Perhaps the most interesting paper of the day was that given by Andrew Atherstone - another Anglican as it turns out. He was looking at the whole matter of the writing of Christian biography and history. It is a subject most germane to the conference. He outlined the more recent resurgence of evangelical history writing within academia (by Marsden, Noll, Bebbington and others) and then noted the uneasiness about this expressed in the pages of the Banner of Truth, especially by Iain Murray. Andrew Atherstone's plea was for both as he felt that both forms have their place. The rest of us were not so sure although we were broadly in agreement guess. The fear is that is academia dictates the ground rules something will be lost. The other area covered more briefly was the danger of hagiography. On the way home I was reading Luke Tyerman's biography of Samuel Wesley and I was interested to come across this line "The extract is inserted with reluctance; but, in delineating character, faults as well as virtues must be noted". So a good day. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as good.
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.