Biblical theology is essential if we’re going to feel the Bible’s own pulse and follow its unfolding plot. Without it, systematic theology can easily succumb to a deductivist scheme. Going back to the street-map analogy, it’s easy to deduce where roads must go because of the map even if they don’t! Yet it can never be used as a rival of systematic theology. Christ was not only crucified and raised; he was “crucified for our sins and was raised for our justification.” Doctrine arises from the drama, indicating the significance of God’s acts in creation, redemption, and consummation.
Our friends at The Gospel Coalition have invited us to record a live taping of the White Horse Inn in the Skyline Ballroom at the McCormick Place in Chicago on Tuesday, April 12th at 5:30 p.m. All four hosts will be in Chicago to discuss the important relationship between the Great Commission and the Great Commandment:
The Great Commission (making disciples through the gospel) and the Great Commandment (serving our neighbors through loving works) can neither be separated or confused. What is the relationship between the church’s divine mission and the Christian’s high calling? What is the relationship between our worship and our vocations? The hosts of the White Horse Inn want to equip Christians to know what they believe and why they believe it!
If you were at the Desiring God conference last September, you got to see first hand how much fun a live recording is. We’re very grateful to the folks at The Gospel Coalition for this opportunity. We have one or two other live tapings planned at other national conferences this year and next. We’ll post more information on that as plans are finalized.
We’ll be recording during the dinner break, but you’ll have time to grab something to eat before or after the recording.
This is the last week to get the “Kick Off” rate for our January 2011 cruise. As I mentioned in the last blog post, the “Kick Off” rates for this cruise are as low as you can find at other websites that specialize in finding budget deals on cruises. So, you’re not just getting a great cruise filled with great content and opportunities for interaction with the White Horse Inn hosts, you’re getting it as cheap as you can probably find it anywhere!
Last week we were at the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando, Florida and got to speak to many of you who are considering coming with us on the cruise. After explaining what we hoped to do while out at sea to one lady, she looked at her husband and said, “we have GOT to be on that boat!” I hope that you share her enthusiasm! Let me share just a little bit more about our plans.
In a day and age like ours when too much inter-personal communication is decidedly NOT personal, we have to make the effort to have face to face interactions. That’s especially true for the work that we do here at White Horse Inn. We love producing a radio program and a magazine, but the interpersonal communication that takes place at events or through notes and phone calls that we receive from you is what really motivates us to continue our work. That’s the great value of this cruise: we’re building lots of opportunities for real interaction to take place while we’re on board the ship.
We want to hear from you, and not just about the impact that White Horse Inn has had on your Reformation pilgrimage. We want to hear from you and partner with you in creating 95 Theses for a Modern Reformation. That’s why the theme for the cruise is “Conversations for a Modern Reformation.” For 20 years we’ve been proud to host that conversation on the airwaves and in the pages of our magazine. Now, we want you to join that conversation: to put pen to paper, to pull up a chair, to think out loud with us about the future of the church.
Some of you have already registered to come with us. Thank you! In a few weeks we’ll be sending some information and materials to you to help prepare you for our time together. If you haven’t yet registered, be sure to take advantage of this last week of low fares. Starting April 1, the fares go up a little bit.
We only have about 150 cabins and when they’re gone, we won’t be able to welcome any more of you onboard. So, please make your decision as soon as possible! You can register here. We’re looking forward to seeing you in January.
Many Christians today are preoccupied with the extraordinary over the ordinary. They see God at work only in the big events such as revival meetings or stadium sized worship events. But in the second chapter of Acts we find the apostles engaged in the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. Is this merely “church-ianity” or is this the apostolic fulfillment of the Great Commission? That’s our topic for this week as the hosts continue their study of Acts chapter 2.
The Gospel Commission
The Preached God: Proclamation in Word & Sacrament
A Better Way
I’m so excited to share this news with you: on January 30, 2012, the White Horse Inn is setting sail on our very first conference at sea! This Caribbean cruise will be unlike anything you have ever experienced and now is your chance to join us for what we’re calling “Conversations for a Modern Reformation.”
On October 15, 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, and started the Protestant Reformation. As we look forward to the 500th anniversary of that great event, we want to present the world with 95 Theses for a Modern Reformation. Will you help us write them?
The cruise will be part vacation and part conference with equal time given to receiving and participating: live White Horse Inn tapings and teaching sessions from our hosts will be paired with some exciting group activities designed to help us think more deeply about the issues facing our churches.
