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Month: February 2008 Page 2 of 3

Starbucks Drops T-Mobile, Goes With AT&T For Wi-Fi

http://www.dbtechno.com/internet/2008/0 … for-wi-fi/

This is a great deal, seeing as how the T-Mobile Wi-Fi was way over-priced to begin with. Those of you using AT&T DSL already will now have free access at all of the Starbucks locations offering Wi-Fi. Excellent …

Is Faith a Gift of God Flowing from the Cross? – Part 2

In continuing on this subject about faith as a gift of the cross, this summarized quote of John Owen’s (summarized by a friend of mine, the actual quote is quite long – I’ll post it at the end) makes a very stark comparison between the Arminian stance of a universal atonement and the historic Reformed stance that Christ’s work on the cross was effectual for specific people with specific results, one being faith:

“If Christ died for all and faith is not a blood-bought gift of the cross, then those that are finally saved have no more to thank Christ for than those that are finally damned.”

Why is that? Because, under a universal atonement (that Christ died for everyone in the same way with the same benefits), those who believe, who possess faith, without the help of God (they themselves produced their faith out of an unregenerated human nature), they finally got themselves in the door. They were the final and ultimate reason they are saved. Christ brought them up to a point, but they took the plunge. In all honesty, they have themselves to thank, not Jesus for why they are ultimately saved. Scripturally, that is all wrong. In the Arminian scheme, Christ has already paid for everyone’s sins, turned away the wrath of God, made everyone heirs of the kingdom with Christ, IF they bring themselves up from the spiritually dead and trust in Christ by their own strength. But what do you have to thank Christ for if you believe versus the person who dies in unbelief? What did Christ do to get you finally, decisively saved? Christ didn’t bring you into His kingdom, you did. With this thinking, Christ merely made all men savable, He didn’t actually save anyone effectually, which would include bringing people to faith by His work in them (i.e. paying for their sin of unbelief).

Now to be fair, I would admit that many Arminians who love Christ in no way want to take credit for any part of their salvation. And so I would say they are not so much boasting, but are theologically inconsistent and teaching others to be the same (which, has it occurred to anyone that maybe one of the reasons so many politically right-wing, conservative, rural-type churches are so arrogant in their approach to the unbelieving world is because they fundamentally believe they got themselves into Christ without His help and work and that the cross itself wasn’t the ultimate reason for their belief to begin with?). The Arminian system logically begs for this thinking. So instead of actually making an accusation that they are in fact being prideful and boastful (which I can’t know their hearts), it is better to say that this system lends itself to that. Why? Because, as the quote states, “If Christ died for all and faith is not a blood-bought gift of the cross, then those that are finally saved have no more to thank Christ for than those that are finally damned.” That just reeks to me of boasting and pride if the scheme of a universal atonement is true … especially in light of Paul’s statement in Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Why was Paul saved while on the road to Damascus to kill Christians? The sovereign, loving work and hand of God miraculously giving him faith, eyes, ears, renewed/regenerated heart is the only explanation, and this itself a work of the cross. Faith is indeed a gracious gift of the cross so that no man may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Saved by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone.

Here is Owen’s quote in its totality from pg. 131 of The Death of Death in the Death of Christ:

[If it be answered], “God bestows faith on some, not on others,” I reply, Is this distinguishing grace purchased for those some comparatively, in respect of those that are passed by without it? If it be, then did not Christ die equally for all, for he died that some might have faith, not others; yea, in comparison, he cannot be said to die for those other some at all, not dying that they might have faith, without which he knew that all the rest would be unprofitable and fruitless. But is it? not purchased for them by Christ? Then have those that be saved no more to thank Christ for than those that are damned; which were strange, and contrary to Rev. 1:5, 6, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father,” etc. For my part, I do conceive that Christ hath obtained salvation for men, not upon condition if they would receive it, but so fully and perfectly that certainly they should receive it. He purchased salvation, to be bestowed on them that do believe; but withal faith, that they might believe. Neither can it be objected, that, according to our doctrine, God requires any thing of men that they cannot do, yea, faith to believe in Christ: for,—First, Commands do not signify what is God’s intention should be done, but what is our duty to do; which may be made known to us whether we be able to perform it or not: it signifieth no intention or purpose of God. Secondly, For the promises which are proposed together with the command to believe:—First, they do not hold out the intent and purpose of God, that Christ should die for us if we do believe; which is absurd,—that the act should be the constituter of its own object, which must be before it, and is presupposed to be before we are desired to believe it: nor, secondly, the purpose of God that the death of Christ should be profitable to as if we do believe; which we before confuted: but, thirdly, only that faith is the way to salvation which God hath appointed; so that all that do believe shall undoubtedly be saved, these two things, faith and salvation, being inseparably linked together, as shall be declared.[

Tim Keller Sermons Related to His New Book

This is awesome … Tim Keller has the following sermons available that go along with his new book The Reason for God coming out this Thursday.

