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.

Past Diary Jan 31 1974

The last day of January 1974 was a Thursday. I had a headache all day but managed to keep going. I began and ended with the next bit of Matthew and could report at the day's end "I have continued to keep busy, I have not borrowed, and I have kept my temper". The next day I was planning to train my guns on dishonesty (where again I had plenty to confess). I think, prompted by something I read or heard, I must have made a list of my main sins and tried to work through them putting them to death. Sadly, victory is not the easy thing I seem to have expected. We had a CPBSU meeting that night and my friend Stephen Price led us in a Bible Study from Zechariah 1. The Banner of Truth Trust had just republished T V Moore's commentary on the last three books of the Old Testament I recall. We had a rather fruitless discussion about what a vision was. After a little homework I went to bed.

Past Diary Jan 30 1974

This day I was working through my sins again. Did I have a list or something? I seem to have done well with the temper. With a little irony I say that "tomorrow I intend to refrain especially from laziness" (to be fair I was writing at the end of the day). It was an evening of homework but at some point earlier on I was either out buying the Focus album Moving Waves or (more likely) I bought it off a friend. That surprises me as I would have thought that I bought that album before Focus 3. I'd certainly listened to it before then. I describe the experience somewhere (On first listening to Moving Waves). The day began and ended with Matthew 21:33-46 and I give six lines of commentary. I had a headache at the end of the day and seemed to be going down with something.

Past Diary Jan 29 1974

Bit behind with this. I rarely quote as the entries are so utterly cringeworthy (a fair bit of bad grammar too). Perhaps I can cope with this. "My mother finished knitting my tank top, which I wore to the prayer-meeting". Only 13 words but there's a lot in there, hey? At prayer meeting we were finishing 2 Corinthians and one point Mr Garwood made was not to be afraid to say "grace be with you" rather than us. I've remembered that, though I couldn't have told you where I first learned it. I was still working through my sins and wondering about restitution. There is a curious note about temper where I claim to rarely lose it but to be tempted to hold small grudges. I would have thought it was the other way round. I was quite tired when I went to bed as I'd been up until 11.15 the night before. I seem to have been getting to bed 10-10.30 those days but would often be up late on a Monday night and always went to bed at midnight Saturdays.

Childhood Songs 4 Mr Froggy


This is another Singing Together memory. I particularly used to like hearing this Burl Ives on the radio as a kid. Ives had such asweet voice and I now see was no mean guitar player.

Proofs of Holy Writ

Rudyard Kipling's very last story was called "Proofs of Holy Writ". You can find it here. It was completed too late for inclusion in Limits and Renewals, his last collection, published in London in April 1932 but was published in The Strand magazine in April 1934, and reprinted there in 1947 with an introduction by Hilton Brown. It is also in volume 30 of the Sussex Edition.

It was said to have arisen from a dinner table conversation between Kipling and John Buchan about the process by which the splendidly poetic language of the KJV miraculously emerged from a committee of 47 learned men. Might they, Buchan wondered, have consulted the great creative writers of the day, like Will Shakespeare or Ben Jonson ? 'That's an idea', said Kipling, and went away to turn it into a tale. The story is prefaced by these words from Isaiah 60

ARISE, shine: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. ...
19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Psalm 46 Shakespeare Coincidence

Reading about the AV one or two things have come to light or I have been reminded of. The connection between Shakespeare and Psalm 46 in the KJV is initeresting and goes to prove what I long ago learned - that coincidences are common. Another example of this sort of thing would be the coincidences between the assasinated US presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. A more recent thing like this is the observation that one of the planes that hit the twin towers on 9/11 had the number Q33NY which when converted to wingdings is this:
 


Past Diary Jan 28 1974

My Monday entry is very brief. I say something typically banal about my daily reading (Matthew 21-12-20), bemoan my failure to witness though I mention that my sister is reading her Bible still (I guess she was converted somewhere around this period) and bewail what I call the "many sinful vices creeping upon me lately". The only example of this that I give is (shock, horror) BORROWING! I tend not to name things that really did trouble me as a teenager but as someone who had been brought up not to borrow things I can see how this would have been on my conscience. I spent the evening, unusually, doing homework. I was also listening to Focus, of course. Probably on the old radiogram. I don't think I got my Philips 303 until the following May.

Past Diary Jan 27 1974

January 27 1974 was a Sunday so I heard two sermons (on John 14:20 and Acts 5:42). In the afternoon the Bible Class was on John 8:33-59. I preserve a quote from the morning sermon "The water of heaven fills the shape of the vessel it is poured into" which at this distance seems a little inane but obviously struck me then. The evening sermon prompted a confession of lack of witness. I felt that the previous year (I had been baptised the previous June) I had been witnessing all the time but not now to my shame. I also attended a prayer meeting (a new thing it seems) before the evening meeting and prayed and went to the YPF where we had a quiz followed by news of missionaries in Romania and China. I also had my own reading from Matthew and read from the book of sermons by Whyte again (which I have now discovered was first published in 1922 - see here). It had een a wet weekend.

Van Gogh Vergeten 05

Painting, Oil on Canvas Arles: August, 1888 Location unknown

Childhood songs 3 Football Crazy



This is a third song from my Singing Together days. We actually sung this anglicised version below.

1. I have a favourite brother
And his Christian name is Paul.
He's lately joined a football club
For he's mad about football.
He's two black eyes already
And teeth lost from his gob,
Since Paul became a member of
That terrible football club.

CHORUS: For he's football crazy. he's football mad.
The football it has taken away
The little bit o' sense he had.
And it would take a dozen servants
To wash his clothes and scrub
Since Paul became a member of that
Terrible football club.

2. In the middle of the field one afternoon
The captain says, 'Now Paul,
Would you kindly take this place-kick
Since you're mad about football?
So he took forty paces backwards,
Shot off from the mark.
The ball went sailing over the bar
And landed in New Yark.

3. His wife she says she'll leave him
If Paulie doesn't keep
Away from football kicking
At night-time in his sleep.
He calls out 'Pass, McGinty!'
And other things so droll
Last night he kicked her out of bed
And swore it was a goal!

Glenn Miller Biopic


This is the bit from the film that is apparently only loosely based on the facts. Great drama though. Good old Jimy Stewart. (This came out in 1953 - the year before the Wesley film. No connection!)

