In the third and final installment of Michael Horton’s reflections on the relationship of Christianity and Islam, he turns to the personal nature of our relationship with our Muslim neighbors.
How does the message of the Bible and the message of the Koran differ? In this video (2 of 3), Michael Horton continues his discussion of the differences between Christianity and Islam.
Part 1 can be found here.
“Islam is all law. There is no good news.”
Curious about Islam? Want to dig a little deeper after reading Michael Horton’s article in the July/August issue of Modern Reformation? This is the first of three video conversations that Dr. Horton recorded to help us understand the differences between Islam and Christianity.
First up: Salvation.
Life in twenty-first century America is distracting. Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of media and countless interruptions from beeping gadgets, it’s becoming difficult not merely to finish a book, but perhaps even a thought. On this program, Michael Horton discusses this new culture of distraction with Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention & The Coming Dark Age. In the second half of the program, Mike continues this discussion with Los Angeles Times Book Review Editor David Ulin, author of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.
Our good friend, J. Todd Billings, was recently featured in Christianity Today. His critique of “incarnational ministry” continues to ring true for many people. We were proud to feature that critique back in 2009, Incarnational Ministry and the Unique, Incarnate Christ.
Here’s a brief preview of Billings’ article in Christianity Today.
In recent decades, scores of books, manuals, and websites advocating “incarnational ministry” have encouraged Christians to move beyond ministry at a distance and to “incarnate” and immerse themselves into local cultures. Some give a step-by-step “incarnation process” for Christians crossing cultures. Some call us to become incarnate by “being Jesus” to those around us. Indeed, many of these resources display valuable insights into relational and cross-cultural ministry. But there are serious problems at the core of most approaches to “incarnational ministry”—problems with biblical, theological, and practical implications.
I encountered these problems myself as a practitioner of “incarnational ministry.” At a Christian college, I was told that just as God became flesh in a particular culture 2,000 years ago, my job was to become “incarnate” in another culture. Eight months later, equipped with training in cultural anthropology, I set about learning the language and culture in Uganda. But I quickly ran into doubts about the “incarnational” method. Would the Ugandans necessarily “see Jesus” as a result of my efforts at cultural identification? Was I assuming that my own presence—rather than that of Christ—was redemptive? Is the eternal Word’s act of incarnation really an appropriate model for ministry?
My questions multiplied as I continued my theological education. Biblical scholars and theologians assured me that the Bible and orthodox Christian theology taught nothing about us “becoming incarnate.” Going back to my professors of missiology and ministry, I heard a quite practical response: If not the Incarnation, what is the alternative model for culture-crossing ministries? Over the past decade, I have come to see that incarnational ministry actually obscures the much richer theology of servant-witness and cross-cultural ministry in the New Testament: ministry in union with Christ by the Spirit.
You can read the whole thing here.
What is the impact of technology on the way we live and think as Christians? How has popular culture changed the way we worship on Sunday mornings? On this edition of the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton discusses these issues with T. David Gordon, author of Why Johnny Can’t Preach, and Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns.
Mike Horton’s booklet, Evangelicals, Catholics, and Unity, is coming back into print. He will be on Stand to Reason later today to talk about the booklet, why Rome is still an attractive option for some evangelicals, and how to equip ourselves to answer critics of the Reformation.
In anticipation of its release, you can read a few sample chapters on our blog this week:
Chapter One: Why Are We Still Divided?
How can the church be the symphony of redemption when its musicians interpret the composition so differently that it sounds more like a wild cacophony than a harmonious concert?
The world wonders.
And so do we.
When we look in the Yellow Pages of the phone book for a certain church or a certain kind of church, we find a bewildering array of denominations. There are hundreds of denominations in America. In some regions, such as Northern Ireland and Central America, Protestants and Roman Catholics still even take up arms against each other. This is not only a scandal to the watching world; it is sometimes overwhelming, especially to new Christians who are simply seeking a solid nursery for their budding faith.
Meanwhile, the growing secularism of our time, reflected in the “culture of death” that naturalism, pragmatism, and relativism have unleashed, reduces the influence of religion in society nearly to the vanishing point. In such an environment, when committed Roman Catholics and Protestants share so much in common, highlighting remaining doctrinal differences strikes many persons as foolishly fiddling while Rome burns.
It is no wonder, then, that there is strong impatience with the divisions that haunt Christian witness at the end of its second millennium. Billy Graham’s crusades broke with a fundamentalism that tended to identify Roman Catholicism with everything that is wrong with the world. Graham has even included local priests and distinguished Roman Catholic leaders on his crusade platforms. Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council opened the windows and allowed the breezes of Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism (both liberal and evangelical) to blow through Rome’s hallowed halls. Modernity, against which Rome had struggled more valiantly in many respects than mainline Protestants, was at last allowed entry, and many changes followed – at least on the surface. Especially in the United States, Protestants and Roman Catholics began to intermarry as religious differences, if not religion itself, receded in importance. There have been countless dialogues, some of them quite helpful in reaching greater understanding of both differences and agreements.
The charismatic movement, Bible study groups, Promise Keepers, the pro-life movement, and other grassroots efforts have drawn individual members of both communions together in non-ecclesiastical ways despite the official church divisions. All of us have come face to face with strangers and have often found them to be friends. In fact, in many cases we have found them to be true brothers and sisters in Christ.
So it happened that in 1994 and 1997, when a group of evangelicals and Roman Catholics drew up two bases of agreement (“Evangelicals and Catholics Together” and “The Gift of Salvation”), many took this as a sign that the issues that have separated the two communions for nearly five centuries were no longer obstacles to genuine unity and fellowship in a shared understanding of the Gospel.
All this has been confusing and troubling for many believers who sincerely long for greater visible unity among Christ’s flock. We wish for unity but cannot willingly surrender essential truth in order to accomplish a false peace. For those who care about such truth, Christian unity must be a marriage made in heaven, not a merger or acquisition made on earth. Yet we ask: How should we navigate these troubled waters?
Let’s begin by asking two important questions. First, are evangelicals catholic? Second, may Roman Catholics be considered evangelical?
What is the history of today’s youth oriented culture, and what kind of effect is this culture having on churches in our time? On this edition of the program, Michael Horton discusses these questions and more with Thomas Bergler, professor of ministry and missions at Huntington University and author of the recent book The Juvenilization of American Christianity.
On this edition of White Horse Inn, the hosts take calls from listeners on a range of topics including: the carnal Christian and the victorious Christian life; the New Perspective on Paul; how to explain God’s sovereign choice to elect some (but not all) to come to faith, and the history of the Reformation idea of the priesthood of all believers.
Dr. Horton was recently asked to address some of the common misconceptions about Reformed theology. His response can be found on the Resurgence website.
If you would like some more resources about Calvinism and Reformed theology, go to our on-line store where you can purchase Dr. Horton’s book For Calvinism as well as two conversations that Dr. Horton had with Dr. Roger Olson on the subject of “For and Against Calvinism.”