White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

WHI-1191 | God’s Conquest

On this program we discuss God’s conquest of the city of Jericho. Is it appropriate to use this particular narrative as a pattern for things in our own lives that we’d like to conquer? How should we understand God’s command that every living thing in Jericho should be destroyed? What is significant about the fact that Rahab and her family were spared? Join us as we discuss these questions and continue our series, The Gospel According to Joshua.

RELATED ARTICLES

Religion & Politics
Michael Horton, Jim Wallis, et al
Holy War in Joshua
Michael Horton

RELATED STUDY AIDS

PROGRAM AUDIO


Click here to access the audio file directly

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Gospel Transformation Bible
(Joshua notes by Michael Horton)

RECOMMENDED AUDIO

So Many Popes!

A recent article today in Charisma News by Brooklyn minister, Joseph Mattera, raises some important questions with extraordinary ramifications.

The author is concerned with the proliferation of evangelical and Pentecostal megachurches that reflect a Roman Catholic model of church leadership, especially in Latin America.  Churches become empires with numerous departments and programs staffed by an army of “professional” Christians under the command of the CEO.

The fact that these questions are raised by an overseeing bishop of a church within a coalition that affirms the ongoing office of apostles, and in an article published in a charismatic magazine, is especially significant.  It’s a hopeful sign that leaders like Mattera argue for a more biblical view of the church and ministry, with officers mutually accountable instead of making unilateral decisions.

 

The Lure of Unaccountable Power

Joseph Mattera puts his finger on a very big problem in the global church today.  It’s not only in countries with a Roman Catholic history where “papal” models proliferate.  They are well known features of U.S. church life.   Perhaps “papal” isn’t the right analogy.  The pope today has little authority over renegade teachers and bishops. The communion that he leads at least in theory is as internally divided by countless factions, schools, and personalities as Protestantism is more visibly.  A better analogy might be the founder and CEO.  After all, popes at least are elected by the college of cardinals.

Even in our circles, there is a tendency to create stars whose models of “doing church” divide the ordered life of local and wider assemblies of mutual accountability.  Few actually set out with that purpose.

It begins as an experiment; then, if it’s successful, it becomes a model.  To preserve its success and the ongoing creativity and innovative potential of the leader/model, the church tends to isolate itself from the wider assemblies of the church (presbytery, general assemblies or synods, etc.).  A network emerges with ties to the leader/model that are stronger than the bonds between ministers and elders who have taken oaths to a common confession and church order.

Before you know it, factions arise in opposition to and in defense of a particular model and spokesmen and the court of public opinion (especially blogs) replaces the courts of the church for fraternal discussion, debate, encouragement, and correction.  Churches that needed the visionary insights are able to reinforce their prejudices unhindered by face-to-face engagement and the more experimental churches that needed wisdom and correction are able to pursue their agenda without interruption.  Instead of listening to the multiplicity of voices (“wisdom in many counselors”), churches actually become more narrow, insular, and independent.  We may belong formally to the same denomination, but our deeper affinity is the tribe—the church-within-a-church to which we belong.  Eventually, the church-within-a-church becomes its own denomination, and so on.

This is the legacy of pietism, reinforced by a few centuries of revivalism.  If Reformation churches were too closely tied to the state, the danger is that evangelicalism is too closely identified with the democratic egalitarianism at the heart of modernity.  It’s the danger of looking upon the world as a market instead of a mission-field and upon the church as a sales force rather than sheep to be looked after.

I’m not suggesting at all that the pietist-revivalist tradition of Protestantism encourages the lure of unaccountable power.  That is already in us, part of our sinful condition.  Much less am I saying that a biblical form of church government (presbyterian, I’m bound to say!) saves us from arrogant self-assertion.  What I do believe, however, is that the system of checks and balances that it sets up can at least make it more difficult for us to have our way in that regard.

 

Calvin: No Fiefdoms!

One of the striking take-aways from Scott Manetsch’s Calvin’s Company of Pastors is the extent to which the Genevan reformer resisted the cult of personality.  Insisting on a plurality of ministers and elders, with decisions falling to the mutual consent of officers in local and broader assemblies, Calvin never saw St. Pierre’s as a personal fiefdom.  He never spoke the way we often do today about his church or his pulpit or his ministry.  In fact, ministers rotated to the various parish churches each week, so that the people would be attached to Christ rather than to men, to the ministry rather than the minister.  Pastors have to remember, Calvin said, that they are friends of the bridegroom, not the groom.  It’s their job to lead them to Christ, not to themselves.

Many in the orbit of the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” today seem to be drawn to extremes: either the independent egalitarianism that ends up creating many popes or the older top-down hierarchy of Rome.  In case after case that I’ve witnessed, the moves have been made by leaping over biblical models of church government.   There are of course many in the past and today who have given careful consideration to the case for this covenantal ecclesiology.  Yet the greater tendency, I suspect, is rash (restless) hastiness.  Those looking for a visible pope on earth dismiss it as too democratic, while those who want to build their own fiefdoms dismiss it as too stifling and, ironically, “hierarchical.”

