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.

Luthers at the Uffizi

A couple from the church were in Florence recently. I was surprised to realise that the above picture which I recognised as a Cranach portrait of Martin and Katie is housed in the Uffizi there. Not sure how that happened.

10 Types of Engineering


We happened to have four engineeers in church yesterday, chemical, electrical an mechanical (two of those I think). It got me thinking of different sorts of engineering. Originally, degrees were offered in the three I have mentioned plus civil engineering (where everyone is very nice to each other I guess). These days there are over 40 different courses available. Here are 10 types of engineering:

1 Chemical engineering
2 Civil engineering
3 Electrical engineering
4 Mechanical engineering
5 Software engineering
6 Systems engineering
7 Genetic engineering
8 Paper engineering
9 Environmental engineering
10 Social engineering
(There's also domestic engineering and I think engine drivers can be called engineers)

Lord's Day August 27 2017


It was really good to be back in Childs Hill yesterday. I've looked forward to it. We had good congregations morning and evening, helped by a few visitors. I carried on with my short series. In the morning we looked at the solemn subject of the judgement of the wicked and then in the evening we looked at living for God's glory, not something I can recall ever hearing a sermon on. This was Robert and Sarah Strivens last Sunday so we made a point of prying for them. We also had a large number of people around for lunch and/or tea. It was also the last Sunday of two Koreans who have been with us over the summer and one of our members who is off to France again soon. There were people missing, of course, but we'll see the true state of things next week.

My sister's wedding

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, wedding and outdoor
It was great to be at the wedding of my sister Gail on Thursday. She was marrying Paul Summerfield. It was great to see the wedding take place and to be at the reception and to meet up with family and old friends. God is good.

Erroll Hulse and Peter Jeffery


The funerals have taken place already this week of two men of God, Erroll Hulse and Peter Jeffery. Erroll was born in South Africa in 1931 and Peter in South Wales in 1937. Both were pastors, both served in various churches over the years and both had extensive ministries when those pastorates came to an end. Both were authors too. Erroll's books and booklets are in double figures, Peter's number more than fifty. Both had international ministries and were great encouragers to many men. Erroll I knew best through the Carey Conference and more recently since being involved in organising the Westminster Conference.
Apparently, underneath the memorial to John Wesley in Westminster Abbey it says "God buries his workmen but carries on his work." Quite right. As we read in Hebrews 13:7, 8 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 
You can find responses to these deaths here (Erroll Hulse) and here (Peter Jeffery).
The Thanksgiving services are also up on Youtube
Here (EH) and here (PJ).

A Little Bit ...


I just love pop music. It's so infectious.

Daniel Rowland's Nose


Being in Llangeitho recently and seeing the statue of Daniel Rowland reminded me of an incident from the year 1981. That summer I worked in the Christian Bookshop in Aberystwyth, then located near the station. That summer the Banner of Truth had reproduced a memoir of Rowland by a vicar called John Owen. We put the magazine with a line drawing of Rowland on the cover in the window. One day two elderly farm women, in from the countryside, came in. They wanted a copy of the magazine they said. The talkative one revealed that the other one was a descendant of Rowland. "You can tell" she said "by the nose. She's got the same nose." When I looked, there it was - Daniel Rowland's nose right in the middle of this poor woman's face!

Luther and the 9.5 Theses

This review for another little book recently appeared in Evangelical Times
Luther and the 9.5 Theses
by Kenneth Brownell
July 2017
Publisher: 10 Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-91127-236-6 
Pages: 104
Price: 4.99

