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.

Calvin quotes 2

The final 26 quotation subjects are here

27 Depravity
28 World evangelism
29 Marriage
30 Grief
31 Marriage
32 Preaching
33 Singing Psalms
34 Singing Psalms (Sacraments)
35 Singing Psalms
36 Singing Psalms
37 Singing Psalms
38 Humility
39 Covenant
40 Animal suffering
41 Psalm 84:10
42 Preaching
43 Reformation
44 Church discipline
45 John the Baptist in Luke
46 Worship
47 Annunciation to Mary
48 Luke 2 and Providence
49 Lord's Supper
50 Psalm 119:89
51 Heaven and the cross
52 Faith

Book Buys December

With the coming of Christmas book numbers have gone up. I bought a copy of Tony Lane's Concise history of Christian thought in the Borders sale early on. Then, for Christmas I got hold of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and had from my wife some nice books - a Welsh phrase book and a book called Why is Q always followed by u a collection of articles on the English language by Michael Quinion
I also made a visit to my favourite Christian bookshop where I bought several books. These were
A biography of Katherine Parr by a Christian called Brandon Withrow
The new Banner collection of letters from John Newton to John Ryland "Wise Counsel"
Keller on Counterfeit gods
The festschrift for Dick Gaffin Resurrection and Eschatology
Hugh Martin's Abiding Presence
I also bought a Family Pilgrim's Progress. We have it in Welsh but not English and I want to use it for a series with the children next year.
Oh yes, I should add that one of my sons bought me the very enjoyable Judy Parkinson book Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November): The History of Britain in Bite-Sized Chunks and someone else bought me My God is True! by Paul D Wolfe a testimony to God's goodness in a time of cancer.

Shoes Q

Quilted slippers
A slight stretch, perhaps but fine I'm sure.

JC 52 No 52

It is possible that we have had some of this before but I'd like to finish with Calvin on faith, from the Institutes.

The certainty which it requires must be full and decisive, as is usual in regard to matters ascertained and proved. So deeply rooted in our hearts is unbelief, so prone are we to it, that while all confess with the lips that God is faithful, no man ever believes it without an arduous struggle. Especially when brought to the test, we by our wavering betray the vice which lurked within. Nor is it without cause that the Holy Spirit bears such distinguished testimony to the authority of God, in order that it may cure the disease of which I have spoken, and induce us to give full credit to the divine promises: "The words of the Lord" (says David, Ps. 12: 6) "are pure words, as silver tried in a furnace of earth purified seven times:" "The word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him," (Ps. 18: 30.) And Solomon declares the same thing almost in the same words, "Every word of God is pure," (Prov. 30: 5.) But further quotation is superfluous, as the 119th Psalm is almost wholly occupied with this subject. Certainly, whenever God thus recommends his word, he indirectly rebukes our unbelief, the purport of all that is said being to eradicate perverse doubt from our hearts.

JC 52 No 51

On heaven and the cross (from the Institutes)

Now our blockishness arises from the fact that our minds, stunned by the empty dazzlement of riches, power, and honours, become so deadened that they can see no farther. The heart also, occupied with avarice, ambition, and lust, is so weighed down that it cannot rise up higher. In fine, the whole soul, enmeshed in the allurements of the flesh, seeks its happiness on earth. To counter this evil the Lord instructs his followers in the vanity of the present life by continual proof of its miseries . . .
Then only do we rightly advance in the discipline of the cross, when we learn that this life, judged by itself, is troubled, turbulent, unhappy in countless ways, and in no respect clearly happy; that all those things which are judged to be its goods are uncertain, fleeting, vain, and vitiated by many intermingled evils. From this, at the same time, we conclude that in this life we are to seek and hope for nothing but struggle; when we think of our crown, we are to raise our eyes to heaven. For this we must believe: that the mind is never seriously aroused to desire and ponder the life to come unless it be previously imbued with contempt for the present life.

