The New Puritanism Part 2: Michael S. Horton: Holy War With Unholy Weapons -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 22:42 (Spring 2009)
Article: The New Puritanism Part 2: Michael S. Horton: Holy War With Unholy Weapons
Author: Zane C. Hodges


The New Puritanism
Part 2:
Michael S. Horton:
Holy War With Unholy Weapons1

Zane C. Hodges

I. Introduction

Michael S. Horton is the president of an organization known as Christians United for Reformation (CURE), with headquarters in Anaheim, California. As its journalistic arm, CURE publishes a magazine called modernReformation [sic], which promotes CURE’s point of view. On the masthead of this magazine CURE is identified as “a non-profit educational foundation committed to communicating the insights of the 16th century Reformation to the 20th century Church.”

The book under review here is a symposium volume entitled, Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992; 240 pp.) and is edited by Horton. He also contributed a preface, an introduction, and two out of the eight articles the book contains. Four other contributors (W. Robert Godfrey, Rick Ritchie, Kim Riddlebarger, and Rod Rosenbladt) are listed as “Writers” on the masthead of modernReformation. The two remaining contributors are Paul Schaefer, a freelance writer, and Robert Strimple, a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in California (as also is Godfrey, mentioned above).

Clearly there is no reason to quarrel with the designation “A CURE Book” which appears on the title page.

Michael S. Horton’s name has achieved considerable visibility in recent years through a number of books, including The Agony of Deceit (which he edited) and Made in America (which he wrote). But it is probable that many to whom his name is known could not pinpoint his theology beyond saying that it was evangelical. However, as one reviewer of Made in America has noted:

Horton’s major concern is not with the country in general, but how quickly American evangelicals in particular abandoned the Puritan ideal, particularly its Calvinistic theology and world view, and accommodated themselves to whatever the culture dictated.2

Later, the same reviewer notes that “those who do not share Horton’s love for the five Points of Calvinism may find his constant harping on Arminianism excessive.”3 An awareness of the theology behind Christ the Lord is essential if we are to correctly evaluate this book.

II. Let The Reader Beware

In the last analysis, Christ the Lord is a vigorous attack on Free Grace theology from a slightly disgu...

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