal Jesus from September 23rd, 2012. Starting about 11:06 into the [...]

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