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An Introduction to Ephesians

Why does Paul refer to his fellow Christians as “saints” at the beginning of his letters, and how can this be true since all Christians continue to struggle with remaining sin? What does it mean to be chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, as Paul teaches in Ephesians? Does God choose us because of something good that he foresaw in us? And what is the significance of the idea that we have been predestined to be adopted as his very own sons? The host will discuss these questions and more as we begin a new series on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Join us for this edition of the White Horse Inn.

Host Quote:

“When God speaks, things happen. When God says, ‘Let there be light,’ in the Old Testament in Genesis, there is light. When Jesus says, ‘Lazarus, come forth,’ he in fact does. When God, through the mouth of the apostle or here through the pen of the apostle says, ‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father,’ it’s not just imparting information. It is doing that, but it’s doing something more than that actually. It’s bringing the very thing that it speaks of. It is imparting to them the peace that comes from God on account of Christ.” – Steve Parks

Term to Learn:

“The Authority of Christ in Scripture’s Authorship”

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)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Improving Your Observation Skills

Improving Your Observation SkillsWe live in a world of screens that compete for our attention. Though it’s easy to be attracted to the things competing for our attention on our phone, television, or computer screen, it takes a little more work to really notice things that are going on all around us. The same can be said for the way we approach the Bible. We often have a superficial understanding of a given passage because we rarely take the time to really observe what the text is saying.

On this program, Michael Horton discusses this issue with Jim Gilmore, author of Look: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Observation Skills. Join us for this special edition of the White Horse Inn.

Host Quote:

“If we consider reflection, I think at one level, the difference between, let’s say, watching a video and reading a book is you seldom stop the film to say I’m going to think about this scene right now. You’ll do that with a book but there’s even a further step away as to not have anything that’s in between and observing your surroundings. I think we’re losing our sense of reflection.

“We’re losing a sense of quietness. Sometimes you put those ear buds on because it’s noisy, so you’d rather listen to your own music than the street noise, not a bad decision. So part of it is a call not just for more reflection but for more quietness. I think what’s happening with social media particularly is just making the world increasingly noisy, noisy being the lowest form of intelligence that exists. It’s not even data or information. It’s just this random stream of just blah, blah, blah. It all to me sounds like what the adult sounds like to the kids on Peanuts. It’s the getaway from that world.” – Jim Gilmore

Term to Learn:

“Therapeutic Culture”

The move to the therapeutic in society has been induced by several cultural developments. The intense psychologization of men’s attitudes and feelings as the primary subconscious level of “who we are,” the altering definitions of justice as primarily the accommodation of society to remove all barriers from self-expression and empowering fulfillment of the self, and the movement to the individual subject as the arbiter of that freedom to happiness apart from external structures and forces. The good life of justice, freedom, happiness have been internalized to such a degree that boredom and the external forces which upset that interior life are now seen as the greatest of evils. Justice has been re-defined in the last century as the removal of external barriers and the material empowerment of the individual towards the good life perceived to be desirable.

Men’s attitudes and feelings have come to arbitrate justice and goodness in the late modern society. Safety and security have been held out as the primary good of Western culture above what previous generations saw as essential to promoting the good life, namely liberty, self-reliance, and responsibility. Conventional ideals of moral responsibility have gradually become subordinated to state interpreted therapeutic ideals. “Modern culture is unique in having given birth to such elaborately argued anti-religions, all aiming to confirm us in our devastating illusions of individuality and freedom,” writes Philip Rieff in his magisterial, The Triumph of the Therapeutic. Jacques Ellul argued in the mid-century that whenever a culture’s ethical outlook could not keep a pace with its technological developments, propaganda was the fated result – the subconscious alteration of men’s attitudes and feelings through technological means of domination. Modern cultural production has moved into the business and technique of manipulating a sense of well­being under what Jürgen Habermas has called a “therapeutocracy.” (Timothy W. Massaro, “Therapeutic Culture,” WHI [blog], October 05, 2015)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Joy to The World!

When the angels appeared before the shepherds in Bethlehem, they came bringing a message of “good news” rather than tips for improving our life or the world around us.Joy to The World!

On this program, the hosts will discuss the nature of the Christian gospel and its roots in the Old Testament promises of a coming redemption. They’ll also discuss the relationship between good news and the “great joy” that we experience in response as they conclude their series on The Meaning of Christmas on this edition of the White Horse Inn.

Host Quote:

“We’re taking a look at the theme of joy at Christmas, ‘Joy to the World,’ that famous hymn that we sing at this time of the year written in 1719 by Isaac Watts that is based on Psalm 98. Here is the famous hymn that you know so well. ‘Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let Earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room and Heaven and nature sing. Joy to the world, the savior reigns. Let men, their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy. No more, let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessing flow far as the curse is found. He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love.’

“One of the things right out of the gate with this song that really strikes me is how it focuses so much on not just joy to me and my personal experience, but joy to the world and ‘Let Earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room and Heaven and nature sing.’ And then turning to the nature, fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeating the sounding joy. ‘No more, let sins and sorrows grow,’ not just within my heart, but he comes to make his blessings flow ‘far as the curse is found.’ Just the breadth here of understanding… The curse is not just me and my own personal situation, but that the whole Earth is under a curse and Jesus Christ comes to bring joy to the whole Earth and even the rocks and the hills and the rivers are crying out with joy!” – Michael Horton

Term to Learn:

“Of 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)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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