There’s so much to share that we’ve created a special webpage with all the details. I hope that you’ll make plans to join us in January 2012. There’s a special “kick off rate” that is as low a fare as I have seen for this cruise (even on the discount cruise websites). We’d love to have you come along…in fact, we need to have you join this conversation.
Frequent Modern Reformation contributor, Dr. Korey Maas (assistant professor of theology and church history at Concordia University in Irvine, California) has given us permission to post an article he wrote entitled Natural Law, Lutheranism, and the Public Good.
In this article he explains the important connection between natural law and God’s revealed will. Too often in contemporary discussions of the place of natural law, some opponents to natural law assume that natural law is somehow opposed to God’s revealed will. Dr. Maas shows how they are connected.
“Where [Moses] gives the commandments, we are not to follow him except so far as he agrees with the natural law.”~ Martin Luther (AE 35:173)
Martin Luther’s penchant for provocative exclamations is well known. It may nevertheless seem especially shocking that the great champion of “Scripture alone” could appear so blatantly to qualify the authority of the biblical commandments. Perhaps equally puzzling, though, is his qualification’s appeal to “natural law,” a phrase likely unfamiliar to many readers because it has all but disappeared from contemporary Lutheran discourse.
That it is so infrequently discussed, or even mentioned, might give the impression that there is something inherently un-Lutheran about this concept. As even the above quotation suggests, however, neither an acknowledgment of nor appeals to natural law are foreign to Lutheranism. Moreover, the case for embracing natural law, especially in civic life, may be stronger today than it has been throughout the history of Lutheranism, or even most of the history of Christianity.
What, though, is this natural law? While details differ among its theorists—diversely represented not only by two millennia of Christian theologians, but even by pre-Christian pagans and modern agnostics—certain commonalities emerge. The natural law consists of an objective and universal moral code, the fundamental precepts of which are embedded in human nature, and which are discernible by the natural reason common to humanity.
In the second chapter of Acts we find the apostles gathered together at the Feast of Pentecost, receiving the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. But what did the Spirit enable them to do? What was the result of this supernatural outpouring? The result was a sermon. Peter, a man who had recently denied even knowing Jesus, began to proclaim Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament with boldness and conviction. The hosts are continuing their series through the Book of Acts on this edition of White Horse Inn.
Him We Proclaim
Preaching Christ in All of Scripture
According to Plan
Friend of the Inn Uwe Siemon-Netto is an award-winning journalist and confessional Lutheran. His most recent column for the website Freepressers.com takes up the many disasters (natural and otherwise) that are dominating the news. How have apocalyptic-minded people thought about the end of the world in previous periods of church history? How should we think bout it when our own newspapers are filled with “it’s the end of the world as we know it” language?
The Bible cautions believers against speculating about the date and time of the Apocalypse, although current world events and calamities seem to invite such conjecture. There are the uprisings in the Middle East. In Japan, the tsunami and earthquake disasters are fueling nuclear fears. And then the nuttiness of clergymen fitting Luther’s definition of “false clerics and schismatic spirits” reminds us that Christ listed some signs of the looming end of times, for example the appearance of many bogus prophets.
Read the rest of the article here.
Kim Riddlebarger, cohost of the White Horse Inn broadcast, recently sat down with Westminster Seminary California’s podcast, Office Hours, to talk about eschatology and the identity of the anti-Christ.
Are heaven and hell subjective states of mind or real objective places? That’s the focus of this special BONUS edition of the White Horse Inn as the hosts talk with Kevin DeYoung, author of The Good News We Almost Forgot, and What is the Mission of the Church? The interview primarily centers on Kevin’s recent review of the controversial new release, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell.
UPDATE: Given the renewed controversy over heaven and hell, Zondervan has given us permission to give away “The Last Battle and Life Everlasting” (chapter 29 from Michael Horton’s new book, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way). Feel free to download this PDF and forward! For more information about this new release visit Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.
The Last Battle & The Life Everlasting
Bell’s Hell: A Review by Michael Horton
God is Still Holy
Kevin DeYoung (offsite)
Hell: The Very Idea of It
Heaven Came Down
What is the Mission of the Church?
Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert (forthcoming from Crossway)
Why We’re Not Emergent
Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck
The Good News We Almost Forgot
The Christian Faith