The similar phrase 'Worldly Christianity' is one used by Bonhoeffer. 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.

Westminster Conference Day 2


Last Wednesday seems ages ago. I have been busy, however, and need to catch up. This post is simply to say that the Westminster Conference 2019 went off very well all told. On day 2 I chaired the opening session (as is clear from the photo). American Matthew Bingham of Oak Hill spoke very helpfully on the difficult topic of the origins of independency and we had a good, well natured discussion to follow. In the afternoon Douglas MacCallum spoke on Thomas Manton. This was a good introduction and it was interesting to learn that Banner will be publishing all 22 volumes of his works next May. Douglas chose to focus on the sermons on Isaiah 53 but then raised but did not resolve the subject of Manton's understanding of Christ's righteousness. This rather sidetracked us. The final paper is always without discussion and this time it was Paul Smith from Broadstairs on The Pilgrim Fathers, a good theological treatment. We meet again next year, God willing, December 1, 2. I will be giving the closing paper. Lots of other good things too.

Westminster Conference 2019 Day 1

Pipa, Walker, Strivens

It was very good to be at the conference this week down in Oxford Street. We had a decent turn out and the papers and even the discussions went well. We kicked off by looking at William Perkins. Our American speaker Joseph Pipa is a Perkins expert but was able to bring a lightness of touch to his delivery that made the subject come alive. It was a great start and we had a good if slightly diffuse discussion under a good chairman (Andy Young).
The other two parts of the day followed on from each other with committee members Jeremy Walker and Robert Strivens looking consecutively at the theory (A holy God worshipped in spirit of holy fear according to a holy book) and practice of Puritan worship. The latter focused on the 1662 men adn their rejection of the prayer book. They spoke and chaired each other with time only for questions of clarification immediately after the paper. We then discussed both papers together. On reflection it might have been better to introduce a third person to chair that. We also got slightly sidetracked onto the question of Christmas trees in the worship area but it was a good day all round.

Another Christmas album from Kate Rusby


Once again Kate Rusby has released a December Christmas album. This is the fifth one and it is called Holly Head (hard not to say that in a North Walian accent for some of us). It follows a similar format to previous albums and so seemed a little tame at first but I am getting into it.
We kick off with Salute The Morn an eighteenth century hymn with some nice guitar work from husband Damien O'Kane. Christmas Is Merry is the first of three originals but with a traditional tune.  The Holly King is very much on the pagan side of things. Hippo For Christmas revives a forgotten novelty hit from the fifties, complete with tuba accompaniment.
There are four traditional carols on the album next. Yorkshire Three Ships, Lu Lay (or the Wexford or Coventry carol) and a laudable sixth version of While Shepherds Watched follow each other in swift succession and are done well. We have to wait one track until the great Victorian hymn Bleak Midwinter done to a Yorkshire tune.
The Mistletoe Bough turns to an 1844 song apparently published in Songs, Ballads and Other Poems. By Thomas Haynes Bayly (of Home Sweet Home fame) and Sir Henry Bishop it is based on the sad story of The Mistletoe Bride which, first related in 1823, tells of how a young bride suffocated on her wedding day unable to get out of a large chest where she had hidden in an ill-fated game of hide and seek. The legend has been ascribed to several different counties, this one is about Lovell Hall, Oxfordshire. It is a jolly song despite the tragic content.
Celestial Hearts is a Yorkshire variant of ‘New Celestial’, arranged by Rusby and O’Kane and I Am Christmas is a simple treatment of a 2010 song written by Bill Meek and John Conolly,
The album closes with another episode in the story of Barnsley's own Big Brave Bill B.B.B.B is Bill, Beryl, Belinda and Bob this time. This time he gets rescued.
Sorry not to hear any banjo this time. The brass and guitars, etc, are here still. Great arrangementss but it is the voice that wins it. The Barnsley lass seems to have pulled it off again. We are looking forward to seeing her soon.