Unless you have been hiding in a monastery, you will know that this year is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. A plethora of publications have appeared, drawing attention to this fact at various levels and from different points of view. This title comes from Dr Brownell, who has been pastor of East London Tabernacle for over 30 years.
This little book is one of the shorter contributions. It should not be sneered at, however, as in brief and accurate compass it not only gives you the essential story of Martin Luther and his 95 theses but places before us 10 theses for today. These follow careful reflection on the original historical debate, but also speak powerfully to today’s world.
To take one example, the third modern thesis is that ‘Unbiblical doctrines and practices in churches contradict or undermine the gospel and need to be challenged, repudiated and discarded if Reformational Christianity is to flourish’.
Brownell chases down some obvious culprits, such as liberalism, Romanism and the prosperity gospel. He also highlights two areas closer to home, namely pastoral care that is little more than pop psychology, and public worship that does not exalt the Triune God or build up God’s people before a watching world.
On page 62, the author refers to Luther as one who could write learned treatises as well as simple books. Dr Brownell is blessed with the same gift and this present volume is evidence of it. Like Luther’s own work, it is theologically informed writing that not only engages the mind but the will and the emotions also.
Like Luther’s Sermon on indulgences and grace, which was reprinted 24 times between 1518 and 1520, this book is designed for mass distribution. Let’s hope it gets it.

Crazy Lazy


We live in the age of the little book. Back in 2014 this one was published. I'd not seen it but enjoyed reading it recently. I guess itis from a sermon and in some ways a balance to Kevin DeYoung's Crazy Busy. Both books are worth a read. One mistake in the transcription is the appearance of the phrase "its dreadful, ravishing impact" on page 29, which should surely read "its dreadful, ravaging impact".

Lord's Day August 20 2017

We were in Alfred Place, Aber, again yesterday, as planned. Originally, one of the elders was to have preached in the morning and Rhodri in the evening but the elder was not well so Rhodri preached, am, and I stood in, pm. Rhodri preached very well on Romans 6:11. It was a delight to be there. In the evening I decided to go for Hebrews 13:8. I had preached that text at the beginning of the year in Childs Hill and was able to adapt it for yeseterday evening. I recalled a story from A W Pink's The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross worth repeating, which I did.

“It is finished.” Do you really believe it? Or, are you endeavouring to add something of your own to it and thus merit the favour of God?
Some years ago a Christian farmer was deeply concerned over an unsaved carpenter. The farmer sought to set before his neighbour the gospel of God’s grace, and to explain how that the finished work of Christ was sufficient for his soul to rest upon. But the carpenter persisted in the belief that he must do something himself. One day the farmer asked the carpenter to make for him a gate, and when the gate was ready he carried it away to his wagon. He arranged for the carpenter to call on him the next morning and see the gate as it hung in the field. At the appointed hour the carpenter arrived and was surprised to find the farmer standing by with a sharp axe in his hand. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “I am going to add a few cuts and strokes to your work,” was the response. “But there is no need for it,” replied the carpenter, “the gate is all right as it is. I did all that was necessary to it.” The farmer took no notice, but lifting his axe he slashed and hacked at the gate until it was completely spoiled. “Look what you have done!” cried the carpenter. “You have ruined my work! ” “Yes,” said the farmer, “and that is exactly what you are trying to do. You are seeking to nullify the finished work of Christ by your own miserable additions to it!” God used this forceful object lesson to show the carpenter his mistake, and he was led to cast himself by faith upon what Christ had done for sinners. Reader, will you do the same?

Nice to meet friends old and new, including family members.

Ein Ffrind Newydd Alffi


Here are one of my sons and grandsons with our new 11 week old dog Alffi. He's a Cavachon.

10 Dyslexic Welsh Words


Because Welsh has a different orthography to English, at first blush a Welsh word may seem to be misspelled, though it is not. Here are 10 examples.

