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.

Coats I - Inverness Cape

Lord's Day October 26

Numbers were rather down yesterday as it is the beginning of half term week here. We pressed on with 1 Corinthians, however, beginning on 1 Corinthians 14, which is difficult but full of good practical advice with regard to worship. In the evening, when we were down to about 15, I began a short series on the parable of the sower focusing on the seed on the path that gets eaten up by the birds.

Induction of George Platt at Highgate Rd

Another Saturday, another induction. We were over at our neighbours Highgate Rd Chapel in Kentish Town this afternoon for the induction of George Platt. The induction was led by Robert Strivens and Chris Bennett preached. There was a good number there and a nice spread to follow. Tim Collier led the meeting and Andrew Hill the former pastor was among those taking part.

GBM Annual meetings

I decided this year to skip the delegates meeting and try some of the sessions so I started by listening to Andrzje and Monika Kampcenski talking about the work in Legionowo, Poland then Graham and Sally Jones of Kisumu, Kenya. I finished off with Maciek (see above) and Mary Stolarski giving a brief history of the literature work and introducing Kester Putman who is to carry on the work. I had to leave at that point and so missed the other sessions but it was good to hear what I did and to meet various people albeit briefly. I haven't been able to attend GBM's annual meetings for awhile so it was good to be there again.

New series on the Early Church Fathers

 I was very pleased to see these two new volumes on the church fathers. I read the one on Patrick first and was very impressed. He is not an obvious choice for such a series but he deserves a place and this study by Michael Haykin is brief, to the point and popular, yet scholarly too (c 300 footnotes in a hundred pages). There is scant reliable material on Patrick and this is a great contribution.
All this made me positive about reading the volume on Basil of Caesarea by Marvin Jones. The book is quite a bit longer which seemed a shame but I cracked on and for the first seventy or so pages was happy enough despite one or two quirks. As I got into the second half of the book, however, it became less and less readable and in the end a great disappointment. Let me give you some random examples of the Jones style.
Page 135 "There is no doubt that Basil was the first to speak of God in terms that clarified his existence. ... Basil died 1 January 379 and, therefore, never witnessed his contribution to the issue of the Trinity".
Page 149 "The account of humanity's creation within the cosmology, and the ultimate concept of humanity's destiny within the cosmology, is the central theme that occupies Basil's theme".
These are just examples. May be such slips can be overlooked in an undergraduate essay but I paid good money for this product and find it unacceptable. Who is responsible? Clearly Christian Focus need to employ a proof reader or a stylist or something. Michael Haykin is said to be series editor. Paige Patterson, Jason Duesing, Steven McKinnon and Mike Ovey commend the book. I suggest they read the latter chapters and think again.

Ian Rankin Knots and Crosses

As we were going to be in Edinburgh, I decided to try the first Rebus novel by Ian Rankin Knots and crosses. The Edinburgh setting is not crucial but there was some pleasure in picking up on the few geographical references. The book is deservedly considered a decent one. No doubt a knowledge of the whole series would add to the pleasure. Like most such novels it deal with some fairly sordid details. Perhaps the most interesting element is the idea that Rebus is some sort of backslidden Christian. It would be interesting to see how that plays out in other novels.

Novelists 42 R Erskine Childers

Robert Erskine Childers DSC (1870–1922), universally known as Erskine Childers, was the author of the influential novel The Riddle of the Sands a novel I have not read but am always intending to get round to. It has never gone out of print and is often cited in top novel lists. They say it was the first spy novel. An Irish nationalist he smuggled guns to Ireland in his sailing yacht Asgard. He was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War. He was the son of British Orientalist scholar Robert Caesar Childers; the cousin of Hugh Childers and Robert Barton; and the father of the fourth President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers.

Coats H - Harrington

These jackets first appeared in the 1930s. Harrington is a nickname. This style of jacket earned it because it was worn by the character Rodney Harrington (Ryan O'Neal) in the 1960s prime time soap opera Peyton Place.

Midweek meeting October 22 2014

We had a good turn out last night and a good time of prayer again as we covered the last section of our little series on Spiritual Growth. Our final point (via Joel Beeke and Colossians 1) was that to grow spiritually we need to be increasingly thankful. This is not an obvious point but it is true. The more thankful we are, the more we love God and serve him. We are thankful for having been delivered the way we have.

Books from Scotland

I took books to Scotland, of course, but I also brought some new ones home. We found this very quaint bookshop in Edinburgh that had a second hand section so I bought a little volume for Bible Classes on the Holy Spirit by Dr R S Candlish. The bookshop is near the Elephant Café where J K Rowling sat and worked once upon a time. I's not far from the statue of Greyfriars Bobby.
I also bought a Scots English dictionary in The Works. At Waverley Station they had free copies of a little book on Walter Scott. I bought the volume by Bonar on Milne of Perth in a Christian Bookshop in Perth itself. I remember Jonathan Watson giving a paper on the man at Banner a few years ago. I had a fruitless search for Bonar's grave while in Edinburgh.

Coats G - Gilet

Lord's Day October 19 2014

So we ended up in Edinburgh on the Lord's Day. I have heard many times of Charlotte Chapel (no doubt because this is where Graham Scroggie, Alan Redpath and Derek Prime ministered in the past). The current senior minister is a man called Paul Rees, originally from Cardiff. He and his wife are good friends of my sister-in-law and her husband so he heard that we were in town and very kindly invited me to join him for breakfast (I went for salted porridge as we were in Scotland, very nice. I'd had an Irn Bru the night before as I like to get the feel of a place). Paul grew up Brethren, came to London and attended St Helen's was a dentist then studied at Moore, Sydney and led a church in Spokane before coming to Edinburgh. His wife Shiona is Scots. He showed me the massive old St George's West which they have purchased and plan to move into (the present chapel is on something of a side street and the main auditorium is up a flight of stairs).
I'm not often in a large church. One is always impressed by how efficient they are getting people in and giving them coffee after, etc. It's like having a conference every week I guess. There was  an eight piece band in the organ loft who were good musicians and not over conspicuous though some of the song choices were a little weak I felt. The apprentice Ross led very well. The assistant Matt Round preached a very thorough sermon on Matthew 11:25-30, a bit too much to the will rather than the heart I felt. Everyone was very friendly and warm and welcoming. There must have been 600 and more of diverse ages and backgrounds. It was good to be there.
We had to travel back to London before the evening service so I downloaded a sermon for us on the train. People always speak well of the preaching of my former assistant Mark Raines so I got hold of his sermon on Proverbs 26, which he did indeed preach very well.