Exclusivity: How can there be just one true religion? (MP3)

Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world? (MP3)

Absolutism: Don’t we all have to find truth for ourselves? (MP3)

Injustice: Hasn’t Christianity been an instrument for oppression? (MP3)

Hell: Isn’t the God of Christianity an angry Judge? (MP3)

Doubt: What should I do with my doubts? (MP3)

Literalism: Isn’t the Bible historically unreliable and regressive? (MP3)

Links point to: http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index … gory_id=29

How do we know Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Old Testament?

“‘Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” – Luke 24:26-27

Jesus said it of Himself, that He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. And He was not merely speaking about how He fulfilled all of the specific prophecies (though that is true I’m sure), but how He also fulfilled the stories, types, images, ceremonies, everything. Jesus is the passover lamb. Jesus is the greater and better Moses who leads His people out of the desert. Jesus is the bread come down from heaven to feed His people. Jesus is the greater and better David who will forever be King over His people. Jesus is the hope of Israel, the long-awaited Savior who in hind site of the Old Testament reveals and opens up all the things spoken long ago. He brings meaning to every passage of the Old Testament. Abraham, Moses, David, all of them. They were types, or historical illustrations pointing to the greater and better final King of glory through whom salvation would come to those of the promise as spoken to Abraham. I would just love to have heard Jesus Himself speak about the various portions of Scripture where He is the One being pointed to.

The Reason for God – Another Good Synopsis

This was taken from the Penguin Books website from http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/Book … 93,00.html:

The End of Faith. The God Delusion. God Is Not Great. Letter to a Christian Nation. Bestseller lists are filled with doubters. But what happens when you actually doubt your doubts?

Although a vocal minority continues to attack the Christian faith, for most Americans, faith is a large part of their lives: 86 percent of Americans refer to themselves as religious, and 75 percent of all Americans consider themselves Christians. So how should they respond to these passionate, learned, and persuasive books that promote science and secularism over religion and faith? For years, Tim Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced “doubts” skeptics bring to his Manhattan church. And in The Reason for God, he single-handedly dismantles each of them. Written with atheists, agnostics, and skeptics in mind, Keller also provides an intelligent platform on which true believers can stand their ground when bombarded by the backlash. The Reason for God challenges such ideology at its core and points to the true path and purpose of Christianity.

Why is there suffering in the world? How could a loving God send people to Hell? Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive? Shouldn’t the Christian God be a god of love? How can one religion be “right” and the rest “wrong”? Why have so many wars been fought in the name of God? These are just a few of the questions even ardent believers wrestle with today. In this book, Tim Keller uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations and reasoning, and even pop culture to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.

HMailServer – Update Your Spam Protection Configuration for Spamhaus.org

I realized recently that Spamhaus.org had discontinued its use of the spam protection parameters set within HMailServer based upon “DNS” errors I started seeing in my log files. It made no sense. So I went to their site and did some investigating and found they have consolidated the three spam databases into one, called “zen.spamhaus.org”.

So within your HMailServer admin console, go in and delete the current spamhaus.org configurations you have in place (should only be two). Then add a new “DNS Blacklist” with the following parameters: for the “DNS host” enter “zen.spamhaus.org”; for the “Expected result,” enter “127.0.0.*”; and then for the “Rejection Message” enter “Rejected by Spamhaus”. It appears to have cut down spam even more since I have set this. About 5-10 messages a day were getting through before and now none are (so far at least).


The Reason for God by Tim Keller – To Be Released on Feb 14

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/052595 … 0525950494

Table of Contents: http://theologica.blogspot.com/2007/08/ … eller.html

Finally, after months of anticipation, Tim Keller’s new book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, will be released next Thursday, the 14th. I can’t wait … here is how Keller describes it on Redeemer.com:

I’ve been working for some time on a book for the ordinary (which means very sharp) spiritually skeptical New Yorker. Ever since I got to New York nearly two decades ago I’ve wished I had a volume to give people that not only answered objections to Christianity (what has been called ‘apologetics’) but also positively presented the basics of the gospel in an accessible yet substantial way. I had some books that did the one and some that did the other, but only one did both—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. As you know, I think Lewis’ book is peerless, and foolish would be the author who tried to replace him!

