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Posted by on in 2016 Show Archive
WHI-1308 | The Ascension of Christ

On this program the hosts will begin a new series discussing the ascension of Christ. What is the ascension? Where do we find this important event in Scripture? How does the Old Testament prophecy this important event of redemption?

After being born of a virgin and living a life that honored God, Jesus Christ laid down his life for his sheep. After he was raised for our justification, he ascended into heaven. But why did he leave his church behind? What is significant about his ascension to the right hand of God? Join the hosts for this discussion of the nature of Christ’s kingdom as they introduce their new series, “The Ascension of Christ,” on the White Horse Inn.

HOST QUOTE
“Douglas Farrow has argued persuasively that if you don't take the ascension seriously and wrestle at least with the fact of Christ's bodily departure from the earth, you end up spiritualizing both his resurrection and his ascension and his coming again. If Jesus hasn't gone anywhere because he lives in my heart or Jesus hasn't gone anywhere because the Holy Spirit has replaced him or if Jesus hasn't gone anywhere because the Pope has replaced him or the church generally has replaced him or we are the ongoing incarnation of Jesus, any of those answers means really we don't have a head in heaven. We don't have someone who is in every way like us, yet without sin; and what that means is if Jesus is like that, kind of erased in terms of his identity, we will be erased rather than redeemed in the new creation.”
– Michael Horton
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Importance of the Ascension"
“We must stress the point that it is indeed the ascension towards which the biblical story constantly strives, especially in its messianic dimensions, not the resurrection.... Resurrection may be a necessary ingredient, since death cuts short our individual journeys, but it is not too bold to say that the greater corporate journey documented by the Scriptures continually presses, from its very outset and at every turn, towards the impossible feat of the ascension.
"It is important to remember what is at stake here. If there is no real ascension that took place in history, then the church's sacramental acts are devoid of meaning... then the church's distinction from the world does indeed reduce to something that is purely ideological or ethical or social. If we wish to take the [Lord's Supper] and the church seriously, we must also take the ascension seriously.”
(Douglas Farrow, Ascension and Ecclesia, pp. 26–27 and 39)
 
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WHI-1307 | Christ Our Resurrection Hope

Throughout this series, we’ve explored issues related to the factual nature of Christ’s resurrection. On this program the hosts will take a look at the theological implications of this fact and how it relates to us today.

How is Christ’s resurrection related to the resurrection of believers on the last day? The hosts will explore Paul’s answer to this question as they unpack the second half of 1 Corinthians 15. Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn in our series, The Resurrection.

HOST QUOTE
“Go back to the beginning of the story and all this begins to make more sense when Adam is told to refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And all the other trees in the garden and there's this one tree, the tree of life, the sacrament of immortality. And if he fulfills this trial, he wins for himself and his posterity immortality from that tree. He wins the right to eat from that tree of life. And when he fails, the cherubim and seraphim are sent with flaming sword to guard reentry because for our own good, if Adam and Eve have eaten from that sacramental tree of immortality, they would have then and there and all of us with them been under an eternal curse. There would be no undoing of that curse.
“The immortality would be immortal death, but he gave a stay of execution, didn't allow them to eat from that tree so that a space in history would open up for a last Adam who would come along and he would faithfully endure all that Adam failed to do, all that Israel failed to do. He will be the true Adam, the true and faithful Israel and then finally at the end of the Bible, just as in the beginning, you have the tree of life in the paradise of God and Christ gives to us the right to eat from that tree. That's just really amazing to think that now we have the right to eat, have indeed eaten from the tree of life in the paradise of God because Jesus Christ is the true bread of heaven and the true drink of everlasting salvation.”
– Michael Horton
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Christ’s Kingdom – Already/Not Yet"
Jesus did not hold that the coming of the kingdom was only a reality to be expected in the more or less near future. Moreover he also proclaimed it as the present fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy of salvation, manifested in his person and work. However, this does not mean that the statement "the kingdom of heaven has come" exhausts all that can be said. Jesus again and again speaks of the future of the kingdom of God, and that this future bears the character of the consummation and fulfillment of all things.
This constitutes the startling point of Jesus' pronouncements concerning the presence of the kingdom and his messianic self-revelation. They claim the presence of the kingdom and of the Messiah, whereas the great moment of the consummation has not yet arrived. Any attempt should be rejected which tries to divide the coming of the kingdom into separate parts. The kingdom of heaven appearing in the world with the coming of Christ signifies no less than the end of prophecy (Matt. 11:13; Luke 16:16), the binding of Satan (Matt. 12:28), the wonderful and all-embracing redemption of life (Matt. 11:5; Luke 4:18–19), the authority and power of the Son of Man (Mark 2:10), and the bliss of the poor in spirit (Matt. 5:13). Any attempt to detract from this character either by the application of an ethicizing or a symbolizing reduction, or by detaching the present from the future, is a dissolution of the contents of the gospel of the kingdom. We should rather consider the characteristic and peculiar nature of Jesus' preaching to be his proclamation of the kingdom in its consummative, eschatological significance both as a present and as a future reality. The fulfillment is there, and yet the kingdom is still to come. The kingdom has come, and yet the fulfillment is in abeyance.
(Adapted from Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, pp. 104–106)
 
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WHI-1306 | The Gospel Accounts of Christ’s Resurrection

On this program we continue our series on the Resurrection of Jesus. Once again Michael Horton interviews our special guest, Michael Licona, who is a New Testament scholar, historian, and Christian apologist. He is a professor at Houston Baptist University and the author of the excellent work, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.

Over the past two weeks we’ve aired the conversation with Michael Licona, and on this program we’re presenting the third and final segment of this exchange. This episode focuses on issues relating to the discrepancies between the various gospels accounts of Christ’s resurrection along with a number of commonly-held objections. Join us for this excellent broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we continue our series, The Resurrection.

