White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

WHI-1180 | Wisdom & The Prophets

What are we to make of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament? Are these writings solely concerned with ethics and practical matters? How about the prophetic writings? Why were they included in Scripture, and how should we interpret these texts? On this program we unpack these issues as we continue our series, How to Read Your Bible.

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How to Read the Bible
Modern Reformation
Recovering Scripture
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The Messiah
WHI-1078

Charleston Christmas Conference

Friend of the Inn (and frequent contributor to Modern Reformation), Jon Payne, has asked us to tell you about the Charleston Christmas Conference to be held next month in Charleston, South Carolina, where Jon has planted Christ Church,a mission work of the Presbyterian Church in America.

The theme of the conference is “The Glorious Incarnation.” The speakers will be Derek Thomas and Steve Lawson. For more information about the conference, including price, schedule, and location, please visit the conference website.

2014 White Horse Inn Weekend

We’re excited to open registration this week for our 2014 White Horse Inn Weekend. The Weekend is our version of the “un-conference” with lots of time for face-to-face interaction, discussion, and good fellowship.

In 2013, we gathered in San Diego to talk about the big picture of the Bible (which we turned into the “How to Read Your Bible” study kit). In 2014, we’re heading to Vail, Colorado, to answer the question, “Do We All Worship the Same God?” Joining the White Horse Inn hosts are special friends from around the world: Greg Koukle (host of the popular Stand to Reason radio show), Isaac Shaw (the head of a church multiplication ministry in India), and Hicham Chehab (a Christian missionary to Muslims).

You can read more about our special guests, the sessions we have planned, and our schedule of events at whitehorseinn.org/weekend. Remember, the Weekend is an “un-conference”—we keep the numbers intentionally low so that we can enjoy quality time with one another. Don’t miss out on an opportunity that our 2013 participants said was “outstanding,” “excellent in all ways,” and “exceptional.”

Save time and money by taking advantage of our early bird rates. Register today and join us in 2014 for our second annual White Horse Inn Weekend!

How to Help Our Friends in the Philippines

Many of you remember that last year, Mike Horton spent some time in the Philippines teaching and ministering with friends there. Our “man in Manila,” Nollie Malabuyo, has been in contact with us and sent this summary, which includes information on how to help those who have been directly affected by the disaster:

News reports on Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of our country seem to be getting worse by the day.   Tens of thousands are dead, many of them left unburied. Homes, churches, and buildings are destroyed. Looting and violence are starting to take over the streets. The government is overwhelmed.

From the reports of foreign missionaries who have worked in these areas for years, even decades, their mission buildings suffered great damage, and Christian brothers and sisters have also lost their homes and fields, and many also died.

The news reports focus on the big cities, particularly Tacloban. But there is a big swath of destruction left behind by the typhoon (see enclosed map).

A group of Reformed people in Manila is meeting to discuss how God can use this time of trouble to spread the gospel and assist many in the devastated areas.

Please pray for this effort. None of us has ever been involved in rebuilding efforts after a disaster.

This will be a long-term rebuilding of many parts of the country.  Besides larger relief agencies, the following domestic links are reliable (theologically and financially).

On the Rock Ministries, Boracay

Dan and Tori Beaver (Facebook). Serving the Ati people and tourists. Church, school, Bible school

The Hope Foundation, Inc., Tacloban City, Leyte

Larry & Bobby Womack (Facebook). Serving the poor. Bible school/institute

Paul & Margie Varburg (Facebook), Tacloban City

Dennis & Marilou Drake, International Deaf Education Association. They have a website for Bohol Earthquake Relief.

WHI-1179 | The Bible’s History Books

If the Five Books of Moses can be summarized as Israel’s constitution, how are we to think about the history books that follow? What is the meaning and purpose of the book of Joshua or Judges? How are the genealogies or battle scenes of the ancient Israelites relevant for Christians living today? Questions like these are important as we think about correctly interpreting and faithfully applying the Bible in contemporary life.

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According to Plan
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WHI-1178 | How To Read Your Bible

How to Read Your Bible

What is the Bible all about, and how can a person read it correctly? Why are there so many different books in Scripture, and how do they relate to one another? On this episode of White Horse Inn, we introduce our new series: How to Read Your Bible. Instead of a more general approach, we’ll actually dive into the biblical text by introducing and summarizing the Pentateuch. What is the purpose and message of these five books? What was God’s promise to Abraham, and how did it differ from the covenant made at Mt. Sinai? We’ll look at these questions and more as we kick off our new series.

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WHI-1177 | God in the Gallery

What is art and how does it relate to the world of theology and worldview? How is art different from entertainment? Is there a distinctively Christian approach to the arts? How should we think about modern art, in particular? On this program, Mike Horton discusses these questions with art historian Dan Siedell, author of God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.

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A Place for Weakness
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Boredom
WHI-1110

WHI-1176 | What is a True Church?

What is a True Church?

How can you tell a true church from a false one? What are the distinguishing characteristics of a properly organized church body? How do the answers to these questions differ in Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox circles? On this edition of the program, we examine the substance of true faith and practice, specifically taking a look at the marks of a true church. (Originally broadcast Oct. 26, 2008.)