Glenn Miller Sound

That last blog prompted me to check on the Glenn Miller sound. In answer to the question "What did Glenn Miller discover by accident?" I found this entry here.
Well, it wasn't really by accident. Like most "luck" it occurred because he was well-prepared.
During his time as an arranger for the Ray Noble orchestra, he developed an arranging style that carried the melody on an alto sax and trumpet playing a musical third apart, with harmony provided by the tenor sax.
Unfortunately Noble's trumpeter was unable to play some of the higher notes (due to a lack of ability, NOT an injury as shown in the 1954 movie with Jimmy Stewart). Miller rescored the harmony by replacing the trumpet with a clarinet. The result was an almost organ-like blend that was instantly recognisable and became known as the "Miller Sound".
That special arranging style was helped immensely when Miller formed his own band and hired Wilbur Schwartz to play clarinet. Schwartz had a full, "broad" tone that few other musicians could match, and it produced a more robust sound.
For the first couple of years Miller had the blend amplified by addition of a second alto sax to the melodic line, but around the start of 1942 he switched the harmony to one alto and one tenor sax, creating a deeper voicing as is heard on performances of that period (e.g. "Moonlight Mood").
When he joined the Army Air Force in late 1942 and formed the AAF Orchestra he was unable to bring Wilbur Schwartz with him, so the clarinet part was assigned to Michael "Peanuts" Hucko. Hucko was an excellent musician but never had the same tone as Schwartz; however the reed blend was maintained by an expanded sax section (SIX reeds) and frequent accompaniment by the string section.
Shortly before his disappearance, Maj. Miller said that he felt he was becoming trapped by listeners' wishes to keep hearing the reed blend, and he tried to move the orchestra's sound in a different direction. The long-suppressed commercial recordings that he made with Dinah Shore in late 1944 have only the barest hint of the reed sound.
Of course, we will never know what more we would have heard, had the Major's plane made it to Paris on that terrible afternoon in December.

TTRMOMD 04

This picture shows the inimitable Glenn Miller shaking hands with a clarinetist and illustrates the fact that not only Glenn Miller but the clarinet itself always reminds me of my dad. Apparently the key to the Glenn Miller sound involves a clarinet.

Focus 3

That diary entry noting when I bought Focus 3 has reminded me of the album. It first charted at the very end of 1972 and stayed in the charts until Spring of 1973. It was preceded by two other studio albums (In and Out, Moving Waves) and a live album (At the Rainbow, in the charts October and Bovember of 73). Money was always tight then and so being a double album I had to save up. I'm sure I'd heard it before buying it. It's a big album and I'm sure I didn't get right into in one go. It starts with Round goes the gossip which is quite a jazzy number that has taken me years to really appreciate. Love Remembered is amazing and I'm sure I was into that early on as well as the most well known track on there, Sylvia. Carnival Fugue is again jazzy but I got into it early on. Side 1 got quite a few listens then. Side 2 was not that easy being taken up with Focus 3 and Answers? Questions! Question? Answers! which is played as one long piece and travels to all sorts of places. There is no let up with Anonymous 2 which goes on throughout side 3 and onto side 4. I'd already got into the shorter Anonymus from the first album so I knew there was gold there. One snag in those days was listening to the very quiet middle section where the bass restarts the whole thing. Dusty vinyl does not lend itself to that sort of thing. It was the drum break and the finale that I appreciated soonest. Side 4 also has Elspeth of Nottingham on lute which I was prepared for through Akkerman's solo album, Profile. It also had another outing for House of the King which rounded things off nicely, although I always thought we'd been a little short changed. Why not another new track?
In May of 1974 a new album came out Hamburger Concerto and on May 25 I went with two friends to see them at the Hippodrome in Bristol. They were stunningly amazing. I was just turned 15.

Past Diary Jan 26 1974

January 26 1974 was a Saturday. In the morning I got ready for my Greek class then went along. (I think I only ever looked at Greek just before class and so didn't learn very much). We were on prepositions and came across the middle voice in the exegesis from Mark. In the afternoon I was off to town to buy a belt and the double album Focus 3 which had come out in 1972 but that I was only then able to buy. I listened to it while doing homework. It's a superb album and still one of my favourites all these years later. In the evening there was a birthday party at the home of a friend from church, Carol. Her father was a deacon. We are still in touch (at Christmas) and she is in the Lord. I have a vague recollection of the party. I was reading a book on prayer by the 19th century writer Alexander Whyte.

A Special Day

The current edition of ET includes this Guest Column article by yours truly
A Special Day
 
Dash: You always say, "Do your best" but you don't really mean it. Why can't I do the best that I can do?
Helen: Right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in, and to fit in, we just gotta be like everybody else.
Dash: Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of. Our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.
Dash: [sullenly] Which is another way of saying no one is.

This mother and son dialogue is from Pixar's critically acclaimed animation The Incredibles, about a super-hero family living at a time when super-heroes are not fashionable. The dialogue perceptively highlights an issue in western society today.
Specialisation is receiving a negative press. People fear that in the academic and business worlds, for example, it is causing harm.
Another negative influence on perception is the way young people, influenced by phrases such as special education and Special Olympics use the word in a pejorative way.
Besides all this, some evangelicals have had bad experiences when special people, days and times have been held in high esteem and are rather wary of such talk.
Growing numbers of evangelicals are not at all keen on the idea of special people, special days or special times.
Yet surely fear of specialisation should hardly characterise people who serve a God who has singled out one special planet in this vast universe, earth, to be inhabited; one special creature, humankind, to be his focus; and one special people, believers in Jesus Christ, to redeem.

