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.

Masaaki Suzuki in London

My esteemed father-in-law took us to a lovely concert last Saturday in the Barbican. The Bach specialist Masaaki Suzuki was conducting the Bach Collegium Japan. We began with suite number 3 and the double violin concerto and in the second half they did the magnificat, a fairly short choral piece. I am one of those odd people who prefers instrumental work to choral but I very much enjoyed the second half. This was only one segment of a very full series of events over a 26 hour period. It was good to have at least tasted this bit. A bonus was bumping into a number of people we knew. Part of the attraction to Suzuki is that he appears to be an evangelical believer and a Calvinist to boot. See this theologically ill-informed Spectator article about Suzuki here. It is headed Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell? It quotes Suzuki ‘With the help of His disciples, God left us the Bible. Into the hands of Bach He delivered the cantata. That is why it is our mission to keep performing them: we must pass on God’s message through these works, and sing them to express the Glory of God.’ The article ends with the correct observation that The lady in the fifth row may smile at the felicities of Bach’s counterpoint; but one day she will either join the company of the saints or, in the words of Cantata 115, ‘be covered in the sleep of eternal death’.

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