White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

WHI-980 | Recovering Scripture

George Gallop has commented that Americans revere the Bible, but don’t read it. In fact, poll after poll, reveals an increasing trend toward biblical illiteracy, not only among those outside the church, but also among those who describe themselves as “born again,” or Evangelical. On this edition of the White Horse Inn the hosts discuss the implications of this disturbing trend as they introduce their new series for 2010, Recovering Scripture.

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Zack Hicks

Judgment, Fate, or Providence in Haiti?

In a world which is so connected news spreads fast. I got an e-mail notifying me of a 7.0 earthquake very near Port-au-Prince, Haiti just moments after the event occurred. A magnitude 7.0 earthquake is large regardless of where it occurs on the globe, but in the Caribbean I knew it could have devastating effects–this is not an area that is prepared for such seismic events. Quickly reports began pouring in about the utter devastation of the capital city and the hundreds of thousands of people that officials fear have died.

It is hard to imagine as I sit behind my desk on a beautiful, sunny Southern California winter day that 3,000 miles away there is such horror, despair, and loss of life. But because of that interconnectedness via the Internet, I can see the photos and read the stories coming out of Haiti. My heart truly goes out to those people.

Many of you may be aware that shortly after this earthquake Pat Robertson reported that he knew the reason behind this earthquake: the people of Haiti made a pact with the devil to overthrow the French, and this earthquake is God punishing and bringing upon his judgment upon those people. Interesting. I am truly puzzled where this “pact with the devil” was recorded and where those treaty documents are! I did a word search in the Bible for “Haiti” and didn’t come up with anything. If God hasn’t revealed anything in his revealed Word, then we should immediately be suspect of somebody claiming, extra and special revelation. Robertson is famous for telling the world the underlying cause for natural disasters and even terrorist attacks as God’s judgment for this and that particular sin and here he is doing it again. (Dr. Horton has also reacted to Robertson’s video)

On the other side of the spectrum are people who are struggling with what happened, but yet don’t have answers. This essay is from a reporter who has spent many years in Haiti who laments, “And this? This is too much. How can nature or God or the fates or the universe do this to a country that has borne far too much sadness?”

This may sound strange, but in many ways this is a much more Biblical way of dealing with this situation! Obviously I am not praising Ms. Steber for her inclusion of naturalistic notions of “fate” and “the Universe”, but she did address her question to God–the Creator of the universe. It is pretty apparent that she is not a Christian or even a theist per se, but yet there is something that is drawing her to question God why this event happened. This, friends, is a Biblical response, even for believers. Throughout the Psalms the psalmists are asking God “Why?” Why are the wicked prospering? Why does it seem that you are so far from me? Why, why, why?

It is interesting that in Luke 13 there is a reference to something hauntingly similar to the events in Haiti (but on a much smaller scale).

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-5 ESV).

Imagine that highlighted sentence as being “Or those hundreds of thousands on whom their homes in Haiti fell and killed them: do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in the United States?” How would Pat Robertson respond to this question? “Yes, they were worse offenders because they made a pact with the devil.” But how did Christ, the second person of the Trinity respond? “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Did you catch that? Christ said, “NO” where Robertson says “Yes.” Christ then uses this tragic event to remind his hearers that everybody is an offender against God and we will all perish one day; therefore, now is the day of salvation; repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!

You who are reading this right now may die today from a car accident on your way home. You might die of a heart-attack or in an earthquake in the middle of the night. But the fact remains that God has all the events under his providential care and that nothing escapes his control. However, we are not in the position to begin interpreting that providence. We can ask God “Why?”, but we may never hear that answer. Our pastors need to remind hearers of this and call unbelievers to repentance and faith in Christ alone because we have all made a pact with the devil because of the fall of our representative head Adam in the Garden. Our comfort in facing tragedies comes not from our self-confidence that we are better people than others, but that we have had our own sins paid for on the cross by the final sacrifice of Christ. We don’t look to our own righteousness, but we look to Christ’s perfect righteousness which has been imputed to us freely.

An event of the magnitude which happened in Haiti is yet another reminder to us that we live in a fallen world, and that every single person needs to be reconciled to the Creator God because, until Christ comes again, we will all perish in some way. But in Christ we have a comfort in life and in death that the world does not have, but a Gospel comfort that they need to hear. The Heidelberg Catechism starts with this beautiful expression of this comfort in its first question and answer:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,
but belong –;
body and soul,
in life and in death –;
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

That is our comfort and the comfort that the people of Haiti and every person in the world needs to hear.

Pat Robertson Speaks

If it were not so public (and doubtless, soon to be more so, as the secular media picks up on it), the latest inanity from TV evangelist Pat Robertson might be easily dismissed. However, once again the prosperity gospel’s strange brew has poured salt instead of salve into the wounds of the suffering.

