From Richard Baxter’s “A Christian Directory – Volume I:
A sound and well composed catechism studied well and dept in memory, would be a good measure of knowledge, to ordinary Christians, and make them solid and orderly in their understanding,
and in their proceeding to the smaller points, and would prevent a great deal of error and miscarriage, that many by ill teaching are cast upon, to their own and the churches grief!
We can see plainly that the a few of the sound benefits of committing a catechism that exhorts sound doctrine offers:
1. Ground Christians in the fundamentals of Christian doctrine.
2. Refutation of error introduced into the Church.
3. A continual means of growing in grace.
So what are some biblically faithful catechisms that you can use to commit to memory? Here are a few:
Westminster Shorter Catechism
The Heidelberg Catechism
The Catechism of the Church of Geneva
There have already been a number of blog entries on the James Macdonald/Mark Driscoll interview with T.D. Jakes on his supposedly now orthodox views on the doctrine of the Trinity. You can read the transcript here. I’m just going to address once specific statement that he made:
Driscoll: We all would agree that in the nature of God there is mystery. But within that, for you, Bishop Jakes, the issue is one God manifesting Himself successively in three ways? Or one God existing eternally in three persons? What is your understanding now? Which one?
Jakes: I believe the latter one is where I stand today. One God – Three Persons. I am not crazy about the word persons though. You describe “manifestations” as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. For God was manifest in the flesh. Paul is not a modalist, but he doesn’t think it’s robbery to say manifest in the flesh. Maybe it’s semantics, but Paul says this. Now, when we start talking about that sort of thing, I think it’s important to realize there are distinctives between the work of the Father and the work of the Son. I’m with you. I have been with you. There are many people within and outside denominations labeled Oneness that would be okay with this. We are taught in society that when we disagree with someone in a movement, we leave. But I still have associations with people in Onenness movements. We need to humble both sides and say, “We are trying to describe a God we love.” Why should I fall out and hate and throw names at you when it’s through a glass darkly? None of our books on the Godhead will be on sale in heaven.
In a previous post I documented the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. As an addendum, I have created a version that you can view on your Kindle or E-Book reader. You can download the file here.
Resolutions 1 through 21 were written by in one sitting in New Haven in 1722.
The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.
Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
From Greg Bahnsen’s “Van Til’s Apologetic”:
If the “facts” (external events or states of affairs) are completely a matter of “chance”- random and unconnected, having no rationale, no preestablished order,
no intended pattern or preceding interpretation, no necessity- then they are indeed “brute” or untamed, no subject to reason. In that case, speaking of something (e.g., “the horse”) as an instance of a class wherein members are connected or part of a definable order, and speaking of its relations or properties (“is a gray mare”) in general terms that are applicable to other particular things, would be contrary to the isolated and brute character of chance facts. Brute facts would have to be mute – that is, not subject to predication or communication.
Here we see that you can not separate the facts from the interpretation of those same facts. For example if you say that the human beings came into existence by the a process of N number of random mutations, but cannot justify the predication of the those mutations since the presupposition is that they (“the mutations”) have no relationship between one mutation to another since they are all random, you have failed to demonstrate a rational conclusion to the premise that human beings came into being through evolution. Or to put it into more simplistic terms, you have assumed what you are trying to prove.
Here’s a great tutorial on getting started with Emacs Org Mode by Sacha Chua.
I’m a big Jonathan Edwards admirer and one of his most practical works for Christians is his Resolutions that he made a point of reading every week. In Resolution #30 he states,
“Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before..”
So how does a 21st century grow in grace every week? There are some things that I have found to help with this. Here are a few suggestions:
Read Your Bible – I know this should not even need to be said, but the necessity to read the bible not once a week, but every day. Without this the whole deck of cards crumbles. Do not neglect so great a privledge.
Pray without Ceasing – This is another important means of grace that should never be neglected, but must be diligently pursued.
Devotional Reading – One of the great awakenings (No pun intended) is that there is a plethora of orthodox Christian books made available for free. Just do some searching for some solid reformers on Google Books.
Social Media – Social Media? Yes, but a great deal of discretion should be exercised. I have found most uplifting to engage fellow Christians and typically what happens are posts of uplifting messages and links to great Christian teachers and documents.
Podcasts – Even if you do not own a smartphone or an IPod-type device, you can use your PC to listen to Christian sermons and podcasts via digital audio. With great resources such as Sermonaudio, you could listen to more sermons than Calvin preached.
Finally, I highly recommend reading Edwards resolutions at least once a week. You can also either add to them or modify them to have a more contemporary context if that helps.
I had purchased an uberiffic desktop PC from System76 a few months ago and set it up with a static IP address along with a dynamic DNS name to access from the Internet. Prior to upgrading to Ubuntu 11.10 it had worked flawlessly. After upgrading, all of sudden DNS look ups failed. I searched all the usual places such as Ubuntu forums, mailing lists, and just good old fashioned Google queries. There were a few suggestions none of which worked for me.
Than finally I realized that sometimes the simplist solutions are the most effective so I dropped to a Terminal session and ran:
sudo apt-get remove network-manager network-manager-gnome
Updated my /etc/resolv.conf with Google’s public DNS nameservers, rebooted, and automagically it worked!
Firewall Builder is a GUI application that allows you to create sophisticated firewall rules. Currently only version 4 is available in the Ubuntu repositories, so here is how to install version 5 in Ubuntu:
1. From a Terminal window type: wget http://www.fwbuilder.org/PACKAGE-GPG-KEY-fwbuilder.asc -0- | sudo apt-key add -
2. Add the line deb http://packages.fwbuilder.org/deb/stable/ VersionName contrib
Where VersionName is the string of your Ubuntu version such as natty.
3. From a Terminal window type: sudo apt-get update
4. From a Terminal window type: sudo apt-get install fwbuilder