HOST QUOTE
“So if I'm looking for an accurate worldview - and we all have worldviews whether we like it or not. We might not think about it but we all have worldviews that guide us in the decisions we make, moral decision, political decisions, all this. So what is my worldview based on? I want mine to be based on solid history.
“So if Jesus was not raised from the dead I want to find something else to do. If Jesus was raised, it is like I said, game, set, match, Christianity is true, the Christian life is worth living and so if I come across temptation, to cheat, whether it's on my taxes, to cheat on my wife or whatever, my moral, my ethics, things that I do, tough love, things that I don't want to love but Christ calls me to love and to give up myself, these things are all based because of my worldview and I hold that worldview because Jesus really rose and I believe that because there's good evidence for it.”
– Michael Licona
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Jesus Seminar"
A small, self-selected association of academics who meet twice a year to debate the “historical Jesus"... It champions a mission of debunking the perception fostered in the Gospels and many churches that Jesus was not only human but also a divine figure who brought salvation and will one day rule all things as sovereign Lord. It has marketed its views skillfully and attracted widespread media interest in its proceedings.
The Seminar's distinctive feature is its wholesale commitment to seven "pillar" assumptions about the Gospels and Jesus. Zeal for these assumptions, most of them disputed by other scholars, casts doubt on its claims to scholarly probity. These are: (1) the "historical" Jesus is not the "Christ" confessed by the church; (2) the Jesus of John's Gospel is almost completely fictitious; (3) Matthew and Luke are largely derived from Mark; (4) more important than Mark to Matthew and Luke was a hypothetical document called Q (consisting of about 225 verses common to Matthew and Luke and absent from Mark); (5) Jesus was not an eschatological visionary with respect to either some "second coming" on his part or some cataclysmic divine intervention by God to end the present age and inaugurate the final one; (6) Jesus must be considered within an "oral culture" context, claimed to be quite different from a written culture; and (7) the Gospels are false in matters of history unless they can be shown to the modern skeptic's satisfaction to be true.
The Seminar's procedure has been to vote on the likelihood of Jesus' sayings using colored beads. They are extending the same method to his deeds. Their findings (not surprisingly, given the "pillars" on which their observations rest) are that Jesus said and did little of what the Gospels report.
(Adapted from the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. "Jesus Seminar.")
 
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WHI-1305 | The Reliability of the Gospels & Epistles

On this program we continue our series on the Resurrection of Jesus. Once again Michael Horton interviews our special guest, Michael Licona, who is a New Testament scholar, historian, and Christian apologist. He is a professor at Houston Baptist University and the author of the excellent work, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.

The two scholars continue their discussion about the eyewitness character of the four Gospels and unpack a host of issues relating to the historical reliability and early dating of the New Testament epistles. Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we continue our series, The Resurrection.

HOST QUOTE
“So when you start swinging the ax to grind, you better watch out because it doesn't just hit what you want it to. It can come back and hit you. And that's what happens here, if you're going to reject the Gospel authors because they're biased. You better throw out Bart Ehrman's stuff then, because Ehrman agrees that he's biased. He said that in a discussion that I had with him. He had said it in the midst of a debate that he had with Craig Evans. He admits his own bias, and yet he goes after the Gospel authors because they're biased.
“Bottom line is look, if we're going to say that you can't believe the gospels because their authors had an agenda and they were biased, well I guess then you couldn't read any Jewish historian writing on the Holocaust. You couldn't read an African-American historian writing on slavery in the United States. They're biased; they have an agenda. They don't want these things to happen again, right? But that bias can actually cause them to dig deeper than say a Gentile or a white historian would because it's nearer and dearer to their hearts. If Jesus was who he claimed to be and had commissioned them to go out and make disciples of all nations, of course they have an agenda. They want to make disciples of all nations.”
– Michael Licona
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Authority of Christ in Scripture’s Inspiration"
Christianity is often called a book-religion. It would be more exact to say that it is a religion which has a book. Its foundations are laid in apostles and prophets, upon which its courses are built up in the sanctified lives of men; but Christ Jesus alone is its chief cornerstone. He is its only basis; he, its only head; and he alone has authority in his Church. But he has chosen to found his Church not directly by his own hands, speaking the word of God, say for instance, in thunder-tones from heaven; but through the instrumentality of a body of apostles, chosen and trained by himself, endowed with gifts and graces from the Holy Ghost, and sent forth into the world as his authoritative agents for proclaiming a gospel which he placed within their lips and which is none the less his authoritative word, that it is through them that he speaks it. It is because the apostles were Christ's representatives, that what they did and said and wrote as such, comes to us with divine authority. The authority of the Scriptures thus rests on the simple fact that God's authoritative agents in founding the Church gave them as authoritative to the Church which they founded. All the authority of the apostles stands behind the Scriptures, and all the authority of Christ behind the apostles. The Scriptures are simply the law-code which the law-givers of the Church gave it.
If, then, the apostles were appointed by Christ to act for him and in his name and authority in founding the Church—and this no one can doubt; and if the apostles gave the Scriptures to the Church in prosecution of this commission—and this admits of as little doubt; the whole question of the authority of the Scriptures is determined. It will be observed that their authority does not rest exactly on apostolic authorship. The point is not that the apostles wrote these books (though most of the New Testament books were written by apostles), but that they imposed them on the Church as authoritative expositions of its divinely appointed faith and practice.
(B. B. Warfield, "The Authority and Inspiration of the Scriptures,” The Selected Shorter Writings of B.B. Warfield Vol. 2, pp. 537–539)
 
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WHI-1304 | The Historical Reliability of the Four Gospels

On this program we continue our series on the Resurrection of Jesus. For the next three programs Michael Horton interviews special guest, Michael Licona, who is a New Testament scholar, historian, and Christian apologist. He is a professor at Houston Baptist University and the author of the excellent work, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, which will be unpacked in these interviews.

