White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

Horton on Hannity.com

Mike Horton made a surprise guest appearance on Hannity.com Sunday night. On the “forums” section of political commentator Sean Hannity’s website, a discussion about “Reasonable” Christianity vs. Revivalism in America broke out and someone posted a link to Horton’s Modern Reformation (Jan/Feb 1995) article, “The Legacy of Charles Finney.”

In addition to reading the article, listen to this 2007 White Horse Inn episode on “Charles Finney and American Revivalism.”

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A former Presbyterian, Charles Finney is the godfather of American evangelicalism and his formative influence is felt today in churches across the denominational spectrum. Here’s how Mike Horton put it:

Finney’s one question for any given teaching was, “Is it fit to convert sinners with?” One result of Finney’s revivalism was the division of Presbyterians in Philadelphia and New York into Arminian and Calvinistic factions. His “New Measures” included the “anxious bench” (precursor of today’s altar call), emotional tactics that led to fainting and weeping, and other “excitements,” as Finney and his followers called them. Finney became increasingly hostile toward Presbyterian doctrine, referring in his introduction to his Systematic Theology to the Westminster Confession and its drafters rather critically, as if they had created, as he put it, a “paper pope,” and had “elevated their confession and catechism to the Papal throne and into the place of the Holy Ghost.” Remarkably, Finney demonstrates how close Arminian revivalism, in its naturalistic sentiments, tends to be to a less refined theological liberalism, as both caved into the Enlightenment and it’s enshrining of human reason and morality. Finney writes “that the instrument framed by that assembly (the Westminster Confession and Catechisms) should in the nineteenth century be regarded as the standard of the church, or of any intelligent branch of it, is not only amazing, but I must say that it is highly ridiculous. It is as absurd in theology as it would be in any other branch of science. It is better to have a living than a dead Pope.”

You can read the rest of Mike Horton’s opening commentary here.

WHI-998 | The Origin of Scripture

Why is the Old Testament arranged the way it is, and how do the various books relate to each other? Is it likely that these documents were edited and amended over time? On this edition of the White Horse Inn the hosts examine the covenant origins of the Old Testament scriptures.

PROGRAM AUDIO

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MUSIC SELECTION

David Hlebo

Horton at the Resurgence

We’re grateful to the folks at the Resurgence for hosting Mike Horton on their blog and video feed this spring.  If you missed any of it or want to bookmark it for further reading/viewing, here are the link:

Blog post on “Renewing the Great Commission”

Answer to questions regarding the balance of public, family, and private worship

Full video interview

Ken Jones Moving to Florida

If you are in the Los Angeles area, you only have a few more weeks to see and hear White Horse Inn cohost Ken Jones before he takes up his new call at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, Florida.

Ken will be preaching through the end of May at Greater Union Baptist Church in Compton, California, where he has served as pastor since 1990.  This Saturday, May 22, at 9:00 a.m., you can also hear Ken speak at the men’s breakfast at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Glendale, California.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to (818) 244-3747 or office@churchonglendale.org.

Ken’s first Sunday at GMBC will be June 6. His formal installation as the fifth pastor of the church will take place on June 27th.  I asked Ken a few questions about his move and his future with White Horse Inn:

After 21 years at Greater Union, why did you accept a call to Glendale? I wasn’t looking to leave Greater Union. The church is going well; we’ve seen tremendous growth–not just in terms of attendance, but also in the quality of our members and their life as disciples.  But I could see that what we were privileged to participate in at Greater Union was needed at Glendale and that seemed like a great fit for me and my wife, Lisa.

You’ve been on the White Horse Inn panel for more than ten years. How will your work with White Horse Inn inform your work at Glendale Baptist? The thing that ties together all the different themes that Mike, Kim, Rod, and I take up each week on White Horse Inn is preaching. People and churches who encounter the Reformation can become intellectually convinced of the truth of the doctrine of justification, for instance, but it isn’t until that truth soaks through the preaching that a church experiences real change.  Preaching is the key. Too often it is inconsistent (I even saw that in my own life as I began to grapple with and understand the doctrines of the Reformation). So, I hope to bring consistent Christ-centered preaching and a Christ-centered hermeneutic to my new role as the pastor at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church.  It benefited Greater Union, it will benefit Glendale, and it will benefit any church that is new to the Reformation.

