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

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Challies and Grudem - Part 2

Here's the second part of the interview.

Challies and Grudem - Part 1

To comment on later, but - Challies has posted his interview with Grudem.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Saturday of Note 12-10-05

As I did Tuesday, I do today - empty my "Of Note" file for Saturday. Here are a few articles I've found interesting over the past few months - a few of these have little to do with anything genuinely significant, but noteworthy nonetheless: Did you read about the oldest noodles every found? This is an important find for an Italian (even if they were in China). Did you miss Challies on Halloween? Well, read it in preparation for next year. Al Mohler comments on the Federal Government agreeing to help rebuild some religious institutions, but just not churches in the wake of the hurricanes this past season. Al Mohler on doped up kids. We love to medicate rather than educate and discipline these days. If you want to stay employed - don't use a Mac - stick with a PC. Denny Burk has some good comments on what's wrong with Evangelicalism. Another result of people rejecting inerrancy: The 100 Minute Bible. Only the important parts of the Bible are included here, in a format that will let you read daily for two minutes or less. Yes, by all means, that is what people need today, less doses of the Scripture, and only those portions chosen by who knows who? Here's an interesting tool - a parallel Bible - Greek and the ESV. This is a good alternative to the previous link. In fact, if two minutes is all you have time for in the Bible, try reading consecutively through a passage of the Bible for only two minutes a day. That is a much better idea. Here is the diet plan I am going to follow this Christmas. Surround myself with choclate covered cherries and make it my goal to lose twenty. It worked for this guy. Speaking of Christmas, have you heard what Spurgeon thought of it? Even though there should be no complaining this year about the BCS National Championship matchup, you know there will be. Really? If I preach on Narnia, I could get a measly $1,000.00? Oh puleeeeezh! Do you actually think I am capable of competing with seeker saturated types who have been preaching on Narnia for months? I'll stick with the Bible and my humble salary. Erotic moments from the Bible? These guys must have some connection with the 100 minute Bible. This recent study made my week. More coffee please - skip the scotch. Pastor James, here is another reason why you need to start drinking coffee. Why are we surprised about seeker saturated mega churches closing on Christmas Sunday? For many of these, I'm praying that it works so well, they make a New Year's resolution to do it weekly in '06 Ok - that empties the file. Now, back to the important things you were already engaged in.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Shakespearean Worship and the Emergent Church

Jim Hamilton has posted two more articles on his "Shakesperean Worship." The one referenced here in the title is a response to the Emergent Church in light of Hamilton's proposition for a more liturgical approach (in a Southern Baptist Church no less). In the second article he provides an illustration from the church he is pastoring of how practically this worship is carried out. Interesting stuff. Still thinking through some of his suggestions.

Waldron on Tongues - Part 2

Tim Challies posts the second part of the interview with Dr. Sam Waldron on speaking in tongues, signs and wonders. I'll update a little later with a few comments.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

So, Where Did These Private Prayer Languages Come From?

