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.

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 rather will 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.

Raith Rovers

We passed Raith Rovers ground today on the train. It is in Kirkcaldy. If you've ever been into football then you know names like Raith, Fife, Stirling, Forfar, etc, even though you know nothing about them.
Wikipedia reveals that the modern Raith Rovers were founded in 1883 in Kirkcaldy. Though there were other teams who incorporated the town name, such as Kirkcaldy Wanderers and Kirkcaldy United, Raith became the most successful of the local teams, winning five trophies in the 1890s. There had been a much earlier (unrelated) Raith Rovers which merged with what is now Cowdenbeath in 1882. Although it lends its name to many entities in the region, Raith is not itself a settlement. A Raith Rovers victory in the 1960s led to a famous BBC commentator's blunder that the fans would be "dancing in the streets of Raith tonight". (Commonly attributed to David Coleman, it was actually said by Scotsman Sam Leitch.) Raith (Scottish Gaelic: rath, "fort" or "fortified residence") as an area once stretched from south of Loch Gelly as far as Kirkcaldy and the Battle of Raith is said to have been fought here in 596 AD. Raith House and Raith Tower sit on Cormie Hill to the west of Kirkcaldy and several parts of the town are built on land formerly of the Raith Estate, although the modern housing estate bearing the Raith name dates from long after the origins of the team.

Induction in Perth today

It was a great joy to be with our friends Andrew and Jill Lolley today for Andrew's induction to the pastorate of Craigie Reformed Baptist Church, Perth. About 70 gathered from all over Scotland and England. We had a history of the call in three parts taking us from Tinshill, Leeds through Childs Hill, London to CRBC. Then there was the induction (led by Barry Garth of Penicuik) and preaching from Robert Strivens my fellow elder and LTS Principal. We had the service in the M'Cheyne Rooms elsewhere in Perth and then in the church's own building. Great day.


A W Pink on Sleep

Adrian's book brought this passage to mind. Not sure why he did not add it in (though the gist is there in his book). I must have read this when I was 15 or 16. It has stayed with me ever since.

 A.W. Pink
 “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep”.  [Psalm 127:2]
How often is it now lost sight of that the Lord cares for the bodies of His saints as well as for their souls. This is more or less recognized and owned by believers in the matter of food and clothing, health and strength, but it is widely ignored by many concerning the point we are here treating of.
SLEEP is as imperative for our physical well-being as is food and drink, and the one is as much the GIFT of our heavenly Father as is the other.
We cannot put ourselves to sleep by any effort of will, as those who suffer with insomnia quickly discover. Nor does exercise and manual labour of itself ensure sleep: have you ever lain down almost exhausted and then found you were “too tired to sleep”?
Sleep is a DIVINE GIFT, but the nightly recurrence of it blinds us to the fact.
When is so pleases Him, God withholds sleep, and then we have to say with the Psalmist, “Thou holdest mine eyes waking” (77:4). But that is the exception rather than the rule, and deeply thankful should we be that it is so. Day by day the Lord feeds us, and night by night He “giveth His beloved sleep.” Thus in this little detail - of Elijah’s sleeping under the juniper tree - which we are likely to pass over lightly, we should perceive the gracious hand of God ministering in tenderness to the needs of one who is dear unto Him.
Yes, “the Lord pitieth them that fear Him,” and why? “for He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). He is mindful of our frailty, and tempers His winds accordingly; He is aware when our energies are spent, and graciously renews our strength. It was not God’s design that His servant should die of exhaustion in the wilderness after his long, long flight from Jezreel, so he mercifully refreshes his body with sleep. And thus compassionately does He deal with us.
Alas, how little are we affected by the Lord’s goodness and grace unto us. The unfailing recurrence of His mercies both temporally and spiritually inclines us to take them as a matter of course. So dull of understanding are we, so cold our hearts Godward, it is to be feared that most of the time we fail to realize WHOSE loving hand it is which is ministering to us. Is not this the very reason why we do not begin really to value our health until it is taken from us, and not until we spend night after night tossing upon a bed of pain do we perceive the worth of regular sleep with which we were formerly favored?
And such vile creatures are we that, when illness and insomnia come upon us, instead of improving the same by repenting of our former ingratitude, and humbly confessing the same to God, we murmur and complain at the hardness of our present lot and wonder what we have done to deserve such treatment. O let those of us who are still blessed with good health and regular sleep fail not daily to return thanks for such privileges and earnestly seek grace to use the strength from them to the glory of God.
[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Life of Elijah’]

And so to bed

I read this week Adrian Reynolds little book on sleep - And so to bed. It is the right length and covers most of the ground (the only ommission I spotted was Elijah and may be a blast against the idea of psychopannychia). His book suggests that quite a few people suffer with lack of sleep (not my problem I have to confess) and the first thing to help them is to think of it in a biblical way. There is also practical advice here and an acknowledgement of the fact that sometimes there may be a medical problem. Very nicely written. Thanks ever so much Adrian.

Coats E - Ermine fur coat

Midweek Meeting October 16 2014

The penultimate in the series on spiritual growth tonight. We were speaking about growth in experience and especially the need in our lives for God's power - a subject we . Lots of good stuff from Beeke, John Newton (see here) and focusing on the fascinating story of Annie Johnson Flint and here lovely hymn He giveth more grace, which we ended up shining twice. See  a nice overview of here life here. A good turn out again and a good time of prayer. What an oasis the midweek meeting can so often be.

This time a baby rhino

This is Bruce from Scotland. Loads more here.

Jim Thompson Cessationist

Over the summer I bought and later read Jim Thompson's book Healing and healers today which is an excellent enquiry into New Testament healing, overwhelmingly specious modern claims and the matter of whether we should expect miraculous healings today. This book led me to his shorter related book Prophecy Today which came out a few years ago. This well argued little book sets out the cessationist argument. I couldn't go with him on the argument from 1 Corinthians 13 in the end but that is not an essential interpretation for the cessationist case. I think every Christian, whatever view they hold to or if they are unsure, would benefit from a perusal of these two books. They are clear, through and irenic. I for one am very thankful for them. (Not sure why EP didn't come up with more uniform covers. Hope they sell out of both soon and bring out a combined version).

Coats D - Duffle coat

Lord's Day October 13 2014

Great subjects again - faith, hope and love from 1 Corinthians 13:13 and the perseverance of the saints (from Philippians 1:6, etc). Somehow one does not feel as excited as one should be. We're so few and there were people missing and the preaching could have been better. I think that one also feels one is so far short of what is preached. Where is the faith, the hope, the love? Where's the confident perseverance? Mind you I did find looking at hope a great help. I am very pessimistic and it is only the Bible that keeps me going. I know it is incorrect to say it is optimistic. What it is is a book full of hope. It drives you from despair. We had tea together before the evening meeting and that was nice.