Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Michael Horton on Iron Sharpens Iron, (March 19)


Attentions Reformers!


Do you have a question you've always wanted to ask Michael Horton from the White Horse Inn? Here's your chance, he's going to be on IRON SHARPENS IRON live, Thursday, March 19, 3-4 PM Eastern Standard Time. For details on how to call in, visit the IRON SHARPENS IRON website. The first five callers with a question will receive a free copy of Mike Horton's new book, CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church.

MIKE HORTON, author and co-host of "THE WHITE HORSE INN", will address the theme of his provocative, controversial new book: "CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church".

According to the "Christless Christianity" web site: "Christians have always had their differences, but never in church history have there been so many statistics indicating that many Christians today are practicing what can only be described as "Christless Christianity."

Christless Christianity guides the reader to a greater understanding of a big problem within the American religious setting, namely the creeping fog of countless sermons in churches across the country that focus on moralistic concerns and personal transformation rather than the theology of the cross.

Michael Horton's analysis of the contemporary church points believers back to the power of a gospel that should never be assumed.

"Horton has ably helped us see the train wreck that is some much of popular Christianity...A more important and timely volume could not have been written."-Thabiti M. Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman

"His wide ranging carefully researched examples show how our churches and megachurches have pandered to the culture with...moralistic and self-help heresies bereft of the saving action of Jesus Christ." -Rt.Rev. Christopher FitzSimons Allison, Episcopal Bishop


The Rev. Dr. Michael S. Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California . He is the main host of " The White Horse Inn" radio broadcast and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine . He received his M.A. from Westminster Seminary California, his Ph.D. from Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and the University of Coventry , and also completed a research fellowship at Yale University Divinity School .

Dr. Horton is author of more than 20 books, including Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship, The Law of Perfect Freedom, Made in America, Where in the World is the Church, We Believe: Recovering the Essentials of the Apostle's Creed, Covenant and Eschatology, Lord and Servant, Covenant and Salvation, People and Place (forthcoming September 2008), God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology, Too Good to be True: Finding Hope in a World of Hype and many others (see a list of Dr. Horton's books here).

Dr. Horton is a minister in the United Reformed Churches of North America . He has served two churches in southern California and currently resides with his wife, Lisa and four children in Escondido, California.

9 comments:

David Waltz said...

I sincerely wonder if Protestant sects would allow/display crucifixes in their churches if it would help their congregants to keep the work of our Lord on the Cross in focus?


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

David,

You could always call in with your question.

Turretinfan said...

The Reformed view of crucifixes is that they are idols in that they purport to image the Second Person of the Trinity. The ends of edification would not justify the means of idolatry, although certainly some churches have fallen prey to that mentality.

David Waltz said...

Hi James,

Thanks for the recommendation—I tried during the entire hour, but alas, could not get through.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello TF,

You said:

>> The Reformed view of crucifixes is that they are idols in that they purport to image the Second Person of the Trinity.>>

Me: Yep…but, as I am sure that you are aware of, such a tradition is contrary to the teachings of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II – 787); a teaching that goes back the persecuted Christians of the catacombs…

I see the Reformed tradition on this matter as but one more clear example of subjective reductionism.


Grace and peace,

David

Turretinfan said...

Waltz: "Yep…but, as I am sure that you are aware of, such a tradition is contrary to the teachings of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II – 787); a teaching that goes back the persecuted Christians of the catacombs…"

People have been making pictures for a very long time. Actually, though, official teaching sanctioning images would not go back that far.

For example, one has only to look at the council that called itself the 7th ecumenical council before the council of 787 came along, which condemned these images for the idols they are.

As that council pointed out, the only proper icon of Christ is the Eucharist. As that council also pointed out, a rejection of the use of idols of Christ had always generally been the belief of Christians from the time of the Apostles, although one certainly can find exceptions, even before the 8th century.

Like so many other issues, the church fathers were divided, but it is the iconodules that destroyed the iconoclastic writings (by the order of the council of 787, which you call ecumenical), thereby hindering historical investigation of the matter.

-TurretinFan

Constantine said...

David,

“Focus” is the work of the Spirit, and not man eye-balling a piece of wood. If Catholics need a crucifix to maintain focus, they are looking in the wrong direction.

Of course, we see the Roman reliance on the documents of men “as but one more clear example” of monarchical expansionism.

Peace.

David Waltz said...

Hi TF,

You said:

>> Like so many other issues, the church fathers were divided, but it is the iconodules that destroyed the iconoclastic writings (by the order of the council of 787, which you call ecumenical), thereby hindering historical investigation of the matter.>>

Me: Exactly. This seems to repeat an earlier ‘pattern’. Before the 2nd Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381) numerous councils (pro-Arian and pro-Nicene) vied for recognition. After the 381, we see the destruction of pro-Arian writings.

Interestingly enough, some of those earlier councils were larger than that of Constantinople; the councils of 754 and 787 were roughly equal in size, but the latter had a much broader geographical representation.

An informative treatment of the iconoclastic controversy is John Meyendorff’s, “Vision of the Invisible: The Iconoclastic Crisis” (chapter 9 in his Christ In Eastern Christian Thought). He argues that much of the “fanaticism with which they [Eastern iconoclastic Emperors Leo III, Constantive V and Copronymos] sought to destroy the best established practices of the Greek Church”, stemmed from their ongoing battle(s) with iconoclastic Islam, and the “reproaches of idolatry thrown at the Byzantine Christians” by the Muslims.


Grace and peace,

David

Turretinfan said...

Actually, what both controversies demonstrate is the importance of relying Scripture rather than councils as one's rule of faith.

The idea that the iconoclasts were influenced by Islam is a common claim among subsequent Eastern Orthodox folks, and Meyendorf is not a lone voice among those ranks, but it is a little silly when one thinks about it: the Muslims didn't consider Jesus God but were opposed to all representational likenesses, but the main icons that gave the iconoclasts heartburn (from the mutilated historical record we have left) were those of Jesus precisely because of his hypostatic union.

-TurretinFan