How can we be sure that the various claims about Jesus recorded in the four gospels represent genuine eyewitness reports? How can we be sure that they were written in the crucial eyewitness period? Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we seek to answer these important questions and more as we continue our series, The Resurrection.

HOST QUOTE
“So Cicero, as highly educated as he was in philosophy and in rhetoric and everything, he had his own secretary who penned these letters and letters that had correspondence between him and Brutus' secretary. So Brutus would have a secretary who would respond to Cicero and write to Cicero, but they wrote to one another through these secretaries and yet they were both highly educated. When we come to Paul in the New Testament, you have Paul's most admired piece of literature attributed to him, Romans, his letter to the church at Rome. And in chapter 16:22, it says, ‘I Tertius who write this letter send you my greetings.’ So Tertius wrote this letter. So it could very well be the case that Paul had very lengthy discussions with Tertius. Tertius interviewed him, took down all these things and then Tertius constructed Romans and Paul read it and approved of it and said, wow, Tertius you make me look good. Thank you so much. And Paul signs off for this thing but it's written by Paul.
“So, there's good reason to think that Paul and Cicero could use it, why wouldn't Matthew, Mark, Luke and John use some sort of a secretary to help them pen their gospels? At that point it gets pretty difficult to say something like [Bart] Ehrman and others would say that, well, the gospel authors couldn't have written those things because they weren't educated men, with the exception of possibly Luke. They weren't educated. They were fishermen, or Matthew being a tax collector, they couldn't have written gospels like that. Well, they could have had secretaries doing these things.”
– Michael Licona
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Apostolic Inspiration"
The operation of the Holy Spirit after the day of Pentecost differed from that which the prophets in their official capacity enjoyed. The Holy Spirit came upon the prophets as a supernatural power and worked upon them from without. His action on them was frequently repeated but was not continuous. The distinction between His activity and the mental activity of the prophets themselves was made to stand out rather clearly. On the day of Pentecost, however, He took up His abode in the hearts of the apostles and began to work upon them from within. Since He made their hearts His permanent abode, His action on them was no more intermittent but continuous, but even in their case the supernatural work of inspiration was limited to those occasions on which they served as organs of revelation. But because of the more inward character of all the Spirit's work, the distinction between His ordinary and His extraordinary work was not so perceptible.
The supernatural does not stand out as clearly in the case of the apostles as it did in the case of the prophets. Notwithstanding this fact, however, the New Testament contains several significant indications of the fact that the apostles were inspired in their positive oral teachings. Christ solemnly promised them the Holy Spirit in their teaching and preaching (Matt. 10:19, 20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11, 12; 21:14, 15; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). In the Acts of the Apostles we are told repeatedly that they taught "being full of," or "filled with" the Holy Spirit. Moreover, it appears from the Epistles that in teaching the churches they conceived of their word as being in very deed the word of God, and therefore as authoritative (1 Cor. 2:4, 13; 1 Thess. 2:13).
(Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 148)
 
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WHI-1303 | Resurrection in the Old Testament, Part 2

On this program the hosts continue their series, celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. The hosts continue to explore the doctrine of the resurrection throughout the Old Testament Scriptures in this episode.

What did the prophets say about the afterlife and the general resurrection of the dead? More importantly, what did they teach about the role of the coming messiah? Did they really predict that he would die for the sins of his people and rise again on the third day? Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn answering these important questions and more as we continue our series The Resurrection.

HOST QUOTE
“We see in places like Isaiah 26:14 wonderful depictions of the future resurrection. First, it says of God's enemies, ‘They are dead. They will not leave. They are shades. They will not arise. To that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them.’ And then in verse 19 he says to his own people, ‘Your dead shall live, their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust awake and sing for joy for your dew is a dew of light and the earth will give birth to the dead, come my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you, hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.’ There, you think of Noah's ark, you think of the blood on the doorposts as the angel of death passes over. Clearly it is death followed by a general resurrection. This is 750 years before Jesus.”
– Michael Horton
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Objectivity of Faith"
To believe in something without first seriously reflecting on it or looking into it is not an act of faith, it is an act of foolishness. It is not, as some have held, a virtue to believe something without evidence or reason. The person who says, "You just have to have faith," is really just proclaiming he has no idea what faith is. The whole point of Christianity is not that we have faith-that is no different from any other religion or worldview. If just having faith were the goal, all would be saved since everyone believes something. No, faith itself is not the object. In fact, what differentiates religions is the object of each faith. The content of faith ultimately is what matters. And the content of a faith is what must be investigated and then embraced or rejected.
Paul argued based on facts that could be investigated by anyone who was interested. He recognized that if Christianity was true, it must be rooted in facts. Paul saw the contact point in the historical, physical, temporal aspects of the life of Jesus. Jesus was a real person who did and said certain things in certain places at certain times. Witnesses to Jesus' life and teaching could be found and questioned regarding these things. Jesus' reality—His historicity—is the foundation of Christianity. Without it, there is no Christianity. Paul was so sure of this foundation that he went so far as to point out the most vulnerable claim of the Christian faith [in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19].
If Jesus did not live, do, and say the things claimed by the apostles, then Christianity is false. If there is a better explanation for the resurrection, then Christians are simply wasting their time.
By pointing out this vulnerability, Paul was really pointing out the strength of Christianity. So convinced was he of the historicity and verifiability of the resurrection, the event that confirmed the claims of Jesus, that he pointed out how to prove it false—almost as a challenge. Christian claims can be investigated and tested. This challenge has no parallel in other religions. No other sacred text shows how to destroy its own claims.
The church fathers showed they understood the importance of Jesus' historicity when they crafted the Nicene Creed, the universally accepted creed of the church. The creed says, "For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried." Why mention Pontius Pilate? What doctrine is based on him? The answer is: none; there is no doctrine based on Pilate. He is mentioned to remind us that these were real events happening to a real person at a particular point in history.
(Doug Powell, Holman Quick Source Guide to Christian Apologetics, pp. 11, 16, 18)
 
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WHI-1302 | Resurrection in the Old Testament, Part 1

On this program the hosts continue their series, celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. The next two weeks we will look at the Old Testament and how it anticipates the resurrection of the Messiah. The hosts will begin an exploration of the Old Testament background of this doctrine of the resurrection.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says that Christ was raised on the third day “according to the Scriptures.” How did the ancient Jewish view of the afterlife differ from the views of their contemporaries? What do the Psalms and Wisdom literature teach about death and the hope of resurrection? Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we continue our series The Resurrection, focusing on the very essence of the Christian hope.

