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.

SBM3 Fates of the Apostles

This is done in a slightly different way to the way Parminder Summon does it. The information is based on tradition and may well be inaccurate in some cases.

  1. Peter: Martyr Crucified at Rome under Nero up-side-down at his request as he did consider himself worthy to be die as Jesus had AD 66
  2. Andrew: Martyr Crucified at Patræ, Achaia. Hung alive on the cross two days, exhorting spectators all the while. AD 74
  3. James: Martyr Killed 10 years after the first martyr, Stephen AD 44
  4. Philip:Martyr Preached the gospel in Phrygia which was in the Roman Province of Asia near Ephesus. Crucified there about 52 AD
  5. Bartholomew: Martyr Preached in Mesopotamia, Persia and India Crucified by the idolaters of India AD 52
  6. Thomas: Martyr Preached in Parthia and Kerala where yet today the Mar Thoma Church exists Killed with a spear in India AD 52
  7. Matthew: Martyr Preached in Ethiopia Killed with a sword c AD 60
  8. James: Martyr Stoned by Jews aged 90 Brains dashed out by a fuller’s club AD 60
  9. Thaddeus: Martyr Shot to death with arrows in Edessa. AD 72
  10. Simon: Martyr Preached in Africa, etc Crucified in Persia AD 74
  11. John: Natural Death Only continuing apostle not to meet a martyr's death. Banished by Emperor Domitian to Patmos where he received Revelation, the last book in the Bible. AD 96
  12. Judas Iscariot: Suicide His death is recorded in the New Testament

Croesy Shops

Stumbled across this shot from the sixties of Edlogan Square shops, Croesyceiliog. The hairdressers (Moira's and a barbers) and Forbuoys newsagents with the post office is round the corner out of sight. Next was the wool shop, the greengrocers, the butchers, the chemist and Cecil's the grocers (later a mini supermarket).

MasterChef Techno Song


This video won't play here but check it out. Good fun.

Childhood songs 8 Nick Nack Paddy Wack


What happened to the series on childhood songs I don't hear you ask? This one was not in Singing Together like the others but it is clearly a childhood song. I distinctly remember hearing it for the first time. I'd not been attending school long when I had my first experience of a wet lunch time. The dinner ladies (they all seemed to wear pink nylon overalls in those days) gathered us into a corridor where we sat on wooden benches and sang. We must have sung other things but this one was totally new to me and seemed to be of an exotic flavour that quite blew me away. I think what added to it was that everyone else seemed to know it. The clip above is not the version I learned exactly but it gives you the idea.

SBM2 Proverbs 10

At one point in Parminder Summon's Bible Miscellany, he simply quotes the many verses from Proverbs 10 where the wicked (fool) and the righteous (wise men) are contrasted. He has 13 verses but I think he has missed one or two.
3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
6 Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
9 The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
14 Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
16 The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
21 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
23 A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.
24 What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted.
25 When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever.
27 The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
29 The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.
30 The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

That is to say
The righteous (who are wise in heart, men of integrity, wise men and men of understanding)
  1. Are not allowed to go hungry by the LORD
  2. The heads of are crowned with blessing
  3. The memory of will be a blessing
  4. Accept commands
  5. Walk securely
  6. The mouth of is a fountain of life
  7. Store up knowledge
  8. Wages of bring them life
  9. Tongue of is choice silver
  10. Lips of nourish many
  11. Delight in wisdom
  12. What they desire will be granted
  13. After the storm, they stand firm for ever
  14. Fear of LORD adds length to his life
  15. Prospect of is joy
  16. The way of the LORD is a refuge for
  17. Will never be uprooted
  18. Mouth of brings forth wisdom
  19. Lips know what is fitting

While, the wicked (chattering fools, who take crooked paths, fools, evil doers and perverse tongued)
  1. Have their cravings thwarted by the LORD
  2. The mouths of are overwhelmed by violence
  3. The name of will rot
  4. Come to ruin
  5. Will be found out
  6. The mouth of overwhelmed by violence
  7. Mouth of invites ruin
  8. Income of bring them punishment
  9. Heart of is of little value
  10. Die for lack of judgement
  11. Find pleasure in evil conduct
  12. What they dread will overtake them
  13. When the storm has swept by, they are gone
  14. Years are cut short
  15. Hopes of come to nothing
  16. The way of the LORD the ruin of
  17. Will not remain in the land
  18. Tongue will be cut out
  19. Mouth knows only what is perverse

It's an NIV world

Users of the NIV are probably aware that a new version is now available. See here or here. One of its features is a mania against being gender specific. Imagine my surprise then when reading Matthew 9 in the new version I come across these words:
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat.
My surprise was added to when I saw that the NIV 1984 has a gender neutral term - paralytic. I guess they just don't want the term - too old fashioned or too connected to the idea of being drunk? It's not easy being a modern Bible translator.

