Category Archives: Michael Horton

Memento Mori

While finishing up the book “Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story” by Michael Horton, I came across the curious subject of still life paintings from the Dutch masters of the 16th and 17th centuries. Horton mentions that the typical paintings contained images of, and even the text of “memento mori”, in the art work. Horton was drawing a contrast between the remembrance death in the culture of those earlier centuries and today. We don’t like to think about the fact that one day we will die.

But isn’t death the ultimate accountability?

Vanitas is the name or genre given to these 16th and 17th century symbolic works of art. Vanitas comes from the Latin noun for emptiness. The symbolic reference in the paintings is to infer that, much like the author of Ecclesiastes in the biblical narrative, life is vain or meaningless. In these paintings you will often see a half-empty glass of wine, leftover scraps of food, flowers, and most times a skull ,which is a reminder of the certainty of death.

As a Christian, like everyone else, we have to face this reality of death. But, like Horton puts it, “Our people die well.” What he means is that “believers are able to meet tragedy and death not with a cheesy grin but with a wink,in the middle of pain, knowing that for them death has lost it’s sting.”

Memento mori is Latin for “Remember death.” The phrase is believed to originate from an ancient Roman tradition in which a servant would be tasked with standing behind a victorious general as he paraded though town. As the general basked in the glory of the cheering crowds, the servant would whisper in the general’s ear: “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!” = “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you will die!”

Memento mori. Remember that you will die. As a Christian I’d like to add:

per “O mors, ubi est victoria tua? ubi est mors stimulus tuus?

O death where is your victory? Where is your sting?

As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:57:

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria!!


Would Jesus Have A Facebook Page?

I stumbled on this article by Michael Horton in My Feedly today. I thought it was interesting enough to share. Below are some excerpts from the article. But please click on the links provided, and read the article in it’s entirety. Are we really going down this road as a church?

Technology should ultimately be an enhancement, not a replacement, for gathering in person for worship, discussion, debate and service to others.

You can have a digital Bible in the palm of your hand or connect with others in prayer any time anywhere.

Contrary to the propaganda of the techno-evangelists, the Internet cannot bring people together, bodily, to make them a communion of saints. It can deliver data, even crucial information about God’s Worrd, but it cannot deliver Christ with all of his benefits.

Would Jesus Have A Facebook Page?


Decisions, Decisions.

I will definitely admit I am far from being in a position to be asked to participate in any forum where I would be speaking in front of hundreds of people. I am truly not trying to be critical of those who are and the choices they make. I am just trying to think through these things as I listen to some of my favorite speakers and some of the forums they are invited to. Today’s case in point, Michael Horton speaking in at forum in Saddleback Church on June 10th as part of the “12 Cities 12 Conversations” project hosted by the Lausanne Movement.

Earlier this week after watching the recorded web cast of the panel discussion I posed a question, via email, to many of my church leadership friends regarding Horton participating in this panel discussion at Saddleback Church. I received many responses, from simply “dumb” to a short rebuttal in the use of the phrase “reformed infatuation” from a popular blogger brother. But included in this blogger’s response was a point made to him by Mark Dever a few years ago. The point being that if anyone opened their platform or pulpit to him (Mark Dever) he would gladly take the opportunity to present the true gospel. In some cases it may be the only time they audience would hear it.

After watching the panel discussion, I now know why Horton was there. I have included the link below and in the body of this post. If you haven’t seen it please notice the term “gospel” thrown around quite a bit, Horton addresses this later. But the term is used in such a way as to infer that the gospel is the same as the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the law, but it is NOT the gospel. This would fall in line with some points made by my senior pastor in a recent sermon found here.

If you watch the video of the panel discussion, the real discussion doesn’t really get cranked up until about 16 minutes in, so you may want to push the feed forward and bypass all the posturing and introductions. Around the 45 minute mark Horton brings up the term “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”, this term is mentioned many times in his book “Christless Christianity“. (Catch Kay Warren chanting Burger King after Horton finishes speaking as if saying have it your way) But my favorite part of the discussion is when Michael Horton addresses the question “How do we make sure that the proclamation of Jesus doesn’t get lost among the feeding of the hungry and the care for the widows and orphans?”. This comes right at the tail end of the first video (there are two parts), which is around the 60 minute mark.  Horton zooms right in on what the gospel is. Very cool. Glory to God.

The web cast panel discussion at Saddleback Church (again the real discussion doesn’t get going until about 16 to 20 minutes in)

Patrick Abendroth on “The Dechristianization of Christianity

The gospel in about a minute by John Piper.

I would encourage any and all comments on this discussion in particular on the subject of decisions to participate in these venues. Did Horton get his point across or was he marginalized? If you are a preacher given the opportunity to speak at a venue, like say the Crystal Cathedral, would you use it to preach the gospel?