*

There was a time when most evangelicals accepted that not all days are the same. There are seven days in a week but the first is special, the “day of rest and gladness” when “Christ rose from depths of earth”, a special day to celebrate.
In more recent years, however, more and more are shying away from the idea. It is usually put in terms of every day being special rather than no day being special but, as Dash would say, saying every day is special is another way of saying no day is.
Such people often quote Romans 14:5, 6a and Colossians 2:16, 17. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honour of the Lord. ... let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. It is clear, they say, keeping a day special is fine but it is not an obligation. Certainly no-one can say “keep the Sabbath” as it is only an Old Testament shadow anyway.
On the face of it, the verses seem to say that. Seasoned Bible students, however, know that first impressions can be wrong. Rather than simply assume Paul is talking about Sundays, wisdom suggests considering other possibilities. Albert Barnes' commentary points out that Sabbath in Colossians 2:16 is plural and highly unlikely to refer to the Lord's Day. “There is no evidence from this passage that he would teach that there was no obligation to observe any holy time, for there is not the slightest reason to believe that he meant to teach that one of the ten commandments had ceased to be binding.” In 1971 Paul Jewett similarly remarked that “it is unconvincing ... to press Paul’s statement in Romans 14:5 so absolutely as to have considered John a Judaiser for having called one day in the week the Lord’s Day, thus giving it the pre-eminence.” Such statements should give pause.
If no day is special, why did God allocate seven days to creation, deliberately making one different?
If no day is special, why does Moses make the point that one day in seven is specially blessed and set apart to God?
If no day is special, why, in John 20, having met with his disciples on the evening of his resurrection in Thomas' absence, is it only eight days later (John 20:26), the following Sunday, that Jesus meets with them again? Did he not know that all days are now equal?
If no day is special, why was the Spirit poured out on the Lord's Day? Is it simply coincidence?
If no day is special, given that Acts 20:6 says Paul spent seven days in Troas, why wait until Sunday to break bread and preach, especially given that Paul's sermon went on until midnight? If only he had realised there are no special days any more!
If no day is special, why did Paul tell the Corinthians to put gifts aside and store them up as God prospered on the first day of every week not just any day? Did he not know that all days are now equal?
If no day is special, why, in Revelation, does John speak about the Lord's Day? Did he not know that every day is the Lord's day?
One is not naïve enough to think that the Sabbath question is easy to settle but if we can at least agree that the first day of the week is special we will at least make some progress in the right direction.

Wesley Film




"Whitefiled and Wesley in Bristol"
If I have this right the John Welsey film mentioned in my 1974 diary was produced by the Radio and Film Commission of the Methodist Church in cooperation with J Arthur Rank in 1954. It was re-released in 2004 and is available on DVD still. ImDB says
"When young John Wesley is saved from the flames burning his family's home, he believes God has chosen him for a higher mission. He grows up to become a minister in the Church of England but disapproves of concern within the church over the social position of the clergy. He concerns himself more with the common people and with individual religious experiences. He tries to accomplish his purposes by remaining within the church but the methodical way in which he and his followers go about their duties soon sets them apart as a special group jeeringly called Methodists."

Past Diary Jan 25 1974

So it was on this day back in 1974 that I made one more effort to write a diary and kept it up for another 10 days or so. I think that intensity is probably unsustainable. I found it so anyway. So we begin that Friday with a lot of complaints about "silliness and idleness" (I could rarely resist the temptation to muck about in school or to be lazy at home) and being "unprayerful" and "routine" in Bible study (that's changed?). The Bible reading that day was Matthew 20:20-29 Zebedee's mother asking for her sons to sit either side of Jesus in his kingdom (I think I used to just read the next bit - never too long - not follow a scheme). Instead of my usual waffle by way of comment I have the frank "I cannot understand this Scripture". Despite that breath of fresh air I soon get back to waflle and prove my earlier comment was true. My statement "the chiefest amongst us will not only be a minister but a servant also" makes no sense at all. The day in school was not great but in the evening we were shown a film abut the early life of Wesley (the 1954 J Arthur Rank one I guess). That probably prompted the diary writing and a confession at the end of the entry - "I lie, cheat, deceive, steal, mock laze and go against God's will" which sounds bad but I'm sure I was only telling half the story.

Julie Fowlis Live

I'm currently enjoying the new Julie Fowlis album - Julie Fowlis Live at Perthshire Amber. What you get, as ever, is a first rate ceilidh band and one of the sweetest voices out there. Recorded live at a music festival in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre last October, this hour long CD comes in an attractively prioduced cardboard sleeve. The set covers the highlights of the three studio albums and would make a fine introduction to the band. It also serves fans who have seen the live act or would like a taster of it. The studio albums and live performances are not radically different but this is well recorded and different enough to other albums to be worth getting hold of. Some of Julie's patter and the band's banter have been removed so you still have to be there to get the full live experience but this gives you a fair idea. I got mine here. It's also available on itunes I believe.

Beating the brains

I beat the brains

So, yesterday on the Radio 4 programme Brain of Britain the contestants tackled my questions. They got one wrong and one right and according to the rules that means I win. So I'm looking forward to a book token courtesy of the BBC shortly. You can hear it here. My bit is about 12 minutes in.

LTS again providentially


Bruce Ware interviewed by Garry Williams
It was good yesterday to be at the LTS withou about thirty others to hear Bruce Ware once again. After a brief interview with Garry Williams, Dr Ware took us through the fascinating doctrine of providence in three sessions with questions at the end.
The first sesion looked at "free will theism" as seen in Classic Arminianism and Open Theism (on which Dr Ware has written). The other two sessions were more positive and presented the Reformed doctrine from an infralapsarian, single predestination, compatibilist Calvinist position.
So first we were given the background to Arminianism (we tried to ignore his remarks about Beza, betraying a four point position) then the much more recent Open Theism. All this was enlivened by Dr Ware's enthusiasm and the fact of his personal acquaintance with many writers on both sides of the argument. (He was actually able to say that he has asked his friend Jack Cottrell his response to the point that if God only foreknows he can change nothing and been told that Jack is still working on it!) Dr Ware then showed how these two positions approach the matter of providence and the inadequacies of these views. The other two sessions were quite helpful as well, especially his highlighting of texts such as Genesis 45:4-8 and Isaiah 10:5-7, 12, 15 and helping us to think the thing through carefully.
Bruce Ware's books on this are here (one of five views in the book) and here (God's greater glory) and here (critique of Open Theism).

Drifting

Read this today
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
D A Carson

You humble me


This is a live version of another great song. Just beautiful.

Anchorage


This came up on the ipod the other day. It struck me again what  a brilliant piece this is. Someone over on Youtube sums up very well

This is an amazing songwriting and performance achievement. She captures perfectly the feel of letter from an old friend (kids, letters were these paper notes people sent to each other before email) - humor, nostalgia, regret, and just weird journey that is life. Beautifully sung and played too.

I understand that Michelle is now a Pentecostal Christian.



The King's Speech


Last night Eleri and I went to see the film everyone is talking about. It is brilliantly done and absolutely fascinating on many levels (politics, providence, how little we know about the recent past, stammering, etc). I had not realised that in one or two sections there are strings of profanity and so the film needs to be approached with caution.

