White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

Mike Horton Invites You to Our Conference at Sea

We’re so excited to host our very first Conversation for a Modern Reformation! Already people from five countries and twenty-two states have registered to join Mike, Rod, Ken, and Kim at our Conference at Sea. The cruise will be a working vacation, an opportunity for you to sit down with other Reformation-minded people from around the world and spend some dedicated time thinking about the future of the church.

Here’s the schedule of events:

January 28th: White Horse Inn Presents: For and Against Calvinism–A Conversation Between Mike Horton and Roger Olson. Mike Horton (a convinced Calvinist) and Roger Olson (a convinced Arminian) will sit down to discuss their differences in this public conversation. Hear them talk about their new books (For Calvinism and Against Calvinism, published by Zondervan); observe their conversation about the issues at stake; and pose your own questions to these two seasoned theologians. This event will require registration, is open to the public, and will be at the hotel our cruise participants will be staying at in Miami. We’ll have more details (exact place and time) in the next few weeks.

January 29th: morning worship at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church and a special live taping of the White Horse Inn. Mike Horton will be preaching at Ken’s church in Miami. Then, all the hosts will participate in a special live taping of the White Horse Inn on Sunday night back at the hotel. This event is free and open to the public. Pull up a stool and join us at the Inn!

January 30th thru February 4th: the conversation begins!  We’ll start things off with a welcome reception and introduction the night of the 30th. We’ll get right to work the next day crafting 95 new theses for a modern Reformation. We’ll intersperse our group work with White Horse Inn tapings and special lectures from each host. In the coming weeks, we’ll post audio excerpts of each of the hosts describing their presentation. There will also be plenty of time to grab a meal or a pint with one of the hosts and the new friends that will join you on board.

February 4th thru…: it’s your turn! After we return to Miami, the real work of reformation begins as we return to our homes, our churches, our friends and family. How will we put the insights that we’ve wrestled with to work in our own circles of influence?

We’re eager to keep up with you, both before and after the cruise: how are you preparing for the important conversations we’ll be having? How are you implementing what you’ve learned? Join our Conversations for a Modern Reformation facebook page and share your insights with folks who will be on the cruise or will be participating in other events all leading up to the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church.

Be sure to listen to Mike Horton’s recent interview about the cruise that was broadcast on the White Horse Inn on September 4th. You’ll hear what motivated us to start this conversation, how the different elements of discussion, teaching, and conversation will be woven together, and why we think it’s important to spend time together wrestling through these important issues.

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We hope to see you in Miami at all of the different conversations we’ll be hosting. You can register for the cruise here. Other events will be updated in the coming weeks.

Get Liberated!

One of our favorite Floridians and Presbyterians (not necessarily in that order) is Tullian Tchividjian, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. You’ve heard him on the White Horse Inn and he’s recently featured an interview with Mike on Law and Gospel at his blog. We’re also excited to announce that we are partnering with him for the Liberate Conference in February 2012.

Here’s how Tullian describes it:

I wholeheartedly believe that the gospel of grace is way more drastic, way more offensive, way more liberating, way more shocking, and way more counterintuitive than any of us realize. There is nothing more radically unbalanced and drastically unsafe than grace. It has no “but”: it’s unconditional, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and undomesticated. It unsettles everything. There is a dangerous depth to the gospel that needs to be rediscovered and embraced…and that’s what the LIBERATE Conference is all about.

Beginning February 23-25, 2012 at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (and every year thereafter) the LIBERATE Conference will explore the depths and riches of God’s scandalous grace in the gospel. We want it to become a catalytic platform for serious thinking about “a more radical gospel.”

So, to help kick off our first annual LIBERATE Conference, I’ve asked some of my friends to join me–a group of unafraid gospel-addicts, steel-spined soldiers of grace: Michael Horton, Paul Tripp, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Scotty Smith, Darrin Patrick, David Zahl, Rod Rosenbladt, and Doug Sauder. Scott Anderson (Executive Director of Desiring God) will be emceeing and Mark Miller (Director of Music at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church) will be leading us in music.

In addition to their conference sessions, Mike and the other cohosts of the White Horse Inn will tape a live recording from the conference. This is a great opportunity for you to see the conversation that you normally just get to listen to.

Plan on joining us in February at Coral Ridge. You can register here.

Christianity.com Video 7 – Christians and the Great Commission

Christianity.com recently asked Dr. Horton in their video series what is The Great Commission? In a video fitting for this year’s White Horse Inn theme Mike explains not only the imperative “Go,” but also the announcement that precedes and the promise that ends that commission.

In this video Mike mentions a list of points where Christians and our hostile critics agree. That list can be found here.