For years I have searched the Scriptures looking for the elusive but much acclaimed “private prayer language.” As of today, I still can’t find it in the Bible. No where! I do have some good friends who tell me they have found it in the Bible and in their mouth and they regularly engage in a regular “private prayer language” sessions in their “prayer closets.” The only passage I have yet to hear them quote is 1 Corinthians 14:4 – “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.” For a moment (more like a split second), they had me convinced. Then I read all of chapter 14. Convinced no longer. In fact, there seems to be nothing “private” about tongues in any passage of the Bible where the infamous “speaking in tongues” is mentioned. Only one Gospel mentions the phenomenon (Mark 16:17 – confirmation of eye apostolic witness 16:20) and it is a very PUBLIC speaking gift. The book of Acts mentions “speaking in tongues” a few times (contrary to the claims of most modern day tongue talkers). Acts 2, 8, 10 and 19 are the passages. Interestingly, each time a group spoke in tongues it was when a new people group was confirmed as those included (Acts 1:8 – note the geographic parallels) in the emerging church (oops, that is probably not a good phrase to use today). Furthermore, all of the Acts accounts are PUBLIC scenes. The only other place in the Bible (yes, the whole Bible - I'm open to suggestions) where the phenomenon of tongues is mentioned is in 1 Corinthians, and here, only three chapters directly refer to it. No other New Testament epistle directly refers to the idea of speaking in tongues. Not that it needs to in order to be legitimate, but when those who advocate tongue talking do so, they seem to suggest through their vehemence that it is a ubiquitous activity advocated throughout the Bible. According to what the Bible does say, tongues does not appear to have ever been a normal occurrence. Outside of Paul’s reference to tongues in 1 Corinthians, he never encourages any of his associates or churches to pursue or engage in tongues. He does encourage prayer – but never private prayer languages. At this point, a tongue talker is going to be quite jittery. No doubt, they are going to point me to the idea that Paul spoke in tongues more than any of the Corinthians (who appeared to be enamored with the gift – 1 Cor 14:18). Ah yes, but I want to ask, where does any text clearly say that Paul had a private prayer language? 1 Corinthians 14, where tongues is directly addressed, speaks of the gift as a public speaking gift. It is mentioned alongside other public speaking gifts, primarily prophecy. Furthermore, the entire context of 1 Corinthians 14 is the gathered PUBLIC assembly of the church, not a closet alone with oneself. Paul discourages speaking in tongues without interpretation (this is a public issue), because if I were to do so in the meeting, I will only edify myself and thus denigrate the very reason for the gift (to publicly edify – 1 Cor 12:7). I can find no legitimate reason to interpret any reference to tongues as being engaged in while in your closet. Paul does not advocate it. He advocates keeping your mouth closed while in the public gathering if there is no one present who is gifted to interpret your tongue talking. Every reference is to the PUBLIC expression of the gift. Verse 5: I wish that you all spoke in tongues (notice – no closet here), i.e., publicly. You doubt this? Why then in the very next phrase does he say, “but even more that you would prophesy?” The context is the gathered assembly. Verse 6: “If I come to you speaking in tongues . . .” – clearly not in private, but in front of them, “what will I profit you unless I speak to you [implied publicly] either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching [all public speaking gifts].” Verse 13 – “Therefore [don’t miss this verses connection to verses 7-12 and the public expression emphasized] let one who speaks [still in a public context] in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” Why? Because the assumption is that the gift is used publicly and no one will otherwise understand. Verse 14 – no indication here that we have shifted from the church meeting to the private prayer closet. Some will pounce on me with verse 15 – “I will pray with the spirit” – this has to be private, right? Nope. No more than “sing with the spirit” is private. Verse fifteen still sees tongues in a public setting – never private prayer closets. Verse 16 makes this clear – “if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the ‘Amen’ . .” Implication, blessing in the spirit is done publicly and no one can understand it and therefore should not be done. Am I suggesting that Paul indicates from verse 18 that he spoke in tongues in PUBLIC more than any one else? Sure. There is NOTHING in the context to suggest he means in his private devotional time. EVERYTHING in the context suggest he means publicly. In other words, this idea of a “private prayer language” has been advocated vociferously by those who claim to engage in it. They have developed a rather intricate theology to support it. My major problem with their viewpoint is that there is nothing in the Bible to support such a practice. Whether the gift has ceased or not is another issue. I am simply arguing that the Bible does not support a regular, personally edifying private gift of speaking in tongues. The Bible never advocates such, encourages such or even hints at it. Why then should we?

Shakespearean Worship??!!

Jim Hamilton, professor at the Houston Campus of Southewestern Theological Seminary, posts a thought provoking article on deeping our public worship expressions. I'm still trying to digest the biblical notion of using the book of common prayer and other confessional statements in public worship (I'm not forcefully opposed - still thinking it through), but the jist of his plea for more intentionally God-focused public worship resonates in my heart. Any thoughts from any readers? How about from Justin and Paul??

Speaking in Tongues Today!?

Tim Challies posts a portion of his interview with Dr. Sam Waldron on the subject of cessationism and continuationists. Great discussion. Here is the concludinng paragraph from today's post: But you see, here's the thing, Tim. I've tried to be very kind and focused on what all continuationists say and even the most moderate of them. But clearly the charismatic movement is not characteristically like Wayne Grudem and John Piper. The practice of tongues speaking and prophecy, as carefully as it's defined and restricted in their theology, is somewhat rare and so when you take my thesis and begin to apply it more broadly to even mainline charismatic churches I think it's going to serve to make a radically more Word-centered kind of Christianity. I don't want to say that about Grudem and Piper, but they are theologians and pastors who understand all the issues and qualifications that they need to make even as continuationists. The people in the pew, the people in the Assembly of God churches out there, the other charismatic churches, aren't making those restrictions and qualifications and for them I think my book would strike a tremendous blow - the thesis, the argument of the book - would strike a tremendous blow against something that is very distracting and takes them in an emotional and distracting direction that is not true to a Word-centered Christianity. I think my book would help them to see the problem and reject it root and branch and become more Word-centered and avoid a lot of the misguided practices and the false directions of life and guidance that they're taking in response to the teaching of continuationist prophecy and tongues-speaking. I look forward to the next post as well as the interview with Wayne Grudem.

The Humble's View of Scritpture

See Joe Carter's discussion on inerrancy and his assertion that believing the Bible to be inerrant is the most humble position a Christian should take. (HT: Between Two Worlds).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Cultural Tuesday

While reading articles on the internet, those I want to re-read or possibly blog about I store in my nifty little e-filing cabinets on my browser (Firefox, of course). Since it has been so long since I did any regular blogging, I need to clean some of these out. Here are a few articles over the past few months that caught my eye: The Anglicans and the Catholics in England are opposed to euthanasia, but don't seem to have any biblical convictions as to why. Al Mohler has some great material on why the stem cell debate is not purely driven by science, especially when new breakthroughs are being made in this area that do not require new fetal tissue. What does Karl Rove keep in his garage? Click HERE. While Hurrican Katrina was disasterous, isn't interesting how BIG the disaster became due to the media hype and political maneuvering - especially when compared to the earthquake in Kashmir. Adrian Warnocks comments were compelling. Al Mohler notes how the Airforce targets evangelicals by calling chaplains to cease and desist in evangelizing airmen. Rick Warren and other seeker-saturated pastors have gathered to get the church to focus on overcoming AIDS. Conveniently, he has repented for those of us who are merely trying to fulfill the great commission and have put our resources into world evangelization rather than world immunization. After hearing Warren on Larry King Live last week, I am more convinced than ever that he has bought into a purely pluralistic Christianity that does not emphasize the exclusive gospel of Jesus Christ, but more of a cultural type of religious experience, however one might wish to define it. In the world's increasing efforts to excuse virtually any deviant behavior, the Canadians in Ontario have come up with a way to release sex offenders from any responsibility for their actions: pretend to be alseep while assaulting someone. Why, because then you could claim that you have sexsomnia, and voila!, you are no longer responsible. Al Mohler notes the beginning of legal same-sex unions in England and cautions Christians against an unrestrained celebration of market captitalism. Good article. The New York Times will do anything to drum up dirt on President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito. They have recently gone after Alito's father as a means to discredit the nominee. Shameless. Here's my local new paper's take on Hollywood's recent marketing love affair with evangelicals. Anything to turn a buck. Now there! My "cultural" file is empty for now of some old, but interesting stories from the past few months. Let's see how current I can keep my self from now on.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Nuggets from Lloyd-Jones