HOST QUOTE
“There are only like four default settings we have as human beings, right? We keep falling back to the same pagan ways over and over again in the absence of the gospel. Ancient Near Eastern myths of dying and rising gods... We hear a lot about this especially Christmas and Easter on the History Channel where they try to make this argument that every religion, every philosophy, and every world view you find these common themes and one of them is resurrection. God such as Adonis, Addus, Isis and Osiris along with hosts of crop-related deities were worshipped according to the cycles of nature.
”As N.T. Wright observes, did any worshipper in these cults from Egypt to Norway at any time in antiquity think that actual human beings having died actually came to life? Of course not. In Egypt, these myths included funerary practices. The aspiration of the dead was to become united with Osiris. But the new life they might thereby experience was not a return to the life of the present world; nobody actually expected the mummies to get up, walk about and resume normal living. I would love to post that in every church bulletin right around Easter and Christmas for people to get that because they're going to hear over and over, well, just like Osiris --not that they've done any investigation but they've heard it on the History Channel or somewhere.”
– Michael Horton
 
TERM TO LEARN
"History and the Early Church’s Doctrine"
From the beginning, the Christian gospel, as indeed the name "gospel" or "good news" implies, consisted in an account of something that had happened. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning of the happening was set forth, then there was Christian doctrine. "Christ died"-that is history; "Christ died for our sins"-that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity.
It is perfectly clear, then, that the first Christian missionaries did not simply come forward with an exhortation; they did not say: "Jesus of Nazareth lived a wonderful life of filial piety, and we call upon you our hearers to yield yourselves, as we have done, to the spell of that life." Certainly that is what modern historians would have expected the first Christian missionaries to say, but it must be recognized that as a matter of fact they said nothing of the kind.
The great weapon with which the disciples of Jesus set out to conquer the world was not a mere comprehension of eternal principles; it was an historical message, an account of something that had recently happened; it was the message, "He is risen." The world was to be redeemed by the proclamation of this event. And with the event went the meaning of the event; and the setting forth of the event with the meaning of the event was doctrine. These two elements are always combined in the Christian message. The narration of the facts is history, the narration of the facts with the meaning of the facts is doctrine. Such was the Christianity of the primitive church.
(J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 27-29)
 
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As a minister of the gospel, I’m neither called nor qualified to enter into the fray of public political commentary.  But the attraction of many evangelicals to Donald Trump reveals a lot about the churches in America.  How so?  See my article just published in Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/theology-of-donald-trump.html.

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WHI-1301 | The Earliest Account of Christ’s Resurrection

On this program the hosts continue their series, celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. This week we will be looking at the counter-arguments that seek to dismiss the resurrection. Countless skeptics in our day continue to claim that the New Testament gospels were written long after Jesus’ crucifixion, and that, as a result, the life of Jesus was embellished over time. The real Jesus, they say, may have been a nice teacher or political revolutionary, but by the time the story was written he was presented as a kind of glorified messiah who had risen from the dead.

But there is actually new evidence—confirmed by liberal and conservative scholars alike—that in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul recites an early Christian creed which goes back to the earliest days of the Jerusalem church. Why are so many scholars convinced of this early date, and what does it say about Jesus? Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we continue our series The Resurrection, focusing on the foundation of the Christian faith.

HOST QUOTE
"Paul's letters to the Corinthians are among the earliest writings of the New Testament documents and that fact is undisputed even by the most liberal scholars of our day. It's really amazing how that position has changed, that scholarship, that consensus has moved towards very early dating. And this is a really wonderful concession because it means that historians everywhere have to explain how by 53 to 55 AD, which is the generally accepted date of the Corinthian epistles, we find a monotheistic Jewish Pharisee professing faith in the divinity of one of his fellow rabbis who is crucified only two decades earlier. It's a fascinating historical drama in itself but especially when you add the fact that before he became a Christian leader, he was a fierce opponent of this Jewish sect, persecuting other leaders even to the point of killing them.
"Now the way the story is usually told by unbelieving historians is that Jesus was a great teacher who preached peace and love while teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony. But like a good fish story, tales about Jesus evolved overtime and by the late 1st century, when the story was finally written down, the group of teachers pictured with a halo, walking in water and performing miracles. But if that's really what happened, how do we explain Paul's conversion to the Christian faith in the early 30s and the various documents that he leaves behind, some dating to the late 40s, in the case of Galatians and Thessalonians? It's one thing to get a Greek or Roman pagan to believe in the divinity of a given man. You might recall the story told in Acts 14 when Paul himself was taught by many in Lystra to be an incarnation of Zeus. But Jews were very different. Pharisees in particular were very strict monotheists, believing only in one God. So how do we get a man like this to profess the divinity of one of his fellow rabbis at such an early date? That question is totally ignored by most liberal scholars and Discovery Channel documentaries. The way the story is usually told, Jesus wasn't declared to be divine until a decree by the Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. for political reasons. That makes for entertaining television but is far from the interesting complexity of actual historical events."
– Michael Horton
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Resurrected Body"
Resurrection is not resuscitation. We are not talking about a body brought back to its former life, a body that needs food, can get sick, can age, and must eventually die again. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he did not resurrect him; he resuscitated him. A resurrected state, however, is a body that is physical yet incorruptible-it cannot die, age, or become ill.
(Doug Powell, Holman Quick Source Guide to Christian Apologetics, p. 268)
 
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I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Jerry on many occasions. He kindly accepted invitations to speak at our White Horse Inn events way back in the 1990s. Unassuming, gracious, and humble, Jerry’s love of Christ, his gospel, and the genuine godliness to which we’re called was always an encouragement. More than that, it was a spur to my own reflections and pursuit of God.