In the clip, Pat Robertson attributes Haiti’s tragic poverty to “a pact with the devil.” This is no mere metaphor: Robertson believes that a Faustian bargain was struck with Satan, in exchange for the devil’s assistance in gaining independence from France.  Just look at the evidence!  Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic, yet one is poor and the other is prosperous (indeed, blessed with “many resorts”!)

What does this communicate to the wider world, especially to unbelievers who along with Christians are pouring out their hearts and financial support to these neighbors in need?  A passage from Jeremiah 23 comes to mind:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes.  They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD…For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened…I did not send these prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied…Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘Thus says the LORD.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them.”

Michael Horton

Been to a Fun-eral lately?

In the current issue of Modern Reformation Craig Parton wrote a special piece entitled “Funerals from Hell: Where Have all the Graveyards Gone?”. We don’t usually include our departments in the on-line version of the magazine, but for this exceptional article we have made an exception. It is a brilliant piece reminding the Evangelical world of what a funeral should be. Not a celebration of life for there is nothing “fun” about even the death of a believer. These are times of stark reminders of the enemy death, but an enemy that Christ defeated on the cross.

Since Mr. Parton had recently been through a couple of fun-erals and also buried his mother, he gives five very helpful points of advice to steer clear of a “Gnostic Vaudeville Show” when planning a funeral (either yours or somebody else’s). Please take the few moments to read this article, and you will be glad that you did.

“Funerals from Hell: Where Have all the Graveyards gone?”
By Craig A. Parton

Not to take away from Mr. Parton’s article, but Rev. Mike Brown wrote a great piece about this subject on the Pilgrim People blog: The Enemy Death.

WHI-979 | The White Horse Inn 20th Anniversary Special (Part 2)

As part two of our special 20th anniversary celebration, this program features more soundbites from across the decades, including some highlights from our old “Inventory of Relics” segment, various man-on-the-street interviews, and White Horse Inn spoof commercials. The hosts also take some calls from listeners across the country who express their thanks for the program and offer their congratulations.

PROGRAM AUDIO

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David Hlebo

Horton Turns the Tables

Recently Mike Horton was interviewed by his colleague R. Scott Clark on Westminster Seminary California’s podcast Office Hours. Today, Mike interviews Scott about his book Recovering the Reformed Confession, church history, and the federal vision controversy in Reformed churches.

Work at the Inn!

White Horse Inn is looking for an assistant producer to join our team.  This part-time job is comprised mostly of editing the recording sessions into the various broadcasts, podcasts, and CD versions of the show that are made available every week to our listeners around the world.

If you’re passionate for Reformation Theology, can meet strict deadlines, and have strong audio editing ability, please send your resume to applyjob2010jan@whitehorseinn.org by January 15, 2010.

Brit Hume on Buddhism, Forgiveness & Redemption

On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume discussed Tiger Woods’ recent difficulties, along with a brief mention of the golfer’s Buddhist faith.  But Hume went on to say, “I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be…turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

http://tinyurl.com/ycq5hl8

WHI-978 | The White Horse Inn 20th Anniversary Special (Part 1)

On this edition of the White Horse Inn the hosts celebrate their 20th year of broadcasting by reminiscing about the past, explaining how the hosts met, and by discussing the mission and goal of the program. They’ll also be listening to soundbites from across the decades, such as clips from the 1990 pilot broadcast, the controversial interview with Robert Schuller, and the famous “Dad Rod Christmas Special.” So join us as we celebrate our 20th anniversary!

PROGRAM AUDIO

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MUSIC SELECTION

David Hlebo

Mockingbird’s Favorite Videos

One of our favorite blogs, mockingbirdnyc, has a series of posts on their favorite songs, movies, and television shows of 2009. Jeff Hual, a contributor to the blog, also posted his top seven videos of the year. Here are a few teasers. You’ll want to visit the blog to see the whole thing.

Number 7: Rick Warren on the “Gospel of Doing”…

Pastor Warren explaining to his congregation all of the things they have to “do” if they want to get to heaven.

Number 6: Bill Hybels on “Holy Motivation”…

Pastor Hybels explains how getting angry and then using that anger to fuel a fervor for social justice issues is a biblical concept (who knew!).

Number 5: Megachurch Sermon Trailers–In Search of Relevance…

Ah…smell the moralistic therapeutic deism. Obviously, if getting into heaven is about all this doing that we have to do (as Pastors Warren and Hybels have asserted), then the preacher had better get busy with giving us some practical things to be doing.

Number 2: You Were Born For This? (From the Author of “The Prayer of Jabez”)…

Of course, if the Prayer of Jabez had actually worked for everyone, we wouldn’t need a follow-up book about how to “live a life of predictable miracles”:

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