Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

10 Girly Musems

And in the same vain ... Are you a fan of the fan museum?

1. Victoria and Albert Museum, London
2. Fashion and Textile Museum, London
3. Fashion Museum, Bath
4. Dolls House Museum, Ealing
5. Lace Guild Museum, Bristol
6. Garden Museum, London
7. Florence Nightingale Museum, London
8. The Fan Museum, Greenwich
9. Jane Austen's House Museum, Hampshire
10. Makeup Museum, online presence

10 Museums for Blokes

This sexist stereotype list came to mind following my visit to the V & A . Apologies to all including myself. Another 10 to follow next post.

1. Royal Airforce Museum, Hendon
2. London Motor Museum, London
3. Churchill War Rooms, London
4. Imperial War Museum, London and Duxford
5. National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham
6. National Railway Museum, York
7. National Football Museum, Manchester
8. National Coal Mining Museum for England, Overton
9. Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds
10. London Transport Museum, London

Winnie the Pooh at the V & A

Gwion and I got down to the V & A this week for their exhibition on Winnie the Pooh. We enjoyed seeing it. It's on until April 8. More info here.

Midweek Meeting January 17 2018

The seminary students are all back and so we were almost back to full strength on Wednesday. We were mostly men. One of them Reuben, took an extended trip to the far east with his family adn so after I had very briefly said something on Romans 8:32 he reported to us on his time in The Philippines and especially the work of the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church including its CCM work among street kids. It was good to be reminded of this stirling work. We had a very good prayer time almost everyone praying and the prayers flowing as one always longs for but sometimes don't get. We had a church members meeting the next day so I finsihed promptly.

Lord's Day January 14 2018

As is often the case it was "a game of two halves" last Lord's Day in terms of turn out. We had a good number in the morning but by the evening for various reasons we were barely into double figures. In the morning I preached from the first half of Acts 11 and in the evening, following tea together in the parlour, from Matthew 16:5-12 warning against false teachers. It is an interesting question as to whether one should name names in sermons. I decided to do so and had T D Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and the Pope in my firing sights. I hope it helped. At least one person present was nervous about attacking Ms Meyer.

Midweek Meeting January 10 2018

Somehow I forgot to do a midweek meeting report last week. Anyway, we did meet and we looked at that wonderful verse Romasn 8:28 and we spent time in prayer too. We were not a great number as some are still away.

Lord's Day January 7 2018

First Lord's Day of the year though seven days in the year already seems a little familiar. I decided to go straight back to our systematic studies in Acts and Matthew having been out of it for a while. Lots were away due to illnesses and several travelling but the morning service was fairly well attended as five extra family members of ours were there and one or two visitors including a Zambian lady. We began with communion. I then preached on Acts 10, also speaking to the children on prayer. In the evening  I preached from Matthew 16:1-4. Quite a difficult Sunday in some ways. It is easy to be discouraged.

Carey Conference 2018 Day 3 Last two sessions

Our conference finished with papers from Matthew Bingham and Bill James. Matthew rounded out his previous historical paper with many quotations and three conclusions. 1. An affirmation of the truth of believers baptism 2. An encouragement to pursue meaningful church membership 3. A warning against becoming overly zealous in pursuit of congregational purity. These two papers were very good and helpful. The fact that most evangelical churches today do act as independent churches that require only believers to join ought notto be overlooked. My only fear was that one could feel rather smug and look down on Presbyterians and especially Congregationalists. No doubt we Baptists have our blind spots and inconsistencies too. 
The final paper was given by Bill James, our conference convener, on salt and light. He took us through the material in Matthew 5, speaking first of the picture of salt and then light and rounding it out to present a vision of believers making an impact on the world today. He mentioned and quoted  passages fom Rod Dreher's Benedict Option but felt this was not the way forward.
It has been good to be here. Next year's conference uis due to be January 8-10.

Carey Conference 2018 Day 2 Sessions 2-4

The rest of the day was taken up by talks from Robert Strivens and Luke Jenner and a lively question session with most of the speakers present. Lots of people wanted to talk about conscience as raised by John Benton but plenty of other subjecs were usefully covered under the chairmanship of Bill James
Robert Strivens offered a powerful plea for associations of churches quoting the 1689 Confession and John Owen. It was reminiscent of a paper by David Kingdon many moons ago.
In the final session of the day Luke Jenner, who has recently become a father once again, gave an impassioned plea for a full recognition of union with Christ and, in particular, of our church union with Christ. Stirring stuff.

Carey Conference 2018 Wednesday Session 1

Ray Evans gave another helpful paper in the first part of the morning on growing a believers' church. He made seven main points.
1. Equipping for a 'whole life' service not just service
This included commendation of Mark Goode's books, Thank God it's Monday and Fruitfulness on the frontline.
2. Equipping for a whole of life evangelism not just church evangelism
Acts 16 a suggestive blueprint. Inviting people (go and tell) is the easiest and most effective means of reaching people. Others need to be reached through caring for them and servng them. Thirdly, going to people to tell them is important too.
3. Equipping for organic go and tell evangelism
This questionnaire was commended as found for example here
People should be encouraged to know how to share their story (life adn witness must, ofcourse, match)
4. Encouragiing the exploring of space and time
Too often (says Mark Greene) mission becomes "to recruit the people of God to use some of their leisure time to join the missionary initiatives of church-paid workers".
5. Understanding journeys to faith
Patience and impatience, etc
6. The power of example, the difficulties of choices and the cost of mobilising the whole church
7. Colossians 4 - another blueprint

Carey Conference 2018 First Evening

It is good to be here in Swanwick, Derbyshire once again. We have had three strong papers to start us off. Dr Matthew Bingham gave us an excellent historical paper outlining in this first session why it was that the early Reformers were so wedded to the idea of paedobaptism and the idea of a national church. Paedobaptism was accepted nearly universally before the Reformation and the state idea of the church was widely accepted by most. The idea that England was a new Israel was a third element driving pre- and post-Reformation theology. What drove the Particular Baptists, it was suggested was not simply their reading of the Bible, which says nothing of infant baptism, but also their realisation that the idea of an internal and external covenant was an untenable position. The paper was very helpful.
We then had Ray Evans on leading a believer's church, looking at most obviously at Acts 2 and then less obviously at Acts 6. He added three other useful points - settling for either/or when it should be both/and (including reference to the way time is a tyrant); a diagram on the pastor as prophet, priest and king like and something on consulting members plus something on staff and members. See this page here for a very interesting insight.
We also had John Benton, like Ray a Carey stalwart, on freedom in the church, looking at Romans 14:1-15:13. After summarising the situation Paul is speaking of, he pointed out the six principles there (the Lordship of Christ, the way of love, the priority of the Spirit, the example of Christ, the necessity of writing and the goal of praise) and made these applications - Paul gives principles not a formula, we must avoid both legalism and licence, we must preach on self-denial and judgement and the importance of relationships, etc.

Lord's Day December 31 2017

Our last Lord's Day of 2017 was noa jam packed affair though there were plenty in the morning. Though several are still away we had one or two visitors - family members, etc. One couple Iknow are looking for a church to settle in. We will see. In the morning I preached from Romans 12:1. That is our text for the year. In the evening I preached from 2 Peter 3:8, an appropriate text for the turn of the year. The evening servie was preceded by communion (held over from the 17th). We were very few for that. We had only one reading in each service and so both services were only just over the hour each.

Holiday Books

Pointless History of the World, Laurence Rees on The Holocaust, Mark Forsyth's Etymologicon, Short Poems, John Knox, Welwyn Esther and George Eliot's Clerical Life -All Christmas Gifts

Two Holiday Snaps

My son and grandson crash out
The family in MacDonalds in Cardiff before heading home