In an age of religious celebrities, Jerry was not your usual best-selling author and sought-after speaker. He was from another generation—maybe even another era—in which Christian service was more a matter of quiet faithfulness and generosity. You wanted to be like Jerry, but he wanted you to be like Christ.

I’m sure that I speak for many when I say that I will miss his presence, but not his impact. As he rests in peace, awaiting with us the resurrection, we continue to be inspired by his message and the man who exhibited its richness.

 

We've been pleased to feature Jerry Bridges' work in the pages of Modern Reformation through the years. You can read these two articles without a subscription:

 

Justin Taylor shared some great resources yesterday including this video:

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WHI-1300 | What People Believe & Why

On this program the hosts begin a new series as we prepare for Easter in celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. As we come closer to this time, we have continually found that the necessity for an examination of the historic truth claims of Christianity is continuously needed. If you ask people on the street what they believe about God and the afterlife, you’re likely to get a wide variety of answers. But an important follow-up question you should ask is, “Why do you believe that?”

On this program the hosts will listen to and interact with a number of on-the-street interviews dealing with basic religious questions. Why do people believe what they believe, and do the answers they provide work in other areas of life? Is it arrogant to believe in a factual religion? Why or why not? Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we begin a new series, focusing on the resurrection as the foundation of the Christian faith.

HOST QUOTE
“It's so important to realize that the Apostle Paul moved the Resurrection out of the category that the Greeks would have put it in, out of the category of it's useful, it gives me happiness. He moves it over into the category of not, it makes my life better than worse, but it is true rather than false.
“And folks, everything in Christianity rests upon that claim that Jesus rose from the dead and if he hasn't, then we're still in our sins. You can't separate theology, your belief about "the afterlife," what happens when you die – you can't separate those convictions from what you believe about Jesus being raised on the third day. It is the fulcrum of everything that we believe as Christians. Everything hangs on it. Paul puts it in the category of true or false, either this happened and we're saved or it didn't happen and we're lost.”
– Michael Horton
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Need for Apologetics"
Christians who believe but don't know why are often insecure and comfortable only around other Christians. Defensiveness can quickly surface when challenges arise on issues of faith, morality, and truth because of a lack of information regarding the rational grounds for Christianity. At its worst this can lead to either a fortress mentality or a belligerent faith, precisely the opposite of the Great Commission Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19-20. The charge of the Christian is not to withdraw from the world and lead an insular life. Rather, we are to be engaged in the culture, to be salt and light.
The solution to this problem is for believers to become informed in doctrine, the history of their faith, philosophy, logic, and other disciplines as they relate to Christianity. They need to know the facts, arguments, and theology and understand how to employ them in a way that will effectively engage the culture. In short, the answer is Christian apologetics.
(Doug Powell, Holman Quick Source Guide to Christian Apologetics)
 
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Posted by on in 2016 Show Archive
WHI-1299 | The Story of David, Part 2

On this program the hosts are wrapping up their series on The Story of God’s People as they conclude their discussion of the life and ministry of David.

How can we reconcile that David was both a man after God’s own heart and also a notorious sinner? Ultimately, the most important aspect of the story of David is the promise that God himself reveals about a future king who will reign on David’s throne, and whose kingdom will never end. Join us on the White Horse Inn as we conclude The Story of God’s People.

HOST QUOTE
Unfortunately, David's life is really characterized from this point onward by a lot of tragedy. This is the time period, as you continue reading through 2 Samuel, you read of Absalom's rebellion against David. You read of the rape of Tamar by David's other son. Things are not well in David's household and finally David is an old man and he dies, and it's really left up to his son Solomon to develop this new temple for God, to dedicate it in Jerusalem and in 1 Kings 8:27, Solomon during the dedication of the new temple in Jerusalem, he asks a really profound question. He says, ‘Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built?’ You got to fast-forward to John 1. In John 1 it's not just that the highest heavens cannot contain God, but the dusty roads of the Middle East bore his footprints.
– Eric Landry
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Kingdom of God"
The great future announced by Jesus is considered entirely from the standpoint of the divine kingship. And then it is not a question of a general timeless statement concerning God's power and reign, but especially of its redemptive-historical effectuation which will one day be witnessed.
Jesus has nevertheless spoken of the coming of the kingdom as a present reality. This does not mean--and this also is an established fact--that there is no room for the future of the kingdom… but it means that the one great kingdom of the future has become present. Its fundamentally eschatological character is maintained as a matter of course. It is the great kingdom, the coming of God into the world for redemption and judgment. The future, as it were, penetrates into the present. The world of God's redemption, the great whole of his concluding and consummative works pushes its way into the present time of the world.
We shall continue to hold fast to the terminology of the gospel including fulfillment and consummation. These terms have the advantage of qualifying the presence of Jesus' coming and his work as well as the beginning of the great era of salvation, and, besides, they hold out the prospect of the definitive, final significance of the kingdom as something of the future.
(Adapted from Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, pp. 19, 55-56)
 
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WHI-1298 | The Story of David, Part 1

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People, as we look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. This week we’re beginning a two-part exploration of the life of David. Israel is in the Promised Land, but the people want a king like all the other nations.

