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.

Joel Beeke on Reformed Experiential Preaching


It was a great privilege to spend this morning and afternoon at the London Seminary once again. Dr Joel Beeke gave lectures to the students on Reformed experiential preaching. You can get a flavour of this from two articles here and here (for a download) Also see this piece by Paul Helm hereHe also has a new Crossway book due out today. See here
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Dr Lloyd-Jones Lecture 2019


It was good once again to be at the London Seminary on Tuesday night to hear Dr Joel Beeke give the annual Dr Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture. He spoke on Reformed Piety - Covenantal and Experiential very helpfully to a good crowd.
One of the most interesting things he said I thought was this -  

While I was on active duty in the US Army Reserves, a sergeant laid his hand on my shoulder one day and said, "Son, if you ever have to go to war, there are three things you must remember in battle: what tactics you need to use, how the fight is going (which is usually very different from how it ought to go), and what the goal of the battle is." That sergeant gave me an experiential approach to fighting. His three points also provide insight into how experiential religion and preaching ought to go. When we preach we ought to be idealistic, realistic and optimistic a la ROmans 8, Romans 7 and the passages that speak to us of heaven.

He also warned against antinomianism, legalism, hyper-covenantalism and hypercalvinism. Great stuff.

Busy days


These are rather busy days and it is proving difficult to keep up. On Monday evening The Bible Preaching Trust met. This is a small funding agency for Reformed ministers in financial need. I then spent most of Tuesday at London Seminary as I sit on the board there. Once again it was a full day with many matters on the agenda.
Links here and here.

Stan Evers on John Berridge the eccentric vicar


We had another lunchtime lecture at the Evangelical Library on Monday. Stan Evers from Welwyn gave us an excellent power point presentation on the life of the eccentric vicar of Everton in Bedfordshire. It was good to have Nigel Pibworth present too who has written a biography of Berridge (now oop) and published an edition of his letters. There were a good number present (all male and over 35 I guess, which is no ideal). The next lecture is on December 3 and is on another John, John Cennick and is by yours truly. I should say that a video is available as well as an audio recording of this lecture. Apply to the Evangelical Library.

Lord's Day October 14 2018


Another good day last Lord's Day with quite a few visitors in the morning, especially people from the Philippines or connected with Filipinos (although seven of our regular ones were not there in the morning, though a family of three joined us in the evening as they were unable to be there in the morning as usual). In the morning I led us in publicly giving thanks for a nine month old boy who was brought for the first time last week. The parents (Filipino and Indian) are unmarried but we are thankful for the little boy, nevertheless. The morning sermon took us back to Acts and to Acts 15, which had its difficulties but we got through okay I hope. In the evening it was the parable of the tenants in Matthew 21, which again went okay. Lots missing as ever.

Day off Week 41

Last week's day off fell on Saturday, as we wanted to join Eleri's father celebrating his 80th birthday down in Cardiff. We travelled on Friday night and were pleasantly surprised at how straight forward it was for a potentially stormy Friday night. We stayed with Eleri's younger sister. I spent half of Saturday morning catching up on my Bible reading journal - behind again. I then discovered that I had brought no change of shirt and so had to head into Whitchurch, which only has a Peacocks when it comes to men's shirts (I don't buy clothes from charity shops). I nearly bought a trartan shirt but went for the black denim in the end. Geoff's daughters and thers had worked really hard and so we had an excellent get together in the church where two of our sons now worship with their wives. (In fact one pair now live in a bungalow right next to the church so it was good to visit them for the first time in their new home beforehand) About sixty family and friends turned up and we sang happy birthday, etc. Lovely time. It was nice to be with some of the family after the party before we left, getting home around 10 pm. The only sad note was missing sons - one in America and the family who couldn't get down from Aber because of the flooding.

Wedding blessing


While many others were busy watching some other wedding last Friday, I was with a family I know well, blessing the newly married bride and groom in their home. We were a small number - just four or five from her family, two from his, them and me, but I read from Deuteronomy and Genesis and Psalm 126 and preached on Genesis 2:24 before some snacks in another room. I was glad to be involved. Congratulations Martha and Chris! Every blessing for the future.

Midweek Meeting October 10 2018


We had a bumper turn out last night - 13 of us - chiefly to three visitors. Typically, I had decided to tackle the incident at the end of Genesis 19 where Lot gets drunk and commits incest Anyway, I am committed to exposition andit was well worthwhile to look at these verses full of warnings and a hidden encouragement if you look (hint The Moabitess). We also had a good time of prayer - sometimes difficult with visitors but  ot on this occasion.

