Thank you from the Staff of the White Horse Inn
All of the staff at the White Horse Inn would like to take a moment and thank all our listeners and supporters! Our vision is to see a rediscovery of Reformation theology in the context of contemporary Christian thought and practice. We exist to persuade Christians to inform and embrace Reformation Theology - we want you to "know what you believe and why you believe it." We are encouraged we are making a difference when we receive letters like these:
Subject: Post Christian Broadcast
Loved these latest broadcasts! It seemed you struck exactly the right note with seeing the good and the bad in American culture and government. You even discussed Madison and Witherspoon!! Love it! Keep up the good work!
To: staff *at* whitehorseinn.org
Subject: Thanks for your program
I wept after listening to your program "Repentance and Personal Transformation" as you finished with Psalm 51. What comforting words were spoken in that program. I was one of the "bruised reeds and smoldering wicks" that was crushed by my own sin and others Expectations and spent way too many years thinking as Jonah: "If you just throw me overboard, live will be better for all concerned". Since I can't remember ever having a day when I perfectly loved God or my neighbor, to be reminded again of how magnanimous God's grace is overwhelming. What a Savior we have. Thanks for the powerful reminder.
Peace, love and joy in His Name.
Mike from Indiana
To: staff *at* whitehorseinn.org
Subject: Hello from Northeast!
Greetings Friends at WHI!
I can’t tell how much I have enjoyed listening to your programs over and over through iTunes while I’m working away in my kitchen. They have been a tremendous source of teaching and encouragement. (You guys have way too much fun talking about theology! I love it!)
Heidi from Massachusetts
To: staff *at* whitehorseinn.org
Subject: Encouraging "Self-Feeding"
Listening to your 'Self-Feeders' broadcast today, many things came to mind. I would like to share a few.
I am a former family therapist and my husband and I left a 'church growth' church in So. Cal. in 2006 after figuring that it wasn't actually a church any more, but a corporation. We saw one problem that we attempted to move through a Matthew 18 process in addressing, but during the process we naively opened a few closet doors, found skeletons that would have brought the church's growth to a halt if they were addressed properly and were pushed out of the church.
During the process of leaving/being shown the door, God opened our eyes to many of the dynamics that were going on there, which are hallmarks of the Willow Creek model, that make the model so appealing and hold it in place even to the point of driving out spiritually mature members.
It is fascinating to me that after going through the research study and finding that mature members were starving, the conclusion that WC came to was not that they were failing to lead the flock to green pastures, but that it was the job of the flock to feed themselves.
This of course is not the model that we see in scripture. Paul never wrote to Timothy and told him to "figure it out" on his own, he lovingly, painstakingly discipled him. Christ walked with Peter and had very tense, very confrontational, very fruitful conversations with him.
But in the "feed yourself" model that abandons biblical discipleship, the pastors are free from having to invest in one on one relationships with mature congregants. They are no longer tethered to individuals in the church, and are free to become "rock stars" as my husband and I have begun to refer to our former mega church pastor and those who seem to seek fame over loving and investing individuals who crave more of Christ.
At some point in a Willow Creek inspired church, an invisible velvet rope goes up between the pastor and the congregation, and that lack of discipleship relationship not only serves the pastors desire for worldly success in freeing him up to write books, go on the radio, fly to conferences and increase his national name recognition, but it also frees him up from the accountability to obedience to scripture that happens when you are doing one on one discipleship. Because, as I am sure you have experienced at some point, when you are teaching an individual on any topic, not only does the Holy Spirit shine the spotlight of conviction on that area for you, He also has that disciple right there who has full access and freedom to call you on the carpet.
Once the discipleship relationships have been dispensed with, formal accountability structures, like elder boards, are faced with the task of holding pastors to account, but if said pastors are bringing in the bodies and the money, often the majority on any given board who don't want to kill the golden goose, win out over those who want their church to be holding themselves daily, hourly to scripture.
Once this 'freeing pastors from discipleship' mode is in place, the reality is then that there is a spiritual glass ceiling in that church. One does not just have to crave growing in their understanding and worship of God to gain access to the guy who went to seminary and can presumably answer the "Level 4" questions and offer Olympic level training, but as you touched on, must sign on to the goals of their church, which ubiquitously include programs, increasing numbers and building projects. (Wasn't the Acts Church selling their land to give to those who had need?) Those agendas then leave little time for wading through deep theological discussions and difficult personal issues, bringing the two together in a way that results in the sacrifice of deeply held personal idols in the true life worship of The Sovereign God.
I am the mother of a child with autism, and a disability rights advocate, who finds herself with the same struggle on a weekly basis. I get so focused on making the world a safe place for my son and other children, that I forget that my higher calling is to be in close relationship with my beautiful baby and meet his needs. To both figuratively and literally feed him.
After the worship of God of course, my first calling as a mom is to feed and care for my children, and in my free time I can try to save the rest of the world. But frankly, sometimes the latter is more appealing as the former has the tendency to kick my butt.
The first calling of a pastor is to feed and care for the sheep that God has entrusted to him, not to tell the sheep to go find their own food while they do research studies, write books, do podcasts and hold shepherds conferences.
I hope that you guys are learning from the errors of WC influenced and not forsaking discipleship of your own little flocks to do The White Horse Inn.
But please don't stop doing the White Horse Inn! Reformed, house bound moms with disabled kids like me need it!!!
Subject: Thank you!
Dear White Horse Inn Staff,
I recently graduated college and I just wanted to thank all of you for the great work that you are doing in spreading the Gospel. I always called myself a Christian and really believed that I was doing God's work by just being a nice person. I was focused on things that I could do for God and very rarely thought about what He had already done for me! Only in some holidays, such as Christmas or Easter, would I ever remember the work that He did, the sacrifice He made, and all of that for me! I was trapped in my own thoughts, always looking out for what I could do in order to "improve my relationship with God". I was foolish thinking I was a better Christian than others at church.
A friend of mine told me about your program and told me that I should check it out. I was still in college at that time and thought "man...do I really want to listen to this program? I have so many other things to do!" I really didn't. For some reason I decided to listen in last November, but I did not fully understand the program so I let it go for some time. Then, I decided to listen to it last February and I was hooked. The theme you picked and the discussions on the program could not have come at a better time for me. I was feeling tired, and thought I was not doing enough to work on my own salvation. I was shaken up just by listening to you guys speak. Many times I wanted to contest what you were saying about justification. I always believed that my deeds would save me, and then reality hit me. Since then I have been reading my Bible and not looking at it simply as a "guideline" but as the actual word of God and the promise He has given to those whom He called. It took me a while to understand that I was saved because of the sacrifice that Christ made.
The church I often go to is one that does not proclaim the Gospel as it should be proclaimed. Someone once told me that the Gospel there is more like "Gospel-lite", somethings are better off not said. I completely disagree now, but I know why some prefer to avoid the topic of sin and God's righteousness. I do not go there regularly but I do know the pastor is very approachable. I hope to talk to him one day soon and just ask simple questions about the message he gives out every week to the members. I am concerned about his approach to the Gospel, and more concerned at the fact that he seems to care most of all about the church attendance ratings. Often times he calls on the members to bring their friends so that they listen to God's word, but he is not fully doing that with the members that are already present. It really makes me sad, to the point that I am in tears when I think about it. I pray that this situation will change but at the same time I want to find another church and I am searching, but in a small town in Massachusetts there are not many options of Reformed churches.
I pray that you will continue to do God's work, and that as people like me listen in to your program their ears might be opened to His word. Thank you and keep it up!
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