WHI-1067 | The Gospel of God

If you ask contemporary Christians what they think the gospel is, you’re likely to get a number of responses that focus on an individual’s life and testimony. But is the gospel really about what God does for us today? Is the good news we are called to proclaim in the Great Commission chiefly about our changed lives, or about Christ’s life, death, and resurrection? On this program, the hosts tackle this issue as they discuss the implications of Paul’s comments on the “Gospel of God” in 1 Thessalonians 2.

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PDF Document

MUSIC SELECTION

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PROGRAM AUDIO

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RECOMMENDED BOOKS

The Gospel-Driven Life
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The Gospel Commission
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Justified
Modern Reformation Essays

RECOMMENDED AUDIO

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Christianity.com Video 6 – A Dramatic Worldview

Dr. Horton in this next Christianity.com video discusses a Christian’s “worldview” in terms of our being characters written into the script of God’s drama. This drama then leads to our doctrine, our doxology, and finally our discipleship as Christians in God’s world.

Have Denominations Had Their Day?

We hear increasingly that we’re entering a post-denominational world.

Recently LifeWay researcher Ed Stetzer wrote an interesting post on the value of denominations. Known for his theologically-informed insight as well as research analysis, Stetzer offers some interesting statistics and evaluation on this question. (See Do Denominations Matter? by Ed Stetzer)

From my perspective, though, an important emphasis is missing from Stetzer’s argument. He affirms denominations primarily as a way of pooling our resources for a common vision. Denominations gather people who have similar convictions to work together toward common goals. True enough. However, what then distinguishes denominations from for-profit corporations, for example?

Scripture’s focus is on what God is doing rather than on what we are doing. The Triune God is saving sinners through preaching and sacrament. There is “one holy catholic and apostolic church” not because individual believers realized that they could more effectively reach the world and accomplish their goals in tandem. Rather, this church exists because of the Father’s eternal election of a people, the Son’s mediation and saving work for them, and the Spirit’s work of uniting them to Christ through the gospel. We are recipients of a kingdom; the Father is the builder, by his Son and Spirit, through the Word.

Therefore, there really is one church—catholic, spread throughout the world yet united in one Lord, one faith, one baptism—even though its visible shape right now seems to speak against it. Same thing with the holiness of the church: holy in Christ, it is nevertheless “simultaneously justified and sinful.”

Even the apostolic church was rife with sectarianism, strife, and false teaching. Eventually, the equality of pastors gave way to bishops and the bishop of Rome raised himself above all other bishops. The church of Rome unilaterally amended the Nicene Creed and excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople for not bowing the knee to his office. Then Rome excommunicated the Reformers in the sixteenth century, and divisions among the Reformers themselves appeared. Today, Protestantism is an incubator of new denominations and sects, while deep divisions within Rome are overcome merely by the single dogma of obedience to the pope.

There’s no going back to a pristine era in which the apostles, ministers, and elders of the first century led a reasonably united church. However, I would argue that denominations matter because Christ said he would build his church, not just churches. One local congregation cannot be the whole church, although it is an expression of the whole church insofar as it shares in the true ministry of the whole church. I understand the New Testament to teach a covenantal order of church government, where local churches are connected to each other in narrower and wider assemblies. This, I believe, is the Lord’s express will for his visible church.

In a fallen world—and church—denominations come and go. They cannot presume to be “the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church,” but they can at least be fragile expressions of that covenantal koinonia that Christ wills between people in local congregations and between local congregations.

Whatever we think about denominations, the crucial question is not pragmatic: What do they help us do. Rather, it is theological: What is God doing in the world through them? And how can denominations, for all of their faults, express more fully the unity and catholicity of Christ’s body than independent churches? Once that question is addressed, the pooling of resources becomes a natural by-product rather than the reason itself.


May.June 2003 MR

The May/June 2003 issue of Modern Reformation contains helpful resources concerning denominations.

In the Church: Finding Common Ground Across Denominations
By Ann Henderson Hart

Historical Chart of Denominations
(30kB PDF)

From the Sept/Oct 2005 issue, W. Robert Godfrey has
A Reformed Dream

Mike on Issues, Etc. Discussing Barna

IE-Logo

Mike was on Issues, Etc. on September 15 to discuss the research revealed by religious pollster and interpreter George Barna.

Listen to the audio here:

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Horton on IE

Christianity.com Video 5 – Are all sins equal and is there equality in hell?

In our fifth installment of the Christianity.com videos Dr. Horton discusses whether or not God hates some sins more than others, and if so, why. As a result, Mike also talks about the somewhat popular idea that there are different degrees of hell dependent on the severity of one’s sins.

Christianity.com Video 4 – What books should all Christians read?

Obviously Christians should be students and readers of the Holy Scriptures, but Mike was asked to name five other books that Christians should read. This discussion is recorded in the fourth video from Christianity.com.

Christianity.com Video – 3: Horton on Classical Christian Education

Dr. Horton was asked about some principles parents should consider when educating their children. Mike responds by endorsing the Classical Christian Education model in the next Christianity.com video.

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