TTRMOMD 03

In the early years my dad worked in Girlings brake factory and would take sandwiches with him to work. Always marmalade, always Robertson's (okay Silver Shred sometimes if they didn't have the Golden Shred)

Books on the KJV 01

The King James Only Controversy by James R White 1995
Given this anniversary year I thought it might be good to talk about books on the KJV.
The book begins with a useful and interesting background chapter explaining the five distinguishable types of  KJV fans. Chapter 2 gives a brief history of the KJV, which one find is not quite what some think it is. Chapter 3 looks at questions of manuscripts, biblical languages and the scribal process. In Chapter 4 he gives more on Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza, the Textus Receptus and the KJV. In Chapter 5 he tackles the King James Only camp starting with E.F. Hills and moving on to the incredible Gail Riplinger and Peter Ruckman. Chapter 6 compares verses from KJV with a newer translations, explaining the differences. (frequently NIV or NASB) with reasonings behind each translation. The book then continues in this vain until Chapter 9 where other problems with the KJV are broached. Chapter 10 is a nice brief chapter you could read on its own andwering questions such as "Were Westcott and Hort occultists?” Part two simply discusses specific verse. Some appear elsewhere in Part One some not.
Part of me feels that Riplinger and Ruckman are best ignored but someone has to do it and Dr White is the man. He pursues his agenda without flagging and so although one needs to skim read in places and not chase up every footnote it is good to have as a reference work. Quite a few little things were cleared up for me and ideally I will be going back to the book in future as different verses come up.

Eccentrics 2011

I was sorry not to be at the Eccentrics Conference this year. I try not to go to more than one conference a month! This report from Paul Levy can be found here at Reformation 21.
I spent Monday this week back in Wales at a ministers' conference. It's something that my more famous brother runs (see pic). It's entitled the Eccentrics Conference (partly to mock the slightly pompous Eclectics Conference that used to take place). It's really a gathering of old friends who are now in the ministry. It used to be invitation only but so many got offended they didn't receive an invitation, now anybody can come on two conditions. You must be in church work (no para-church folk allowed), and you are not allowed to say 'the problem with churches in Wales is.....' (hence the reason why no para-church people are allowed). You can immediately be sent home for criticising the church!
There's no singing, people stay up far too late, there's lots and lots of banter, we eat like kings and there is merciless mocking of my slightly overweight big brother. The conference is slimmed down to the bare bones, unlike my brother.
Four things stood out for me this year:
1. The ministry is hard, it takes years off Mens lives.
Some of the men are in congregations in small towns where there is no movement of people at all. People don't move in and people don't move out. Problem people stay in a congregation for decades and outstay many ministers. Some of the best people in congregations move away or die young. These men who serve in churches like this are the real heroes. Week after week, preparing 3 messages a week, running the youth work, doing the pastoral rounds. On the last day when all is revealed I think that many of these men who would never be invited to speak at a conference, or be dreamed of for the 'big jobs' will be found to have kept the faith, finished the race and built a ministry with precious stones, not wood, hay and stubble. I'm more and more convinced that the real heroes are the faithful nobodies.
2. Geoff Thomas is a giant.
For the first 5 years Geoff spoke at the eccentrics as the main speaker. This year he wasn't speaking and yet he came anyway. He spent time with the younger men in difficult situations. He's over 70 speaks all round the world at various conferences and yet he came to this funny little conference to encourage the younger men. I want to be like that. I can't stand the attitude that if I'm not speaking I'm not coming. There's far too much of that around. I salute GT.
3. Hearing men preach in the flesh is good for me.
The main speakers were Vaughan Roberts from Oxford, Mike Reeves (who I understand has Carl Trueman as his agent in America trying to secure a big move to the US) and Stuart Olyott. Two Englishmen and one Welshman. I just loved it sitting there lapping it up. I started to take notes in some of the sessions but in the end just gave up. At conferences I want to be fed and stimulated and made to think but I need to meet with God in the preaching of his word. I can listen to sermons of folk on the internet but there's something so artificial about it. It's like a pre-made sandwich from a supermarket. It's ok but it's just not the same as a proper home cooked meal that you share with friends. As in every conference some sessions went better than others and people liked different speakers. No one bombed which is always a bonus. I'm told Stuart Olyott's sessions on Tuesday were the pick of the bunch.
4. Old friends are the best friends.
People who remember how much of an idiot you were when you were a teenager, youth leaders who taught you and prayed for you, men who gave you books. We need people who know us and won't put up with our pomposity. In some conferences you feel nobody is really being honest. I hate that feeling of having to say things are going well and encouraging. Amongst old friends you can be honest and real. As always old jokes are the best jokes, anecdotes which have grown and grown over the years until they bear little resemblance to reality, but nobody minds. As for Lloyd Jones being at the Levy family table with me as a toddler sitting on his knee and him saying to my brother those immortal words 'pass me the salt', nobody really knows if it's true but at 3 am in a ministers conference it goes down a storm. The time Downesey stayed up all night and then gave a paper on 7 marks of heresy (unbelievable you say, Martin Downes has an interest in heresy!). Within 20 minutes not even he knew what he was saying. Ministers conferences need to be places where we can blow off steam and laugh.
Each year we think it'll be the last time we do the Eccentrics. There's only about 50 of us who go but we'll see. I've come back refreshed and revved up for the new year. The motto of the story is, ' Go to conferences where you know people and you have good friends'.
(PS Doesn't Mike Reeves work for UCCF?
PPS Paul is now writing regularly for Reformation21 and has brought a breath of fresh air to it. he writes really well [yes, I was slightly surprised]).

TTRMOMD 02

I've mentioned before that when I was younger my dad rolled his own cigarettes. Consequently tins like this one were everywhere. I still have one or two.

Robinson Crusoe


Nice programme on Radio 4 today about the sixties children's TV series Robinson Crusoe. Brought back a lot of memories and raised a few more with references to "Tom Tom" and "White horses", etc.
Radio programme available here until the 27th.

