All Your Reformings Are Belong To Us

Does the WHI redesign seem to anybody else to be a little, um, transformational? And with the latest episode right up there titled “The Narcissism Epidemic”, the whole page almost looks like a self-parody.

[Update: 9/18] I talked to Horton last week, and when I asked him about it, he said, “Oh that, yeah, that’s gone now.” And indeed, the White Horse Inn has switched to the kinder, gentler image below:

Accompanying the image is a more finely nuanced paragraph, which explains better what they were getting at with the “we are a movement” thing:

We believe that many Christians today are malnourished and misled, due at least in part to the fascination with cultural fads and doctrinal indifference. We hope to enlarge the demand for faithful churches by provoking many Christians to rethink their captivity to a faith and practice distorted by the culture of marketing, consumerism, therapy, and moralism. In short, we want to see a second Reformation, and you can play a big role in this cause!

Ahhh, that’s better!

This entry was posted in Culture, Culture War, Horton, Prosperity Gospel, QIRE & QIRC, Revivalism, Theology of the Cross/glory, Transformationism. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to All Your Reformings Are Belong To Us

  1. Rick says:


    All caps, Yikes. I think of the Borg from Star Trek.

    Not subtle. Un-theology of the cross-ish

  2. Rick says:

    BTW, great post title.

  3. Good point. Movements belong in the outhouse.

  4. Todd says:


  5. Zrim says:

    Sheesh, you guys are a tough crowd around here. But I started raising my hand here.

  6. Danny Hyde says:

    I thought the same thing. “We are a Movement”? Great, now ModRef and WHI are competing with Together for the Gospel, Desiring God, that self-promoter in Seattle, etc. What next, their own conferences, ministry cruises to Alaska, t-shirts, bobble-heads, over-priced CDs, DVDs, mp3s?

    Uggh . . . why can’t they just be a mag and a show? I miss their old days.

  7. Danny Hyde says:

    I guess “movement” sounds more “confessional” than the old adage, “parachurch.”

  8. Todd says:

    None of the great men; Luther, Calvin, Machen; had any interest in starting a movement. History simply moved them, often against their own desires.

  9. Zrim says:


    A recent newsletter suggested I listen to WHI “24/7.” I don’t know, for some reason, that particularly struck me as really, really…weird.

  10. Todd says:


    How odd! Do they offer a 1-900 number so I can get my fix in the middle of the night?

  11. Joe Brancaleone says:

    “thought the same thing. “We are a Movement”? Great, now ModRef and WHI are competing with Together for the Gospel, Desiring God, that self-promoter in Seattle, etc.”

    and Starbucks too! More than a coffee and a scone. A movement.

  12. Danny Hyde says:


    Starbucks coffee and the new ModRef give me a whole other type of movement.

  13. adam says:

    Isn’t this just truth in advertising? I mean how has the WHI and MR from the get-go not gotten tagged as parachurch? Is it just because the guys doing it are known in our circles as good guys? Or maybe because they take shots at the right folks?

    You’ve got a show featuring Reformed, Lutherans and Baptists, not part of any church – but of course wanting to come alongside the church to help. They do radio, plus fill your mailbox with fund raising appeals and now conferences with intinerant speakers coming soon to your area. Now what exactly was the beef you folks have with the New Sider anyway?

  14. sean says:

    Well Heck.

    In reference to Zrim’s link; I don’t think Horton ever was completely firm on whether “christian” art straddled the divide or not. Ya leave just a little room………………

  15. says:

    All fine, but do they fit any of these definitions?