Christ is still fulfilling his pledge to build his Church regardless.  As we look at the actual state of the particular churches and denominations to which we belong, we may feel compelled to make that choice between a “wild west” evangelicalism and an ahistorical idea of “Camelot” that the longing for Rome and Constantinople represent.  No form of government will guarantee the existence of the true Church; that is lodged in the true preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments.  Yet the form of discipline is not thereby made unimportant, when after all our only Head and King mandates not only the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments, but “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  And whether it always looks like it or not, we have his promise: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mat 28:19-21).

Mike Horton in the New Issue of Credo

CredoCredo is a relatively new online magazine from a Calvinistic Baptist perspective that is getting rave reviews for its content and design. In their latest issue on justification, they asked a number of theologians for their take on the issues at stake in contemporary debates about justification. Click the link below for answers from Mike Horton, Philip Ryken, J. V. Fesko, Guy Waters, Brian Vickers, and Korey Maas.

Read Credo.

WHI-1190 | Another Exodus

After God called Israel out of Egypt to be a chosen and holy nation, the people sin greatly against him and are forced to wander in the desert for forty years. After that entire generation dies out, a new generation led by Joshua is finally allowed to enter the land of rest. What new challenges do the people of Israel face in the land promised to Abraham and his descendants? How long will they be able to stay in the land? That’s our focus for this edition of the program as we continue our discussion of The Gospel According to Joshua.

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PROGRAM AUDIO


Click here to access the audio file directly

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Gospel Transformation Bible
(Joshua notes by Michael Horton)

RECOMMENDED AUDIO

WHI-1189 | Holy War

Christians rightly condemn acts of violence by Islamic terroristsmdash;justified by the perpetrators as forms of jihad. But if the killing of innocent civilians is always wrong, how are we to explain the kind of holy war that we find throughout the book of Joshua? Is this a “text of terror” that we should reject and exclude from the canon of Scripture? How are we to understand the difference between the jihad of today and the holy wars of the Old Testament? That’s what we’ll wrestle with on this episode of White Horse Inn.

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Thy Kingdom Come
Kim Riddlebarger
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RELATED STUDY AIDS

PROGRAM AUDIO


Click here to access the audio file directly

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

RECOMMENDED AUDIO

WHI-1188 | Is God A Moral Monster?

On this program I talk with Paul Copan about the claims of Richard Dawkins and other “new atheists” that the God of the Old Testament is a petty, vindictive, bloodthirsty, genocidal, ethnic cleanser. Is God’s command to Joshua to invade Canaanite cities and to kill men, women, and children best understood in terms of ethnic cleansing? How should we think about the God of the Old Testament? These important questions are on tap for this edition of White Horse Inn!

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Holy War in Joshua
Michael Horton
Beyond Culture Wars
Michael Horton

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MUSIC SELECTION

Zac Hicks

PROGRAM AUDIO


Click here to access the audio file directly

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

RECOMMENDED AUDIO

You’re Invited to the 2nd Annual WHI Weekend

For more information or to register please visit the White Horse Inn Weekend homepage.

WHI-1187 | The Gospel According to Joshua

The Gospel According to Joshua

Moses is a tragic hero. Though he was called by God to lead the Children of Israel out of their slavery and bondage in Egypt, he was, nevertheless, forbidden to enter the Promised Land. After his death, a servant by the name of Joshua (which means YHWH saves) was called to lead his people across the Jordan into the land of Canaan. How do these events point forward to the deliverance provided by Jesus Christ, the greater Joshua? We will discuss this and many other questions as they introduce their new series: The Gospel According to Joshua.

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Holy War in Joshua?
Michael Horton

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Doug Powell

PROGRAM AUDIO


Click here to access the audio file directly

White Horse Inn Weekend Special Offer

When we launched our first family event in 2012 with a cruise to the Caribbean, we weren’t just looking for an opportunity for Dad Rod to do the Lambada on the Lido deck. We wanted an extended opportunity to connect with our partners—the people at the core of our mission to help people “know what they believe and why they believe it.” Our partners are our biggest cheerleaders, most faithful financial supporters, and reformers in their own right—sharing the resources of the White Horse Inn in their own circles. Last year, we were pleased to gather our partners together once again in sunny San Diego for two days of learning and fellowship at the White Horse Inn Weekend. This year, we’re excited for our time together in Vail, Colorado. Each of these events are designed for our partners, so we’re offering a special discount to NEW partners for a limited time.

Starting today, any NEW Reformer partner to the White Horse Inn will get one free registration to our White Horse Inn Weekend in Vail. The registration covers the conference fees and hosted meals during the Weekend. Transportation and lodging are not included. To qualify for the free registration, you must be a NEW Reformer partner (or lapsed partner of more than one year) and pay your partnership in full via credit card.

To access this registration option, go to the Weekend registration page and enter “reformer” where it asks for a promotional code. Then choose “Reformer Special” as your registration option and follow the directions to complete your purchase.

We hope that you take advantage of this amazing deal and join with other Reformation minded friends from around the world this summer in Vail, Colorado as we equip you to defend the unique claims of Christianity in a pluralistic culture.

Defend the Faith – “How can anyone know about life after death?”

Michael Horton recently sat down and answered five of the most common apologetics questions people get when they share their faith with their friends and family. We’ll be posting one each week through the end of the year. For more information on our Defend the Faith campaign and for additional resources to help you “know and share what you believe and why you believe it,” please visit the homepage of our year end appeal.

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