Thursday, December 3, 2009

Michael Horton Interviewed

Burke Parsons over at Ligonier has posted a four part interview with Michael Horton. Check it out HERE.

In a word, what encourages you most about what you see in the church today?
The godly lust of many young people for God's grace and glory.

In one sentence, what does it mean to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever?
It means that we are we were created to be, that as Augustine said, God made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him--it means that God's glory and our happiness are not antithetical, but our real happiness is found in God.

Considering Bishop N.T. Wright's doctrine of justification, do you believe he is teaching another gospel?
J.I. Packer has a great line: Tom Wright foregrounds what the Bible backgrounds, and backgrounds what the Bible foregrounds--but Wright does more than that; he denies a crucial component of justification, namely imputation. So, in answer to your question, yes--in denying imputation, Wright is preaching another gospel.

There's a kind of fundamentalist approach to Scripture that Tom Wright seems to want to confront. And while he does a wonderful job of highlighting the fact that justification in Paul's writings is understood within a broader redemptive-historical framework, something not all presentations and defenses of justification do, he is not confronting historic Reformed theology. Reformed theology always has understood justification within a broader redemptive-historical framework. If he were to read the Reformers and more recent Reformed writers, such as Geerhardus Vos and Herman Ridderbos, he would clearly see that justification is placed in its proper context with the believer's union with Christ and within the whole history of redemption. Reformed writers speak of Paul's treatment of justification being inseparable from the inclusion of the Gentiles. Then, when you read Tom Wright he makes it seem as if he's the first person who saw these emphases of Paul, and that everyone else before him sort of taught the four spiritual laws. It's an incredibly naïve view...

What is most central to your life and ministry?
The ministry of the Word--the public preaching of the Word is the center. Out of that cascades the ministry of parents in the home, teaching the Scriptures in the home, and the time that individual believers spend in the Word. I think that all of those disciplines are important: the discipline of regular church attendance, attendance to the ordinary means of grace--listening to God speak to us through His Word--each of these is essential, and we must bring the Word into the home. It's essential that we recover the practice of catechism--family catechism, or family worship, whatever you want to call it--a time in the morning and the evening, or at least during one time in the day where parents are training their children in the Scriptures. At our church, for example, we have a weekly catechism question that the children learn at different grade levels, appropriate to their grade levels. At church and throughout the week the children memorize the catechism question and answer and the pertinent Scripture references in family worship. There's an integration of what's happening at home and what's happening at church, and the elders ask when they come for their visits: "Are you teaching the children the Scriptures in the catechism in the home?" That's part of their vows they make as parents and as church members.

And while this is all central, it is also the hardest to maintain, especially personally it's hardest for me to make time daily for my own Bible reading and prayer because every day in my teaching and writing I am reading the Bible. This is our job. And the danger is that it becomes strictly a job. The danger is that we're coming to the Scriptures to mine it in order to make a meal for others while we ourselves might be starving. It's easy for a lot of people who handle the Word regularly as a calling to sort of lose the sanctity of the Word, to lose a sense of appreciation and wonder for that Word, not only for others, but for themselves. So that's what I struggle with most--not being in the Word daily for myself and spending extended periods of time in prayer just for my own edification, even though I'm studying the Word daily.

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