10 Christmas Novelty Songs



A novelty song is a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Humorous songs, or those containing humorous elements, are not necessarily novelty songs. The term arose in Tin Pan Alley to describe one of the major divisions of popular music.
  1. Christmas in Blobbyland by Mr Blobby
  2. Frosty the Snowman by Gene Autry and later Jimmy Durante
  3. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Elmo & Patsy
  4. Hokey Cokey by the Snowmen
  5. I'm Walking Backwards For Christmas by The Goodies (or Make a daft noise for Xmas)
  6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Jimmy Boyd and later The Jackson 5, etc.
  7. Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop) by Adam Faith
  8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry and later by Spike Jones, etc
  9. Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt and later Kylie Minogue
  10. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Jim Carrey

Lecture on Thomas Treanor at the Library


We had an excellent lecture on Monday at the Evangelical Library. Norman Hopkins introduced us to Thomas Treanor a forgotten missionary to seamen in the 19th century. It was quite a striking story of commitment to bravely bring the gospel to sinners. We also had a very good number. Well worth seeing on the video taken. Enquire at the Library.

Lord's Day December 1 2019



This week is so busy I have got rather behind so this is rather like ancient history but we had a good day on Sunday with relatively good numbers morning and (to a lesser extent) in the evening. We began with communion and I then preached from Deuteronomy 6:6, 7, a one off text. We enjoyed having our seminary students and their families to lunch and then in the evening I preached the resurrection from the first 15 verses of Matthew 28. It was a good day. No fresh people in and some missing, of course, as ever, but a good opportunity once again.

Symmetry

WHITCOMBE McALLISTER ROBERTcM WORTHTIHW
This slightly doctored clip from last Monday's University Challenge illustrates how the mind craves symmetry (mine at least). One writer puts it down to craving order and adds "The search for symmetry, and the emotional pleasure we derive when we find it, must help us make sense of the world around us, just as we find satisfaction in the repetition of the seasons and the reliability of friendships. Symmetry is also economy. Symmetry is simplicity. Symmetry is elegance."

Things people want for Christmas


1. My two front teeth (Spike Jones and the City slickers)
2. You (Mariah Carey)
3. A Beatle (Dora Bryan)
4. A real good tan (Kenny Chesney)
5. My girl (New Edition)
6. My daddy (Buck Owens)
A hippopotamus  (Gayla Peevey)
8. A banjo (David Myles, Santa never brings me ...)
9. Peace tonight, peace for all (Brian Wilson, What I really want ...)
10. A sable, a '54 convertible (light blue), a yacht, the deed to a platinum mine, a duplex and checks, decorations bought at Tiffany and a ring. (Eartha Kitt, Santa baby)

Jonathan Miller Clive James


Jonathan Miller and Clive James both died this week. Both men straddled the intellectual and popular divide and had a wry sense of humour. Further both were
1. Described as polymaths
2. Cambridge graduates who were involved in the Floodlights
3. And the Edinburgh festival
4. Wrote about Freud (James just an essay and Miller a whole book)
5. Presenters of TV programmes
6. Smokers
7. Professed atheists
8. Both took first degrees outside the arts (Miller medicine, James engineering)
9. Both had CBEs
10. Stephen Fry says they were heroes of his growing up.
Both were slight outsiders in that Miller was Jewish and James Australian.

James once interviewed Miller. See here. (Taste warning).

They seem to have dabbled in a any number of occupations

James (b 1939)
1. Literary essayist
2. Folk music lyricist
3. Novelist
4. TV critic
5. Translator
6. Poet
7. Memoirist
8. Journalist
9. TV presenter
10. Actor

Miller (b 1934)
1. Medical doctor
2. Satirist
3. Drama director
4. Opera producer
5. Artistic director
6. Musical director
7. Collage artist
8. TV Presenter
9. Actor
10. Writer

PS I notice there is a longer serious interview between James and Miller here.

Another chance to hear ...


The radio broadcast I did with Janet Mefferd some time ago on the book about conscience Candle in the wind is available once again. See here. It is the first item on the programme here. Enjoy.

Death of Jonathan Miller

We hear that polymath Jonathan Miller has died. I found myself sitting next to him at the British Library once and resisted the urge to graffitti his notebook when he left his space for a while. His views on atheism can be found in a 2007 article here.

How modern life works Part 94

Adam Boulton took a moment before introducing a Sky News segment to apologise for the all-male panel, noting that all the parties put forward male representatives. This included the Green Party, which then boycotted the panel because it was all male.
(From today's Times)

Day off Week 48 2019


Pretty typical week off this week - reading, walking, Private Eye, TV, etc. I read most of Mission at Nuremberg which I started reading a while back then put down but took up again recently having read the HHhH book. The whole Nazi era is endlessly fascinating and there were things here I did not know or had forgotten. I read a much shorter book on similar lines by F T Grossmith many years ago. This is a larger book that gives you the whole of the life of Major Gerecke the Protestant chaplain as well as plenty of other material on the history of chaplaincy, Lutheranism, etc, etc. The writer is lucid and fair minded but liberal in his theology. It is clear that several Nazis made credible professions of faith and some refused to believe but it is hard to be sure what to make of it all. In many ways Gerecke's pastoral work was similar to that of any other pastor.

