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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Waning Influence of Hollywood

'Brokeback Mountain' Gets 8 Oscar Nods - Yahoo! News I don't accept the premise that movies like "Brokeback" are the top rated films in the minds of most Americans. I do wonder - as the moguls of Hollywood become more extreme and push the agenda of the vocal minority, will they continue to isolate themselves from most Americans and in the process, lose their influence in the culture. Let's hope so. See also Al Mohler's note regarding The Book of Daniel.

The Video-Conference Church

Multi-Site at Mars Hill | Resurgence Mark Driscoll discusses his church's move to the trendy video preacher idea. Interesting stuff.

Ligon Duncan Never Stops Reading

Together for the Gospel Lig Duncon weighs in to answer C.J.'s question on his approach to reading and devotional life. Wow. No wonder his blogging is sporadic.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Calvinism: Total Depravity

While I was in Kentucky for my DMin class, I read through the book, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended and Documented, by David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, and S. Lance Quinn. This is a very helpful resource for a simple, straightforward discussion on Calvinism. The book is invaluable for the annotated bibliography of resources that discuss Calvinism. It also provides a good historical look at TULIP's beginnings and a helpful chart comparing the five points of Armenianism with the five points of Calvinism. Get the book. In conjunction with Fide-O's posts this week on Calvinism, and to simply have them summarized for reference on my blog, throughout the week, I hope to summarize each one of the petals of Calvinism's TULIP as presented in The Five Points. (I'm not commenting on what the guys wrote - I'm verbatim quoting portions of the book). TOTAL DEPRAVITY OR TOTAL INABILITY The view one takes concerning salvation will be determined, to a large extent, by the view one takes concerning sin and its effects on human nature. When Calvinits speak of man as being totally depraved, they mean that man's nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throughut. The corruption extends to every part of man, his body and soul; sin has affected all (the totality) ofman's faculties - his mind, his will, etc. As a result of this inborn corruption, the natural man is totally unable to do anything spiritually good; thus, Calvinists speak of man's 'total inability.' The inability intended by this terminology is spiritual inability; it means that the sinner is so spiritually bankrupt that he can do nothing pertaining to his salvation. Originally, Adam's will was free from the dominion of sin; he was under no natural compulsion to choose evil, but through his fall he brought spiritual death upon himself and all his posterity. His descendants are still free to choose - every man makes choices throughout life - but inasmuch as Adam's offspring are born with sinful natures, they do not have the ability to choose spiritual good over evil. Consequently, man's will is no longer free (i.e., free from the dominion of sin) as Adam's will was free before the Fall. Instead, man's will, as the result of inherited depravity, is in bondage to his sinful nature. Spiritual Deadness 1. When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, he was warned not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge fo good and evil on the threat of immediate spiritual death. Gen. 2:16-17. 2. Adam disobeyed and ate of the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:1-7); consequently, he brought spiritual death upon himself and upon the race. Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13 3. David confessed that he, as well as all other men was born in sin. Ps 51:5; 58:3. 4. Because men are born in sin and are by nature spiritually dead, Jesus taught that men must be born anew if they are to enter God's kingdom. Jn 3:5-7; John 1:12-13. Darkened Minds and Corrupt Hearts As the result of the Fall, men are blind and deaf to spiritual truth. Their minds are darkened by sin; their hearts are corrupt and evil. Gen 6:5; 8:21; Eccl 9:3; Jer 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; John 3:19; Rom 8:7-8; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 4:17-19; 5:8; Tit 1:15. Bondage to Sin and Satan Before sinners are born into God's kingdom through the regenerating power of the Spirit, they are children fo the devil and under his control; they are slaves to sin. Jn 8:44; Eph 2:1-2; 2 Tim 2:25-26; 1 Jn 3:10; 5:19; Jn 8:34; Rom 6:20; Tit 2:3. A Universal Bondage The reign of sin is universal; all men are under its power. Consequently, none is righteous - not even one! 2 Chron 6:36; Job 15:14-16; Ps 130:3; 143:2; Prov 20:9; Eccl 7:20, 29; Isa 53:6; 64:6; Rom 3:9-12; Jas 3:2, 8; 1 Jn 1:8, 10. Inability to Change Men left in their dead state are unable of themselves to repent, to believe the gospel, or to come to Christ. They have no power within themselves to change their nature or to prepare themselves for salvation. Job 14:4; Jer 13:23; Matt 7:16-18; 12:33; John 6:44; 6:65; Rom 11:35-36; 1 Cor 2:14; 4:7; 2 Cor 3:5.

Adrian Warnock Interviews Mark Dever

Adrian's Blog: Adrian interviews Mark Dever Adrian shares some of his interactions with Mark Dever. As usual, Adrian majors on charismatic issues. Mark is very gracious and has some interesting responses. I do believe that Mark is right that if the charismatics would address the sufficiency and authority of Scripture more carefully in light of their penchant for modern errant prophecies, we cessationists might be less on guard. Good interview worth the read.

Captain Kirk Speculates About Free Will

Captain Kirk Speculates About Free Will Dr. Mohler reports. See, all those years on Star Trek have caused Kirk to seriously consider important philosophical and theological issues. At least he is seriously thinking through the issue rather than simply dismissing the discussion by trumpeting man's sovereignty to the exclusion of God's.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mark Dever and His Yearly Reading Plan

Together for the Gospel Mark Dever gives us a glance into his annual reading plan. Great idea.

Mohler's Reading Schedule

Together for the Gospel Don't miss this one - Here's Al Mohler's approach to keeping himself well-read.

How to Be a Healthy Charismatic Purpose Driven Church

Want to know how to be charismatic, give prophetic utterances in the name of the Lord in public services and still be seeker saturated? Just read the linked article. In this particular church, giving the community what they wanted caused a devoted charismatic church to change their theology in order to gain in attendance. Today if you want to speak for God in the service you have to turn in your statement to the church leadership for approval and they will change it and deliver it to the congregation - so that the unbelievers will not feel out of place. After all the argumentation for public expression of the gifts in charismatic churches, this is interesting. I was wondering how the charismatic movement was embracing the seeker saturated approach to ministry. Now I know. What is even more interesting is how these charismatic congregations can still maintain their so-called prophetic theology and if they veil it, they suddenly become a more "healthy" congregation. Interesting stuff. I have more respect for charismatics who wrestle with the biblical text to defend their theology and attempt to practically apply it to their ministry context than I do for those who become so saturated with the seeker driven approach that they now cave in their convictions in order to gain in attendance. Here is another way to become seeker centered rather than God centered and pronounce yourself a healthy church.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When We Try to Make PEACE and not Disciples

Politically Driven Injustice - Christianity Today Magazine Here is an interesting critique of the Warren PEACE plan. Could this be an indication that Warren's approach is an appeal more for social change than spiritual conversion? Perhaps the Warren plan reflects an ideology that suggests social change will create the climate for spiritual conversion. Either way, this does not seem to be what Jesus had in mind with the Great Commission.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What Do The T4G Men Read?

Together for the Gospel What is Al Mohler's, Mark Dever's, Lig Duncon's reading schedule? O.K. If C.J. gets answers to these questions - this should be the best blog post of the year (even though the year is relatively young). I am waiting with great anticipation.

Popularity Has Killed Again

Due to the extreme popularity of the king of the evangelical (or whatever name some are trying to come up with) blogosphere, Phil Johnson has shut down his mega hit Pyromaniac. 18,000 hits on a slow day were getting in the way of producing more CDs and books at GTY, not to mention that his writing ministry had become more e-mail responses than editing for John MacArthur. Yes, and alas, I truly understand your pain Phil. I too have thought about closing shop due to the unrelenting activity that blogging creates and the pressure to keep up with real world responsibilities. I too have trouble responding to all the e-mail I receive (well - any e-mail I receive), and I've neglected some precious relationships in my life, like the boys over at the dogpound. Yet, The Capranica will remain open and I will continue to read books that have real dust jackets (not merely e-pages), and I will renew my commitment to respond to e-mail and return phone calls (Scott). I also look forward to the post from the new blog Pyromaniacs. I am a bit surprised, though, that none of my Fide-O friends were added as contributors. Perhaps they have become too busy as well.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Good Advice; Bad Bible: Rick Warren's Constant Misuse of Scripture

Here is another case study in the constant misuse of the Bible by Rick Warren. It is symptomatic of much of what I find coming out of Saddleback Church and, and thus, the throngs that follow his approach to Scripture. Here, Warren suggests that Jesus' command to "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest," is really a suggestion to emotionally, intellectually and psychologically weary church leaders who need to spend more time with Christ. Based on this verse, church leaders (and really any stressed out person), need to focus their energies on what they are gifted to do and not on the thousands of issues that sap time and energy away from those ministries and tasks that we could be most effective in doing. Agreed. The principles are good ones. I concur. We pastors do need to examine our lives, giftedness, experiences and abilities and focus our energies on what is most important and on those things we can best contribute. We do need to spend more time with Christ and not necessarily with more church meetings or longer hours at the office. But is that what Jesus meant in Matthew 11:28? Did he really intend for us to see "rest" as trimming our schedules and priorities. This is the kind of use of the Bible that does not let God speak, but in reality trivializes the Scriptures. Glance through the context of Jesus' comments in Matthew 11 and you will find him most concerned with salvific issues - eternal rest. Jesus is promising a rest that is accompanied by the strain of a yoke (11:29). He is promising eternal life to the lost who find themselves under the pharisaically misplaced burden of the law upon a society who needed the joy of the law's fulfillment in Christ. I didn't see that within a few miles of Warren's take on this passage. This passage is precisely the passage I heard Rick Warren preach some years ago at a visit to Saddleback. He encouraged his audience to build "margin" into their lives and used this text as the basis for it. Some may think I am nitpicking. I don't think so. What disturbs me most about the Warren movement is the lack of respect for the Bible. I know, I know, he uses more verses than most preachers when he writes and preaches. That's the problem. He uses so many to say some good things, but in doing so, misses the point of the very passages to which he is appealing. In my estimation, it is epidemic in his ministry. My comments are not new news to anyone. But this is a blog - my personal blog and every now and then a rant is in order. This is at least one for this week. Read Rick's quick article and you will see how to say some good things and still miss God's intention all in the same breath. May God help us pastors this week to be faithful with our own use of the Bible.

NBC Cancels 'West Wing' After 7 Seasons - Yahoo! News

This has to be the most disappointing news of the weekend. Who cares about who is in the Super Bowl - two no name teams that only the fringes of society care about? Now there is nothing on TV that one can find any intellectual stimulation. I guess I'll have to do more blog reading and writing.

Challies and the Blessings of Blogging

Challies, as usual, has some great insight and helpful points about blogging and its connection to spiritual discipline. Though my blogging is sporadic at best, it has helped me to read with the aim of 'thinking out loud' about issues in culture, theology and life in general. Blogging has done little to curb my reading of books (the DMin program has helped a tad), but it has broadened my reading of some interesting individuals who find a voice outside the cloistered and often tightly controlled environment of the mega ministries. I certainly appreciate Tim's excellent example of what good blogging should look like and how it can definitely connect to spiritual growth and development.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Practical Christian Parenting

girl talk: "Resolved" and Q & A Here's some practical advice on a dad discipling his son. HT: Justin Taylor

The Brits Despise Discipline!

