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.

Grace Baptist Assembly 2017 Day 3

The assembly finished with Oliver Allmand-Smith speaking on William Gadsby and Mike Judge preaching a closing sermon. Oliver began with five things that stood against Gadsby from early on.
1. He was a sinner. Born in 1773 the ninth of 14, he was the son of a road mender. A life adn soul sort, he was profane in his language and utterly opposed to religion.
2. He was poor. His parents were desperately poor. When he married in 1796 they possessed a chest of drawers and an umbrella. They sold the umbrella for a bed! They were involved in the weaving industry, a cottage industry with such narrow margins that one mistake could wipe out all profit even working all hours.
3. He was poorly educated. He attended the church school in Nuneaton three days a week for a short while. He managed to learn to read but barely. When he began to preach he could hardly read out the Bible passage.
4. He was doctrinally aberrant. Although he lived in the era of Andrew Fuller and the rediscovery of evangelical Calvinism, he rejected those views. He called Fuller a great enemy to the gospel. He did not believe in the free offer of the gospel. He was also antinomian in his view of the Law. Along with this there was a distinctiveness and individuality, an obstinacy, that made him pour scorn on ministerial education and inter-church fellowship. Even at his ordination he behaved in a very anarchist manner.
5. He ministered to deprived and poverty stricken people. He became a minister in Desford when he was 27 before moving to Manchester in 1807, where he ministered for 39 years in the same church. Manchester was the first industrial city and the dirt, poverty, crime and vice was horrendous. Gadsby reached out nevertheless to uneducated and needy people with great success.
Despite all that was against him Gadsby was greatly used by God to be a great blessing to many, many people. At the age of 17 he saw a hanging in Coventry. One man was so emaciated that it was difficult to hang him. it left an impression on Gadsby that led to a deep conviction of sin. Eventually he was converted. He went on to be a powerful and effective preacher not only in Manchester but in many other places too. Not only that but he did a great deal to help the poor also. This included political activity on behalf of the poor.
On his grave are these words

Here rests the body of a sinner base
Who had no hope but electing grace
The love, blood, life and righteousness of God
Was His sweet theme – And this He spread abroad.

1. Be careful what you do with your heroes. If only those who often make Gadsby their hero were more like him in their desire to see souls saved and to bless his people.
2. Do not forget the importance of compassion. May his spirit live in us to the glory of God.

The very last message was given by Mike Judge. Mike was late joining us as his wife has just given birth to their third child, Lorica. Mike spoke very warmly of the Assembly and the influence it has had on him. In his sermon he took us to Acts 10. e went through the story of Cornelius and his conversion - being about both justification by faith and the breaking down of barriers.
Barriers are broken down by proclaiinng Christ in all the earth.
A reminder - all the talks can be heard by going here.

No comments: