Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Trueman on Andy Stanley and People With Hard Lives

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I reviewed that dreadful book by Charles Stanley’s son recently, Andy Stanley. You know: people want to be happy, so just make them happy from the pulpit. Well Andy Stanley pastors a church of 100,000 people or something ridiculous, where presumably he’s well-insulated from people who are unhappy. But I’ve got people in my congregation who have hard lives. And I would be lying to them on a Sunday if I was to say to them, “You know, trust God, and your life’s going to get better, and you’re going to get happy.”

I can’t say to the person who is eighty, and they’re chopping bits of him away, slowly but surely, because he’s got gangrene in his foot, “Just believe, and you’ll be fine. Your foot will grow back.” No! I can’t do that for a person. What can I give him? I can give him the theology of the cross. I can say, “You know, the logic of the cross is that we enter paradise, ultimately, through suffering. In order to reach paradise you’ve got to die and be resurrected, and that’s horrible and painful, but it faces us all at some point.”

The logic of the cross is this: Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. The second thief was the one guy that day who didn’t say, “Come down off the cross, and prove you’re the King of the Jews.” He effectively said, “Lord, I know you’re going to die, and through that you’re going to come into your kingdom. And when you get there, remember me.”

Being a theologian of the cross gives you something to say to real people who are suffering. To that person who is poor, and they don’t have many qualifications, and they’re living in bad housing, and they’re never going to live in anything but bad housing, what hope do you give that person? You give them the hope of the resurrection. Andy Stanley has nothing to say to those people. I don’t care if he pastors a church of a million people: he’s got nothing to say to them.

Via Andrew Wilson at Think Theology. The review he’s referring to can be found here.

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Written by Josh Philpot

May 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Book Reviews, Culture

Lectures on Proverbs by Bruce Waltke

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Biblicaltraining.org offers free audio and video lectures by prestigious evangelical scholars for every subject that a typical seminary may offer. The lectures on OT Theology by Miles van Pelt, for instance, are gold. I’ve listened to them three times over. Now they are offering 27 lectures on the book of Proverbs by Dr. Bruce Waltke, all at no cost. Waltke’s commentaries on Proverbs in the NICOT series are the best. Other commentaries have merits, but Waltke’s supersedes those in many ways. During my PhD work I completed an independent study on Proverbs and reviewed nearly every commentary on Proverbs in the English language. But I still go back to Waltke when I’m dealing with tricky issues in that book. He comments on text criticism, morphology, syntax, theology, and praxis in two magisterial volumes, which you can buy here.

Check out the Biblical Training page to view or download the lectures.

Written by Josh Philpot

April 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Old Testament

A Call for Musical Pastors via Bob Kauflin

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Lately I’ve been trying to say and teach our congregation that worship leading is a pastoral task. We call the people of God to sing God’s words for God’s glory, to say and speak the truth about God and his redemptive plan to one another. Or to say it differently, we put words in their mouths. As a friend of mine once said, leading worship means leading worshipers, which is inherently pastoral. One of the main influences of my ministry as a pastor for worship is Bob Kauflin, who leads Sovereign Grace Worship. Today he has an excellent blog post along these same lines:

A Call for Musical Pastors:

An increasing number of musicians have full time worship ministry in their sights. They hope that one day they’ll be able to make a living playing their instrument, leading people in songs of praise.

That’s a great goal. But I’m not sure it’s the best one.

If you believe God’s called and gifted you to serve the church with your music vocationally, I want to suggest that you consider whether God’s calling you to be a pastor as well. A musical pastor. Of course, not every musician who leads congregational singing should or will be a pastor. But if you hope to join a church staff some day, I want to suggest six reasons why preparing to be a pastor musician is better than simply aiming to be a worship leader.

Read the rest to get those six reasons. Kauflin’s point here pushes up against the more common definition of a worship leader in evangelical pop culture: a musician who sings and leads a band in front of a church. But I think Kauflin’s words are wise in this regard. Church leaders shouldn’t pass over them lightly:

Can someone lead music in the church and not be a muscial pastor? Sure. . . . But pastors will always be responsible to choose and lead what the church sings. It’s pastors, not worship leaders, that God will ultimately hold accountable for those they shepherd (Heb. 13:17). Which means it’s possible that if you want to be a pastor or already are, any musical training you get is only going to serve you and your church.

So what might happen if more churches were led in song by musicians who were pastors, or pastors who were musicians?

I’m not exactly sure, but I’m confident our hearts, our songs, and our churches would all be the better for it.

May the Lord raise up pastors who are gifted to lead musically in our churches.

(Via Bob Kauflin)

Written by Josh Philpot

April 23, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Worship

Albert Mohler on Childlessness and Contraception

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Today, World Mag posted an interview with Albert Mohler about his tenure as president at Southern Seminary. It is a very interesting article. One of the questions concerns his view of childlessness and contraception. I appreciate his response: 

In the Bible, childlessness is always discussed as something that is grievous and a cause for sorrow rather than a cause for joy. There are purposes for which people were childless in the Bible, but that’s much like what Paul argued in I Corinthians 7 about someone who was unmarried. You’re unmarried for a purpose that is tied to the gospel. The idea that healthy married people, a man or woman who are married together would choose childlessness just as a lifestyle is alien from the Scripture. If that’s controversial, just try to find any hole in that argument from the Bible. I don’t think you’re going to find it. In fact, I’m confident you won’t.