While a tall and handsome Saul appears to fit the part, God chooses a young shepherd boy from Bethlehem. What is significant about David’s story, and how does it end up pointing us toward the eternal kingship of Christ? That’s what’s on tap this week on White Horse Inn as the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People.

HOST QUOTE
“So already here at the beginning of David's story, we get the sense that there is more to David's story than David's story. This is not just about David. David, as Mike likes to say, is not the primary character in his life story. He's being made a supporting character in the story that God is telling about his creation and his redemption, his love for Israel. God is working and moving through Samuel and even through Jesse to establish his eternal plan and purpose.
“So Samuel makes his way to Bethlehem and we keep reading in 1 Samuel 16 starting at verse 5 that Samuel consecrated Jesse and his sons, invited them to the sacrifice, and then they start coming kind of down the road. You get the sense of a beauty pageant and Samuel is the judge and the first one up is Eliab and Samuel thinks surely the Lord's anointed is before him. And then you get God speaking in through the microphone in Samuel's ear, ‘No, don't do the same thing that you did with Saul. Don't look on his appearance of the height of his stature because I have rejected him. ’The Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart. It took seven sons of Jesse to get that point across to Samuel. And you almost get the sense that it really is for Samuel that God is parading the sons of Jesse before him to help him understand the importance of what's about to happen.”
– Eric Landry
 
TERM TO LEARN
"On the Incarnation of the Son of God"
We confess, therefore, that God has fulfilled the promise which He made to the fathers by the mouth of His holy prophets, when He sent into the world, at the time appointed by Him, His own only-begotten and eternal Son, who took upon Him the form of a servant and became like unto man, really assuming the true human nature with all its infirmities, sin excepted; being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit without the means of man; and did not only assume human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, that He might be a real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that He should take both upon Him, to save both.
Therefore we confess (in opposition to the heresy of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ assumed human flesh of His mother) that Christ partook of the flesh and blood of the children; that He is a fruit of the loins of David after the flesh; born of the seed of David according to the flesh; a fruit of the womb of Mary; born of a woman; a branch of David; a shoot of the root of Jesse; sprung from the tribe of Judah; descended from the Jews according to the flesh; of the seed of Abraham; since he took on him the seed of Abraham, and was made like unto his brethren in all things, sin excepted; so that in truth He is our Immanuel, that is to say, God with us.
(The Belgic Confession, Article 18)
 
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WHI-1297 | The Story of Moses, Part 2

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People, as we look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. In the story of Moses, we see God rescuing his people from slavery, atoning for their sin, and feeding them manna in the wilderness. Who was Moses and why was he such an important figure in ancient Israel? How does he relate to the rest of the Bible? What significance does he have for us?

When we look at his importance, it is essential to understand that these stories aren’t ends in themselves. They actually point our attention to Jesus Christ, who is the true Lamb of God, the true bread of heaven, and our ultimate liberator and redeemer. This week we will be wrapping up our discussion of the life and ministry of Moses. That’s the focus of this edition of White Horse Inn as the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People.

GUEST QUOTE
“I love how when God speaks to Moses and tells Moses, ‘Here's what you're supposed to say to the people of Israel.’ Notice all the ‘I’ statements. He said, ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself.’ It's this strong emphasis on its divine action. It’s God agency that leads to the liberation of his people. Now, we're arriving at this climactic moment where God is going to enter into covenant with his people but he wants them to know that you're entering into covenant with me because I bore you on eagle's wings, I brought you to myself.”
– Uche Anizor
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Eucharist"
The Greek noun εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), meaning "thanksgiving", is attributed in the words of institution of the Last Supper to Christ as he ratifies the new covenant in his body and blood in 1 Cor. 11:20-21. The Apostle Paul links this ecclesiology of the sacrament to the ascension of Christ who is the source of the gifts. In ascending on high Christ now pours his good gifts lavishly by his Spirit to his saints through the ministry of Word and sacrament. It is this ministry alone that creates, sustains, unites, and brings maturity to the body of Christ sealed in this meal of thanksgiving (Eph. 4).
In Luke 24, on the day of Resurrection, meeting two disciples on the Road to Emmaus Jesus shows himself from all of Scriptures as being the one the prophets spoke of. They recognize him when he came to supper. He took bread and broke it and gave thanks. Thus, they recognized him only after the meal! The verbal clauses are consonant with the words of institution. This model is how the church comes to recognize Christ. While the church recognizes Christ in the preaching of the gospel (“didn’t our hearts burn within us!”), it is in the breaking of the bread that she recognizes and communes with her Savior. He stands in her midst and he says “peace be with you.” This κοινωνία (communion) is a sharing in his body and blood. She is given this Eucharist as she awaits that last day, when she will feast with God forever in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Those who partake of the Eucharist in true faith, in thanksgiving, receive all the benefits of Christ, while the unbelieving are condemned in partaking. By eating and drinking of bread and wine the church is lifted into Christ's presence by the Spirit and communes with him. This eating and drinking in thanksgiving, by the Spirit’s mystical work, sets the church aside (i.e. ‘made holy’) in body and soul for the Last Day as that end times community of saints.
(Adapted from Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, pp 733-827)
 
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WHI-1296 | The Story of Moses, Part 1

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People, as we look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. This week we will begin a two-part exploration of the life and ministry of Moses.

Who was Moses and why was he such an important figure in ancient Israel? How do the events in Moses’ life end up foreshadowing the greatest story ever told? That’s the focus of this edition of White Horse Inn.