Lord's Day November 24 2019


Good congregations again, especially in the morning. We had some visitors and lots of regulars. I was glad that someone staying with us who speaks Parsee was able to converse with our Iranians, who were out in force. A Filipina lady came for the first time but she had to leave promptly. We were singing happy birthday to our oldest member (83) during the cuppa after. Two ladies leave this week for India and Jamaica. We won't see them for several months. I was particularly encouraged in the evening to have someone there who has not been with us for a while. I didn't think the sermon (from the end of Matthew 27) was quite there. I did better in the morning finishing Acts. I have now preached all the New Testament. There was time when I might ave considered that an achievement. Now I'm thinking how much better it could have been done.

Preview Meeting November 24 2019


10 writers with appropriate adjectives


1. Aesop - fabulous
2. Homer - epic
3. Thomas Malory - legendary
4. J R R Tolkien - fantastic
5. Edgar Allan Poe - terrific
6. Lewis Carroll - wonderful
7. John Grisham - definitive
8. Khaled Hosseini - splendid
9. F X Toole - knock out
10. Ralph Ellison and H G Wells - both out of sight

Day Off Week 47 2019


Unusual day in some ways. At the start of the day I discovered that the grinder on my coffee machine was not working. Being unfamiliar with the machine I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time on it. I got it working in the end, however. Time was also taken up with a little bit of blogging and such like. I read E T A Hoffman's famous The Nutcracker which I had never read before. I saw a little collection of three fairy tale type hard backs in a slip case produced by Harrods in a charity shop the other week and bought them. Later in the day my wife called me to say Wales were on TV (in Welsh if you understand me). So I watched the latter part of the game. We beat Hungary 2-0 to qualify for the Euro finals next summer. That is only the third time that Wales have qualified for the main rounds of a competition. All credit to Ryan Giggs the manager. The return of Aaron Ramsey was decisive it seems.

Latest In Writing Now Out

In Writing 134 is now out

10 Invitations from the Bible


1. An invitation to cleansing Isaiah 1:18-20
"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. 
2. An invitation to satisfaction Isaiah 55:1, 2
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. 
3. An invitation to seek the LORD and call on him Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
4. An invitation to be healed of backsliding Jeremiah 3:22
"Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding." "Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God."
5. An invitation to return to the LORD Hosea 6:1
"Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds."
6. An invitation to rest Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 
7. An invitation to discipleship Mark 1:17
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." 
8. An invitation to refreshment and refreshing John 7:37, 38
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 
9. An invitation to fruitfulness John 15:4
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
10. An invitation to fellowship Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Lord's Day November 17 2019



Good congregations once again morning and evening, helped by visitors. (The presence of just two families in the evening meant an extra 12 people, more or less doubling the congregation). I preached from the last chapter of Acts in the morning and the end of Matthew 27 in the evening. The subjects of common grace and the burial of Christ are unusual subjects but worthy of being dealt with on the Lord's Day. E had communion in the evening and that went off quite well, although I could have made  a better hymn choice. I felt particularly full of the Spirit in the morning but less so in the evening.

Midweek Meeting November 6 and 13 2019

 

I see I've let another two of these pass without comment. With another due tomorrow that's as far as behind as I ever get. There is no loss of enthusiasm on my part or that of the few that attend. We have carried on looking at the first chapter of 1 Timothy and calling out to the Lord in prayer. A baby has been born to members and that was something to give glad thanks for. Nothing remarkable to report but then so often it is like that in the Christian life. We plod on. Numbers vary, of course, but not radically.

John Ceiriog Hughes


I just watched a programme about trains in North Wales. One place they ended up was at the grave of John Ceiriog Hughes (1832-1887) in Caersws, He wrote his own englyn as an epitaph

Carodd eiriau cerddorol, carodd feirdd,
Carodd fyw'n naturiol;
Carodd gerdd yn angerddol;
Dyma ei lwch, a dim lo


He loved musical words, he loved poets,

He loved to live naturally;
He loved a poem passionately;
Here is his dust, and no messing.

