The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Thursday, June 30, 2005

This Explains the 11 Police Cars

Our local paper notes today that there was an arrest spree held yesterday in the city of San Jacinto. Now we know what was going on when eleven police cars and officers in full-blown military garb descended on the house across from our church offices (this is the second time). Our church sits in a very interesting location. The south sides of our property is surrounded by new homes and a middle class neighborhood. The north side of the property (where our office is) is surrounded by crime infested homes and lower income families. We enjoy the ministry position God has providentially provided. Before the church bought the property to the north, the home that now houses our office was frequented by police drug raids. The gospel knows no limits in who it can reach. And we value reaching out with its liberating power to those who have been enslaved by materialism and those who are chained by drugs and gangs. May God grant us compassionate hearts and ready tongues to spread the Word of Truth in our very needy community.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cable TV Caters to Homosexuality

While it is not the first cable station to target homosexuals, the new Logo cable TV channel is the first to be sponsored by a major media conglomerate. The executives behind the launch of Logo promise that their new channel devoted to extolling homosexuality with be "family friendly." Who is behind the launch of this new channel in cable entertainment? Why, none other than the bastions of family friendly cable entertainment: MTV, of course. The providers of wholesome family fun as Beavis and his unmentionable friend and The Osbornes, now want to provide a new channel for your whole family to enjoy. The verbal attacks on Christianity were not hidden in the news article referenced: One homosexual satelite channel operator stated, "I don't think anybody has become more tolerant of gay people. The Christian right still says we're going to be condemned and we're going to be in hell." Interesting. Islam, orthodox Judaism, and most other major world religions would reject homosexuality as a morally acceptable lifestyle. Why only single out conservative Christianity? Hmm. Will this be a channel dominated by sex? Logo says they will tread lightly here and make their entertainment more about life than merely the bedroom. I bet I'm not the only one skeptical. Not even the mainstream media can provide programming that is not tained with sexually explicit material. It is hard to believe that a segment of society that is defined by a specific sexual orientation will not be dominated by sexually explicit material. This channel celebrating an enslaving sin reminds us of how much more we need to aggressively make known the freedom found in the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthains 6:9-11).

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Osteen Asks for Forgiveness

Al Mohler notes this morning that Joel Osteen has publicly apologized for his ambiguous comments concerning the gospel. Please read his comments in the cited letter. While issues remain regarding other theological issues, we can be grateful that a public figure has publicly apologized for comments that distracted the public from the exclusivity and centrality of Jesus Christ in the gospel.

Friday, June 24, 2005

More Good Blog Reading

Chris Meirose has a great blog that I enjoy frequenting, full of thoughtful biblical evaluations of and comments on theology and life. BTW Chris, yes, all the rest are mere immitations of THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary! UPDATE: Also - see thebluefish - great site, good stuff and quick reads.

See Justin Taylor's Osteen Response

Justin Taylor also responds today to the Larry King interview and offers poignant ways to respond.

Mohler's Osteen Warning

See today's blog by Southern Seminary president, Al Mohler on the recent Larry King Live interview with Joel Osteen. Osteen virtually rejects biblical Christianity and has replaced it with a kinder-gentler heresy. He has removed the teeth of truth and replaced it with the silk of theological fantasy. Could Joel Osteen be the heir to the Robert Schuller legacy? Mohler also points us to a recent New York Times Magazine article in which the author, Russel Shorto, cannot realy comprehend why Christians are opposed to homosexuality. Shorto reviews the latest in conservative Christian political plots to challenge legislation aimed at promoting homosexuality. While I applaud those who work to preserve conservative values in Washington, I am also reminded that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only sufficient means of which to convice people of truth. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sinai in San Jacinto

Yesterday marked the first brush fire of the summer for us here in Southern California, and this one was close to home. The mountain range to the south of where I live was ablaze yesterday, producing some awesome and ominous pictures (if I can figure out how to post pics, I'll see what I can do to put one up here). I couldn't resist telling a number of our folks at church last night that I had the urge to preach outdoors from Exodus 19 on the smoking Mt. Sinai and the glory of God. Thankfully, no homes in our area were lost and no injuries. With the large amount of rain we have had this winter there is a large amount of growth. With the triple digit temperatures we expect, the growth will quickly become fodder for future fires. Keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Sickness of Mental Illness Evaluations

Finally, a level-headed evaluation of the biased approach a number in the psychobabble world use to classify people as mentally ill. This Weekly Standard article by Paul McHugh is an objective evaluation of how mental illness diagnosticians flee from objective evaluation standards in determining who is mentally ill. Recent mental health evaluations have suggested that well over half of the nation's population is plagued with some form of mental illness. What I find depressing is that without critical evaluation of the applied studies, many will blindly embrace the results and elevate these doctors as mental health inerrantists. I don't doubt that chemicals become imbalanced, especially when life is lived outside of the centrality of Christ. In reading John Piper's recent work, When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, I believe he provides a helpful note: "Spiritual emotions, which are more than physical, can have chemical effects, and not just the reverse. It is true that chemicals can affect emotions. But too seldom do we pray and plan for the spiritual to have chemical effects. As legitimate as sedatives and anti-depressants may be in times of clear chemical imbalance, we should not overlook the truth that spiritual reality may also transform the physical and not just vice versa" (p 182). A chasm that cannot be crossed does not exist between the spiritual and the physical. They are inextricably linked. To avoid the spiritual (the centrality of Christ and His Word) will inevitably lead to physical (including mental) consequences. And the opposite must also be true. Life lived in Christ and for His glory can and will have powerful physical (including mental) effects. We should then expect that as the rate of Christlessness rises, so will the rate of mental illness. Contemplate the possibilities if the Christlessness quotient was reversed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pyromaniac Is A Must Read

If you have not been to Phil Johnson's blog, "Pyromaniac," you must delay no longer. Phil claims that he was not going to be a daily blogger, but the response to his wit and wisdom has no doubt tempted him beyond resistence. I, for one, am thankful for this particular lack of self-control on Phil's part. Be sure to see yesterday's "Monday Menagerie" and his description of the church of the "Capuchini deathcraft" in Palermo, Italy: a freakish result of errant theology.

The Clinton Conundrum

Being a lover of presidential politics, past and present, I enjoyed reading former Clinton aide Dick Morris' description on the differences between Bill and Hillary. Justin Taylor's blog alerted me to the article.

The Hiatus is Over

The blog hiatus is finished. For ten days I attended classes at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. I was privileged to study with Dr. Daniel Block, outgoing professor of Old Testament interpretation at Southern (Dr. Block is moving this week to Wheaton College). The class was perhaps one of the best academic experiences I have had to date. Dr. Block is a profound student of the Word of God and his life is thoroughly impacted by what he has gleaned from God's truth. My life was thoroughly impacted by the time spent with him. Another highlight of the time away was becoming better acquainted with the members of my cohort. God has providentially provided good friendships with four godly men, a few of which have stumbled into "The Capranica" lately. David Cox, a fellow cohort student and Missouri pastor, is "The Cap's" latest fan and we warmly welcome him. So, the break is over and its back to regular contributions at "The Capranica." I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fun DAM mental ist

The definition of a fundamentalist: too little fun, too much damn and not much mental: According to this little quiz, I are one:

You scored as Fundamentalist. Fundamentalism represents a movement in opposition to Modernism, stressing the highest importance on foundational religious tradition. Science has brought on corruption of society. God is real and is watching. Scripture leaves little room for interpretation; man is God’s creation. About a quarter of the population in the U.S. is classified as Fundamentalist.



Cultural Creative













What is Your World View? (updated) created with
Wow! Still too much postmoderninsm in me for my fundamentalist taste!

Singing the Judgment

Justin Taylor's blog pointed out this great post. I have recently finished a series of messages dealing with God's judgment as portrayed in the book of Revelation. I found this post to be a good summary of the truth that God's severity is a joyful occasion for the believer. Sobering, yet joyful. Joyful not in the mere destruction of the lost, but in the vindication of God.

Planning for Childlessness

Albert Mohler has a superb commentary on the rise of a culture that plans to be childless.

Is Shyness the Start of Mental Illness?

The mental illness business continues to try and draw virtually everyone into their net. According to the referenced report, most mental illness begins around age 14 and is typically detected through "mild, easy-to-dismiss symptoms such as low-level anxiousness or persistent shyness . . ." Ah yes, if this is so, we are all sick. Mental illness now embraces approximately forty-six percent of the people surveyed by a recent study. We're getting closer and closer to having not only a majority of people mentally sick, but my guess is that the Mental Mob won't be content until we're all dubbed as struggling with or victims of mental illness. What is facinating about this report is that the suvey "excluded rarer illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism." Generations prior to our "enlightened" society knew that discouragement is not an illness. Persistent shyness may be fueled by pride and the fear of man. I know it was and often is in me. The Psalms reflect life at war with circumstances and victory won through an intense battle to trust in God. Rather than run to a doctor upon persistent days of discouragement, begin to consider the true needs of your heart (Philippians 4:6-9) and the practical application of the forgiveness of sin through Christ and the life of sanctification that follows.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Do Pastors Really Pray?

