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 Kiwi International Rugby Coaches

1. New Zealand - Steve Hanson
2. Wales - Warren Gatland
3. Scotland - Vern Cotter
4. Ireland - Joe Schmidt
5. Canada - Kieran Crowley
6. Fiji - John McKee
7. Georgia - Milton Haig
8. Tonga - Mana Otai (grew up in Auckland)
9. Austria - Philipp Stevenson
10. Singapore - Casey Mees

Cranford Meeting 2015

It was good to be inn Cranford once again with Robin and Muno Asgher for the annual meeting. The situation continue s to be one of vast opportunity among Asian people of Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu background. About 40 of us gathered. The preacher was Gerard Hemmings from nearby Amyand Park. He preached very helpfully from 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. I chaired. It is a privilege to be involved in this work. Do pray for the work.

Lord's Day October 4 2015

A new month is here so we started with communion as usual. I spoke from Romans 5, a bit briefer than usual I think. Despite a good start, I didn't seem to get on so well with the preaching (from Revelation and Judges). It wasn't disastrous but I was a little long and not as easy to follow as I would like to be. People were tired in the evening. The children's talk went okay on the tenth commandment. There are bound to be Sundays like this I guess. Two members who have been ill were back so that was good but others were ill. A long lost Filipino re-appeared. We had visitors in the morning - couple from LTS, and in the evening a man who seems to have seen through the prosperity gospel by God's grace but the next move will not be easy for him. Three members were out preaching (one only in the evening). Not sure where other members were.

Week of Prayer

Last week we had a week of prayer meetings. That's why I didn't report on the midweek meeting. We had a prayer meeting that night (Wednesday) and the night after and other prayer meetings - one Sunday evening, two early morning ones, one mid-morning and one with breakfast on the Saturday. Seven in all, it was good to have a reminder of the centrality of prayer and to pray. We try and have these weeks twice a year.

Excellent Lecture at the Evangelical Library

It was a privilege to be among the 14 or 15 people present for the latest lunch time lecture at the Evangelical Library here in London. Dr Robert Strivens, Principal of the London Theological Seminary, spoke of the Synod of Dort. He very helpfully and clearly gave us the background to the Synod that took place in the Dutch town of Dordrecht (Dort for short) 1618 and 1619 and then something about the (Calvinistic) canons it produced. Dr Strivens was at pains to acknowledge the political as well as theological currents in existence at the time. A recording was made and can be obtained from the Library. A good time of questions and answers followed. We also learned how recent the TULIP term is (more to follow on that I hope). (For the canons of Dort see here). The best book of the subject will cost you a small fortune sadly. See here.

Lord's Day September 27 2015

I don't think it was the Welsh win over England the night before (I hope not) but I did wake quite encouraged and managed to go on like that all day, which I'm often not very good at. (I also had my two sermons more sorted than usual as I knew we were due to be out all day - that helps I think). Anyway the encouragements kept coming all day.
  • First, we resumed our bitesize theology class with the very encouraging and central doctrine of justification.
  • We had a full double figure turn out for that.
  • Then there was a good sized congregation for the morning service where I preached a harvest message from Psalm 126, which I hope was helpful. I got help on it from John Piper. The tears are not caused by the sowing but we are often in tears as we sow. We need to press on until harvest.
  • It was good to have as many as nine children under ten there (when we often have only two).
  • We also had visitors - a lady with two children and the African gentleman who came last week, who turns out to be from Ghana. Of course, there were some missing as ever but it was a good time.
  • We then had a lovely afternoon with others in the home of one of my deacons.
  • We had a good attendance in the evening too, including a visit from a family we know. I preached (quite animatedly I thought) On Ehud the left hander. (I've found Tim Keller's book on preaching a help on the matter of preaching Christ I think).
  • My son and his family came back to us for cuppa after the evening service and that was nice too.

Some pictures

The clay dragon is by my son Owain, the papers are the earliest manuscript of my recently published book on conscience.

10 Theologians whose names begin with A

1. Ambrose
2. Aurelius Augustine
3. Athanasius
4. Abelard
5. Anselm
6. Albertus Magnus
7. Aquinas
8. Alsted
9. Ames
10. Archibald Alexander
(The book by Peter Sanlon and Mostyn Roberts share some slight blame for this list)

10 Composers whose names begin with B

I'm surprised to see we've not done this before
1. Bach
2. Byrd
3. Beethoven
4. Brahms
5. Bruch
6. Borodin
7. Bartok
8. Berlioz
9. Bizet
10. Britten

Escher at Dulwich

Expensive but it would be nice to see this some time


Every time I meet Afrikaans speakers, which I do from time to time and did again recently, I try to remember the sentence that is written the same in English and Afrikaans. In fact there are two sentences which I relocated today. Here it says
Most interestingly, consider these two sentences:
My hand is in warm water.
My pen is in my hand.
These two sentences can be either English or Afrikaans, and both have exactly the same meaning in both languages. But despite this, Afrikaans has significant differences from English. It might not be as easy to learn for an English speaker as, say, Esperanto, but it is still considered a relatively easy language to learn, and is advocated by some as a good introduction to learning Dutch and other Germanic languages in general.

Lunch Time Lectures at the Evangelical Library

Just a reminder of the lecture next Monday


28th September:Dr. Robert Strivens “The Synod of Dort:unravelling the complexities”

16th November:Rev. G. Brady “William Brock. Pastor, writer and abolitionist”

Both lectures will begin at 1 pm. All welcome.

At the Evangelical Library, London N11 2UT
(nearest tube:Bounds Green)
Evangelical Library
5/6 Gateway Mews
Bounds Green
N11 2UT
020 8362 0868

Simply God

It was good to be at the John Owen Centre again today for our regular TSG. Our book this time was Simply God by Peter Sanlon. The book defends the traditional view of the doctrine of God and the importance of systematic theology, emphasising the simplicity of God. The book interacts with various recent ideas such as Open Theism and the high view of the Trinity promoted by Colin Gunton and others. Seven of us, mostly ministers, met to discuss the book. Mostyn Roberts kindly led. We were pretty sympathetic although we sometimes found it hard to accept all his statements, fearing at times that his penchant for Thomas Aquinas had grown too strong.