However, the issues in the public discourse around Christianity have become much more complex than they were in the mid and late 20th century. The questions are now not just philosophical (e.g. Is there evidence for God’s existence?) They are also now cultural (Doesn’t strong faith make a multicultural society impossible?), political (Doesn’t orthodox religion undermine freedom?) and personal. Also fifty years ago, when C.S. Lewis was writing, there was general agreement that rational argument and empirical method were the best ways to discover truth. That consensus has vanished. Today there are deep disagreements over how we know things and how certain we can be about anything. Most of the older books presenting Christianity now are only persuasive and even comprehensible to a very narrow range of people.

All this means that there is a great need for new literature that speaks to our time and says, “Christianity makes sense.” I know I’m only one of many who are trying to do this over the next few years. My contribution is slated to be released February 14, 2008, by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Books. Its title is The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. You can find a little more information about it on Amazon.com.

Even though the book is not addressing believers, I still hope it will be a help to the members and friends of Redeemer. It may make it easier to represent your heartfelt beliefs to people you love. That’s my prayer.

Tornadoes rip through South, killing 47

Tornadoes rip through South, killing 47

How tragic. So would Pat Robertson say the same thing about these Southern states that he said about New Orleans and New York? That the judgment of God is falling on these places in the form of massive tragedies because of their blasphemies and idolatries, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah? I think not. Instead you hear nothing. Hmmm, maybe he can’t predict exactly how God desires to show His wrath or His mercy? Has he never read the book of Job?

Pat Robertson seems to not fundamentally understand the fact that as a sinner, in relation to God’s holiness, he is no worse off than the most shady character in a back alley. This is why, right here, a solid understanding of man’s total depravity is very essential to getting the Gospel right: he assumes he’s pleasing God, and that with those who do not, a Katrina will hit them, either on a personal level or larger community level. The message he presents to the world is not Gospel but religion. Praise God our salvation does not depend on the “man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Romans 9:16 NASB)

This is an interview with John Piper on NPR after the Indonesian Tsunami in late 2004 where the interviewer asks questions pertaining to why God would allow this, and is also definitely pertinent to the tragedy in these Southern states as well:

http://www.desiringgod.org/download.php … edited.mp3

Is Christianity Good for the World? – A Debate – Douglas Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens

http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/chri … e%20World/

I have archived the debate above from ChristianityToday.com that is quite interesting so far. I’ve only read the first two parts at this point and found something fascinating. The debate starts out with Christopher Hitchens accusations about how Christianity is utter non-sense (without going into all his arguments). Then Wilson responds. Of course, the Christian is the one that is supposed to be on the defensive, at least in Hitchens understanding. “You give me a good defense of why I should believe this,” is the thought indicated by Hitchens at the end of his email when he says, “Perhaps your response will make me reconsider?” Yet Wilson goes on the offensive, hitting at some of the Hitchens deeply ingrained presuppositions on the nature of reality and epistemology, as a good apologist is supposed to (while defending the faith at the same time) and asks Hitchens some questions like these:

Which way do you want to argue this? Do all human societies have a grasp of basic morality, which is the theme of your first point, or has religion poisoned everything, which is the thesis of your book?

You then go on to say that we who teach such stories to children have been “damned by history.” But why should this “damnation by history” matter to any of us reading Bible stories to kids, or, for that matter, to any of the people who did any of these atrocious things, on your principles? These people are all dead now, and we who read the stories are all going to be dead. Why should any of us care about the effeminate judgments of history? Should the propagators of these “horrors” have cared? There is no God, right? Because there is no God, this means that—you know—genocides just happen, like earthquakes and eclipses. It is all matter in motion, and these things happen.

But if there is no God, this disapproval will certainly not disturb my oblivion. On with the rapine and slaughter!” On your principles, why should he care?

Does Hitchens respond to any of these questions? Not one. Instead, he just ramps up the arrogance and impassioned hostility toward Christianity. Quite interesting to see that when you start hitting at the fact that within an atheistic worldview, there can be no objective morality because everything is just chemical impulses in our brains, that Hitchens would simply come back with more attacks instead of actual answers to the questions. I think that answers his questions though: no one is an atheist according to Romans 1, and this proves it. He knows there is a God and that there are moral absolutes governing the universe, and it demonstrates that the unrestrained heart of man will pursue radical rebellion against the rights of his Creator.