      /ˈmuvmənt/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [moov-muhnt] Show IPA

    1. the act, process, or result of moving.
    2. a particular manner or style of moving.
    3. Usually, movements. actions or activities, as of a person or a body of persons.
    4. Military, Naval. a change of position or location of troops or ships.
    5. abundance of events or incidents.
    6. rapid progress of events.
    7. the progress of events, as in a narrative or drama.
    8. Fine Arts. the suggestion of motion in a work of art, either by represented gesture in figurative painting or sculpture or by the relationship of structural elements in a design or composition.
    9. a progressive development of ideas toward a particular conclusion: the movement of his thought.
    10. a series of actions or activities intended or tending toward a particular end: the movement toward universal suffrage.
    11. the course, tendency, or trend of affairs in a particular field.
    12. a diffusely organized or heterogeneous group of people or organizations tending toward or favoring a generalized common goal: the antislavery movement; the realistic movement in art.
    13. the price change in the market of some commodity or security: an upward movement in the price of butter.
    14. bowel movement.
    15. the working parts or a distinct portion of the working parts of a mechanism, as of a watch.
    16. Music.
    a. a principal division or section of a sonata, symphony, or the like.
    b. motion; rhythm; time; tempo.
    17. Prosody. rhythmical structure or character.

  16. Rick says:

    We still love the WHI and Mod Ref here at the CO

    They’re still the best.

    Jabbing at the new look and slogan is partly in fun, but it’s worth scratching our heads over a little.

  17. Chris Sherman says:

    Maybe by “movement” they were referring to Rod Rosenbladt.

    This is from the FAQ section on

    6. Aren’t you just another group with an opinion? Why should I care?
    All we ask is that you take a look around you and consider the state of contemporary Christianity. You should care about it if you care about truth and the health of the church in our time. We’re not content to just voice our opinion, our goal is nothing less than a second Reformation in our day.

    7. What unites the hosts of WHI?
    Like its original namesake, the new White Horse Inn is not a church and our hosts don’t agree on every detail of theology (even important topics like the sacraments and election, etc.). Instead, what unites the hosts and everyone involved in White Horse Inn is a concern for churches tat are God-centered rather than human-centered, Christ-focused rather than distracted by secondary concerns, gospel-driven rather than driven by programs and moralistic platitudes. The hosts believe that the solas of the Reformation [see above] are both the message and the means for the renewal of the church in our time.

  18. RubeRad says:

    Yes, see the tag-list for many more adjectives…

  19. RubeRad says:

    Thanks! I couldn’t quite remember the right phrasing, and when I looked it up, I discovered the origin, which is interesting

  20. RubeRad says:

    Nice! Wes wins the one-liner contest in this thread!

  21. RubeRad says:

    Yes, I was thinking this would trigger your sensitive activism-alarms

  22. Zrim says:

    What can I say, Rube, I take my inspiration and edification from the book of Ecclesiastes.

    But I wonder: what beef might someone who thinks “more Christians equals better world” have with the new and improved sloganeering?

  23. RubeRad says:

    Technically, my view is “more sanctification equals a better world,” but my only real beef is the Narcissism (nobody else commented on the juxtaposition of the new slogan and the current episode). You know, there probably is a movement, but to claim “we are a movement” seems arrogant and presumptive.

  24. Zrim says:

    Re the better world stuff, potato–potahtoe.

    Re the narcissism stuff, yes, “we are a movement” has that “we are the world” tone. Still a bit unsure how your “technical” view doesn’t play into the same narcissism though. I have Bob Geldoff on line 2 for you.

  25. John Yeazel says:

    It seems that the more you understand the view of reality as revealed in the scriptures and the more motivated you get to try to implement it in your life the more you experience conflict with everything and everyone around you. The harder I try to implement it the worse things seem to become.

    Or, perhaps I am deceiving myself- I cannot really say I have tried that hard at implementation. I try more to understand than to do. I am content now just to make it to Church, listen to the Gospel and take communion. Beyond that I do not have much expectation for this life. Transformation of myself seems like an impossible task- how can I expect the culture to be transformed if I have little hope of self-transformation? My expectations have diminished rapidly the older I get.

    It also seems to be a good thing to critique the White Horse Inn when necessary. It is easy to become a mutual admiration society when you are basically motivated by the same concerns and are drawing from the same people week in and week out. I am convinced now that the main thing we learn in this life is that we are deeply fallen and in deep need of what the true Church has to offer us. Namely, the work of Christ for us fallen sinners.

