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.

Some interesting anniversaries coming up in 2020

370 Death of Constantine

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.

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.