Some time in the early 1990s I attended for the one and only time the Bala Ministers Conference. I did not like it. In fact it is hard to think of any aspect I liked (the ministry was fine and the food okay). I didn't like the way we were all squashed into the lounge at Bryn-Y-Groes. I didn't like the noisy prayer meetings or the noisy singing. I didn't find the discussions at all helpful. The emphasis on revival seemed counter-productive to me. To cap it all, sharing a dorm with five snoring men is no joke when you're the last to sleep. So I never went again. I am aware that some of my dislikes have been addressed and I found this new book by Eryl Davies charting the long history of the conference and its distinctives mollifying as it sought to explain and sometimes apologise for some of the failures. Even if you know nothing about the Bala Conference it is worth a read as its apologia for Lloyd-Jones and the things he stood for is winsome, persuasive and well argued and even concessive at some points. I liked the quote from Sulwyn Jones explaining how difficult it is for some men not to refer to Lloyd-Jones when speaking of certain things. It was also good to consider the whole word and Spirit matter again. The reminder about revival was timely for me. It is an odd book in some ways, a hybrid as Dr Davies explains. It would be nice to see a similar book on the Banner of Truth Conference perhaps. Do check it out.
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.