They Shall Not Grow Old - Official Trailer (2018)


This really is quite an achievement

Lord's Day October 7 2018


We began with communion - not many there for that but good attnedances morning adn evening otherwise. Lots of Nigerians and Filipinos. I like to preach a harvest message and have us sing harvest hymns once a year and that is what we did this last Lord's Day. I had never tackled 2 Corinthians 9, probably because it is about giving. Glad to look at the subject again, however. We also gave hanks for a new born in the morning. I like to do that as although we do not baptise babies we do not want to give the impression that we are not onterested in them. That's one of the reasons I speak to the children too. We're back on the catechism again at the moment. In the evning we have reached the wonderful fourth century in our church history slot so we sang a hymn by Ambrose (Great old fashioned hymns today) and I preached from Matthew 21 on the parable of the two sons. Part of every Lord's Day is hearing news, especially from members and this week there were two lots of more bad and nore good news. Lots to pray for.

Midweek Meeting October 3 2018


There were eight of us last night and most of us were men. One person told me he'd been offered  Tottenham Barcelona ticket (Wembley is not far from us). he declined in favour of being with us. Wise choice (although they had a cracking game in Wembley I gather). We nearly all prayed and before that I took us briefly through Genesis 19:27-29. I ended with this Samuel Prime story from the 1858 revival


I must tell you one thing in regard to the power of prayer. I believe much in prayer for particular cases and particular individuals. I have seen it to result in the salvation of souls in many cases during the last winter. But the case I wish to speak of is the following:
A brother pastor, who laboured near me, was on his death-bed. I knew him well - knew all about his habits of prayer. When he was dying, some one of his brother ministers asked him how he felt in view of his departure. 'Oh!' he said, 'I feel happy, and assured of my salvation, as a poor, lost sinner saved through a Saviour's precious, atoning blood.' But still there seemed to be something weighing upon his mind. So one of us inquired,'My dear brother, is there any thing that is now a cause of anxiety to you?
The dying minister put his hand under his pillow, and drew out a piece of paper, on which were written twenty-five names of men, unconverted, leading men in his parish, and, with tears in his eyes, he said, “Yes, there is one cause of anxiety, and here it is: it is the salvation of these twenty-five men. I have prayed much for these twenty-five men, name by name. If I could know that these men would be converted, I could then say, 'Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.'” This was the great burden upon his heart, and so he died.

At a recent meeting of our ecclesiastical body, when the conversation on the state of religion was being held, and the successor of that departed minister was giving in his account, I asked the moderator if I might, through him, ask the brother about those twenty-five men, for we all knew about the case. The clergyman heard my inquiry, and for some time was unable to speak. Then, with the tears flowing down his cheeks, he said, 'Brethren, every one of those twenty-five men has been converted.' We believe they were converted in answer to our deceased brother's desires and prayers - perhaps in answer to that burden of desire which he had for their conversion in the dying hour. Long had he borne them on his heart as the burden of prayer, and all of them, we think, will be stars in his crown of rejoicing in the great day.

Day off Week 40


Yesterday's day off didn't quite go right somehow. Not sure where I went wrong. I did have a project that needed to be finished so that cut into my time, I guess. I didn't do much of a walk either although it worked well in that I was in for the parcels that arrived, including new shoes, before heading out to walk the dog and for coffee and newspaper puzzles.  I think the main thing was that I decided to finish reading a novel I'd started and it was longer than I had expected and so I was not able to get on to the next thing I wish to read. The novel is by Patricia Highsmith, one of her later ones People who knock on the door. Highsmith has over 20 novels and I have read half of them now. In my opinion she is not Division 1, if I might put it that way, but she is high up in Division 2 and her books are always interesting. This one I bought just because I want to read them all and was interested to find that it deals with the subject of abortion and the moral majority and religion. She shows no great insight into the subject (or of US alcohol laws) and is a little confused on some things in this Reagan era novel. She puts forward an attempted pro-abortion, anti-religion story that is highly unconvincing. At one point she gives the gist of an evangelical sermon on marriage and highlights well how it might sound to a feminist such as herself. As ever, Highsmith is unusual as a detective novelist in that there are no detectives present until the book is almost over. Watched a BBC drama with Eleri before bed.

Stephen Lloyd Adam and death

It was good to be at the Westminster Fellowship again yesterday. There was a good turn out to hear Stephen Lloyd on creation issues. The bones of what he had to say can be found here. This article has now been produced as a booklet called Adam or death: which came first? tpehen Lloyd is always worth hearing. he is constantly thinking over these issues with a theological adn scientific apporach that is both accessible and thought provoking. For more on such matters see here.

Lord's Day September 30


We were rather slow gathering yesterday morning and we were down to ten in the evening, with several away and no visitors. We had two viitors in the morning adna  lady who came the other week who we have not seen for a while returned revelaing that illness had kept her away. I preached the final sermon for now on Luke 15, considering the father in the parable of the lost sons, and on  Matthew 21:23-27 on By what authority.