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.

Lord's Day September 14 2014

Bit slow with this but we had a good Sunday last. In the morning numbers were down slightly but there was a new lady there, who looked keen to come again. We were also saying goodbye to Andrew and Jill. Andrew Lolley has been our assistant over the last year and is now headed for Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth. We were able to give them gifts and pray for them during the service and then later at the fellowship lunch that followed. I preached in the morning on 1 Corinthians 13:4 on love being patient, kind and not envious, boastful or proud. In the evening we looked at the devastating but ultimately encouraging topic of Total Depravity, the first of the five points of Calvin. Getting back into it slowly then.

My new book out soon

I understand that my new book will be out October 17.
A Candle in the Wind is paperback subtitled What the Bible says about the conscience and is by Gary Brady.
It will be £7.99.
This study looks at the biblical data and offers a view of conscience that rescues it from popular confusion
Gary Brady takes his title from a comment in Matthew Henry on Romans, where the conscience is termed 'The candle of the Lord, which was not quite put out.' In this study he looks at the biblical data and offers a view of conscience that rescues it from popular confusion. Conscience in the unbeliever and the believer are dealt with and there is material on conscience and assurance, and on developing the conscience. In the final section Gary deals with the interesting topics of conscience in children, conscience and religious and civil liberty and, finally, conscience in eternity.
No cover image available yet.

10 more Spoonerisms

I like Spoonerisms, indood I dee. Roonerisms spock!
 
1. Go and shake a tower - go and take a shower
2. Mad banners - bad manners
3. Lack of pies - pack of lies
4. Roaring with pain - pouring with rain
5. Pit nicking - nit picking
6. Hypodemic nurdle - hypodermic needle
7. Wave the sails - save the whales
8. Chipping the flannel - flipping the channel
9. Mad bunny - bad money
10. Bedding wells - wedding bells

10 Spoonerisms

These are said to be genuine Spoonerisms spoken by Rev William Archibald Spooner himself
1. You hissed my mystery lecture - you missed my history lecture
2. Cattle ships and bruisers - battle ships and cruisers
3. Nosey little cook - cosy little nook
4. A blushing crow - a crushing blow
5. Our queer old Dean - our dear old Queen
6. We'll have the hags flung out - we'll have the flags hung out
7. You've tasted two worms - you've wasted two terms
8. Our shoving leopard - our loving shepherd
9. A half-warmed fish - a half-formed wish
10. Is the bean dizzy? - is the Dean busy?

Two excellent conferences coming up - Book now!


I've been a bit sleepy on the conference front but I do want to flag up two conferences coming up. The first is the Westminster Authentic Calvinism on December 2 and 3 and the second is the Carey Minsitry in the last days January 6-8. Double click then copy to see more clearly. 

Midweek Meeting September 10 2014

As promised, a brief review of last night. We were about 15 in number because we had two Korean visitors down from Inverness. With my assistant Andrew and his wife Jill off to Perth next week, we were helped to think about Scotland (as if we hadn't already by the news media - not an easy subject to pray about). We were also praying for Wales and for our two new Relay workers working with UCCF in Cardiff this year. See here for Dylan and here for Rosie. I carried on using Joel Beeke's book and speaking about spiritual growth in practice and the need to follow Christ's pattern and to please God. People were tired and it was still slightly too long. We sang at the beginning acapella Master speak, thy servant heareth.

Abraham Conference at John Owen Centre Day 2

Messers Salter (seated) and Gibson (standing) 
We are a bit behind here but the second day at the Abraham conference was a fine one. We opened with a paper from David Shaw of Oak Hill and the whole matter of Abraham and justification by faith. He helpfully brought us up to speed with regard to the current debate with plenty of references to Wright and Barr et al. Perhaps the one failure was to relate this more directly to Abraham and not just to Romans 4 but this was a worthwhile paper. We then tried something a little different as David Gibson and Martin Salter presented papers arguing the paedo- and credo- Baptist positions respectively. Again Abraham was slightly lost in all this but it was a worthwhile exercise even if it shifted nobody's view. Dr Robert Strivens the LTS principal rounded off with an expansive and final paper on Abraham and Paul, arguing that Paul was consciously working out the promises made to Abraham.
I guess when we looked at Adam and Noah it was a little easier to focus simply on them and their times. Both being the first man of creation any extrapolation is both universal and individual to me. Abraham, on the other hand, is the father of the faithful and perhaps counter-intuitively that makes him a much bigger figure, one not so easily surveyed in a two day conference. Perhaps it will be possible to return to this towering figure another time and look at Abraham the prophet, Abraham the liar, Abraham and the land, etc, etc.
The recordings will be online in a few weeks I understand and a conference is planned for next year September 7 and 8.

Abraham Conference at John Owen Centre

I spent yesterday at the John Owen Centre here in London, with about 50 others, at the Abraham Conference they have organised. Garry Williams, Director of the centre, began by outlining the work of the centre and then we were into the first session in which former LTS principal Philip Eveson helpfully outlined what we have in Genesis about Abraham, using diagrams to show the various chiasms and drawing out some interesting points about the careful way the Book of Genesis appears to be constructed. We had more of that sort of thing in the session after lunch when LTS Vice-principal David Green took us through the text showing us the significance of the word Ra'ah to see and its cognates and sometimes homonyms too. Again this was very interesting and helpful.
Personally, I found the third paper from James Mulrooney, an Edinburgh PhD candidate, who will be lecturing at LTS from this term, the most stimulating even though he used the phrase iconic mimesis at one point. He took us through Genesis 22 arguing for a nuanced typology that helpfully understood Abraham, Isaac and the ram in specific bounded terms. The paper generated a good discussion, most people being favourable to what was proposed while others were more sceptical.
In the evening we had the Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture, which was open to the public. Peter Law, a local pastor who regularly lectures in the middle east, was given the subject The great Abrahamic faiths? and he gave us some of the background to this phrase then argued, leaning on Daniel Strange, for a subversive fulfilment, that is a balanced acceptance of commonalities while seeking to expose and challenge differences.
Looking forward to day two.