Day Off Week 46 2019


A fairly typical day off this week. I read the new Private Eye and the newspaper over coffee. There was some transferring of files from one computer to another and some blog work. I also finished two books I might have mentioned, Michael Messenger on Elgar and Laurence Binet's novel come reportage - very interesting style (a bit of a pain in places) - on Reinhard Heinrich and his assassins. Also some TV later.

Death of Frank Dobson

The Labour MP and former minister Frank Dobson has died and there have been many obituaries. Some mention the lecture he gave in 1997 on William Tyndale. The lecture can be found here.

Some interesting anniversaries coming up in 2020


1520 Birth of Sir Walter Mildmay

1570 Thomas Cartwright's lectures on the Acts of the Apostles

1620 The Mayflower sails for New England

1670 Death of Puritan Vavasor Powell and Educationist Jan Comenius

1770 Death of Whitefield and Welsh Methodist Howell Davies

1820 Birth of Florence Nightingale, Anna Sewell, Anne Bronte and Fanny Crosby (and Richard Redhead)

1970 Publication The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey

I'm sure there are others. Do let me know. I did have Constantine in this list for some reason but have removed him.

10 Nuclear Powers


1. United States
2. Russia (formerly part of the Soviet Union)
3. United Kingdom
4. France
5. China
6. India
7. Pakistan
8. North Korea
9. Israel (so they say)
10. We don't know who else - Iran?

Lord's Day November 10 2019


A good day yesterday I would say. We had a good attendance in the morning and not too bad an attendance in the evening (thanks to a family of five). In the morning we had some visitors - old friends, a newish lady and three Iranians not seen last week (though one works and could only stay  a while). The morning sermon on Acts 27 went better than I had expected and I am not going to allow the fact that it would have been better to sing Will your anchor hold? before the sermon and Jesu lover of my soul after rather than the other way round bother me at all. We can overthink. We had a meal together after the morning meeting. We were about 35 or so for that with a nice table of Filipinos and Nigerians in the middle. In the evening we looked at the soldiers and the women at the cross. I'm sure there is more to be got out of that passage than I managed in quite a short sermon.

10 Things that do not change



1. God (Malachi 3:6)
2. Christ (Hebrews 13:8)
3. The Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14)
4. The command to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5)
5. The command to love my neighbour (Mark 12:31)
6. The cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28)
7. The great commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
8. God's Word (Matthew 24:35) and the gospel (Revelation 14:6)
9. Human nature (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19)
10. The fact of death (Hebrews 9:27)

10 Things that change

1. Language - changes from place to place and year to year. I like to say at night these days "I'm going bed"
2. Laws - often for the better but not always
3. Dress - I never saw my dad in trainers or a baseball cap
4. Food and drink - I didn't grow up on fajitas, quinoa and kombucha
5. Sports rules - only three points for a try when I was young and the donkey kick was legal in soccer
6. Technology - Remember the 4 track cartridge and Betamax videos? Landlines and phone boxes are fast disappearing
7. What is popular in music - Ragtime sounds great but you'll rarely hear it
8. Ways to be entertained - Channel hopping and bungee jumping weren't options when I was a kid
9. Things to celebrate - Halloween is a big deal these days in the way it never was and so is the school prom (both from America but the point stands)
10. How to celebrate - Mexican waves and fireworks for new year are not part of my childhood

Good EMF day at Welwyn

Andrew Birch

It was good to be at the meetings today organised in Welwyn, marking the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of EMF, the European Mission Fellowship. Steven Bowers chaired to kick us off with a little history from Omri Jenkins' book Five minutes to midnight. Andrew Birch from Malaga then spoke helpfully and stimulatingly on the changing European scene. This was followed by a session featuring Jan Habl from the Czech Republic on video, Leonidas Kollaros from Greece and Vitalii Mariash from Ukraine on skype and there in Welwyn, Xavi Patino and Matt Hill from Spain and Sandor Kelemen from Transylvania.
We were then provided with a simple lunch and in the afternoon we had three seminars - one from Hungarian speakers Isztvan and Tunde Salanki, based in London, with Sandor from Romania; one from the three Spain based brothers and a final one from a couple working in the north of England among Muslims.
The final session was introduced with a piece from Daniel Webber's address on Europe for the Evangelical Library in 1991 Robert Strivens preaching from Hebrews 13 on the things that do not change. A great day. Lovely to meet old friends and one or two new ones. The EMF is a mission well worth supporting.