At the most recent taping for White Horse Inn, Ken made a few comments about his move.

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Ken and the elders and congregation at Glendale Missionary Baptist Church are committed to his continuing to participate as a cohost of White Horse Inn. So, even though his ministerial duties have changed, we’re glad to say that his voice will still be heard each week on White Horse Inn!

WHI-997 | The Spirituality of Emerging Adults

What is an emerging adult, and how have the beliefs and religious practices of this group changed in recent decades? What effect does our contemporary culture have on the religious lives of young people in our day? Joining the panel to discuss this topic is University of Notre Dame professor Christian Smith, author of Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Souls in Transition
Christian Smith
Soul Searching
Christian Smith
Soul Searching
(DVD Documentary)

PROGRAM AUDIO

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MUSIC SELECTION

Music

WHI-996 | Contending for the Faith, Part 2

On this edition of the White Horse Inn, the hosts continue to explore the topic of “Contending for the Faith,” as they take questions from the live audience in Southern California. Questions include: are we simply assuming the truthfulness of Scripture since we can’t interview the eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection; what should churches do to encourage evangelism in our time; and can our testimonies be seen as evidence of the gospel’s truthfulness.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

When God Goes to Starbucks
Paul Copan
The Reason for God
Tim Keller
Missional & Reformed
WSC Faculty (MP3 Audio)

PROGRAM AUDIO

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MUSIC SELECTION

Andrew Osenga

What’s the point?

I wasn’t really prepared for something this good, but this article by Andrew Root at the Youth Specialties website is gold. Read it if you’re in youth work, or regularly preach or teach God’s people, or wonder why you don’t seem to fit in with the dominant Christian culture of giddiness.

Here’s a teaser:

I wonder if one reason even good kids know little about the Christian faith (as the National Study on Youth and Religion pointed out), may be because they sense there is little to know, for Christianity from the perspective of the shiny and happy is about being good and avoiding bad. They don’t see Christianity as living into an altogether different reality, where from death comes life, where the God of glory is found in shadows, in brokenness and yearning, rendering brokenness and yearning impotent to determine our destiny. From the perspective of trying to keep kids away from the bad, Christianity is about avoidance.

(ht Mockingbird)

Christian Radio as a Means of Grace

I don’t listen to Christian radio often, but occasionally I indulge.  I admit I sometimes enjoy the upbeat Christian pop music, and every once in a while the radio personalities have some interesting things to say.  While listening to one of my local Christian radio stations one afternoon, I heard a statement that struck me as somewhat odd.  The announcer guaranteed that listening to their station for three hours each day would improve my walk with Jesus.  Later on, I was promised that three hours per day of this station would improve my relationship with my spouse or children (again, guaranteed!).  At the time this seemed strange to me, if only for practical reasons.  What if I just happened to listen to the three worst hours each day?  Or what if I only listened to music, and never heard a single sermon, devotional, or piece of inspiring advice?  But really, the issue was not a practical one, it was theological.  A radio station that plays some upbeat music and the occasional sermon or talk  show is not the place I think of going to when I want to change my life.

I had forgotten all about this until just recently.  While indulging in a little Christian radio a few days ago, I heard several “testimonial” advertisements promoting the station.  In one ad, a woman said that she was fighting depression after a divorce, and listening to this Christian radio station lifted her mood and strengthened her faith.  The part about lifting her mood didn’t surprise me, but when she described how listening to this radio station had strengthened her faith I was a bit shocked.  Listening to this radio station apparently took the place of (or was simply more effective than) reading God’s Word, hearing it preached, and having it represented and confirmed for her in the Sacraments.  In short, listening to Christian radio had had the effect of a means of grace.