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Fresh call for child smacking ban Yes, here's the answer - develop more undisciplined people - that should create a more stable socieity. The move to make spanking illegal is more vocal today than ever and if successful in the UK will no doubt cross the sea in the decades to come.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Some Interesting Items of Note This Week

This week was a week to catch up on a number of items after not only a week away in Kentucky for class but also a few weeks of being out of pocket due to illness and the holidays. I did have a few opportunities to read some interesting blog articles this week. Here's a few I enjoyed: Adrian Warnock's interview with Justin Taylor (John Piper's editor). Justin's blog is where I first learned about the blogosphere. Looks like Justin is also headed to Wheaton as an editor at Crossway and the ESV Bible. Mark Dever's comments on blogging and reading. Mark Driscoll's new blog. The article on Schuller is an interesting read. Jerry Wragg's article on the loss of genuine exegesis, not only in our pulpits but our blog commenting. I found this very intersting. I am in the process of asking a number of pastors and expository preachers what they actually do in preparation for preaching. I have found that while many call themselves expositors, exegesis is very limited in weekly work they do. Significant interaction with the biblical languages is extremely limited. This issue will have some to do with my doctoral project, so I'm sure I'll have a few more things to say about this later. One more thing. Chris Meirose pointed me to a few ways to increase the speed of my Firefox browser. Wow! Thanks Chris, very helpful! The Capranica Villa has dominated most of my time today. While we are in the house, we are slowly unpacking, decorating and getting back to normal. I was able to get much of my study finished and some work in our living room. This has been a project I hope not to repeat.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Southern Cemetery

After class today, my DMin cohort comrades took off to the Cave Hill Cemetery here in Louisville to visit the grave sites of a number of Southern Seminary figures. Here's a few pics of those we vistited today at Southern's cemetery. After the cemetery stroll, one of my cohorts (Michael aka, Gus) went through Heritage Hall and viewed the massive portraits of all nine of Southern's presidents. James P. Boyce - first President of Southern Seminary.

John A. Broadus - member of the first faculty at Southern and the second President of the school.

A.T. Robertson - Professor of New Testament, buried in the shadow of Broadus' grave.

Basil Manly - Professor of Old Testament in the early days of the school.

John R. Sampy - fifth President of Southern.

Duke McCall - seventh President of Southern and a chief proponent who carried the school in a very moderate to liberal direction. McCall is still alive, but his grave will one day be next to the other Southern Seminary leaders.

Here's my beloved brothers in the DMin program, who I have grown to love and value their friendship, integrity, parternership in ministry and kindred spirit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

For My Seminary Buddies

PyroManiac: You're probably a cessationist, too Yesterday was another great day of class, discussing how to effectively and accurately preach from the Gospels. Some of our time was spent discussing how to preach the miracle accounts in the gospel, which led to a number of fun discussions during our breaks on the subject of cessationism. The conversation carried over last night as well as we had a wonderful dinner with a great professor, Dr. Cook. In light of our recent conversations, I enjoyed reading Phil's comments today on cessationism. I don't want to put words in the mouths of my brothers, but I'm not sure they were really ready to call themselves cessationists. Perhaps Phil can help tip them in the right direction. :)

Why Not to Abuse the Prayer of Jabez

Between Two Worlds: Bruce Wilkinson Interesting chronicle of Bruce Wilkinson's recent ministry experiences. From my limited vantage point, his life is the fruit of a ministry that wants quick fixes and immediate successes rather than steady faithfulness. How many who have sought bigger borders through the Jabez mantra have experienced a similar inconsistency in life? Interestingly, this morning I began reading John Piper's God is the Gospel. In light of what you read about Wilkinson, consider a few quotes from Piper: ". . . we have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delight in many lesser things, especially the delight inour beingmade much of. The acid test of biblical God-centeredness - and faithfulness to the gospel - is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?" "The critical question for our generation - and for every generation - is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?" "Have we shifted with the world from God's love as the gift of himself to God's love as the gift of a mirror in which we like what we see?" We should pray for Bruce and for all those who have allowed Jabez's prayer to become an outlet for trying to increase their own self-worth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Binge eating worse than being unfaithful?

Interesting little slap at Italians here! But, perhaps Italians are so faithful to their spouses, that they are more bothered about eating too much pasta. In honor of this article, I might just eat a little more with my steak tonight.

Obesity and Heart Disease and a Good Steak Tonight

After reading this linked post, I'm thankful I'm not forty yet and not quite "excessively obese." I believe I'll eat a good steak tonight in celebration.