LTS End of year

What a joy last Saturday to be at the London Theological Seminary thanksgiving. In a packed Kensit Evangelical Church in Finchley we were chaired by Bill James from Leamington Spa and with the prayer, reading and hymns came the three traditional components of this annual event - report, interviews and sermon.
The report was given by the principal Robert Strivens and though very positive reflected the need for more UK students (the need is greater than the supply) and flagged up the continuing difficulties that bringing in visa students now involves. 
The interviews were conducted by Vice-principal David Green and were with the leaving students. There were only six this year as some have opted for the new third year course. Benjamin Mallari is from the Philippines and Uma Kanta Sharma from Nepal. Both are heading back home to carry on their ministries there. Brian Pe Kee may spend another year in Britian studying but will eventually return to Myanmar to carry on his work. Pascal Rivoire has a mixed background (Swiss, German, Argentine). he is planning to be involved in ministry in Germany. Both UK students (Darren Graham and George Platt) are unsure of the future but we pray that they will know God's leading. One interesting sidelight here was the role that Google played for students in locating the LTS in the first place.
Thirdly, there was the sermon and what a blessing it was to hear that. Taking the shortest verse in the Bible (John 11:35) Barry King of Grace Baptist Partnership warmly and winningly urged us to consider Christ's humanity, his humility and his victory. he especially applied it to those entering the ministry but it was a powerful sermon for all present. it was the sort of sermon I'd been longing for all week after the "almost there" character of the EMA.
All this was followed by tea on the lawn. Always very nice. I was dragged off at some point to record a snippet for a promotional video they are making about LTS.

EMA 2011 Final Sessions

The second half of the morning of the final day of EMA featured Vaughan Roberts, who spoke very positively about Francis Schaeffer. He focused on what he called two contents and two realities, the contents being the truth of Scripture and engagement with society, the realities true spirituality and prayer. I didn't catch the beginning of this talk but after I had found my place it was slightly disconcerting to be followed in by Francis Schaeffer himself. It could have just been someone who looked like him, I guess.
During lunch an Anglican society was launched - The Anglican Mission in England. You can read more here. We also sat at different points through video adverts for Christianity Explored (poor) and  Cornhill (quite good). At least the band were not there today so there was less singing. I also enjoyed the rap about the conference from Robert Prendergast of Calvary Chapel before the final session of the day. As with most conferences I attend the EMA was overwhelmingly white (and male and with a good sprinkling of double barrelled names, which I don't always see).
After lunch Roberts interviewed the main speakers (Goligher, Wells and Keller). This was okay. We often seem to get back to the question of "how do I get a big church?" and none of them were as foolish as to suppose that they really knew how. I'm not quite sure why it was not opened to the floor or at least an opportunity for written questions given.
Anyway, the final session was with Tim Keller. He began by admitting that much of what he is saying is just good pastoring and there is a danger in his approach of sounding too theoretical, which was good to hear.
Speaking again of "entering" he spoke of beliefs that a culture finds plausible. Their culture predisposes them to find certain biblical doctrines acceptable or more acceptable. On the other hand, there are other doctrines that ones culture predisposes one to reject. The A doctrines we can think of as logs and the B ones as rocks. Keller's idea is that we float the rocks using the logs. He suggests that this can be discerned from Acts.
We therefore need to know which is which. For example, when the average westerner hears that God is a jealous God they are concerned. Of course, when we see it is love that refuses to be extinguished then it makes sense. C S Lewis argues for the wrath of God from the fact that God is love.
He then told a story that Harvie Conn told him about reaching prostitutes in Korea. They all thought they were too bad for God. So he began with predestination! Keller slipped in another nice story here of how R C Sproul answered a young girl's objections to predestination and that led to Keller himself accepting it. A higher person's authority to do what he wishes would be a real A doctrine in Korea.
and saying that it is helpfully the latter that westerners today appreciate most. There was also talk of how westerners commodify sex and make it a salesman vendor situation rather than a covenant one, etc, and mentioning his sin as idolatry argument and finishing with a great summary of the atonement based on Roger Nicole. Keller has said elsewhere in the same vein
"My prof at Gordon-Conwell, Roger Nicole, used to say that there were many perspectives on the atonement, but the one theme that ran through them all was substitution. Christus Victor, for example, means Jesus fought for us, in our place, we didn’t do it, he did it. And so ‘penal’ substitution is the perspective of the law court, and ‘ransom’ substitution is the perspective of the marketplace, and ‘Christus Victor’ substitution is the perspective of the battlefield, and ‘sacrificial’ substitution is the perspective of the temple/tabernacle. They all get at it differently, but the one commonality is substitution. God came and substituted himself for us–so we could be saved from sin. Nicole wrote this up in a little afterword to his festschrift The Glory of the Atonement."