HOST QUOTE
"We can't see what's happening with Moses and then read what's happening with Jesus and his birth in Matthew 2 and not see the connection between the two, because it's being set up like that. When you see the wise men deceiving Herod, not to let him know where they're going, and so the murderous king is deceived by these Hebrew midwives in Exodus, and then you have the murderous king being deceived by these Gentile wise men. You have these unassuming heroes. These would not be the heroes that many Jews would be thinking, ‘Oh yeah sure, Hebrew midwives and Gentile wise men.’
"So going back to the point earlier that God will use the most insane ways to get his purpose done which is redemption and freedom and protection, and then the irony of the fact that Jesus ends up being taken off to Egypt to be saved from the murderous king. And so there's a clear connection; the fact that Scriptures highlight that is to jog our memory of reminding us of the previous redemption in Exodus."
– Justin Holcomb
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Drama of Redemption"
We are to view the historical events recounted in Scripture as ingredients in a unified story ordered by God’s providence. There is no square inch of human history that is outside the mission fields of Son and Spirit. The biblical authors are witnesses to a coherent series of events ultimately authored by God. This series of events involves both divine words and divine deeds and, as such, is both revelatory and redemptive. The Old Testament testifies to the same drama of redemption as the New Testament, hence the church rightly reads both testaments together, two parts of a single authoritative script. What unifies the canon is Divine Providence and this in two senses: formally, the Bible is the product of divine authorship; materially, the subject matter of the Bible is the history of God's covenant faithfulness. It is the story of how God keeps his word: to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and so on. It follows that the Old and New Testaments are connected at a profound level, for the one story of God's faithfulness to his covenant promise is told in two parts. The typological connections that link the two testaments are grounded on God's acting consistently through time.
(Adapted from Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “Ten Theses on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture,” Modern Reformation July/August 2010, pp. 17–18)
 
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WHI-1295 | The Story of Joseph

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People, as they look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. On this edition of the program the hosts are taking a look at Joseph. In Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-coat, audiences around the world are presented with a parable about what we can all accomplish if we dream big dreams, since at the end of the day, “Any Dream Will Do.”

So is this the best way to read the story of Joseph? Is he just a model for us to emulate if we dream big dreams? What if the story is not about us at all, but rather is about God and his plan of redemption? That’s the focus of this edition of the White Horse Inn as the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People.

HOST QUOTE
“If you keep the end of the story in mind, then yes, there are blessings for obedience, but in the daily course of life, you can’t see that in every twist and turn. So, you have to take a big picture view of things, and say – in the end I know things will turn out alright, which is what Paul does in Romans 8. But as you're taking the twists and turns, you’re just not going to able to see how those things will work, and you can’t worry about it and you can’t focus on it. You have got to do the right thing. You got to take your lumps and know God will work things out in the end.”
– Kim Riddlebarger
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Concursus"
From the Latin verb concurrere, ‘to run together,’ the idea of concursus, or concurrence, in theology refers to the simultaneity of divine and human agency in specific actions and events. Sometimes God acts immediately and directly, but ordinarily he works through natural means. Aquinas employed the Aristotelian category of primary and secondary causes to make this point.
The concurrence that is necessary for a biblical doctrine of providence is not merely a general oversight but a direction of all events to their appointed ends. We can have confidence that God works all things together for our good only because all things are decreed by his wise counsels. It is only when we recognize God’s hand in everyday providence, through means, that we are able to attribute everything ultimately for his glory. If it were not for his providence and use of ordinary means, we would have no ground for praising God when good things are received through free human agents and natural means. This doctrine of concursus is likewise true in relation to the means of grace and prayer. God has ordained the use of preaching, as well as prayer, for more marvelous ends then we ourselves could cause, things pertaining to salvation. Prayer, therefore, is more than a therapeutic catharsis—venting our fears and frustrations or expressing our hopes and dreams to one who cares but is incapable of overruling in the affairs of free creatures. Prayer presupposes that God is sovereign over every contingency of nature and history.
This doctrine of concursus allows us to say that God works all things together for the salvation of his elect—even their material circumstances. Ordinary daily occurrences —trials, disasters, tragedies, personal encounters, formative events—become occasions for God’s saving hand to reach into our lives, whether we recognize it or not. This doctrine is vividly seen in the life of Joseph in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
(Adapted from Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, pp. 356–58)
 
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White Horse Inn Travels to India

Dear Friends:

On behalf of White Horse Inn, Dr. Michael Horton and I will be traveling to India for this year’s Global Theological Initiative conference. The conference will be held from January 28-30.

India is spiritual and religious but far from Christ. In many places in India you can smell religion, almost taste it, but it is all an empty pursuit, full of darkness and far from the light. In the midst of all the spiritual darkness, God is building his church. Approximately 20-25 million evangelicals struggle to stand as witnesses for Christ against the darkness of Hinduism, a religion followed by approximately 80% of the population.

Our purpose in India is focused and specific: we will meet with evangelical scholars for three days of intensive discussion on critical matters for the church. This year our focus will be on the sufficiency of the Bible. Our topics include the authority, reliability, and clarity of Scripture, and also how the church is responsible to guard this precious treasure God has given to his Bride.

Through the generous support of our donors, we are able to offer this seminar free to our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ. This is an invitation-only event for 40 of the top leaders, all PhDs in their respective fields, who are the gatekeepers and trainers that God is using to build generations of pastors and scholars for his church in India. White Horse Inn is on the ground starting and shaping conversations that matter!

Dr. Horton will be joined by Dr. Justin Holcomb, and they will participate in academic presentations followed by Q&A sessions. The purpose is to strengthen the foundations of the church by encouraging the leaders of India’s evangelical church to stay strong and true to God’s Word in the midst of incredible pressures. In short, we want to help them “know what they believe and why they believe it.”

Please pray specifically for:

1.  Travel safety for Dr. Horton, Dr. Holcomb, myself, and the forty scholars from all over India.

2.  Freedom from sickness during our time in India.

3.  A lasting impact on the evangelical scholars in India.

4.  The Word to spread among the evangelical community that they would yearn to learn (or re-learn) some of these fundamental doctrines. Praise God that this is only our second year and we had more applications than we could handle.