Kara Tointon

We enjoyed watching the documentary featuring the actress Kara Tointon on dyslexia recently. It can still be accessed on iplayer until Tuesday 25th. Check here. It's of interest to us as one of our sons has dyslexia (and I'm not sure that I don't have some mild sort of dyspraxia too).
At the iplayer site it says

"I want to know where my personality begins and dyslexia ends. I'm fed up with putting things on hold and having this vision that one day I'm going to be something different to who I am now."
Actress Kara Tointon dreams about reading a novel cover to cover. Standing in her way is her dyslexia. Kara is now wondering whether this neurological condition is affecting her work as an actress and even her day-to-day life.
In this intimate documentary, Kara is tested and undergoes specialist help. She also meets other young dyslexics, many of whom share Kara's experience of feeling 'stupid'.
As Kara faces some difficult truths about herself, will she be able to take control of her condition and transform her life?
[Part of the Born Survivors Season on BBC Three.]

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Most of the papers have now arrived for The Affinity Theological Study Conference 2-4 February at High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon, Herts. The programme is

DAY ONE
We arrive by 11.30 and after lunch and a welcome we have
14.15 Paper 1: Is the Princeton View of Scripture an Enlightenment Innovation?
Carl R Trueman (Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia) Interview with Trueman here.
Then after tea at 16.15
16.45 Paper 2: Lost on the Old Testament? Literary Genres and Evangelical Hermeneutics
Peter Naylor (Minister, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Cardiff)
DAY TWO
9.15 Paper 3: Right doctrine, wrong texts. Can we follow the apostles’ doctrine but not their hermeneutics?
Greg Beale (Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia)
11.00 Coffee Break
11.30 Paper 4: Every heretic has his text: the use and abuse of the Bible in the church
We're free after lunch until
17.00 Paper 5: The Sufficiency of Scripture for Public Theology
Dan Strange (Lecturer in Culture, Religion and Public Theology at Oak Hill College, London)
Followed by Dinner and 20.30-21.30 Corporate Prayer
DAY THREE
9.15 Paper 6: Preaching the Word in the Power of the Spirit: biblical, historical and practical reflections
Hywel R Jones (Visiting Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Seminary, California)
After a coffee break at 11 there's
11.30 Panel Discussion
Followed by lunch and depart (though I'll have to make a quicker getaway as I'm hoping to see my son in  a play in Aber that night).

Childhood songs 2 Darby Kelly



This series has been rather forgotten but here's a second song from Singing Together days:

My grandsire beat the drum complete

His name was Darby Kelly O
No man so true at rat-tat-too
At roll-call or reveillez O

When Marlborough's name first rose to fame
So loud he rolled the points of war
At Blenheim he and Ramillies
Fired all their cannons to the core

With a row-dow-dow
With what a shout the boys came out
The girls they waved, you don't know how!

And now (small shame) I bear the name
And drum of Darby Kelly O
No man so true at rat-tat-too
At roll-call or reveillez O

I couldn't find a sung version of it but the above video (a cover of Status Quo's Burning Bridges) gives you the air.

TTRMOMD 01

Following the series of things that remind me of my mam, I thought that to be fair there ought to be one for my dad. This first is baseball, ie British baseball, which I remember him playing on the ground pictured above. I'm not sure when this picture was taken. Baseball is not the summer game of many places but it is of Newport and Liverpool. I have often wondered if it is a Roman Catholic thing (my dad had a Romanist background) as sports sometimes divide on sectarian lines.

Van Gogh Vergeten 04

Painting, Oil on Canvas
Paris: Autumn, 1886
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Past Diary Jan 14/15 1974

I've let this get behind a little. As it turns out the diary has a gap between the 15th and the next entry on the 25th. So unless a find an alternative from another year soon you'll be spared this for a while. 
On Monday the 14th school had gone better and I was contemplating whether to give up my morning paper round but decided that I needed money for books. At that age I could already see how important books were but was very ignorant and accessing information was not as easy as it is now. I'd just worked out that the concise Matthew Henry is not a great commentary and had decied to buy a multi-volume set with my paper round money (which never happened) and wait until my birthday in May for my wide margin Bible. My friend Chris Buckingham came up that night with a list of 8,000 second hand books (a man in Portadown if I remember correctly) so the task was clearly a huge one.
One feature of the diary is a brief exposition of my reading for the day - usually not very good. Tuesday 15th it was Matthew 8:7-14. School didn't go as well as the day before according to the diary. After school I was with my friend Gwilym again. In the prayer meeting later Mr Garwood moved on to 2 Corinthians 11. We were urged to pray for Andrew Lovell, a member of the church who had gone as a missionary to work among the Aymara in Peru with Irish Baptist Foreign Missions. At that time there was great political instability and he wasn't being allowed to preach, etc.

Machen Stand up comedian etc

Here's a link to my J Gresham Machen blog that you might find worth checking out.

Brain of Britain

Brain of Britain is on Radio 4 at present, on Mondays at 1.30 pm. They always have a bit where a listener puts two questions to the contestants who work together to try and answer him. A little while ago I sent off two questions and I now hear that they are to be tackled on Monday January 24. Do listen if you can. It's repeated late Saturday night and will be on iplayer for a while. I notice that there's a Bruce Ware lecture at LTS that I hope to hear when the programme is first broadcast (on providence!!) so I have a dilemma. I would expect them to work out the answer to both questions but we'll see. May be I'll get a book token.

English Evolving

I should have mentioned that Rhodri and I enjoyed a nice free exhibiition at the British Library last Monday. (Tip off from Principal S - thanks!). Called Evolving English it is a very well done cruise through the history and development of the language in conjunction with a book by good old David Crystal. See the website here. Have a go at the quiz. Rhodri and I drew 5 all.

Barsabbas Brothers

I was reading Acts 15 this morning, which mentions Judas Barsabbas. The name rang a bell. Wasn't he mentioned in Acts 1? No, that was Joseph Barsabbas, his brother perhaps. Looking for more info I came across this interesting article here. The whole site is interesting though probably incorrect at several points. What do you think?

Aberystwyth

Just back from Aber after taking Rhodri and Sibyl there yesterday. Had a nice time with them and with Geoff and Iola who gave us all a very nice meal. Listened to tapes of the Beatles en route - The Anthology albums. Interesting. 
I've done this before - as I'm driving back I think "and I didn't see the sea!" Oops. Must make sure I see it next time.

Romeo and Juliet

Eleri and I enjoyed being at the ballet this week. We saw the English National Ballet doing Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet at the Coliseum. Good stuff! We very rarely attend the ballet but I'd prefer it to seeing a musical. We only know that one bit (ruined by the Apprentice) but it's a fine score and was a very good production.