Back from the Brink of Extinction

One of the ways you find out who is reading your blog is when you do what I have done and not write for about a month. Out of the five people (maybe ten at the most) who avidly consume the diatribes and brief discussions of The Capranica, they all seem to be quite upset that I have yielded little material lately. It is somewhat satisfying to know that The Capranica is a regular part of a number of people's lives to the point they are crying for more. Among these are a few of the men who are a part of my Doctor of Ministry cohort. I hesitate to mention their names so as to expose them to ridicule for reading this blog as a regular habit, so I will only mention their first names. Both Jason C. and David C. begged for more and regular content from The Capranica, especially posts similar to the blessing derived from Mrs. Hinn's video clip. Yes, that was a most edifying display. I'll try to help these men by being more regular. Not that many will care, but here's a run down of what has been going on over the past number of weeks. Our church's Christmas concert was held on December 18. It was one of the largest Adult evangelism events we have yet to have. About three hundred people were present for what was a newly arranged Christmas musical. We pursued more of a concert approach than a cantata or dramatic approach. One of our pastors preached the gospel clearly toward the end of the concert. I was thrilled with the way our congregation actively invited and brought unbelievers to the concert. Our choir and others who participated poured their lives into this event through many extra rehearsals and personally practicing during each week over the past number of months. I am so grateful to them for all of the hard work and great attitude through what was a draining time. The week after the concert, my annual cold cropped up. It put me down for about five days. During this time, one of our pastors passed away. Bro. Mac (Charles McMahill), one of the older men who is a part of our Pastors' Council succumbed to the cancer that had recently attacked his body. His funeral was held the week after Christmas and once again filled our facilities. He was a godly pastor who remained faithful to the gospel in public ministry for decades. All in our fellowship miss him greatly and anticipate the reunion we will have with him in glory. I was well enough to be a part of his memorial service and burial (it was a two day memorial). The day after the burial of Bro. Mac, I came down with a stomach virus that put me down for another several days. Not good. My wife can confirm, I don't "do nothing" with a very good attitude, especially when there is so much to do. Oh, I almost forgot, the day after Christmas we moved into The Capranica Villa (a future post). We moved all of our material possessions and have had little time to invest in arranging the new house. Kelly and I are very thankful for God's good provision in our life and we are looking forward to using our home for ministry to God's glory. One of the most intensive weeks was last week. My DMin program has me traveling to Kentucky twice a year to sit for a seminar. Most, if not all, of the required assignments are to be completed and turned in by the first day of the seminar. My current seminar was probably one of the least demanding of those I have participated in so far, but because of the crazy time constraints of the past number of months, I had yet to complete my work as of last week. I still had three books to read and lengthy reviews of each one to write as well as two sermon manuscripts to prepare. So, all of last week was spent in reading and writing - up to three hours from when I had to leave for the airport. Gladly, I finished all the work in time. That is where I am as of now - sitting in the Legacy Center at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I am currently a part of a seminary covering Expository Preaching and the New Testament, led by Dr. Bill Cook. We have had a wonderful time the past two days discussing the appropriate ways to interpret and preach from the Gospels. This is the first time for me to meet Dr. Cook and I have so thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from our discussions and lectures over the past two days. At this moment, Jason C., David C. and Michael S. are quite put out with me that I am not on the basketball court humiliating myself with them. There they were at my hotel door in their little shorts while it is a gray day and 46 degrees. Basketball requires a certain degree of coordination that God did not see fit to bless me with and I'm not quite sure that it would really honor the Lord for me to join my brethren in a game that is sure to bring harm not only to myself but those who may be run over by my rotund and awkward frame, while freezing at the same time (it's 75 back home). I will refrain from making any comments as to how these brethren look. I may try to post a pic of them soon. Now, I did have to teach them a few things about fooseball at lunch today, but outside of that, I have little desire to expose myself and others to needless humiliation. O.K. - long post, I know, but it has been a month. Since I do have an internet connection in my room, I'll try to say a few things over the next few days and post some pics. Stay tuned.