Friday, March 27, 2009

Michael Horton Visit - Reflections

Michael Horton's visit to the store was most appreciated. Attended by about 40 people we listened as Mike gave some summary statements about his new book Christless Christianity. He spoke for about 20-25 minutes and the remaining hour was given to Q&A. Horton began by saying he didn't have all the answers. This was good since so many think those within the reformed community believe they have all the answers and there are no loose ends. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, not having all the answers is not the same as not having any answers. Too many today are making doubt a virtue and pride themselves in creating as many questions as possible. The first questioner asked Horton if the problem he describes in the book was true in reformed communities as well as other faith traditions. Horton said the problems existed across the board. "We've all made mistakes and contributed to the problem." Part of the answer lies in restoring the gospel to its proper role and centering the Church around Christ rather than various programs. The question was a good one since Horton's criticisms are mostly pointed to those in non-reformed traditions. The important point here is that Horton is not criticizing them for not being reformed, per se, but for offering an alternative gospel. The quote that I've pondered the most since I left was this one from J. Gresham Machen, "There can be no applied Christianity unless there is a Christianity to apply." I came home and read the entire quote from Machen's book Liberalism and Christianity. He continues, "That is where the Christian man differs from the modern liberal. The liberal believes that applied Christianity is all there is of Christianity, Christianity being merely a way of life; the Christian man believes that applied Christianity is the result of an initial act of God." (Christianity and Liberalism, 155) Machen's voice is a refreshing one and cannot be simply dismissed. We can't just sweep the great truths of the faith under a rug as if they don't matter and simply encourage people to love each other. It's true we can't reduce Christianity to doctrine and simply believing. But the solution is not to reduce it to ethics and simply doing. The two are fundamentally united in Christianity and is what makes Christianity unique. I want to thank Michael Horton for coming and speaking and to those who came out to hear him. I look forward to tonight's event with Michael Wittmer.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thanks for posting these thoughts. That quote from Machen is a good one. I'll be pondering for a while I'm sure.