Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for March 2014

Three things are never satisfied

leave a comment »

Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:

  1. Sheol,
  2. the barren womb,
  3. the land never satisfied with water, 
  4. and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

 (Prov. 30:15b-16)

Written by Josh Philpot

March 20, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Old Testament

9Marks Weekender at Capitol Hill Baptist Church

leave a comment »

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill Baptist Church for a 9Marks Weekender. The Weekender is designed for church leaders to interact/engage with the staff and elders of CHBC, and to be educated on the central aspects of healthy churches. One hundred and twenty-five leaders from all over the world met for seminars on bible doctrine, eldership, church discipline, bible education, worship, and the like. We got to witness how the elders of CHBC care for their membership and pray for one another, and to see how every part of a worship service is planned. Then we had the privilege of worshiping together during a Sunday morning service, and a prayer meeting for the evening service.

I really enjoyed the weekend (even though it snowed!) and I would recommend it to anyone serving as a pastor or lay leader, regardless of if you’re a reformed baptist or not. The weekend was instructive and beneficial, both for my own ecclesiology and for my spiritual good, the application of iron sharpening iron. I also have renewed respect and admiration for Mark Dever, one of a few pastors in the country whom God has given tremendous influence, but who has committed himself to pastoring in one place for the rest of his life, and to energizing churches to think carefully about membership and doctrine through the work of 9Marks.

Even the weekend was full and eventful, and even though I learned a great deal, my time away only reinforced my love for the church where I serve, Founders Baptist Church in Houston. I loved attending CHBC’s Sunday services, but I missed my own church service and church family. I’ve been extremely blessed to get to serve at a place like Founders, and to have the opportunity each week to lead them in congregational praise as their Pastor for Worship, as well as working administratively with the church staff. Founders is unique. Under the leadership of Pastor Richard Caldwell, the church holds firmly to the doctrines of grace, to elders as the shepherding authority, to complementarianism, and to baptist polity. Each week Founders sees between 500–600 believers gathering to worship the triune God, as we read the bible, preach the bible, pray the bible, sing the bible, and see the bible—for his glory and for our good. And all of this takes place in an area of the country that is a cesspool for false prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen, Paula White, and T.D. Jakes.

So, sure, I learned quite a bit from the 9Marks Weekender, some of which I will try to implement within my sphere of influence at Founders. But more than anything, I felt deep thankfulness and gratitude to the brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I have the privilege of serving with everyday in Houston, Texas.


Written by Josh Philpot

March 18, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

R.C. Sproul on Creationism and the Age of the Universe

with one comment

A friend sent me this video today (below), in which R.C. Sproul makes the point that having a high view of God’s revelation—both natural and special revelation—means that we can learn from non-believing scientists who are studying natural revelation. He illustrates this by pointing to the Copernican Revolution. Both Calvin and Luther rejected Copernicus as a heretic because of his argument that the earth is not the center of the solar system but revolves around the sun, which they said was contradictory to scripture. In this case the scientist was right and the biblical interpreter was wrong, and thus the church had to admit that they misinterpreted their understanding of scripture with respect to the solar system and reevaluate those texts which pertain to the topic. Sproul says that Christians will get a better sense of the truth from studying natural revelation than we do by ignoring natural revelation. However, if something can be shown to be definitively taught in the Bible (without question) that contradicts another theory that is based solely on natural revelation, then we must stand with the word of God. We can be shown to be a mistaken interpreter of the word of God, to be sure, but we don’t have to face that problem if we believe that both spheres are spheres of God’s revelation and that those spheres are compatible. All truth is God’s truth. If there is conflict, then somebody has to be wrong. But Sproul states that he doesn’t leap to the conclusion that it has to be the scientist because it may be the theologian who is wrong. It also may be that it is the scientist who is wrong and the theologian who is right. There are both fallible human beings interpreting natural revelation and fallible human beings interpreting infallible special revelation.

Written by Josh Philpot

March 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Helpful apps for writers

with one comment

I like to test new iOS apps for writing. The ones below are not “writing apps” per se, but tools for writing. If you want a comprehensive look at all the known iOS text editors for iPhone and iPad and the feature set of each, check out Brett Terpstra’s iTextEditor roundup. It’s very helpful for nailing down the exact features you’re looking for if you plan to do a lot of writing or blogging on your iPad.


Terminology is the primary app that I use as my dictionary/thesaurus. The app’s core feature, “search,” is available through a button in the lower left corner of the app in the bottom toolbar. If you hit the button, a search field comes up showing the iOS keyboard, ready for you to search any word of phrase. In the recent edition of the app (v. 3), the search menu appears upon opening the app, which is a handy feature. Terminology also syncs between devices, so all of your saved words will appears on any iOS device that you own as long as the app is installed. The app also has a bunch of call-back actions for the advanced user, but I keep it on my home screen primarily for quick access to definitions or for word suggestions. Terminology is available in the App Store for $2.99.



WriteRight is actually a text editor, but it offers enhanced features for synonyms, antonyms, and phraseology via a pop-up menu. You only have to select a word and an endless list of synonyms and related phrases will be displayed. Its powerful grammatical engine “recognizes conjugated words, either feminine or plural, suggests synonyms and then replaces those words with their conjugated synonym counterparts, matching gender and number, person and tense.” It’s $2.99 in the App Store.



Phraseology was created by the same guy who made Drafts, a great app for taking short notes and exporting them to your notebook of choice (like Evernote or Byword). Phraseology can be a text editor if you like, but its primary function is to help you improve on what you’ve already written. The app can give you a bunch of statistics about your project, like your word count or how many characters you’ve used, but it really shines in creatively displaying your word usage and the parts of speech that occur frequently in your project. The apps calls this “speech syntax highlighting,” in which Phraseology highlights the following elements of speech in big bright colors: Nouns; Verbs; Adjectives; Adverbs; Pronouns; Determiners; Prepositions; Conjunctions. The image below shows what this looks like. It also lets you know how easy it is to read your writing and the grade level. The app is $2.99 in the App Store.

Phraseology1 Phraseology2


Wordbook is a standard dictionary app that has all the relative features like definitions, synonyms, antonyms, etc., but also allows for user notes. So if you want to write word or phrase associations with certain words or phrases, this app allows for that. When I started the PhD program at SBTS, I used to keep a Word document of word associations that are relevant to biblical studies (to avoid redundancy, mainly), and this app would be useful to that end. If you’re into etymologies, Wordbook also has an extensive library of root word origins. It’s $2.99 in the App Store.


Writing Aid

Writing Aid combines word definitions with meanings and synonyms. It also handles expressions nicely, and suggests alternatives for phrases and idiomatic sayings. It’s only $0.99 in the App Store.


Written by Josh Philpot

March 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Technology, Writing

Alison Krauss sings “Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor

with 3 comments

I’ve had this video saved on my YouTube account for years. Alison Krauss’ voice is so effortlessly beautiful, and I love that she’s accompanied by Jerry Douglas on the dobro. Such a memorable song, too, originally by James Taylor.

Written by Josh Philpot

March 1, 2014 at 4:35 am

Posted in Music