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.

Wolf Hall

A bit indulgent but to make sure I did both I went along to the Aldwych again last night, this time to see Wolf Hall. Bette organisation would have meant I saw them in the proper order. They are not really separate plays but a very long play over two nights. Wolf Hall begins with the dancing by the cast that you often see at The Globe (presumably based on some Shakespearean tradition) and ends rather abruptly with a reference to Jane Seymour. One could also characters like Mark and George being developed in Wolf Hall so that they made more sense in the second part. Anyway, having read both Hilary Mantel's novels it wasn't too much of a problem. This second one didn't get as many laughs and was slightly less sordid while including foul mouths that I do not recall from Bring up the bodies. The weather played a really big part in last night's production but I don't remember it being mentioned in the other one. I was impressed again both by Mantel's skill and that of Mike Poulton who has done the adaptation so well (call me Risely is completely erased I noticed this time). Ben Miles (above with Lydia Leonard; Nathaniel Parker is Henry VIII) reminds me of Roger Daltrey (did some wag say who?). London's a great place.
Footnote: Last Tuesday a respectable looking woman in her sixties with a French accent asked me for a pound to get home. I didn't give her anything as she did not seem genuine. Last night I saw her again. Again she was not drunk or high. I asked her what her real story was but she was reluctant to share. I wonder what the story is. As has been asked - all the lonely people, where do they all come from?

Lloyd-Jones on evangelism - 5 principles

The words below by Robert Strivens can be found here
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, minister of Westminster Chapel in London in the middle of the twentieth century, saw himself primarily as an evangelist.
In 1942, he spoke at a conference of leaders of the Crusaders’ Union (a popular Christian youth movement) on the subject of modern evangelism. What he said is still relevant and helpful.
Firstly, he urged his listeners to avoid two extremes – that of the ‘perfectly orthodox’ whose work shows no fruit, on the one hand, and those, on the other hand, who appear to obtain ‘phenomenal results’ which do not in fact last. He then laid down five core principles for evangelistic work, as follows.
1. The supreme object of this work is to glorify God. The first object of preaching the gospel is not to save souls. Nothing else, however good in itself, or however noble, must be allowed to usurp that first place.
2. The only power that can really do this work is that of the Holy Spirit ...
3. The one and only medium through which the Holy Spirit works is the Word of God ... The medium which is used by the Holy Spirit is the truth.
4. The true urge to evangelization must come from apprehending these principles and, therefore, of a zeal for the honour and glory of God, and a love for the souls of men.
5. There is a constant danger of error, and of heresy, even amongst the most sincere, and also the danger of a false zeal and the employment of unscriptural methods.’
The address was published as The Presentation of the Gospel (IVF, 1949). The above summary is taken from Iain Murray’s excellent one-volume biography of Lloyd-Jones, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981 (Banner of Truth, 2013), p. 242.

I won't be buying this here

You've seen this sort of thing before I know but it still staggers.

Bring up the bodies

Went to see Bring up the bodies at the Aldwych last night. I got a ticket that day for what they call the slips. The view is slightly restricted but it was no problem. I like the Tudor period since I was a  child and have enjoyed Hilary Mantel's two novels. This dramatic adaptation of the second of them is very well done. The subject matter is rather sordid at points but the interesting thing is the principal characters and how they act. Mantel seems to have got Henry VII well and probably Cromwell. As for Ann Boleyn one can see how a few changes to the script could make her much more  of a victim and even the Reformed Christian that some have argued she was.
Obviously the novel has more time to play with but because of the compression I got things that I hadn't got so clearly when reading. The play never misses a laugh either (although I found myself laughing at some things no-one else did). The biggest laugh was for an anachronism - when Stoke Newington was described as a pastoral idyl - I had to explain to the American next to me). The use of modern English makes it easier than watching Shakespeare. I'll have to get to see Wolf Hall soon (I think they must play alternate nights). Pity I will have done them in the wrong order. The Aldwych is a lovely theatre and I can go almost door to door from here by bus (though it takes a while).

Lord's Day August 17 2014

It was a great joy and a privilege to be back preaching again in Childs Hill. I have hardly preached in the last five months owing to illness, a two month sabbatical and some holiday. I preached on Ezekiel 11:19, 20 on a new heart and spirit (partly inspired by my recent heart problems) and 1 John 1:7 on walking in the light and the blood of Christ. I had a little sleep in the afternoon to make sure I was able to do both but I seem to have been okay. You realise again how difficult preaching is. What a joy nevertheless. I intend to put them both on my sermon blog, Preached Sermons, soon.

Aber Conference 2014 Paul Mallard

Paul Mallard on Psalm 90

Aber Conference 2014 Don Carson 2

This is Don Carson's second sermon - on Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1.

Aber Conference 2014 Joel Beeke 1

This is Joel Beeke's first evening message at Aber. He preached on For me to live is Christ and to die is gain from Philippians 1.

Aber Conference 2014 Don Carson 1

This is Don Carson's first sermon in the series of main morning conference addresses. He has decided to preach from Ephesians. This is from Ephesians 1.

Aber Conference 2014 Gary Benfold

This is Gary Benfold's opening sermon at the Aber Conference this year reminding us of what preaching is and does and what it can do under God. A great start to the week. Based on Jonah 3 it was called Aber's Vital Ingredient.

Family Celebrations


We've had two family celebrations this week. Yesterday we had a meal to celebrate the fiftieth wedding anniversary of my parents-in-law, Geoff and Iola Thomas. About 24 family and friends gathered at a nearby hotel. We ate a nice meal then there were some speeches and Joel Beeke kindly closed in prayer. Then today it was a more dressed down chip dinner for the extended family, including relatives over from America (my wife's youngest cousin, Gwennan, and her family). It was Gwennan and Keith's son Joshua's eleventh birthday. We must have been over 40 this time.