1 Beibl (ie Bible)
2 Teigr (ie Tiger)
3 Pensil
4 Papur
5 Caffi
6 Sinema
7 Theatr
8 Pasport
9 Blows (ie Blouse)
10 Sgert (ie Skirt)

J Mack J Akkerman

FYE (for your enjoyment)

Aber 2017 Fourth Evening Fourth Morning & Final Evening

Aber 2017 Seminar on Williams Pantycelyn



The only non plenary session I have attended in this last week in Aber is an excellent paper on Wales's greatest hymn writer William Williams, given by local man Gwyn Davies. Gwyn is an indidividual and this was a highly interactive lecture that was designed chiefly to draw attention to Pantycelyn and his wonderful hymns and other writings, that have been translated into English (ie The experience meeting and parts of Theomemphus). The lecture included a little moan about the modest three piece combo employed in the main meetings here. I don't think any Pantycelyn hymns have been sung in the main sessions this week.
The seminar is accessible onYouTube here.
Here is a less familiar translation of one of his Welsh hymns (best known in Bobi Jones' version In Eden sad indeed that day). I've had a go myself too.


Can I forget bright Eden’s grace,

My beauteous crown and princely place,
All lost, all lost to me?
Long as I live I’ll praise and sing
My wondrous all-restoring King,
Victor of Calvary.

Lo! Faith, behold the place, the tree
Wheron the Prince of Heaven, for me,
All innocent, was nailed;
One here has crushed the dragon’s might;
Two fell, but One has won the fight;
Christ Jesus has prevailed.

In Eden, this I'll long review - 
The blessings lost, more than the dew,
How my good crown fell too.
But victory on Calvary
Back again to him has won me - 
I'll sing while life I see.

On Calvary, as heat strength drains,
Our great High Priest he feels death's pains,
And blood flows from his veins;
Righteousness mine, there is no fee;
The books of heaven are cleared we see,
With no demand on me.

(Yn Eden, cofiaf hynny byth,
Bendithion gollais rîf y gwlith,
Syrthiodd fy nghoron wiw;
Ond buddugoliaeth Calfari
Enillodd hon yn ôl imi,
Mi ganaf tra fwyf byw.

Ar Galfarî, yng gwres y dydd,
Y caed y gwystl mawr yn rhydd,
Trwy golli gwaed yn lli';
Does dim heb dalu, rhoddwyd iawn
Nes clirio llyfrau'r nef yn llawn
Heb ofyn dim i mi.)

Aber 2017 Third Morning

Good stuff from Art again. (I'm glad someone told him how to pronounce Bore da - it was getting embarrassing).

New Banner Book


I have placed a similar blogpost to this on my John Elias and John Hurrion blogs (see here and here) saying that Banner of Truth have just republished John Hurrion's book on Particular Redemption. It includes a preface written by John Elias for the Welsh language edition that John Aaron has translated into English. You can see the original here.

Llangeitho




Yesterday (Wednesday) a friend here in Aber (Mike Iliff) kindly took a myself and another minister friend (Peter McKenzie) down to Llangeitho. It's only about 20 miles away but for some reason I had never been.
The main thing to see is the statue of Daniel Rowland outside the present CM Chapel. Some few things inside the chapel go back to Rowland's time too (the flagstones on the way in and a communion cup). He began ministering in the Parish Church which we also saw. That is where he is buried and there is also a pulpit there he is believed to have preached from.
The other thing to see these days is a slate plaque outside the caffi, which notes that this is where Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones lived 1904-1914 (as reported on this blog some time ago).
It was a very nice afternoon out and a reminder of the greatness and providence of God. I can recommend the bacon bap at the caffi, very nice.
The 19th century was dne by Edward Griffith. Below it are these words

Daniel Rowland ganwyd 1713 bu farw 1790
O nefoedd! nefoedd! nefoedd! Buasai dy gonglau yn ddigon gwag on i buasai fod sion yn magu plant i ti ar y ddaear!

Meaning

Daniel Rowland Born 1713 Died 1790
Oh Heaven! Heaven! Heaven! Thy corners would be sufficiently empty were it not that Zion is nursing for thee children upon the earth.

O nefoedd! nefoedd! nefoedd! was apparently a saying of Rowland.

Aber 2017 Second Morning and Third Evening (Wednesday)

Aber continues with our main speakers, Art Azurdia and Hector Morrison. They are easier to listen to as you get used to their very different styles. Hector Morrison was perhaps a little long but what a subject - the Father's discipline of his children. The full sevices are avaialbe on Youtube again.