VSP10 And the days are not full enough

And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.
Ezra Pound

(I'm thinking that 10 is a good length for a series so this is the last of these for a while)



Past Diary Jan 13 1974

January 13 was the Lord's Day. I wasn't up until 9.30. Mr Garwood's morning text was John 19:38-42. I don't mention the evening one but I did feel rebuked about a lack of intercession. In the afternoon Bible Class was on John 7:45-8:11 so textual questions were to the fore again. Mr G took the view that the text was only omitted from so many texts for fear of encouraging adultery. I still have a great deal of sympathy with that view today. After evening church it was more of the C T Studd tape. At 52 he decides to head to Africa. Between services I read more Bunyan. At the end of the day I'd mislaid my Bible so used my old one - a little tatty but still AV, of course!

Van Gogh Vergeten 03

Drawing, Pencil, pale pink wash, on watercolour paper
The Hague: September - December, 1882
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Past Diary Jan 12 1974

Saturday mornings at this time was Greek class, as mentioned perhaps. Mr Garwood was taking a few of us through the rudiments. He tested us that Saturday. I had 70% on the grammar and 60% on exegesis (not sure if I'd do very much better now). We studied Mark 1:40-42. There is a textual question in 1:41 over whether Jesus was moved (splanchnistheis) or angry (orgistheis). Cranford (whose commentary we used) goes for angry I notice but Mr Garwood (a good TR man) had gone for moved I noted. Obviously as a 14 year old I didn't have much of an opinion but it was good to be exposed to such issues so early on. In the afternoon I went to town with my friend Stephen and bought a new suit and shoes (and a paper punch) -  brown three piece if I have the right one in mind. We also bought a concise Matthew Henry commentary for the church library with funds collected at the CPBSU. I had my eye on a Study Bible in the Christian Bookshop that I was saving for. In the evening my mam and dad were out assusual so my sister and I spent the evening at the house of friends of theirs as we often did. At last I managed to do some homework - the first mention of doing any that year I notice!

Past Diary Jan 11 1974

In those far off days I used to use a little old alarm clock with a luminous dot for each number. The face would move and on the night of the 10th/11th it being a stormy night I woke at 12.30 am and glancing at the clock got the impression it was 6 O'Clock. I read Matthew 17:14-21 and prayed and had a real shock when I got downstairs and saw the time. I went back to bed and had a fitful sleep until 6 when I headed off to do the paper round through hail, rain, thunder adn lightning. I didn't get back until 8.15 despite the early start but managed to get to school in good time. There is a reference to missing homework next. I was never very good at getting homework done for some reason. I also managed to drop someone's house key into a pool of mud for some reason which led to an anxious time. I think it was found eventually. Friday nights was YPF (Young People's Fellowhip) in those days. We apparently had a blast against evolution from the pastor and then I walked home the girl I had been admiring from afar until then. Her name was Irene and she had perfect skin. It all came to nothing eventually, of course, but I was quite excited.

Past Diary Jan 10 1974

This was a better day with a good early start at 5.45 and not too bad a day in school.  In the evening after doing someone else's evening paper round (second of the day) I headed off to what we called the CPBSU (Christians Prayer and Bible Study Union I believe). At that time there were a lot of young people in the church and we were very eager. Coming to prayer meeting and young people's meeting in the week wasn't enough for us. We had to have an extra meeting. That evening Paul Belcher, a boy three or four years older than me, led the study on the fall of Jericho. At the end of the day I asked myself "What is my Jericho?" and seemed to be able to think of things. It's not a great question really - not much better than the question arising from my own Bible study in Matthew 17 - "if I had been a disciple would Jesus have taken me on the mount?" (of transfiguration). A lot of self-centred subjectivity then but plenty of Bible intake at least.

Past Diary Jan 09 1974

I was up at 7.15 today (about half an hour later each morning so far). Despite a great start with Matthew 16:24-28 the day soon descended. Lots of complaints about my "idleness". I found myself wondering if it would help if I took my Bible with me to school or some Christian literature. I bemoaned my failure to witness. I think I thought that if I could make the diary more spiritual it might help. At this distance "lighten up a bit" is my reaction but I think that then I took myself so seriously such advice would not have gone down well. I think I was aware somehow of Wesley's journals and was trying to mimic that sort of thing.

Past Diary Jan 08 1974

Began the day at 6.30 reading Matthew 16:21-23 (which I returned to at night). back from the paper round by 8 and the off into a "typical sinful schoolday". No details but I was disappointed with myself. Tuesday nights were prayer meeting nights and Mr Garwood was going through 2 Corinthians. He was in Chapter 10 that night. I wrote that "It seems as this year wears on I am not gaining the belssings from the Holy Scriptures I gained before." My solution was to "earnestly and steadfastly pray for guidance of the Holy Spirit in this matter" which is fine. It might have helped if I had realised that a full day at school brings its own pressures.

Past Diary Jan 07 1974

I was up at 5.50 to read the next bit in Matthew then go off on my paper round. I got back at 7.50 and had a bath. After tidying my room (I was quite neat as a boy) I headed off to school (late start as it was a new term). That didn't go too well it seems. After a week of having nothing to do and not being with unbelievers I suddenly came back to reality and didn't like it. I watched TV all evening which didn't help either and headed tio bed at 10 rather fed up with it all. I like this very seventies line "After school, I went to hear my friend Gwilym's cassette recorder adn returned home at 5.15 pm."

Past Diary Jan 06 1974

So the first Sabbath in 1974. I got up at 9.30 and went to bed at 10 (or arose and retired at those times as I tended to do in those days!). I packed in plenty in between. Derek Garwood, our pastor, preached in the morning on Revelation 21:1-7, led a Bible study in the afternoon on John 7 then preached on Joshua 4:14 in the evening. I was there for it all and the after church young people's group where we listened to part 2 of a series of tapes on 19th century missionary C T Studd. Things seeme to have degenerated a bit after that, the young people being a bit silly it seems (I complain of worldliness!). In between all this I managed to read Matthew 16:6-12 twice; an article on prayer from The War Cry (I think my dad had brought it back to me from their night out where some SA chap had sold it to them); the church magazine (which mentioned some books I thought I should buy but the books are not itemised); a bit more of the Bunyan biography.

Cauldron of thought


Dylan's Cauldron of thought is a new blog found here. It's wordpress, of course (can't be too much like dad. Rhodri my older son has a wordpress blog here). That's ma boy!