10 Things in German History that happened on November 9


1. 1522. Birth of German theologian and Refomrer Martin Chemnits (I would have put Martin Luther here but he was born on November 10, 1473).
2. 1518. Pope condemns Luther's writings.
3. 1848. After being arrested in the Vienna revolts, left liberal leader Robert Blum was executed. Many see the execution as symbolic of the ultimate crushing of the German March Revolution in April, May 1849.
4. 1918: Emperor Wilhelm II was dethroned in the November Revolution by Chancellor Max von Baden, who published the news of an abdication before the Emperor had abdicated. Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the German republic from a window of the Reichstag. Two hours later, Karl Liebknecht proclaimed a "Free Socialist Republic" from a balcony of the Berliner Stadtschloss.
5. 1921. Publication of Der 9. November (The 9th of November) a novel by Bernhard Kellermann telling the story of the German insurrection of 1918.
6. 1922: German born Albert Einstein named winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect".
7. 1923: The failed Beer Hall Putsch, 8 to 9, marking the early emergence and provisional downfall of the Nazis.  During Nazi rule 9 November was a national holiday in Germany in memory of Nazis who died in the Beer Hall Putsch.
8. 1923: Wilhelm, German Crown Prince, chose 9 November for his return to Germany from exile in the Netherlands. It infuriated his father, the former emperor, who felt the anniversary of his abdication ill-chosen.
9. 1938: Kristallnacht. Known today in Germany as the Reichspogromnacht, on 9 to 10, synagogues and Jewish property were burned and destroyed on a large scale, and more than 400 Jews were killed or driven to suicide. The event demonstrated that the antisemitic stance of the Nazi regime was not as 'moderate' as it had appeared in earlier years.
10. 1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall ended German separation and started a series of events that ultimately led to German reunification and the Fall of Communism in eastern Europe.

Day off Week 45 2019


This week's day off was a little different in that it started off with a trip to the doctor's for an appointment with the nurse. I also bought the paper and had a coffee in Cricklewood after that then came back here and spent the day in editing. First there was the latest edition of In Writing which needed to be put to bed. Then there was the finishing touches to a local church history which I have now finished and that you can view here on Amazon. Eleri was out at the women's meeting in the evening so I caught up on University Challenge and the latest episode of Name of the Rose in the new BBC series. (I have never watched it or read it though I am very much aware of Umberto Eco's novel). I also read a little of HHhH my latest novel, picke up in a charity shop recentkly.

Interesting books


We had a session at the Westminster Fellowship on Monday where Keith Berry recommended some books worth reading. He mentioned The Noble Liar: How and Why the BBC Distorts the News to Promote a Liberal Agenda by Robin Aitken exposing BBC bias, The Reshaping of Britain: Church and State since the 1960s, A Personal Reflection by the veteran evangelical Clifford Hill, charting his own story and describing changes in the UK in recent decades, and a large book by the Jewish journalist Melanie Phillips called The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power.
What we are talking about, I suppose, is right wing writing that in one way or another exposes evils in our society and analyses them in a way that is of great interest to evangelical Christian. One could add Douglas Murray's recent The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity and slightly more tangential Tom Holland's Dominion, the making of the western mind both recommended to me recently from more than one source. I guess the writings of Jordan Peterson might also be mentioned. Do check them out.

Preview Meeting November 10 2019

We haven't done one of these for a while


Lord's Day November 3 2019


We began on Sunday with communion and that was good. We welcomed a new member which is also good. This is someone who has been a member of the congregation for a long time. Typically Childs Hill she will be away for three months from the end of November visiting relatives. In fact at least three members or adherents are off soon (to India, Jamaica and the Philippines). In the morning I  preached Acts 26. Perhaps I should have broken things up but the end of the book is in sight now and it will be good for it to be complete. In the evening we looked at the three miracles of the cross that came after Jesus's death. We had good congregations morning and evening. It was especially encouraging to see over twenty present in the evening. Visitors included a lady from Trinidad come to London to do an exam (good to be reminded that is part of our ministry too), some old friends passing through and two people, one from Poland and one from the Turks and Caicos Islands originally, more likely to be at Hillsong but happy with the sermon. As ever, there were many people not there (I can think of three members and four others at least). It is so distressing when people are away for whatever reason.