The next ad I heard was only more shocking.  This time, a woman described a point in her life when she was not a Christian and was struggling with suicidal thoughts.  Somehow (I forget the details now) she was turned on to this Christian radio station, and after listening for a while and feeling better, she decided to give her life to Christ.  There was no mention of a church or pastor being involved, only the radio station.  In this case, Christian radio had not only taken the place of a means of grace (the preaching of the Word), but was apparently responsible for converting a lost sinner.  Yet this too, according to Paul, is the province of the proclamation of the Gospel.

What worries me is not that Christian radio is having a positive effect on people. My worry is that many Christians are increasingly looking outside of God’s ordained means of grace to find what they need.  More worrisome than that is the thought that they are finding their needs met not in faithful Gospel preaching and Sacraments, but in music.  It is surely possible to hear a good sermon, occasionally, on Christian radio (although I can scarcely remember that last time I did).  But in ads like these it is consistently the “uplifting music” that is cited as the main source of help and strength.  There is no doubt that singing heartfelt praises to God can have a therapeutic effect.  Singing praises, however, (or merely listening passively to others singing praises) is not a means of receiving God’s grace, but rather a grateful response to grace already received.  The grace we receive from God comes through his instituted means:  The preaching of his Word, especially the promises of his glorious Gospel, and the Word made visible in the Sacraments (especially the Lord’s Supper).  Just as no amount of online sermons can ever replace the experience of gathering with fellow saints in the local church (something that we are in fact explicitly commanded to do), so also no amount of uplifting music can ever replace the true grace of God given by his own specially chosen means.

-David Nilsen (David also blogs at Evangelical Outpost and the A Team Blog)

WHI-995 | Contending for the Faith, Part 1

How did the apostles contend for the faith throughout the book of Acts? Did they appeal to the practical benefits of living life Jesus’ way? Did they share their testimonies or inner experiences? Did they encourage blind faith? On this special live edition of the White Horse Inn, the hosts walk through the apologetic sermons in the book of Acts in order to discover how to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

The Gospel-Driven Life
Michael Horton
The Message of Acts
Dennis Johnson
The Book of Acts
F.F. Bruce

PROGRAM AUDIO

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MUSIC SELECTION

Zack Hicks

New MR Now Available!

2010-3-largeThe newest issue of Modern Reformation is in the mail to subscribers and available online.  The theme and title of the issue is Canon Formation.  Executive Editor, Dr. Ryan Glomsrud, explains the issue:

“Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” is one of those questions signaling an unanswerable conundrum. This issue takes up the question of the formation of the Bible or “canon,” meaning the official list and “rule” of Old and New Testament books. Readers may come to this topic from different starting points, but here is the question that frames much of what follows: Does the Word of God create the church or does the church officially decide what constitutes the Word of God? Put another way: Did the church establish the canon or did the Bible create the church that afterward recognized the books of the Bible to be what they are, the canonical Word of God?

Unfortunately, many evangelicals today think this is either an unsolvable “chicken or egg” conundrum, or worse, that the church acted out of its own authority to create the Bible, which is the Roman Catholic position. From a biblical and Reformation perspective, however, canon formation is not a chicken/egg conundrum but a problem of some who would mistakenly put the cart before the horse. Therefore, our common theme once again is that it is God who works and we who respond; the Word and Spirit together found the community of faith who maintain these books for the purpose of preserving the record of God’s promises.

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of our free trial offer, do so today and get access to almost twenty years worth of online content in addition to the current issue. The folks at the home office will also send you a White Horse Inn introductory CD. On the other hand, if you’re ready to subscribe you can do that, too! In fact, your subscription extends the reach of Modern Reformation into foreign countries, like the Philippines, Brazil, and Korea. Your subscription allows us to grant permission to missionaries in Latvia, Poland, and Germany to reproduce and repost translations of Modern Reformation articles. Your subscription allows us to send Modern Reformation to prisoners across the nation  who are starting their own Reformation journeys within the confines of a prison cell.

What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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