EMA 2011 Bible Reading 03

Liam Goligher's final session on John 15 looked at verse 18 and the verses that follow. He spoke about three things.

1. The world
After so much about love (and joy) the verses here about the world (the human community that ignores or opposes Christ and that is led by Satan) and persecution makes something of a disjuncture. Jesus speaks to them about these things in order to prepare them for what lies ahead. He wants to strengthen their faith. The specific context is the coming death and resurrection but the application goes well beyond that.
Jesus is hard to hate. Even his enemies say good things. However, the truth is that the world hates Jesus and hates us who believe. One reason for this as that we are different and we testify against the world's sin by this means. We are under the authority of an outsider, one the world cannot control. Following Stott he gave that quote from William Temple about the world, which "would not hate angels for being angelic; but it does hate men for being Christians. It grudges them their new character; it is tormented by their peace; it is infuriated by their joy."  Not only do they hate us but they persecute us - because we belong to Jesus. The world hates Jesus and does not know him. This is because they do not know God. The Jews are very much in mind here. They are the branches that are removed. Israel claimed to know God but they did not. They had been warned many times but they still rejected the Lord Jesus who came. Christ is the true Israel and the only saving connection is in him alone. Yet this is not the Messiah they wanted and so they rejected him

2. The Spirit
The world rejects Christ and his people but then he comes on to speak again (as he had in Chapter 14) of the coming Holy Spirit. The Spirit will come and convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. As his people bear a forensic and apostolic witness so the world is dealt with. The Twelve are Jesus' witnesses. It is to them that revelation is given. That is why the church did and must commit itself to the apostles doctrine. The witness to the world is a witness to truth.

3. The church. The concluding question is where are we in all this? These men did receive the Spirit and were then exposed to the fiercest persecution. Yet they went out and continued to go out and preach with great joy. Part of our testimony to the world is to tell the story of these men captured by the joy of the Spirit who went out with good news, good news for all. Often a Christian will say they have lost their joy. We need to point such people to the way the apostles did not lose their joy for they had seen the risen Lord. That is the place to fix our attention.

EMA Stuff

I've saved you my usual moans about the band. I think it's the drums that annoy me most somehow. The building doesn't bother me though on Day 1 I was stuck in "the south transept" - not much fun. There must be hundreds of people here - slightly less on Day 2 than Day 1? Near St Helen's in St Andrew's Undershaft there are just loads of books. I was pleased to see my books on sale. I've not bought anything yet except the £1 offers  - Derek Prime's Bible Answers and David Bentley Taylor's My Dear Erasmus. Tomorrow it's David Cook on Romans. Nice idea. It's always good to meet different people. It's been nice to have Alan Davey here. He spoke about Bordeaux in our meeting last night.

EMA 2011 Afternoon Session 02

This afternoon Adrian Reynolds interviewed Tim Keller for a while, which was interesting. I was struck by a number of things especially the emphasis on prayer.
Later, he carried on with his message on the need to be flexible in our dealings with different cultures while we are careful not to compromise the gospel itself. He took us first to Paul's speeches in Acts and outlined an unchanging content in


  • The epistemological challenge (God)
  • The sin challenge (Law and sin)
  • The Jesus element
  • Repentance and faith
He also drew on a Themelios article by Don Carson that can be found here. In this article he notes different scriptural motives for repentance and faith.
The final section of Keller's paper spoke of the need with cultures we want to reach to
  • Enter
  • Challenge
  • Appeal/Console
By way of illustration he spoke of drilling and blasting being necessary in order to break through and of "A beliefs" and defeaters which Keller fans are no doubt familiar with. Plenty of things to learn here even if one doesn't take it all on board.