Grove Chapel Bicentenary


It was good to be at the bicentenary celebration in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, this afternoon, part of a weekend of meetings. We have no particular connection with the chapel but it is a bastion of Reformed preaching and there were many people present who we know (as well as many we don't). There have been ten ministers over the 200 years. I know the five still living to speak to and know the names of others like Joseph Irons, the founder pastor and Henry Atherton. Those still living with the dates when they served are Iain Murray (1961-69), Hywel Jones (1970-80), David N Jones (1981-93), Mark Johnston (1994-2010) and Paul Yeulett (from 2014). (Do note the celtic flavour that persists over the years). This afternoon Paul preached on God the Father (although it was really on all three persons). Reuel Abrahams, one of the elders chaired. Nice tea to follow and plenty of chats. We skipped the Q&A.

10 3 letter girls names


1. Ada
2. Amy
3. Ann
4. Ava
5. Eve
6. Fay
7. Ivy
8. Joy
9. Mae
10. Zoe

10 3 letter boys names


1. Asa
2. Che
3. Ian
4. Ira
5. Kai
6. Huw
7. Lee
8. Ole
9. Udo
10. Wyn

The coming fourth of Wales


So the world cup is finally over for Wales. A very good campaign on the whole.
Well outplayed by New Zealand today, 40-17.

10 Zoos in the UK


1. London Zoo, Regents Park
2. Whipsnade Zoo
3. Bristol Zoo
4. Chester Zoo
5. Dudley Zoo
6. Borth Wild Animal Kingdom
7. Penscynor Wildlife Park
8. Chessington World of Adventures and Zoo
9. Twycross Zoo
10. Edinburgh Zoo

Midweek Meeting October 30 2019


Autumn is definitely with us now but ten of us met in the chapel parlour last Wednesday, as we began a new series on 1 Timothy. We only looked at the first two verses but there was plenty to chew on. I had thought of doing seven verses but decided against it and I am glad I did. By trying to be interactve it ended up quite long. There was enough time for a good session of prayer, however, when most people prayed.

Day off week 44 2019


One of the tasks of most days off is to put away the clothes that magically appear washed and ironed every few days. My wife is a hard woman who expects me to actually put them away. Alo this week I spent a little while putting the hundred and more books that seem to have accumulated around and under my bed over the months into a rickety booksheld brought in from elsewhere. Otherwise I had a ood long chat with a friiend in North Wales by phone and read Private Eye and most of a little biography of Elgar that I picked up in acharity shop recently. There was alos time for blossing and trawling through my computer archives sorting things. I added several pieces to my pulished articles blog. See here.

10 very similar French and Welsh words


1. pont/pont Bridge
2. église/eglwys Church
3. mer/môr Sea
4. triste/trist Sad
5. fenêtre/ffenestr Window
6. terre/tir Land
7. une/un One
8. toi/ti You
9. boue/baw Mud
10. livre/llyfr Book

10 more puns for remembering Welsh words


1. Teledu - I'm watching television, tell Eddie.
2. Hedfan - He is learning to fly, the head van [driver]
3. Ty - The new house is shaped like a T
4. Canu - He can come to you to learn how to sing, can 'e?
5. Cerdd - Listen to the music. Take care th[at you do.]
6. Meddal - The flesh of this peach is so soft it could win a med(d)al.
7. Melys - He's partial to things that are sweet, Mel is.
8. Hawdd - They make it look easy. I don't know how th[ey do it.]
9. Mefus - She loves strawberries does Mavis.
10. Bread - Nothing is better than bread bar a [cake.]

A Word to the elect by Anne Brontë


I  came across this anti-Calvinist poem by Anne Brontë recently. It is worth reading and you can see her point. I particularly like the fact she knows we do not deserve salvation. That strengthens here argument. However, she starts from the wrong end. If you start with God it is not that it all becomes clear but at least you begin to see why what she offers here is a false hope.

You may rejoice to think yourselves secure;
You may be grateful for the gift divine --
That grace unsought, which made your black hearts pure,
And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.

But, is it sweet to look around, and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserved, at least, as much as you, --
Their faults not greater, nor their virtues less?

And, wherefore should you love your God the more,
Because to you alone his smiles are given;
Because he chose to pass the many o'er,
And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?

And, wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove,
Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and of love
And are your bosoms warm with charity?

Say, does your heart expand to all mankind?
And, would you ever to your neighbour do --
The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind -­
As you would have your neighbour do to you?

And, when you, looking on your fellow-men,
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then? --
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
Unmerited the grace in mercy given:
But, none shall sink to everlasting woe,
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.

And, Oh! there lives within my heart
A hope, long nursed by me;
(And, should its cheering ray depart,
How dark my soul would be!)

That as in Adam all have died,
In Christ shall all men live;
And ever round his throne abide,
Eternal praise to give.

That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies;
And, when their dreadful doom is past,
To life and light arise.

I ask not, how remote the day,
Nor what the sinner's woe,
Before their dross is purged away;
Enough for me, to know

That when the cup of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They'll cling to what they once disdained,
And live by Him that died.

More on the rapture


The Secret Rapture - its surprising orgins


I referred recently to the theory that the secret rapture is an idea that finds its orgins in the mind of a little girl in Scotland, a disicple of Edward Irving. I read that years ago in Dallimore's biography of Irving. Apprantly the origin of the theory is two books by Dave MacPherson, The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin (Kansas City, Heart of America Bible Society, 1973) and The Incredible Cover-Up (Medford, Oregon, Omega Publications, 1975).
I read that in an article I found here online. This is the relevant section

[J N] Darby began publishing his prophetic speculations in 1831. Coincidentally both he and Edward Irving began to postulate two stages to Christ's imminent return about the same time. First, there would be an invisible 'appearing' when Christians would meet Christ in the air and be removed from the earth, a process which came to be known as 'the rapture of the saints'. With the restraining presence of the Holy Spirit removed from the world, the Antichrist would arise and the seven year tribulation would begin. His rule would finally be crushed only by the public 'appearing' of Jesus Christ.
There is some speculation that this novel doctrine emerged as a result of the Powerscourt prophetic conference held near Dublin in 1831. 'Darby's prominence at the Powerscourt meetings has led to the supposition that he was responsible for it...' While dispensationalists have been most anxious to perpetuate this belief to ensure a measure of orthodoxy, there is much evidence to the contrary. Several have attributed the notion of a secret, pretribulational Rapture to Edward Irving. Dave MacPherson argues convincingly that the doctrine arose through a prophetic revelation given to Margaret MacDonald, one of Irvings's disciples.
Corroborating evidence can be found in the division the doctrine caused among dispensationalists between pre-tribulationists and post-tribulationists at the Niagara Prophecy Conferences from about 1884.
The 'Rapture-Rupture' essentially had Robert Cameron, Nathaniel West, and later W. R. Erdman, holding for a 'Rapture' at the very end of the age. They were to be supported by W. G. Moorehead of Xenia Theological Seminary. An apparent majority of the Niagarans, including Brookes, Scofield, Gaebelein, Parson, Gordon and George Needham, were holding for what has become the traditional pretribulation view.
Gaebelein, writing some fifty years later about the Scofield Reference Bible, looked back at the Niagara Conferences and linked the controversy to Irving.
Toward the end of the Niagara meetings several of the teachers, influenced by one man, who was considered an outstanding biblical and ecclesiastical scholar (as he undoubtedly was), began to abandon this distinction and branded it as mere invention. One of them went so far as to say that the teaching that the Lord would remove His true Church before the predicted Great Tribulation judgment, and that so far as His coming for His saints is concerned that it might occur at any moment, originated in the days of Edward Irving and his spurious gift of tongues revival. And so the blessed hope of the imminent coming of the Lord was more or less charged to the influence of subtle demons.
Gaebelein may have merely been repeating the position known to be held by Darby via Scofield concerning Irving's later eccentricities. Despite the obvious influence Darby and Irving had upon one another in the early days of the Prophecy Conferences at Albury and Powerscourt, Darby eventually disassociated himself from the fanciful prophecies of the Irvingites and the Catholic Apostolic Church. Scofield himself denied that Irving was the source of this doctrine. Responding to criticisms from a former colleague at the Niagara Conference, and following its demise over infighting over the 'rapture' he wrote an anonymous editorial in Our Hope in 1902,
We cannot, however, in the interests of truth, allow the statement to stand that 'until the days of Edward Irving, who was excluded from the Presbyterian Church for heresy, no one ever heard of this 'coming for' and 'coming with his saints.'' As a matter of fact, Irving was excluded, not for heresy in doctrine, but for his view on church order... If the editor of the Watchword and Truth will turn to Zechariah 14:4,5, he will learn of a statement concerning the coming with which considerably antedates Edward Irving... And if, further, he will turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, he will find a revelation concerning the 'coming for His saints' later indeed than Zechariah by six hundred years, but still about eighteen hundred years before Edward Irving.23
As late as 1976 Walvoord was still anxious to distance the origin of the doctrine of the Rapture from Irving.
The often-repeated charge that Darby secured his pretribulationism from Edward Irving has never been actually documented. One can hardly account for the wide acceptance of pretribulationism by Plymouth Brethren, who are devoted students of the bible, to the offering of this view by a person who had no reputation for orthodoxy.
Canfield notes that Walvoord's position contradicts several British historians who were closer to the issue.
Neatby, writing in 1901, Howard Rowden in 1967, F. Roy Coad in 1968 and Iain Murray in 1971, all find direct and reasonable links between the ideas of irving and the role of J. N. Darby. The link is so evident that a denial, using semantics on Walvoord's part, does not 'wash'.