Contraception is not as easy of a question to answer as you might think or people might want. The Roman Catholic Church has an easy answer, and that is no to any kind of artificial contraception. Quite frankly, their definition of natural stretches the imagination of what natural means. What we do need to recognize is that evangelicals just joined the contraceptive bandwagon unthinkingly, unreflectively, and, I think, unfaithfully, and just thought that any pill had to be a good pill. It has unleashed far more sorrow than joy in this world and has led to an understanding that babies are now simply an elective accessory and has made every pregnancy a tentative pregnancy. You have to put that alongside the availability of legal abortion. By the time you put together the triumvirate of no fault divorce, the availability of contraception, and the availability of abortion on demand, what you have is a situation that has just completely transformed the value of life as recognized by this society.

Read the whole article here

Written by Josh Philpot

March 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Culture, Family, Seminary

Martin Luther on the Value of Reading the Old Testament

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I recently came across this great quote from Martin Luther on the value of reading the Old Testament: 

There are some who have little regard for the Old Testament. They think of it as a book that was given to the Jewish people only and is now out of date, containing only stories of past times. . . . But Christ says in John 5, “Search the Scriptures, for it is they that bear witness to me.” . . . [T]he Scriptures of the Old Testament are not to be despised but diligently read. . . . Therefore dismiss your own opinions and feelings and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines which can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find that divine wisdom which God here lays before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride. Here you will find the swaddling cloths and the manger in which Christ lies. . . . Simple and lowly are these swaddling cloths, but dear is the treasure, Christ, who lies in them. 

Martin Luther, “Preface to the Old Testament,” in Luther’s Works, vol. 35 (ed. E. Theodore Bachmann; Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1960), 235-26. 

Written by Josh Philpot

December 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Books, Old Testament

Using Commentaries in Digital vs. Print Format

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Brian Tabb recently reviewed the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary series in digital format (from Accordance Bible Software) for Themelios. In the review he posts some comments about the advantages of using digital commentaries instead of in print format: 

There are several advantages to owning the Anchor Yale Bible commentary series digitally on Accordance (see further the review of Accordance 10 Ultimate Collection in Themelios 38.3 [2013]: 453–55). First, on Accordance, the 87-volume set costs roughly one third of what it does in print—$1,499 versus $4,458. The Accordance version also retails for nearly $500 less than the same commentaries on Logos (reviewed in Themelios 34 [2009]: 226–27). Second, the Accordance set is compact and portable, unlike its print counterpart. The print volumes take up approximately eleven feet of shelf space, and it is challenging to fit more than one or two in a backpack or briefcase. In contrast, Accordance users may access this massive collection anywhere on Mac, Windows, iPad, and iPhone. Third, Accordance digital commentaries offer enhanced usability over print commentaries. Users may type in a Scripture reference to instantly navigate to the relevant translation and commentary. Additional search options include title (key words in a book title or section heading); English content; Scripture (references anywhere in the commentary body); Greek/Hebrew content; transliteration; translation; manuscripts; bibliography; authors; captions (for maps, illustrations, and tables); and page numbers. For example, a search for the translation “rectify” yields sixteen instances where J. L. Martyn distinctively renders δικαιόω and related terms in his Galatians commentary. A bibliography search indicates that eighteen of the twenty-six NT volumes cite Joseph Fitzmyer, while only one (Romans) refers to G. K. Beale. Caption searches for Palestine or Jerusalem lead users to relevant maps (Mark 1–8, ix; Acts, 190) that would be difficult to find going volume by volume with the print edition. Users may also create a custom group of commentaries to enable a single search within that group for a particular Scripture or keyword. This allows the pastor preparing a sermon or the student working on an exegesis paper to locate the most relevant pages in his favorite commentaries with one simple yet powerful search.

Read the rest for the full review: Themelios | Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries: Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament

Written by Josh Philpot

December 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Books, Mac, Technology

Peter Gentry on Daniel 9 and upcoming publications

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Over at My Digital Seminary there is an interview with Peter Gentry on Daniel 9:24-27. At the end of the interview he lists the projects he is currently working on, all of which are of interest for biblical studies: 

  • My magnum opus is a critical edition of Ecclesiastes for the Goettingen Septuaginta. Hope to finish it this summer. 
  • Steve Welllum and I are producing a 250-page abridgement of KTC. 
  • I am translating from French the best study of Isaiah 7:14 ever written, showing that it is a direct prophecy of the virgin Mary. 
  • I am working on a discourse grammar commentary on Isaiah (In the Hearing the Message of Scripture series). 
  • In collaboration with others, I am writing state of the art information on Origen and his Hexapla.”

I’m particularly interested in “the best study of Isaiah 7:14 ever written.” 

Written by Josh Philpot

November 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Old Testament