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Words in Season

Our friend, Leon Brown, has written a new book on personal evangelism, Words in Season.

Mike Horton wrote the foreword:

The greatest gift that you and I possess in Christ is reconciliation with God. Chosen in Christ from all eternity, we are united by the Spirit through the gospel to Christ through faith, which itself is a gift. From this union we receive “every blessing in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We’ll never be recipients of a comparable gift. And the best gift we can give is that same gospel by which others can be reconciled to God: joined to Christ, justified, adopted, sanctified, and finally glorified. We cannot redeem anyone. Nor can we raise those who are spiritually dead to life by our clever techniques, charisma, or persuasion. Nevertheless, we can talk. We can communicate the terms of God’s peace treaty on his behalf to actual people who are “strangers and aliens” to the commonwealth of God. We can share the message that finally addresses the origin of that nagging but undefined sense of shame, guilt, and alienation and announces the good news that God justifies the ungodly. If the Triune God has chosen this means—the communication of his Word—for uniting others like us to the incarnate Son, a gospel that has brought us such rich forgiveness and peace with God, then we cannot fail to raise our hand with the prophet Isaiah and say eagerly, “Here I am, LORD, send me!” But, alas, we often feel somewhat ambivalent about sharing our faith. It’s not that we do not believe it, revel in it, and want others to hear it. Perhaps it is because we are naturally shy, at least when it comes to matters that are likely to be controversial. Maybe we have misconceptions about what personal evangelism is, with visions of standing on street-corners holding “Turn or Burn!” signs. It’s easy to say, “I’m really glad that others are doing it—somewhere—and I’ll even support them financially.” Some people work in sales and others prefer a desk job. It’s the division of labor, right? To be sure, Christ called pastors and teachers to give their lives full-time to studying, proclaiming, and applying God’s Word. Yet we would never say that this relieves us of any personal responsibility for reading the Bible and prayer. The same is true of personal evangelism.

Raised in churches where personal evangelism was highly programmed, we can often over-react. Especially in a society that is increasingly hostile to any serious claims when it comes to religion, we hear many people say, “I don’t preach the gospel; I live it.” The most serious problem with this statement is that it misses the point about what the gospel is in the first place. The gospel is not something that you can live. It’s an announcement about what someone else lived, died for, and was raised from the dead to secure. We are called to live in the light of the gospel, in a way that commends the gospel. Yet we are ourselves among the sinners who need to hear that good news that we’re called to bring to others. We are always the messengers, not the message. The gospel is an announcement and announcements need heralds. Some of us may be burned out on the constant call to be disciple-makers and the expectation to “save souls.” That can be a paralyzing fear, keeping the bravest among us from taking on such responsibility. But it is a great relief to learn that we cannot save anyone. We cannot bring a single person to saving faith. This is the gift of God. This frees us up to share the gospel in intentional ways as we go about our normal life. One of the privileges of teaching in a seminary is that I am able to encounter many young people who are zealous to bring the gospel to believer and unbeliever alike. It is not only an encouragement but a challenge for me to be more intentional about taking advantage of opportunities to plant seeds or to water seeds that someone else has planted. Leon Brown is one of those brothers whose head and heart have found a cordial friendship, one who refuses to choose between knowing Christ and making him known. For Leon, there is no point to getting the gospel right in our own minds if we don’t get the gospel out to those who need it. His own zeal in personal evangelism during his seminary years, and now as a pastor, has been a great example to many, including me. This book is not another guilt-trip. On the contrary, it opens our horizon to a big God who has a big message that he wants the whole world to hear. Filling our sails with the gospel itself, it leaves us drawing our own conclusion, “Here I am, send me!”

Beyond the motivation, Words in Season helps us with the nuts and bolts of evangelistic conversations. Many of us know what we believe, but are not quite sure how to say it or how to take advantage of opportunities— indeed, make opportunities—to present it. The author brings to bear his own experience, working through his own weaknesses and anxieties as well as the approaches that he has seen to be effective. Combining biblical wisdom with common sense, he knows that personal evangelism is a team sport. It is not something that we do alone, as if we could “close the deal” in every encounter. Furthermore, he knows that the goal of personal evangelism according to our Lord and his apostles is not adding a notch to our belt but adding neighbors to the church. We are understandably wary of programs that promise to revolutionize the world and trigger mass conversions. This is not that kind of book. But if just one reader—perhaps you or I—became more prepared to give to the next person we encounter a reason for the hope that we have, then Words in Season will have been worth more than its weight in gold.

For more information, please visit WordsInSeasonBook.com or purchase the book on Amazon. Read Leon’s articles in Modern Reformation magazine. Watch Leon discuss common objections to Christianity.

WHI-1175 | God’s Story vs. Our Stories

When sharing the faith with others, should we primarily focus on what happened to Christ, or what happened to us? In other words, should we focus on the gospel of Christ as we find it unpacked in the New Testament, or should we emphasize our personal testimonies, explaining to others what God has done in our own lives? We put this question to a number of attendees at a Christian convention, and you might be surprised by their answers. (Originally broadcast June 14, 2009.)

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