  26. RubeRad says:

    Part of the point of transformation being an indirect, secondary effect, is that you don’t put the focus on it by calling it a movement. And if you’re planning to “walk backwards”, you don’t announce it as a parade!

  27. danborvan says:

    Declaring yourself to be a movement is like giving yourself a nickname. It is not to be done.

    “From now on, call me T-Bone!”

  28. Zrim says:

    Is it me, or this pile-on starting to feel like a protest?

  29. Rick says:

    No way. You’ll be known as “Koko the Monkey.” Your number will be 00 for “oo, oo” But we can’t have two Kokos so don’t go hiring anyone.

  30. Rick says:

    Yeah, we better be careful or we might not be invited to any more dessert meetings with the Hort.

  31. Rana says:

    Umm, isn’t there already a ministry cruise in Alaska coming up? I thought I saw something advertised with Horton and Sproul cruise leaves out of Seattle.


  32. RubeRad says:

    I’ll paint some signs — who can borrow a bullhorn? Hey, when do we get to call ourselves a movement? (As Wes noted right up top, movements are what Outhouses are all about!)

  33. Rick says:

    I linked above with my “Ha!” I guess that was missed.

    Again, funny.

  34. John Yeazel says:

    Do I detect an uneasiness with the recent “success” and media recognition of confessionalists such as Michael Horton and others who have critiqued mainstream evangelicalism? Is it possible that some figures in the “movement” are getting more attention then others and this does not sit well with those who think they might be “selling out.?” Things never seem to change much do they?” It is just the same cycle from one “movement” to the other. Soon the Hartites will split with Modern
    Reformation and there will be three or four different expressions of confessionalism. Then they will start with parachurch organizations ad infinitum and all over again. Forgive my redundency.
    Come quickly Lord Jesus and save us from ourselves. Let the local Church flourish and save us from movements of any kind.

  35. RubeRad says:

    Reminds me of when WHI interviewed whatsisface from the “good” Mars Hill, and awkwardly joked about how “Reformed” and “successful megachurch” shouldn’t go together.

    But no, I don’t feel a vibe of jealousy. I’m glad for WHI’s success, and Horton’s success in particular. I hope their message gets out more and more. As Rick said above, “We still love the WHI and Mod Ref here at the CO. They’re still the best.”

    It’s just that the “We are a movement” claim just seems a bit contrary to the WHI’s continuous insistence that Paul’s message to Timothy was “keep your head down” (I’m still looking for what translation has that phrasing)

    Next time I have a chance to chat with Horton, I hope I’ll have the balls to ask him about it, as nicely and humbly as possible.

  36. John Yeazel says:


    I have been reading a lot of D.G. Hart lately and I can see the danger of trying to be a movement. The neo-evangelicals did this in the 40’s and 50’s as a reaction to the fundamentalists and ignored their various denominations creeds, polity and liturgy. They seemed to be conciously trying to start a movement. Most neo-evangelicals were more Arminian and Revivalistic in their basic biblical viewpoints. The folks at Modern Reformation and the White Horse are much more creed and liturgy oriented then those who started the neo-evangelical movement. I think what they were trying to convey is a movement towards greater theological clarity and definition. They should be more careful about what they were trying to say because it does come off as a bit narcississtic.

    Hart’s books are a good read- have you listened to the interview he had with Mark Dever on the Heidelblog? It is worth listening to.

  37. John Yeazel says:

    I should have said they seemed to be trying to start a movement in separation from their various denominations creeds, polity and liturgy. We can disagree and argue about various doctrinal issues but it should be done in a context of the various denominations written down creedal statements of belief. The neo-evangelical movement disregarded this and it ended up veering off into a new social gospel for America. At least this is how I read Hart and what he is trying to communicate in his books.

  38. RubeRad says:

    I think that new picture must have been taken by someone sitting in here

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