Carey considered

So back home again and on with life in the real world. We had an excellent conference and everyone I spoke to was generally positive. About 130 or so (100 men and 30 women?) were present, mostly Reformed Baptists of one stripe or another and covering a decent age range.
Bruce Ware's main addresses were greatly appreciated it is clear. One inbuilt problem was that his first two papers were by way of preparation for his main address. I also felt slightly uneasy (and this may sound odd coming from a Baptist) about some of the teaching which seemed to me to have a slight fundamentalist tinge rather than a Reformed one (eg Dr Ware didn't appear to be sympathetic to Adam's  federal headship but prefers Augustine's realism). I feel easier in some ways listening to someone cold and calculating from Westminster and giving it a Baptist tweak myself than with Dr Ware's flowing and sometimes rambunctious style. Oh yes, he also had a passing pop at bloggers (building our own kingdoms) which was fair enough but sounded a little churlish and probably needed more careful nuancing.
Like others, while appreciating several things said, I was least satisfied with Keith Walker and Ray Evans' presentations. The more sociological approach leaves me uneasy I guess and it was difficult to see how to respond to information about the dynamics of growing churches and a big meeting in Cape Town.
The paper on Carey was a delight and I really appreciated John Ling's really quite disturbing paper on the culture of death. That image of a town the size of Swansea being wiped out year after year is a haunting one.
The sharing time and the more informal interaction was great too.

Carey Conference 2011 08

The final session was given by Bruce Ware on the theological and practical implications from Jesus and the Spirit. Here is his outline

1. The kenosis in light of Jesus and the Spirit Philippians 2:5-8
A. Key terms
morphe (essential nature)
isos (equality)
ekenosin (emptied himself, literally "poured himself out" - not pured something out)
B. Explanation of kenosis - emptying by adding, pouring out by taking on
Ill: taking a new car out and covering it with mud, a king living as a beggar

2. Jesus' impeccablity, temptations and sinlessness
A. Jesus was sinless 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:21-23
B. Jesus was tempted Luke 4:1-13, Hebrews 4:15
C. Jesus was impeccable Luke 1:35, Hebrews 1:10-12, 13:8
D. Explaining the reality of Jesus' temptations in light of his impeccability. Three considerations
1. He was really tempted in all things as we are (Hebrews 4:15) This cannot be jeapordised.
2. Because he never succumbed to temptation, he always experienced its full force
3. Distinction: why Christ could not sin and why Christ did not sin
Ill swimmer and boat - completes swim by swimming but could not drown because boat there. Application resources he had, we have.

3. Jesus' growth and maturity in faith
Explains many things including Hebrews 5:8, 9; why he had to wait until his time to die

4. Relation of the divine and human natures in how Jesus lived his life
A. Clear expressions of the deity of Christ in his life and ministry
Forgiveness of sin (Mark 2, etc), control over nature (Matthew 14:22ff); claims to deity (John 8:58, 10:30); eternal relationship with the Father (John 17:5, 24)
B. Question of miracles - by his divine nature or in his humanity in the power of the Spirit
Must recall two key texts
Matthew 12:28
Acts 10:38
The norm is by the power of the Spirit
NB John's use of the word sign for miracles. John 10:37, 38
Conclusion
Jesus' life, ministry, miracles, obedience, resisting temptation and accomplishing the mission the Father sent him to do - all of this was done in the power of the Spirit. He is the epitome of the new covenant person living in the power of the Spirit. And as he has now given us his Spirit we are called to live lives modelled after him. Indeed, we are called to follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21) and live new covenant lives that bring glory, honour and to Christ, by the power of the Spirit. 

Carey Conference 2011 Q&A

Our second morning session at Carey was a question and answer session with Bruce Ware. Topics covered included

Christ's cry of dereliction
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament believer
Implications of infant baptism
The continuance of the Spirit's work in Christ after the ascension
Egalitarianism and the Trinity
The indwelling of the Spirit in the believer
The biggest theological issues looming
God's etrnal nature

There was also a question for Ray Evans on management principles in the Bible.

Carey Conference 2011 07

Day 3 began with Keith Walker (Director of SIM) speaking on Challenges in mission. Keith was at the conference in Cape Town last year, the successor of the Edinburgh Conference of 2010 and two previous congresses in more recent years. See here. Some 4,200 from 198 (not 199 as the Chinese were not allowed out)countries gathered. Evangelical essentials were reasserted and the way things are changing was recognised.
Keith suggested three challenges that arose from the congress
1. What is the church's mission?
Here we had some discussion of how we hold together the issue of preaching the gospel and meeting social needs. The Cape Town Commitment reaffirmed the Lausanne Covenant and is keen not to dichotomise or to ignore ecological issues. John Piper called for the congress to say We Christians care about all suffering especially eternal suffering
2. To whom is the church's mission?
Here we were alerted to three thrusts - towards unreached people groups (though there is need for a great deal of nuancing here and no tick box mentality); cities; Post-Christendom Europe.
3. From whom is the church's mission
In the global south there is growth and a growing confidence. Meanwhile political power is with the rich north.
Tensions include residual and neo-Colonialism from north and west and impatience with the north and west. In the past it was the north and west that took the gospel to the south and east. What will happen in the next two centuries is not clear. We closed with a reference to Acts 19 and the transition from Jewish to Gentile predominance. Similar patterns are seen in the shrinking of old Christendom and so on. We must pray that we are better at transition.
Like the paper from Ray yesterday this seemed a little remote from every day life but was full of interest and challenge. Discussion followed.

Carey Conference 2011 06

Tonight we had the second of Bruce Ware's messages - The identity of Jesus as the Spirit-anointed Messiah
Again we had a hand out and this summary is taken from it.