Anyway, as Wilson says in the debate, in an atheistic worldview, why care at all about insane, horrific atrocities, including genocide? It’s just a group of people that came and went. No significance, no meaning, total oblivion; they were here, some others did not like them who were stronger, and now they are gone. Answer the question Christopher Hitchens: what does it matter to you if genocide does or doesn’t happen if all is utterly meaningless and there is no God, no objective, definitive morality outside of ourselves, in the likeness of natural laws that govern the physical universe?

In order for Hitchens to argue for the gross absolute immorality of genocides committed in the past, he must borrow fundamental moral presuppositions from a Biblical worldview in order to make his case, though he does not realize it and would never admit it. As James White says, Hitchens is a perfect fulfillment of Romans 1 by suppressing the righteousness of God. It is angering and yet very sad all at the same time to see this kind of hatred against Christ, yet we should expect it. And leading up the end before Christ returns, it will just get worse. Yet, we are to stand firm and defend Christ and the Gospel in order that those who adhere to the thinking of Hitchens (and others in his likeness) would be cut to the heart by the Holy Spirit and be saved through faith in Christ imparted by God; it is their only hope.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23)

Marti Gras in Relation to Lent

It’s funny how every single holiday where Christ is supposed to be at the center, Satan has something planned or some way to try and divert our eyes off of Him and His work on our behalf, and center us rather onto that which is worldly, self-focused or something that isn’t necessarily bad, but that isn’t Christ-centered in any manner. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Lent, all originally intended to give glory to Christ, have been distorted by Satan to take our eyes off the only One who matters, and move our focus to that which profits nothing for the soul, but rather, in all reality, hurts its progress toward godliness that comes only through the righteousness of Christ obtained for us on the cross. With Lent in particular, Satan seems to have devised a two-pronged attack: 1) move people away from Christ through the indulgence of the flesh, and 2) move people away from Christ through works-based religion.

So how did Lent get to the state it’s in now? People indulge themselves, almost to death, in preparation for giving things up during Lent, whether it’s food, alcohol, sex, etc. But to what end? What’s the point? Why even try if you’re just going to show such irreverence toward Christ in acts clearly condemned in Scripture? A friend of mine named Alan Barron said something that hits on the very reason: “Carnival (a word meaning ‘the raising of the flesh’) is an out-growth of a works based religion where grace is obtained through a list of prescribed actions and sins may be worked-off by confession or by penance.” That is exactly right.

Through the preaching of a salvation through works combined with a priest-administered re-sacrifice of Christ in the Eucharist by Romans Catholics, people assume 1) they obtain salvation through what they do (the natural thinking of all men, whereas the Gospel is the reverse of this), and 2) that they can just work off their sins previously committed (defying the very reason Christ came, died, and rose again to begin with). Marti Gras is the natural outflow of works-based religion. If you preach to people they can only be saved through what they do and that they can work off their sins, they’ll party as hard as they can, defying God to His face, because they believe they can just work off those sins later during Lent. How erroneous and tragic.

But if we preach a Gospel that says we are so bad off that we could never do anything right to please God, that even our righteous acts are like filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6), that in ourselves and our abilities, we give no glory to Him as we should, and that our only hope is for Christ to literally come in, take out our heart of stone, replacing it with a heart of flesh that desires, loves and is responsive to Him, think of how much differently we would approach God in every way. Lent would then not be a time of either trying to earn God’s favor or trying to work off past sins, but rather, a time of simply reveling in and accepting the mercy granted to us in the cross where Christ paid ALL of our debt against God in full, and also gives us His FULL righteousness.

This alone is what changes hearts to believe in Him unto salvation, the work of Christ in His life, death and resurrection for sinners. This (the Gospel) is the principle dynamic for all radical heart-change, that we may not either 1) participate in the indulgences of Marti Gras (notice I didn’t say participate at all-with the hopes of maybe evangelizing the lost?), or 2) think we have to earn favor with God through Lent, but rather simply turn to the cross and see that Christ has satisfied the infinitely high demands of God on the cross for whoever would believe through faith alone, and then the natural outflow of this is doing all things (works, words, actions) to the glory of God.

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