 

10 Chelsea Players whose names begin with H 1964-1974

1. Ron Harris (61-80)
2. Peter Houseman (62-75)
3. John Hollins (63-75/83-85)
4. Marvin Hinton (63-76)
5. Tony Hately (66-67)
6. Chico Hamilton (66-68)
7. Stewart Houston (67-72)
8. Ian Hutchinson (68-76)
9. Alan Hudson (68-74/83-84)
10. David Hay (74-80)

(These are the main years when Peter Osgood was in the team)

Aber 2017 First Morning Second Evening

The main speaker this year is Art Azurdia who is speaking from Acts. He began with 1:1-11. Hector Morrison, principal of Highland Theological College, is slated to speak on the Fatherhood of God and began in Genesis. Both were worth listening too though not always easy to take in.

Aber 2017 First Evening


We had a great start to our conference yesterday evening. Ian Parry preached from Exodus 15. I was surprised to know he had been 55 minutes. It didn't really seem that long. You can access the wholeservice here on Youtube. 

Lord's Day August 13 2017

It was good to be in Aberystwyth once again on the Lord's Day. Things are a little different here this year. The EMW dedided that as my father-in-law would not be around they would hold services in the Great Hall, as they do for the conference itself. Peter Greasley and Adrian Brake preached I understand. The services can be found here and here on Youtube.
We went along to hear my son Rhodri in Alfred Place. A few others had decided to do the same but only a few. I'm sure it is not easy for a young minister to have four or five ministers present but if you remember they too need to be fed all should be well. He preached very helpfully from Exodus 3 and Lamentations 3:22, 23. It was wonderful to be there. We sang some of the hymns a capella and that was great. In the morning there was a distrubance. An older man appeared to be choking adn so Rhodri stopped proceedings and we sang a hymn. With a suitable reference to Eutychus he then gave the third adn final point of the sermon.
It was a good day. I was glad to be there.

Fun in Aberystwyth

We had a picture like this at home. I've long liked the idea.
Eat your heart out Uber
My youngest reads me a story

10 Beatles songs featuring harmonica

1. Please Please me
2. Chains
3. Love me do
4. There's a place
5. From me to you
6. Thank you girl
7. I'll get you
8. Little child
9. I should have known better
10. I'm a loser

Dunkirk

We got to see the film Dunkirk last week. I don't need to say anything about it except that it is worth seeing. It attempts to give us the experience , which is an obvious thing to do, which menas little explanation and lots of action. Some of the story choices seem strange and people have had a field day with all the inaccuracies of various sorts. I was interested to learn that the man on whom the Mark Rylance character was based had been second officer on the Titanic. The air, land, seainterchange is doen very well. I picked up no hints to the marvellous providenc of God that some speak of and thought the film was generally anti-war, partly by dint of its accuracy. I remember visiting Dunkirk one day on a school trip to Ostende when I was 12. I was surprised when one of my sons (the history graduate I note) told me that the first revelation for him on seeing the film was that Dunkirk is in France not Scotland! 

Midweek Meeting August 9 2017


We were not a large number for the last midweek meeting before my holiday break - four church officers, two of their wives, two Korean friends and two others. We looked once again at the subject of heaven and the six negatives of Revelation 21, 22 - no sea, no tears or death, no temple, no wickedness, no night and no more curse. Everyone except the Koreans prayed after the Bible Study. There's alays a lot to pray for. I love the midweek meeting. I only wish more would come along. In some ways heaven will be like a midweek meeting - prayer considering the Bible story, etc. No-one ill be missing then.