One of the books I took along with me to Hawaii was the first volume of Ian Murray's biography of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I have ever so slowly been reading this work over the past year, but while on the deck of the Pride of America cruise ship, while sailing past the coast of Kaua'i, I was able to read a rather large chunk of the first volume. Here are just a few portions I found very interesting: The climate of evangelical Christianity in the 1920s in England (during Lloyd-Jones' first pastorate): A number in Nonconformity sought to arrest the drift [lack of interest in church and church attendance] by a change in church services. There were those, for instance, who, critical of the plainness of congregational worship, looked for some kind of liturgy, with choir, anthem, and organ given a major role. Others, believing that people would not come to church to be 'preached at', wished to turn the sermon into an address 'relevant' to the time, or into an essay replete with many allusions to authors, poets and novelists. The religious press never lacked samples of that kind of preaching. . . In South Wales there was added weight to the argument that traditional methods would not bring the people back to the chapels. 132-133 . . . Dr. Lloyd-Jones had nothing to say about any new programme. To the surprise of the church secretary he seemed to be exclusively interested in the purely 'traditional' part of church life, which consisted of the regulaservicesSservices (at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.), a prayer meeting on Mondays and a mid-week meeting on Wednesdays. Everything else could go, and thus those activities particularly designed to attract the outsider soon came to an end. 135. Interestingly, the church grew substantially and people were deeply affected by Lloyd-Jones' expositions and evangelistic preaching. There is really nothing new under the sun. The seeker sensitive movement comes and goes. I wonder which side contributed more to the current state evangelical Christianity (the lack thereof in general) in England, the seeker movement, or Lloyd-Jones' traditionalism? Which one secularized British religion? On Christianity being distinct from that of the world: The man who comes to church or chapel because he likes the minister as a man is of no value at all, and the minister who attempts to get men there by means of that subterfuge is for the time being guilty of lowering the standard of the truth which he claims to believe. For this gospel is the gospel of salvation propounded by the Son of God himself. We must not hawk it about the world, or offer special inducements and attractions, as if we were shopkeepers announcing an exceptional bargain sale. . . . 142. Lloyd-Jones' selflessness in preaching: References to himself in his sermons were brief and rare. Anything in the way of a testimony to his conversion experience was almost wholly absent. The omission was not aon hisrsight onhis part but the result of deep convictions. There could be no higher privilege than that of being a messenger of the God who has pledged his help and presence to those whom he sends. When, as happened at times, people referred in admiring terms to his self-denial in entering the ministry [he left a promising career as a medical doctor to become a pastor] he repudiated the intended compliment completely. 'I gave up nothing,' he said on one such occasion, 'I received everything. I count it the highest honour that God can confer on any man to call him to be a herald of the gospel.' 150. His position in his first public ministry: For the first eight months of Dr. Lloyd-Jones' ministry at Sanfields he continued in the status of lay-pastor. His position was indeed unusual. According to the prevalent view in his denomination, anyone lacking regular ministerial training was liable to be singularly deficient in qualities necessary for a sustained pulpit ministry. Two or three years of theological training were judged to be necessities. 167. Despite his lack of training, his denomination ordained him rather quickly from being a lay pastor to an ordained minister. But, oh how far we have come in our day and age. Now it is a badge of honor to have little formal education in theology and little is required outside of a classroom degree from a seminary for a man to assume leadership of a local congregation. There are always exceptional men, why don't we, especially in Southern Baptist circles, require more on-the-job training of men before we allow them to become officially installed as pastors [this being said by one who became a 'Senior Pastor' before being 20 years old].

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Spiritual Leadership

Adrian Warnock linked this article by John Piper back in October (I'm still catching up on my blog reading and posting) and I spent a few moments reading it this morning. I am usually disenchanted by the typical Christian/Spiritual leadership definitions and descriptions. "Leadership is influence." In my estimation, this little trite phrase is meaningless when it comes to spiritual leadership. Was Jeremiah (and many of the Old Testament prophets) poor leaders because no one wanted to follow them? Was Moses an inept leader because he (along with Joshua and Caleb) could not influence Israel to go into the promised land after their initial observations? I appreciate John Piper's articulation of spiritual leadership. I thought about posting a few quotes, but really, you should read the whole article. I rarely print out material from the Internet, but this article will go in my prayer book and become a list of items to read and pray over regularly.