EMA 2011 David Wells 02

David Wells was good again. The accent is Southern African I guess. His second paper was on the impact on world views of globalisation and information technology in particular. Unlike previous generations, there is a unique and constant proximity to other worlds. What effect does all this have on Christians? What is affirmed and what is undermined? He considered two things.
1. How does this technology work? Space and distance have been practically annihilated. Our mobility increased first and led to a loss of community. This is the impact of modern travel. This has been added to by TV, telephone, e-mail and the Internet. Suddenly omnipresence and omniscience appear to be realisable. It is in the area of economics that globalisation has been most obviously felt.
There is a world of consumer goods and it has power to shape thinking. There is a process by which information increasingly becomes global. Cars for example are typical of consumer goods that are produced on a global basis. The reason is economic. It enables discounting leading to affluence and consumerism. There is a moral dimension here but this is intended to be descriptive. By way of illustration he described a remote Maasai village with no trappings of western commerce it would seem yet at one point a man held up a plant and said "This is our viagra"! He also mentioned MacDonald's move into Peking - a fast food restaurant in a land where the meal is still thought of as a time for sitting and talking or seeing a student in China wearing a "Why can't I have it all?" T-shirt. Increasingly one can get the same goods, see the same movies, etc, in such different places. It is through IT that this is happening. This is new. Until now cultures have belonged to certain peoples with their own history and tradition.
2. The consequences from a Christian point of view
Benefits
1 The benefits of instant communication are not difficult to see. This is obvious.
2 We have become more globally conscious, as we should be. The call to go to the nations now involves us in
Disadvantages
Our capacity to maintain a Christian world view may be diminished. IT increases our ability to discover and retain information. However, the world that enters our minds can have a great influence on us in away that other technologies would not. We are affected by
Amount. Since 1960 we are taking in three times more information and the actual amount of info available is growing exponentially.
Speed. The speed with which it all comes in makes it very difficult to discern true from false, trivial from weighty, etc. No filter can enable us to deal with this. William Donnelly predicted a confetti era when all things are supposed to be equal until assessed.
Observations
In 1909 Kuyper's three important co-ordinates were our view of God, of ourselves, of creation. Today there is the virtual world and the question of what truth itself is. The Internet is full of lies and there is no criteria to establish what is what.
Fascinating and thought provoking stuff.

EMA 2011 Bible Reading 02


So Thursday morning we continued in John 15 with Liam Goligher. He spoke of how it is tempting to jump straight to the word friend but again argued for the importance of first seeing the context. This was a unique moment in redemptive biblical history and that should be remembered. Three points were made, regarding
1. The love of Christ. First the focus was on the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father leading into the love of Christ for believers and believers for Christ. Obedience is a key matter in the love believers show to God. That obedience leads to an exuberant and infectious joy that was seen first in Christ. We must love one another because of the joy he gives us. It was always God's intention that we should love one another. The cross demonstrated how far love should go.
2. The mind of Christ. It is clear from the Old Testament that Abraham was God's friend and that Moses also had a friendship with him. This friendship is now extended to the early disciples, who are representative of the church. It is important to remember that Jesus is speaking to specific people in a specific context. They have been his servants but now there is a promotion. They are also his friends. Obedience characterises such friends. They are God's friends (not that God is their chosen friend as in a human relationship but because God chose them). We are servants but not mere servants. How amazing and how humbling to think that we are his friends. The making known of what he learned from the Father is specific to the disciples there at that time. it would be enough. The twelve are appointed to witness to Jesus. We are witnesses only in a secondary sense.
3. The purpose of Christ. Christ has appointed (an important and significant word) these men to do his work - to bear fruit. In the context the fruitfulness is not necessarily to do with evangelism but more with their loving one another. We too are sent by extension in obedience and love.
Now is the time to trust Christ as his friends and as servants to a wonderful Saviour.

EMA 2011 Afternoon sessions 01

So after a wet lunch hour we proceeded to oru seminars. I'm not sure what else was on offer but I ended up in the main one in St Helens itself with David Robertson, author of the Darwin Letters. Robertson has a rather strange accent (Scots but occasionally Aussie or London is it?) is a Free Church minister in Dundee at the church where M'Cheyne was once the pastor (he has written a biography of his predecessor). He kept assuring us he was an ordinary pator as he told us anecdote after anecdote mostly of debates in secular bookshops. I would say, rathe he is a gifted communicator who has worked hard and seen soem blessing and his session was useful for provoking thought about reaching people today in perhaps less orthodox ways. He mentioned the free church website but his big thing is Solas. Ian Rees commended his "fleabytes" to me.

Our final session of the day was with Tim Keller who spoke on preaching that connects. He also said several helpful though familiar things about communicating the gospel as he looked at this whole controversial area of contextualisation. He quoted David Wells and Don Carson (“No truth which human beings may articulate can ever be articulated in a culture-transcending way– but that does not mean that the truth thus articulated does not transcend culture.”) and took us to 1 Corinthians 9 and 1 and Romans 1 and 2. I thought his idea that all cultures exhibit good and bad traits and sometimes both at the same time was helpful. His main example was the way Hispanics will wait until everyone is present  whereas the average WASP says it starts when the time stated says it starts.

EMA David Wells 01

Our second session today and tomorrow is in the hands of the author and Gordon Conwell professor David Wells speaking on culture. I has always assumed he was American or Scots so was surprised to hear this very English accent.

He spoke first of the superficial changes since 1945 but pointed out that below the surface real changes are afoot. He decided to focus on the growth of spirituality in the western world. His analysis was very interesting and helpful.