Lord's Day August 6 2016

We began with communion last Sunday and then I preached another sermon on the judgement - the judgement of the righteous. Perhaps we should be preaching more on such themes. We were  alittle low in numbers but again two new people - a Southe African lady working as  acarer in the area and a Ghanaian lady who normally goes to church in Harlesden but lives near us. Another birthday celebration to follow. A new member has just turned 21. In the evening I preached on humility and putting pride to death - always easier to preach than to act on. I had a slight end of term feeling, although I am spekaing on Wednesday before heading off for me hols.

My Parents on their wedding day April 1955


10 father and son songs


1. Someday never comes/Creedence Clearwater Revival
2. In the living years/Mike and the Mechanics
3. Father and son/Cat Stevens
4. Tears in heaven/Eric Clapton
5. Beautiful Boy/John Lennon
6. A boy named Sue/Johnny Cash
7. Father to son/Queen
8. My old man/Ian Dury of the Blockheads
9. Sometimes you can't make it on your own/U2
10. Leading me there/Jan Akkerman

The Tremor of Forgery


The tremor of forgery is the thirteenth of Patricia Highsmith's 22 novels and about the tenth I have read. It first appeared in 1969. On the cover of this one they quote Graham Greene to the effect that this is her best, which I was doubting for much of the book but I found the final 10 chapters or so both gripping and full of interest as nce more she explores the whole area of morality and conscience. Those final chapters, of course, only work because of the long set up that precedes it.
This passage struck me

Ingham had a sick feeling he hadn't experienced since adolescence, when he had looked into some religious books at home, dusty old things that must have belonged to great-grandparents. "Repent your sins ... bare your soul to Christ" The questions and answers had assumed that everyone had sins, apparently even from birth, but what were they? The worst Ingham had been able to think of was masturbation, but since at the same time he had been browsing in psychology books which said it was normal and natural, what was there left? Ingham didn't consider that what he had done that night had been a sin or a crime, if he had killed the Arab at all, which would always be not quite certain, until someone actually found the corpse.

When we try and speak to people in terms of biblical morality, it is often an uphill task. Only a truly biblical world view gets things in the right perpective.
This is a theme Highsmith almost endlessly explored.

Midweek Meeting August 2 2016

Nine of us gathered yesterday to consider the second in a series on unseen realities. We looked at chunks of 1 Corinthians 15 and the resurrection of the body on the last day. I should have anticipated that there would be lots of questions. I was also rather poor gathering together material for prayer, several items only coming to mind after we had prayed. Many people to pray for at the moment. We got on with praying though and inched forward a bit I hope, by the grace of God.

Lord's Day July 30 2017

It's a funny time of the year but numbers kept up last Sunday and we had a good time even with many regulars and others away. There was a new Spanish lady who, like so many these days, is often working on the Lord's Day. A man who does come regularly but who I thought would not be there came. That was good. We were down to about 16 in the evening. I preached in the morning the first in a new series on the judgement day and in the evening another in the series on living the Christian life - this time growing in holiness (easy to preach not so easy to do). You sometimes think may be things are not hopeless. We sang happy birthday after the morning service to a lady who has just turned 70 and two girls, one just turned 12 and one about to turn 8. That worked out well as birthdays can easily be forgotten at this time of the year. 

10 Things - a nice website


As readers of this blog, we like lists of 10 here. Most of these lists are rather inconsequential I'm afraid but look at this website here for any number of such lists well worth a decko. See here.

Here's ten by Garry Williams on God's love.

1. God’s love is incomprehensible
2. God’s love can be known
3. God is known by analogy
4. The pictures of God in the Bible regulate themselves, including pictures of his love
5. We quickly leap to the wrong conclusions about God’s love
6. God’s love must be "read" within the rest of what Scripture teaches about his divine attributes
7. God’s love must be "read" especially within what Scripture teaches about his triune life
8. Reading God’s love in its wider context keeps us from error
9. Understanding the different manner of God’s love helps us to see its immeasurable magnitude
10. God’s love truly perceived always draws out from us a response of love

Famous (again)

I found this recently on IMDb. In 1967 I was only 8 so a little young for the part.
(Click on pic if necessary).