5.  Good conversations and fellowship with the scholars, Dr. Horton, and Dr. Holcomb. The friendships multiply the effectiveness of the presentations when our friends in India see that we love them and that we want to support them in their work.

Thank you for praying. This is a gift of service to the church in India, and we could not do it without your prayers and support.

In Christ,

Mark Green

P.S. Here is a video clip from the Ganges River in India. This public YouTube clip demonstrates the Hindu belief that if they can wash in the Ganges River, their sins will be washed away. These are visual reminders of how deeply spiritual many Indians are but without the truth of Christ. Dr. Horton and I visited this same location during our last trip to India. Warning: it’s difficult to watch and not be moved.

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WHI-1294 | The Story of Abraham

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People. We are taking a look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. On this edition of the program the hosts are taking a look at Abraham, the man of faith who lies through his teeth in order to save his own skin. He’s the friend of God who impatiently attempts to enact God’s promises by his own works.

Too often Christians jump in and out of the Old Testament looking for morality tales and lessons for life, yet the story of Abraham refuses to be treated this way. Rather, what we see is the great plan of redemption continuing to unfold, as God makes amazing promises that are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Join us for this exciting episode of the White Horse Inn.

HOST QUOTE
“The covenant promise in Genesis 17 is ‘I will establish my covenant.’ So, this is clearly a gracious covenant God is establishing. Whatever circumcision is, it is not establishing the covenant but is a response to the covenant God has already established.
“It is pointing to something, which is why we on the Reformed side and the Lutheran side will baptize children of believers. Because this is a command given to Abraham, and because in the New Testament we learn in Colossians 2 that baptism is tied directly to circumcision and the ratification of a gracious covenant. It is not a work we do. Don’t think that the work merits anything. We are responding to God’s gracious covenant promise like Abraham did.”
– Kim Riddlebarger
 
TERM TO LEARN
"The Covenant of Grace in the Old and New Testament"
Q. 34 How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament? A. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the Passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.
Q. 35 How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament? A. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.
Q. 36 Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace? A. The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.
(The Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 34–36)
 
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WHI-1293 | Creation, Fall, & Redemption, Part 2

On this program the hosts continue their series titled, The Story of God’s People. We are taking a look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. In the book of Genesis man is created from the dust, and after the fall he is cursed with death and returns back to the dust from which he came. Yet is this the end of man? Is he forever doomed to live in the dust?

If you trace this theme through Scripture, you will discover that the Messiah himself was to be “laid in the dust of death” (Ps. 22:15), so that we could be raised to eternal life in him. In this program the hosts continue to unpack the themes found in the early chapters of Genesis as they continue their series, The Story of God’s People. Join us for this exciting episode of the White Horse Inn.

HOST QUOTE
"When you look at John chapter 20, the only way that passage makes any sense is if there is an Ezekiel 37 beforehand. The prophets had foretold of a time when the Messiah would come and the prophets were to preach to the bones that it was God who was to make them alive.
“What’s the old move? ‘I see dead people’? I think ministers have to get into the pulpit and say to themselves I see dead people and I am going to preach to these bones knowing that the same one who breathed on his disciples is going to breathe his life into these and is going to raise them from the dead. I can prophecy to those dead bones that God will breathe life into you and by proclaiming that, he does!”
– Kim Riddlebarger
 
TERM TO LEARN
"Federal Representation/Theology"
The entire human race is summarized in the two Adams. The first Adam was the federal head of the race under the covenant of works; the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the federal head of all believers under the covenant of grace. Thus, as the sin of Adam was legally and effectively our sin, so the obedience of Christ is legally and effectively the righteousness of all believers. The federal relationship in which Adam stood to the race was the ground of the imputation of his guilt to them and the judicial cause of their condemnation. And the law that condemned them could not justify them unless an adequate reparation should be made for the wrong done, a reparation they were incapable of making because of the corruption they inherited from Adam as their natural and federal head. To provide their salvation, the needed reparation had to be made by another who was not of federal connection with Adam and therefore was free from the imputation of his guilt. Federal theology represents these requirements as being met in Christ, the second Adam, in whom a new race begins. God had entered into covenant with him, promising him the salvation of all believers as the reward of his obedience. But the obedience required of him as the federal head of his people was more than the mere equivalent of that required of Adam. His representative obedience must include a penal death. And thus his resurrection victory is also the victory of the new humanity that has its source in him.
(Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. “Federal Theology.”)
 
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New from "Modern Reformation"

Our January/February 2016 issue, “The Story of God’s People,” is now in homes and on devices. With this issue, we kick off an entire year focused on the story of God's people. In this issue, it's the story of ancient Israel as told in fictionalized, first-person narrative accounts by Eve, Abraham, Joshua, Solomon, Ahaz, and Daniel. If you’re not a subscriber, or if you want to send a sample to a friend, you can read Simonetta Carr’s article from Eve’s perspective for free here.

In future issues, we will revisit the story and significance of Jesus: his birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. Along the way we'll discover, like Israel, how our stories make sense only in his story. So if this is the first issue of your subscription to Modern Reformation, then hang on—you're in for a wild ride! Make sure you keep your subscription going so you can see how the entire year fits together— literally! (We'll reveal more about that toward the end of the series.)

This issue also showcases a revised design based in part on your important feedback through several surveys that we have conducted over the last year or so. First, and most important for many of us, we have increased the font size—making the entire issue easier to read. We’ve also added a few extra pages and simplified some of our regular design elements. The year 2016 will also feature award-winning illustrators whose work can be seen in major market newspapers and magazines.

Our commitment to making Modern Reformation a premier medium for communicating God’s truth today is only made possible by your faithful support. We’re embarking on our 25th continual year of publishing in 2016! We’d love to hear from you via Facebook and Twitter about the difference Modern Reformation has made to you, your family, and your church. Thank you for being faithful friends, readers, and supporters!

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