1. He spoke firstly of signposts that we are moving out of the moral dimension. He noted four shifts:
1 From virtue to values. Today competence trumps character. Character can get in the way of making money. Values is a 20th century creation of relativists. It simply means what is important to me. We treat values in a value free way.
2 From character to personality. It is how you come across that matters today. In a moral world it is who you are that matters but slowly but surely appearance has become the important thing.
3 From nature to self. There was a time when the fact we are all human beings was important. Increasingly however the idea of human nature is under attack and is thought to be obsolete. We do not want to think of ourselves in that way but as unique.
4 From guilt to shame. The vertical is forgotten and the horizontal is all important. The world is very anti-guilt. It is harmful. However, there are certain things that people want to hide. Hence shame is the thing not guilt.

2. He spoke secondly about spiritualities. In 1962 John Robinson's Honest to God argued for a religionless Christianity. A little while later Time magazine asked the question "Is God dead?" This came in the light of the increasing secularism. Ironically, the death of God theology died quicker than any other. In the seventies there was an earnest hope, on one hand, that rationality would triumph. There was concern, on the other, that this tidal wave might drive all before it. However, although secularism is rife in our world there is nevertheless at the same time an amazing emergent spirituality. Dr Wells suggested this would be a far greater challenge than secular humanism. The difficulty will be to distinguish true Christianity from these psychological spiritualities. While church going declines "spirituality" is on the rise. Very often people are "spiritual but not religious" (ie no doctrinal, communal or ethical norms). This spirituality is expressed in various forms, kaballah, druidism, Buddhism, etc. The success of Dan Brown is due to its anti-church and yet gnostic, spiritual dimension.
He then raised the question of why these spiritualities have become popular when they have, in these affluent and technologically advanced ages. The problem is that at the same time there is more depression, anxiety and alienation. It is like the beginning of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. Such emptiness makes people long for something else. However, the spiritual world that is now coming in leaves no place for the weak.

3. Presuppositions
1 The self has access to spiritual realities. Nature and grace are blurred, natural and supernatural revelation.
2 The all assume the innocence of self. Original sin is not accepted. Pelagius redivivus
3 The sacred is there for a convenience. There is no danger
4 Truth is private and intuitive
5 This is not a personal universe. Christianity is about hearing a God who is outside of us. The new spiritualities are all about speaking in an empty and unspeaking universe.

EMA 2011 Bible Reading 01

It is my privilege to be able to attend the Evangelical Ministry at St Helen's Bishopsgate this week. Most of the faces at EMA are unfamiliar but it was nice to meet up with my friends Alan Davey and Robin Asgher and several others. Liam Goligher is set to be the opening speaker each of the three days.

I have heard Liam Goligher before in Aberystwyth and at Banner, where he has not quite got on as well as he might. Here, in a tieless button down and blazer and kicking off with a reference to the advisability of watching TV on a Sunday night, he seemed much more at home.
In an introductory message on John 15, he spent some time giving us the background from Isaiah and Psalm 80, the point being that the old vine Israel failed. It is in this context that Jesus says "I am the vine". I was very happy with his replacement theology but he was very keen to emphasise the mixed nature of the vine even today. Conscious that some of us are Baptists he said that even Baptist churches are mixed. Sadly, he put it rather poorly saying that we Baptists know that there are unregenerate people in our churches but that is not the case. If we knew they were unregenerate, they could not be members! Baptist churches may be mixed but they do not set out to be, as some seem to.

He then went on to stress the importance of being under the Word and the importance of straight preaching of the Word. He also spoke of the importance of mutual indwelling. he was keen to see remaining in Christ not as something mystical but the everyday looking to Christ the only Saviour who we need to cleanse us or prune us by his Word as in Peter''s case (not removed as in the case of Judas). We ended with some poetry and a warm glimpse of heaven. The emphasis on straight preaching was appreciated.

Free Wales Harmony

I enjoyed this introduction to Welsh pop and rock music on Radio 4 recently. Tebot Peuce, Edward H Dafis, Catatonia, etc. It's mostly outside my knowledge though I'd heard of most of the talking heads (Dafydd Iwan, Caryl Parry Jones, Meic Stevens, etc) I remember seeing Disc a Dawn sometimes as a kid, a sort of Welsh Top of the Pops. Heather Jones would be on there with the weirdest looking backing band. They even had a boy from Cwmbran on there once, Steve Beck. He used to dress like a rockstar (one glove, high heeled boots, make up) even in Croesy! I saw him once and called him a name and he chased me.  Check out the link here.