The referenced article details a recent study on the prayer life of pastors. The findings reveal a deep satisfaction among many pastors (if not most) regarding their personal prayer life. The level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction tends to be linked to the amount of time a pastor spends in prayer. The report notes: "The amount of time spent in prayer: Pastors who are very satisfied spend an average of 56 minutes a day in prayer; those who are somewhat satisfied average 43 minutes; those who are somewhat dissatisfied average 29 minutes; and those who are very dissatisfied average 21 minutes." Satisfaction or the lack thereof is also linked to what pastors do during prayer: "How they divide their prayer time: Ministers who are very satisfied spend considerably less time than average making requests and considerably more time in quiet time or listening to God;" "The study clearly showed that what drives a satisfying prayer life for a minister is spending less time asking God for things and more time listening to what God has to say . . . " Hmm, what exactly does this last item mean: "listening to what God has to say?" Could this be another illustration of our lack of trust in the sufficiency of the Scripture? Perhaps so, if this "listening" time is disconnected from the only infallible source we have from which to hear God speak. It is another sign of a postmodern (and unpublished) mindset when we suggest that what God says to us personally could be divorced from (and even contradictory to) what God has already revealed in the Bible. Some have a tendency to confuse their own daydreaming (even about Scriptural things) as revelation from God. If what is meant by "listening" to God is the intake and proper understanding, response to and application of Scripture to life and thinking, then this could be a definite profitable time of prayer. However, if this "listening" time is merely being "quiet before the Lord," and trying to feel something ethereal or "hear" some inner voice, devoid of the propositional truth of Scripture, this is not biblical praying. I fear that it is this latter idea that many mean when they speak about "listening" to God. How can you be completely sure that what you are listening to is God, if it is merely coming from within? Such listening techniques are really simply masquerading the elevation of ourselves and devaluing the Scriptures. God does speak. He speaks through what He has already spoken: the Bible. The intersection of biblical truth with life situations is the illuminating work of the Spirit. The intersection of personal feeling (absent of biblical input) with life situations, is nothing more than daydreaming. For those interested, John Piper's chapter in Desiring God on prayer contains helpful content on the subject of prayer. Here is a link to the online version of chapter six on prayer. Chapter five in the book ends with a great practial illustration from the life of George Mueller on the balance between Scripture and prayer. I commend them for your consideration and careful application.

Bogged Down Blogging

My posts over the next two weeks will be somewhat slow if even visible at all due to my final preparations for a Doctoral seminar I will attend at the end of this week through all of next week. However, I may come up for air from my studies to post something. I have a number of blog topics running around in my mind that I hope to comment on in the next few weeks. One in particular is Christianity Today's recent issue containing articles dealing with the Evangelicals and Catholics trying to come together. This one will definitely find a way through my keyboard to this blog.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Seeing Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

Justin Taylor, whose blog I enjoy reading multiple times a day, just posted a site that contains the video messages behind some of the chapters in the upcoming book, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. These videos include speakers such as, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler and C.J. Mahaney. To see a number of blog reviews of the upcoming book, please see Justin's blog post today: "Reviews of Sex and the Supremacy of Christ." What a marvelous resource!

Preaching Resources

Last January, as a part of a DMin program I am involved with, I had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Hershael York, a professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Both of them are excellent preachers and both make their share of contributions on the web. I regularly check in on both of their sites and enjoy their resources: Dr. Daniel Akin - articles, sermons (audio, pdf, handouts), conferences, etc Dr. Hershael York - Buck Run Baptist Church: Sermons

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Moore Blog

Russell D. Moore, Dean of Theology and VP for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a great blog that has become a regular read for me. I recommend his regular comments for your own regular reading. His blog from yesterday entitled, "Why I'm Raising Violent 4 Year-Olds" is outstanding.

Quick and Dirty Calvinism

Phil Johnson has begun his blogging. His blog from yesterday is a great read evaluating the current trends among some Calvinists. I especially enjoyed his comments regarding Calvinism and evangelism. Phil's blog should be a regular read.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The New Universist Religion

Read today's blog by Dr. Mohler on the new "Universist" religion developed by University of Alabama student, Ford Vox (Item two in Mohler's blog today). His religion seems to be the religious organization of postmodern thought. What is facinating to me is not that his group already boasts 7500 members, but that the group's aim in developing "fellowship" between those who absolutely reject absolute truth is already very appealing with even so-called "Christian" groups. "Whatever works for you," is the mantra of postmodern religious belief. Truth is liquid in the realm of reality. Mr. Vox has not developed a new religion. Actually, he has simply begun to organize one that already exists, even among many professing Christians.