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.

William Perkins



The enterprising American Joel Beeke is currently publishing the complete works of William Perkins in 10 volumes (we've reached volume 4 so far). Meanwhile the Library at PRTS has been christened the William Perkins Library (a prize exhibit is apparently a set of Perkins writings owned by Spurgeon then A W Pink who made extensive notes in them). As part of this drive he has brought 55 mainly Americans and Canadians to Britain for a short tour that includes this conference in the historic Round Church in Cambridge to which there has been a general invite (free of charge!).
As it turns out I have a niece who lives in Histon near Cambridge (her husband is a PhD student) so I was able to come and stay with them last night and they have just treated me to a meal out. So not only am I getting to see them but I am also enjoying what so far has been an excellent conference.
On Friday night Sinclair Ferguson spoke on Perkins as a Plain preacher making four points - his influence (including a fascinating anecdote from South Korea in the nineties); his understanding of preaching; his emphasis on the plain style and his grids (as described in the Banner paperback edited by SF The Art of prophesying).
Joel Beeke opened this morning on Perkins the largest case of conscience,which is assurance. Dr Beeke is an authority on this subject and he helpfully told us about what Perkins had written and why.. Like Dr Ferguson he began with some biographical background material stressing Perkins' powerful influence. He then explained his doctrine of assurance, itemising his several writings on this subject and finishing with a summary of Perkins little book A case of conscience, the greatest that ever was: How a man may know whether he be the child of God or no (6 folio pages). You can access this here.
In the second part of the morning my esteemed father-in-law Geoff Thomas spoke on the pursuit of godliness in the ministry of Perkins. He highlighted 1. How Perkins pursued godliness (Through conversion, stud, following providential leadings [for example among prisoners] and by becoming a minister) 2. How preaching encourages godliness 3. Three essential marks of godliness (the faith that saves [knowledge, assent, trust – with which there must be a right beginning, credible fruit and a life of trusting the Lord] the repentance that saves and a new saving obedience, which includes an outward and inward obedience and a seeking to promote better affections).
So good stuff. Numbers have been good too with the 55 swollen to perhaps twice the size.

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