Out and about

It was good to be last Saturday at the induction for Derek Sewell in Titmuss Avenue, Thamesmead. There was a good crowd present and it was good to hear my old friend Paul Pease, pastor of Derek and Rachel's home church, Hook Evangelical.
Then on Monday I was up at the John Owen Centre for a lively discussion of the Eric Metaxas book on Bonhoeffer. We were mostly in agreement though not on details. We were broadly sympathetic to Bonhoeffer and the book while recognising Bonhoeffer was chiefly a Barthian rather than anything closer to our own way of thinking. We are going to look at the book that Jeremy Walker has done with Rob Ventura on Paul next time (October 17). 



SBM1 Lost books

I picked up a copy of Summon's Bible Miscellany at a bookshop the other day. It's full of interesting things that we might share. This is a list of books mentioned in the Bible (in the Old Testament), books that as far as we know no longer exist. Summon gets his from a Lion book by Miller and Huber mine is from Wikipedia.

1. The Book of Jasher (whose title fully translated means the Book of the Upright or the Book of the Just) is
mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. From the context in the Book of Samuel it is implied that it was a collection of poetry. Several books have claimed to be this lost text, but are widely discounted as pseudepigrapha.
2. The Book of the Wars of the Lord. Referenced at Numbers 21:14.
3. A "Book of Songs" is referenced at 1 Kings 8:12-13 (Septuagint).
4. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (lost/missing) and Chronicles of the Kings of Judah ("2 Chronicles" in your Old Testament or "Divrei Hayamim II" in the Hebrew Tanakh) are mentioned in the Books of Kings (1 Kings 14:19, 14:29). They are said to tell of events during the reigns of Kings Jeroboam of Israel and Rehoboam of Judah, respectively. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel is again mentioned in 1 Kings 16:20 regarding King Zimri, and many other times throughout 1 and 2 Kings.
5. "The Book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the Seer" (also called Story of the Prophet Iddo or The Annuals of the Prophet Iddo) is mentioned in the book of 2nd Chronicles. (II Chr 9:29, 12:15, 13:22). Iddo was a seer who lived during the reigns of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah. His deeds were recorded in this book, which has been completely lost to history, save for its title. However, it is interesting to note that Zechariah was the son of Iddo (Ezra 5:1, Zechariah 1:1)
6. The Manner of the Kingdom. Referenced at 1Samuel 10:25.
7. The Acts of Solomon. Referenced at 1Kings 11:41.
8. The Annals of King David. Referenced at 1Chronicles 27:24.
9. The Book of Samuel the Seer Also called Samuel the Seer or The Acts of Samuel the Seer, which could be the same as 1 & 2 Samuel .Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29.
10. The Book of Nathan the Prophet Also called Nathan the Prophet or The Acts of Nathan the Prophet or History of Nathan the Prophet. Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29, and also 2Chronicles 9:29.
11. The Book of Gad the Seer. Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29.
12. The Prophecy of Ahijah, might be a reference to 1 Kings 14:2-18. Referenced at 2Chronicles 9:29.
13. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. Referenced in 2Chronicles 16:11, 2Chronicles 27:7 and 2Chronicles 32:32. Might be the same as 1 & 2 Kings.
14. The Book of Jehu. Could be a reference to 1 Kings 16:1-7. Referenced at 2Chronicles 20:34.
15. The Story of the Book of Kings. Referenced at 2Chronicles 24:27.
16. The Acts of Uzziah Also called The Book by the prophet Isaiah. Perhaps the same as the Book of Isaiah. Referenced at 2Chronicles 26:22.
17. The Vision of Isaiah. Referenced at 2Chronicles 32:32.
18. The Acts of the Kings of Israel Also called The Acts and Prayers of Manasseh.May be identical to The Book of the Kings of Israel, above. Referenced at 2Chronicles 33:18.
19. The Sayings of the Seers. Referenced at 2Chronicles 33:19.
20. The Laments for Josiah Also called Lamentations. This event is recorded in the existing Book of Lamentations. Referenced at 2Chronicles 35:25.
21. The Chronicles of King Ahasuerus. Perhaps the same as 1 & 2 Chronicles. Referenced at Esther 2:23, Esther 6:1, Esther 10:2, and Nehemiah 12:23.

Wycliffe on Radio 4

Melvyn Bragg has been at it again discussing the Morning Star of the Reformation, John Wyclif(fe) with the experts on Radio 4. See here for the podcast. Also see here. The experts on this occassion are Sir Anthony Kenny (philosopher and former Master of Balliol College, Oxford), Anne Hudson (Emeritus Professor of Medieval English at the University of Oxford) and Rob Lutton (Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Nottingham).

King's English Link


This is well done. I'd missed it before. Perhaps you had too.