Lord's Day September 7 2014

So back to it proper yesterday. We started low key with a sparse congregation for communion. Numbers then grew and grew until we were quite full for the morning service. In our studies in 1 Corinthians we have come to 1 Corinthians 13, which is a wonderful chapter but hard to do justice too. We just looked at the first three verses this week. It's powerful stuff. I am reading my Jonathan Edwards to keep me on track. Back home all five buys plus were with us, which was nice. Two are off back to Wales this week. In the evening numbers were much less. I preached from Isaiah 6 on the sovereignty of God in preparation for a series I want to do on five things God wants you to know. It was a good day then and we hope it did some good.

Paul Yeulett inducted at Grove

It was good to be at Grove Chapel in Camberwell last Saturday for the induction of Paul Yeulett to the pastorate there. The place was pretty packed with family and friends and well wishers. I liked the service which included Paul and his wife joining the church as members first. I thought he could have kneeled for the laying of hands but it was all very dignified and helpful. He was also required to sign that he would uphold the church's doctrinal standard the shorter catechism (I guess that was chosen over the confession as it is an independent church in government). Paul was previously in Shrewsbury and was a school teacher for 11 years before that in the north east at Emmanuel School. Ian Hamilton preached briefly from the end of Romans 11 and into Chapter 12. There was a massive spread to follow.  It is good to know that Grove have found a new minister after several years without. Let's pray for blessing on them. Their illustrious past guarantees nothing but faithfulness to God means a lot.

Midweek Meeting September 3 2014

Some time ago I started blogging my Lord's Day activities to better reflect here what goes on in my life. I think the same argument could be made for the midweek meeting. So here we go. Wednesday night's our night. We meet at 8 pm in the parlour. Normally, we sing a hymn, I pray and read the Scriptures then speak. After that we discuss what to pray for and then pray. Praying needs to begin before 9 pm and usually ends between 9.15 and 9.30 pm. Last night I did the second message on Spiritual growth (Growing in knowledge of the Spirit and the Father - we did knowledge of the Son two weeks back). I am using a book by Joel Beeke to guide us through Colossians 1:9, 10. I was slightly longer than I should have been I guess. I need to cut down on the number of sub-points (a Puritan overhang). There were about 13 present including my son Rhodri now back with us. It was nice to have my fellow elder back from Korea. There are always too many things to pray for but there was a good spirit of prayer.

The law about pennies

Following up the last blog see this article here.

Pointless Books

Over the summer, I came across a spin off book from the Pointless series in a charity shop (100 Pointless Arguments). Having enjoyed it I couldn't resist sending for the previous volume (100 Pointless Things). As the books suggest these are ideal for reading on the toilet -short humorous chapters that sometimes stimulate or inform. I liked (from Book 1 - not yet finished) cushions on beds, extended warranties, sharing packs and charges at ATMs (all pretty pointless you'll agree). I also was interested to learn that it is illegal to pay for goods using more than 20 pennies. In the second book (which I read first - that's my way) I liked "Whose turn is it to take out the bins?" "What is the best length for a pop song?" and "Is it okay to go to the cinema on your own?" and was interested to learn that Postman Pat's real name is Patrick Clifton.
Before some other wag gets in I do realise that blogs like this are pretty pointless. It's also pointless to argue against them too.

Carson on 1 Cor 7:26

Read this today in Carson's For the love of God. Sane and helpful.
 
IN THE COURSE OF HIS treatment of “virgins” (1 Cor. 7:25-38—the word refers to the sexually inexperienced, whether male of female), Paul writes, “Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are” (7:26). Thus it is good for the celibate to remain celibate, for the married not to seek a divorce, and so forth. This does not mean, Paul adds, that if a virgin marries, she is sinning. But he does insist that “the time is short” (7:29). What does this mean?
(1) Some have argued that in common with everyone else in the early church, Paul believed that Jesus was going to return very soon, certainly within their lifetime. With so limited a horizon, Paul says that on the whole it is better for those who are celibate to remain unmarried. This reading of the passage means, of course, that Paul and the rest of the early church were just plain wrong: Jesus did not come back that quickly. But there are so many passages in the New Testament that envisage the possibility of long delay that we cannot go along with the notion that early Christians suffered under this particular delusion.
(2) Some have argued that “the present crisis” (7:26) refers to some specially troubling period of persecution. If the authorities are out to get Christians, especially their leaders, it might be an advantage to be celibate: you are more mobile, can hide more easily, and the authorities cannot exert pressure on you by leaning on your family. But this interpretation has two insuperable problems.
(a) It may fit the celibates, but it doesn’t fit all the other people to whom Paul makes application: eg those who mourn should live as if they did not mourn, those who are happy as if they were not, those who buy something as if it were not theirs to keep (7:29-30).
(b) Above all, there is no good evidence that the Corinthians were being threatened with persecution. The entire tone of this letter suggests they were finding life a bit of a lark.
(3) The word rendered “crisis” simply means “necessity” or “compulsion.” What Paul is referring to is neither the return of Christ nor persecution, but the present “necessity,” the present “compulsion,” of living with the End in view. Unlike pagans and secularists, we cannot make our chief joy turn on marriage, prosperity, or any other temporal thing. They all fall under the formula “as if not”: live “as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away” (7:31, emphasis added). There are responsible ways for Christians to enjoy these things, or mourn, or be happy - but never as if these things are ultimate.