It was good to be in Westminster Baptist Church once again on Monday for the Westminster Fellowship. Dr Robert Oliver spoke on first on Luther and then on what we can do to conserve the Reformation gains - namely in the areas of Scripture, worship and confessionalism. Dr Oliver is an excellent historian and was able to retell the story with quiet skill, highlighting things that I have missed so far this year (for example that Luther was a friar not a monk as he is usually called and how although Luther was generally unimpressed with Rome the hospitals did impress him). We had a good discussion session too. An interesting question was the construction of confessions. I sought to make the point that confessions are not only a doctrinal stick to beat out heretics but a doctrinal carrot that omits certain controversial matters in order to foster unity (my example was friends in Cyprus who omit the filioque clause in their standards not because they do not believe it but becasue it is such a cause of contention in the Greek speaking world; Mostyn Roberts referenced the way Christ's active obedoence is not stated in the Westminster Confession). This point appeared to be lost on some of those present. We were about twenty all told. Richard March from Milton Keynes chaired.
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.