Rest in God student offer

George Taylor has recently died at the age of hundred. He was a school teacher and head whose father, a Yorkshire miner, died in a mining accident when George was 18. It was at that time that George came to faith. He was a member of Wycliffe Chapel, Sheffield adn a great encourager, especially of young people. According to the new Banner mag, a few weeks before his death, his son, Stephen, read him Iain Murray’s booklet, Rest in God. He so valued its defence of the abiding authority of the Fourth Command that he wished a portion of his estate to go to Banner to provide a copy to every student for gospel ministry who applies to Banner for one. Banner's details can be found at the foot of this page here.

Paper Menagerie

My youngest has been off school today with a bug. This is just a selection of the paper
sculptures he's been working on to keep himself occupied.

Metaxas on Bonhoeffer

It's a big book, over 500 pages, and I'm a slow reader but I've now finished the most recent biography of the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. It's the set book for the Theological Study Group at the John Owen Centre on Monday - and for once I am ahead in my reading. I enjoyed the book because I knew the name but not much about him. It was good to catch up, my enjoyment sharpend by having two and a half volumes of Richard Evans trilogy on the Third Reich.
I was once door knocking in Childs Hill when I came across Edwin Robertson (1912-2007), former minister of nearby Heath Street Baptist, Hampstead, and a great Bonhoeffer advocate. I guess it's the ecumenical, liberal and Barthian that make you suspicious but Metaxas (a Tim Keller fan - Keller foes the foreword) makes every effort to get you to look again and there are clearly things to learn from a man who for all his faults appears to have had more sympathy for fundamentalism than liberalism. I look forward to discussing the book.
Meanwhile one or two quotes:
Earthly bliss and humanity belong to God, not in any cramped “religious” sense, but in the fully human sense. Bonhoeffer was a champion of God's idea of humanity, a humanity that he invented and, by participating in it through the incarnation, that he redeemed. (457)
So Bonhoeffer was not "naturally" strong and courageous. His equanimity was the result of self-discipline, of deliberately turning to God. (463)
And from the man himself:
It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love. (458)
To renounce a full life and its real joys in order to avoid pain is neither Christian nor human (463)
Very stimulating stuff.
PS The start of the book is so brilliantly sparkling that it cannot be sustained and isn't but it keeps up a high standard throughout. It is a little hagiographical, perhaps.

Dr Williams @ LTS

Yesterday I joined around 25 others at the LTS to hear Dr P J Williams, warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge, exploring the reliability of the Old Testament. It was good to hear someone with evident scholarly gifts (an a young earth creationist no less) asserting the reliability of what we who believe know is a thoroughly reliable book but that is constantly under attack for one reason or another. We spoke briefly and he seemed to think he had met me. I later realised he must have grown up in Hambleton Evangelical Church in Carlton Minniot, Yorkshire, where we have one or two connections. I would tell you more but the powers that be were keen not to give the material given exposure on the Internet. Perhaps a book is in the offing. It is a pity that more were not present. They can't all be in Bala or getting ready for EMA next week. The LTS is to be commended for putting on these Monday seminars. Christopher Ash next, I think, in the Autumn and a conference before that.

No Regrets

I forgot to say that Monday ended up being a Walker Day. Not only did my wife and I hear Austin Walker in the evening at the Library and meet his wonderful Welsh wife Mai for the first time in an age and not only did I spend much of Monday (and Tuesday as it turned out) with fellow pastor and blogger Jeremy Walker but at 10.30 pm we sat down with my two middle sons and watched Question of Sport (not something I often do) with Dan Walker as one of the contestants. The Walker Brothers have a sister or two so it wasn't a full house but certainly a day of Walkers.
PS as for the possibly cryptic title see here.

Eruv of my ways

In this shot of our chapel I have highlighted the poles and wire that cross the entrance to the Close (double click to see a bigger picture). These are part of the eruv or border that has been made around the area enabling certain orthodox Jews to do certain things on the Jewish Sabbath that they would not normally be allowed to do. I have been this morning with a student film maker interested in doing a documentary on the subject as there is currently talk of another one in the St Johns Wood area. For more on eruvs see here on Wikipedia.

The Doctor on the Doctor

My esteemed father-in-law Dr Geoffrey Thomas has recently written a foreword to a new edition of Dr Lloyd-Jones' Spiritual Depression. You can find  the foreword on the Banner website here.
The article makes 8 points including this one:

vi] He was a man who was prepared to help people in every way he could
He would stay at Westminster Chapel until the last person had been counselled. He would write letters to people all over the world. When he began his ministry in Aberavon people wrote to him requesting medical advice and he examined them as they travelled to his manse. My father’s twin brother, Bryn, was a theological student in the Congregational College in Brecon but in his first week there he was informed that he was not in a good enough shape physically to become and continue as a pastor. His heart wouldn’t be strong enough for this work. He was quite crestfallen about this and then a friend told him about a heart specialist named Lloyd-Jones who had come to pastor a church in Aberavon. Why shouldn’t he write to him and explain his dilemma to him? Perhaps he could have a medical examination from the Doctor. So it was that Uncle Bryn became one of hundreds who sought such help from Dr. Lloyd-Jones. The result was that the Doctor pronounced my uncle in fine shape, that there was no problem with his heart at all, and so he returned to college and entered the ministry. When I recounted this incident to Dr. Lloyd-Jones he had no recollection of it at all, and then he asked me how Uncle Bryn had got on. 'He lived until he was 82,' I told him. He beamed and laughed out loud smacking his hands, 'O very good!'
He also journeyed extensively all over the United Kingdom to support ministers and evangelical causes. What anticipation to have Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaching for you! No one else could draw a congregation except him and no one since his decease. How we miss him, the full church, earnest, moving singing of great hymns, happy crowds staying around for an hour after the service was over, quietly talking together and the central themes of the gospel preached by the Doctor with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. These occasions are remembered by some from 70 years ago, and people will tell you they remember the text on which Dr. Lloyd-Jones preached at that distant meeting. Men struggling in divided small congregations would get such an uplift when he visited them. 'This is the preaching, and these are the kinds of services we are aiming for,' they would tell their church officers.

Walker on Carey and books

This year sees the 250th anniversary of the birth of the pioneer missionary William Carey. It was a great joy on Monday then to be at the Evangelical Library with around 40 others for the library's annual lecture and to hear Pastor Austin Walker of Crawley give an interesting and stimulating paper on William Carey and his books.
He began by pointing out that as far as books are concerned Carey's main pre-occupation was with translating the Bible. In this he was prolific. Timothy George has said he must be put in “the front ranks of Bible translators in Christian history alongside Jerome, Wycliffe, Luther, Tyndale and Erasmus.” We were then given an overview of the subject under four main headings with a closing lesson.
1. Some of the books Carey produced besides his translations of the Bible
When translating the Bible into Bengali Carey came to see the importance of the underlying Sanskrit language, which he proceeded to master, producing a grammar, a dictionary and a Bible in it as he had done for Bengali and would also do for Marathi. He went on to produce grammars in seven more Indian languages! In addition to the grammars and dictionaries he also provided prose books in Bengali for his students to read (he took up a college teaching post for various reasons in 1801) and also for children in the mission’s elementary schools. Together with his son Felix and some of the pundits he produced some sixty prose books: simple stories, fables, essays, a version of Pilgrim’s Progress, books on Indian history, a chemistry book, as well as the translation of the Sanskrit classics. There was also no end of evangelistic material of various sorts in Bengali and English (aimed at those settled in India). Clearly  Carey "was not a man who ever let the grass grow under his feet"! The famous statement about his being a plodder was then quoted. The question of why was he so single-minded was tackled in the rest of the paper.
2.  What William Carey believed about ‘the Book,’ the Bible
Here we were given something of the background to Carey's position -  his thoroughly orthodox view of the Bible, his conversion and his confidence in the power of the naked Word to convert sinners.
3. Some of the books that shaped Carey’s theology, mission principles and translation priorities
We then stepped further back to consider this matter focusing on his Calvinistic and Baptist convictions and the founding of  The Particular (or Calvinistic) Baptist Society for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen. Reference was made to a variety of books - Pilgrims Progress, Defoe’s Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and the Life of Christopher Columbus as a child. Then, significantly,  Help to Zion’s Travellers, by Robert Hall Sr (1728-1791) “probably the most important extra-biblical book that Carey read.” (Peter J Morden). Carey often re-read it. There were also Fuller's Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation of 1785, many works by Jonathan Edwards, especially his life of Brainerd (required reading and re-reading for Serampore missionaries). Also, of course, the narratives of the voyages of Captain Cook.
4. Carey's Enquiry
The final section considered and summarised Carey's little book arguing the case for taking the gospel to the heathen, arguments so familiar to us now that it is hard to imagine there was a time when they were not widely accepted.
5. Lesson
We closed with an appropriate exhortation to read the Scriptures and to make good use of good Christian books.
It was encouraging that two Indian brothers (Chako and Joseph) were able to visit us, being in the country at present and based over in Basildon.
The day was a full one for me as we had a committee meeting  beforehand and I had been at the Westminster Fellowship during the day. Very appropriately that had been an introduction to the life of Andrew Fuller by Dr Robert Oliver. So it was a whole day of Reformed Baptist history and a joy it was too.

Mark Raines and family

Mark Raines was my assistant at one time and I thought that for various reasons some readers of this blog might be interested to read the above article from MLive.com. See here. Double click to read the above.

Christian Biography

You may find this address by Dr A Donald MacLeod on writing Christian biography of interest. His books include biographies of C Stacey Woods and W Stanford Reid (obviously drawn to them as like him they didn't go by their first names :-)).