Bragg The Rapture


I'm a little behind at present with some things. Melvyn Bragg's In our time is up and runing again on Radio 4 and at the end of last month they had a programme on The Rapture with Crawford Gribben and two other academics. You can currently access it here. The programme was very informative, although there is one thing I must chase up that I read in Arnold Dallimore's biography of Edward Irving - that the idea of a secret rapture began with a young girl in Scotland, a disicple of Irving, who began to have ecstatic visions. It was only a45 minute programme.

10 Shortest verses in the New Testament



  1. John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.” (2 words, 9 letters)
  2. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – “Rejoice evermore.” (2 words, 15 letters: shorter than the first in Greek)
  3. Luke 17:32 – “Remember Lot’s wife.” (3 words)
  4. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” (3 words)
  5. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 – “Despise not prophesyings.” (3 words)
  6. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – “Quench not the Spirit.” (4 words)
  7. 1 Thessalonians 5:25 – “Brethren, pray for us.” (4 words)
  8. Hebrews 13:1 - "Let brotherly love continue" (4 words)
  9. 2 Corinthians 13:13 -  "All the saints salute you" (5 words)
  10. Mark 4:14 - The sower soweth the word. (5 words)
Also John 6:48: I am that bread of life. (6 words but less letters than number ten)
Luke 20:30 - "The second" in modern versions (2 words and so actually the shortest)

Lord's Day at Pains Hill October 27 2019


I was at Pains Hill Chapel in Surrey yesterday. Numbers were just inside or outside single figures but people listened well and there were almost as many in the evening as in the morning. I preached on love and peace from 1 John 4:16 and Isaiah 26:3, 4. I had a very pleasant afternoon with one of the couples from the church and it wa good to catch up with an old college friend. One wishes churches like this were growing but that is hardly the ase at the moment - and not for the lack of trying. WHo know what might be ahead. One can imagine a slow demise but then it is not ificult to imagine it taking off if God should come with power. Faithfulness is important.

GBM Annual Meetings 2019



It was good last Saturday to be at the GBM Annual Meetings in the Friends Meeting House once again. Things appear to be on a  better financial footing in some ways than the last time I was present thanks to some hard decisions and sacrifices. Communications man Jim Sayers leaves at the end if the year and no replacement has been found which is also a matter of concern. After the delegates meeting and some lunch I attended first a session with Theo and Sonia Donner. Theo continues to lecture at the seminary in Medellin and is currently in the process of getting a large book on hermeneutics in Spanish published. This was followed by a session with Andrzej Kampcinski who works pastoring a small church in Legionowo just outside Warsaw, Poland. This was led by Graham Field the current president.
I then attended a very full session that featured the new work the Murfitts plan to do in Madeira, the ongoing work of James Hammond in Bordeaux and the seminary in Zambia, something about the radio work and envision teams and a local church feature on giving and evangelising ethnically diverse neighbours.
By this time my brain was bursting so I decideed to skip the final session where Theo Donner was preaching and no doubt more info was shared by people from W Africa, Peru,, etc.
The sheer size and diversity of what is going on is striking. One inevitably wonders about some things but this does seem a much better way of doing mission than much that is onoffer
Great to see many familiar faces and one or two new ones.