1. Jesus' life of submission and obedience in the power of the Spirit - to fulfil his role as the Spirit-anointed Messiah
Isaiah 11:1-3a, Luke 1:32-35; Luke 2:40, 52, Luke 4:1, 2a, 4:14, 16-21, Matthew 12:28, Acts 10:38, Hebrews 9:14; Acts 2:1,2
2. Jesus' authority adn primacy over the Spirit - in his role as the Son of the Father, sending the Spirit to his followers
John 14:25, 26, 15:26, 16:5-7, 12-15, Acts 2:33, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Romasn 8:3,4
3. The Spirit's uniform purpose to put forward Jesus
A. Inspiration of Scripture, by the Spirit, but focused on Christ
2 Timothy 3:16, 17, 2 Peter 1:20,21, Luke 24:24-27, 44,
1 Corinthians 1:18, 23, 2:2
Galatians 6:14
B. Evangelism, by the Spirit, proclaiming the gospel of Christ
Acts 1:8
C. Salvation, wrought in our lives by the Spirit, to conform us to the likeness of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:3 

Carey Share Pics

Filipe, Josef, Martin; Dinu, Matthias, Jonathan, Trevor,
Bob, Slava, Sergey, Erroll, Emmanuel

Carey Conference 2011 Sharing

The sharing session featured the following:
1. Martin Leech of EMF. He spoke about the Bible School in Welwyn just about to begin again with 10 students on a six month course. He had two students with him - Filipe from Portugal and Josef from Slovakia. Martin also spoke briefly about the work that Steve Bignall has just commenced in Australia among indigenous people. (See here)
2. Dinu Moga from Oradea, Romania spoke about the publishing work (Editura Faclia) and the church of which he is an elder.
3. Matthias Lohmann from Germany where so few Reformed Christians are to be found. He spoke of his church in Munich and of efforts to unite as Reformed Christians.
4. Jonathan Gilmore grew up in Italy and works with UFM. He engagingly spoke of the small and well divided evangelical church in Italy and of Italian ministries.
5. Emmanuel Durand is also with UFM working in rural Britanny and it was good to hear him speak of the need.
6. Trevor Routley spoke about the 40% Italian land of Argentina where things are a little better than in Italy in some ways yet again with few Reformed Christians. He and his wife Lucy have recently retired after 40 years of work. He spoke of various places where, despite opposition, there are opportunties for evangelism and for better educating believers.
7. The inimitable Erroll Hulse spoke of the pastors conferences in southern Africa (now at 12 and rising) that take place annually. There was also the inevitable reference to the new Operation World.
8. It was good to hear again from Sergey Babanko and the work in Kostanay in Kazakhstan. They hope to have Graham Heaps and Stuart Olyott taking a conference soon.
9. We also heard from Slava Viazovski on the EP work in Minsk, Belarus, where even though you cannot sneeze without permission they are nevertheless somehow publsihing good books. They want to publish Berkhof's Systematic Theology in Russian for the first time.
10. Finally, Bob Davey shared with us about the book he has written with EP on the history of the work of the gospel in China. It will be called God's mighty acts in China. Watch this space.

Carey Conference 2011 05

The second session today (Tuesday) was led by Ray Evans. Under the title "Challenge of Leadership" he looked at good pastoral practice for leaders under pressure. The focus was on dealing with size especially when there is transition. With something of a sociological slant it was very interestinga nd stimulating and really helped us to think things through.
He spoke of five pressures
1. Size complexity and busyness
Here he pointed out the exponential effect different size congregations (a church of 250 people involves 2500 lines of communication but 300 people involves 90,000 lines of communication).
2. Size and pastoral problems
The larger the church the more the problems, generally speaking.
3. Size, role and expectation
From "honorary chaplain" to the minister to being pulled in every direction as numbers grow and even the tribal representational role of the pastor. As a church grows the main minister becomes less and less available. People must recognise this and act accordingly. The problem arises when people do not make the transition. 
4. Growth, change and leadership
Driscoll says that growth causes change which causes complexity which causes chaos which causes concern which causes conflict - that can be due to loss of power, renumeration, preference, information, visibility, role, a pace they like or control. It is something that we should be willing to face, however.
Decision making becomes more difficult.
A larger church is more likely to lose members as in a smaller church more effort is made to keep everyone on board.  
5. Growth and resource requirement
Inevitably larger numbers means the need for more and more resources adn personnel. Things get more complex. A greater variety of skills are necessary. Apparently, giving per head is optimal in a church of 75-100, smaller churches and larger ones are most demanding. A larger church has more expenditure. You need people who are competent in various areas (websites, etc). Aesthetics becomes more and more important.
Next we stopped for an interim summary implication. Ray spoke of scepticism about the idea of growth that is due to various factors - theological, ecclesiastical, cultural and personal. Talk about growth is threatening but it ought not to be.
The final section was devoted to best practice from Scripture.
1. Acts 6 and problem solving
Acts 6 shows a leadership identifying a problem and dealing with it. So often we do not tackle issues in the way that we see here
2. Acts 20 and eldership activity
Elders must be active
3. Acts 16 and leadership recruitment
Paul still brings on Timothy even though he was so disappointed by Mark
4. The pastoral epistles and leadership development
Paul is expecting Timothy and Titus to keep learning. Leadership training is so important.
5. Philemon and the great vision/bold move/big ask
Paul had found the secret of what can really bring together - the gospel. This is what leads Paul to make the bold move and make the big ask.
The number one vision problem is that we do not focus on who God is and are too focused on ourselves. 

Carey Conference 2011 04

Our first session today (Tuesday) was led by Barry King. It was my privilege to chair this session. It's always exciting when Barry shares what he's been doing.
We read from Colossians and Barry began by describing the ministry of Epaphras - an exemplary evangelist.
After describing his work briefly, he made the point that if today we could work at identifying training equipping supporting praying for and holding accountable people like Epaphras we might make more progress than we do. It is not true that such men no longer exist.
He then invited Daniel Shwe to join him on the platform as an example of one. Barry then explained how he came to London from America 9 years ago, chiefly at the beginning, as a better base for ministry in Europe. More and more, however, a burden has grown for London itself.
This involves working with others including Daniel who he introduced as the first person he baptised. Daniel is Karen and is from Burma. His grandparents came to know the Lord through the preaching of Judson. The Karen are 40% Christian but many are nominal as Daniel himself was until he came to faith. Most of his Karen acquaintance are unhappy about this.
At a certain point Daniel approached Barry about giving up his job and working full time as an evangelist. Some were sceptical about this but Barry felt that with his gifts and burden this was the way forward. He then gave examples of how Daniel's evangelism has gone forward. He had a great story of how five years ago at Christmas Daniel brought 52 (!) Chinese students along to church. Some 12 or 15 attended a course using Ultimate Questions and three were converted. The church was able to send a couple to China with these three when they returned. This little group has been growing and Daniel gives them a Bible study on skype every Sunday.
Other examples of great opportunity were given. Barry has a gift for telling his stories in a disparaging and God honouring way but clearly things are happening even in these dark and difficult days. The final story was of Daniel's work in North Watford to which he has now been set aside and where God is blessing.
So once again wonderful and amazing stuff.