JC 52 No 50

On Psalm 119:89 (Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens)

As we see nothing constant or of long continuance upon earth the writer elevates our minds to heaven, that they may fix their anchor there. David, no doubt, might have said, as he has done in many other places, that the whole order of the world bears testimony to the steadfastness of God’s word – that word which is most true. But as there is reason to fear that the minds of the godly would hang in uncertainty if they rested the proof of God’s truth upon the state of the world, in which such manifold disorders prevail; by placing God’s truth in the heavens, he allots it a habitation subject to no changes. That no person then may estimate God’s word from the various vicissitudes which meet the eye in this world, heaven is tacitly set in opposition to the earth. Our salvation, as it has been said, being shut up in God’s word, is not subject to change, as all earthly things are, but is anchored in a safe and peaceful haven.’

JC 52 No 49

On the Lord's Supper (Institutes)

Now, should any one ask me as to the mode, I will not be ashamed to confess that it is too high a mystery either for my mind to comprehend or my words to express; and to speak more plainly, I rather feel than understand it. The truth of God, therefore, in which I can safely rest, I here embrace without controversy. He declares that his flesh is the meat, his blood the drink, of my soul; I give my soul to him to be fed with such food. In his sacred Supper he bids me take, eat, and drink his body and blood under the symbols of bread and wine. I have no doubt that he will truly give and I receive.

Shakespeare and the Bible

An interesting article about a forthcoming book on Shakespeare can be found here. It says that Shakespeare’s text is full of biblical references, and the historian A. L. Rowse wrote: “Of all Shakespeare’s sources the Bible and the Prayer Book come first and are the most constant. Altogether there are definite allusions to 42 books of the Bible.” For instance, Shakespeare quotes the story of Cain no fewer than 25 times, Jeptha at least 7, Samson 9, David 6, Goliath 3, Judas 23, and the Whore of Babylon makes 7 appearances.
Paul Edmondson, head of learning at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, editor of the New Penguin Shakespeare ... says that Shakespeare’s biblical references are almost too numerous to count. Although there are no overtly religious Shakespeare plays, religious themes permeate, Dr Edmondson says. “The Tempest (1611) is the most obvious, being about the creation of a new Heaven and Earth, but there are other religious themes. For instance, there are at least four resurrection narratives with Hero in Much Ado about Nothing (1598), Claudio in Measure for Measure (1604), Pericles’s wife, and Hermione in A Winter’s Tale (1610).” (I would add Macbeth, which is about predestination and Hamlet, which is full of moral themes).
The article concludes
At the time of Shakespeare’s death Puritanism was getting an increasingly firm grip. Shakespeare’s own memorial was installed in the church in 1623 and his company, the King’s Men (by now patronised by royalty) came to Stratford to pay their respects and to stage one or two of his plays. The town council paid them to leave quietly, without performing.

Calvin quotes 1

Having now nearly completed the 52 quotations from Calvin, I thought it might be useful to list the subjects covered by the quotations. The first 26 are as follows.

1 Christ in all the Scriptures
2 Worldliness
3 Christain freedom
4 The third use of the law
5 Providence
6 Mt 6.13 Lead us not into temptation
7 Prayer
8 Women as homemakers
9 Preaching and death
10 God's repentance
11 Romans
12 Justification
13 2 Peter 1:4
14 Galatians 2:20
15 Christ all in all
16 Life's dangers
17 Life's troubles
18 Unity
19/20 Preface to commentary on Psalms
21 Galatians 1:11-14
22 Inventory of relics
23 Luke 10:13
24 Against the Libertines
25 Return to Geneva
26 Preaching

Cofio Macsen

Geoff had us singing a Welsh patriotic song tonight. It's a Dafydd Iwan number from 1981. It begins

Dwyt ti'm yn cofio Macsen,
Does neb yn ei nabod o;
Mae mil a chwe chant o flynyddoedd
Yn amser rhy hir i'r co';
Pan aeth Magnus Maximus o Gymru
Yn y flwyddyn tri-chant-wyth-tri,
A'n gadael yn genedl gyfan
A heddiw: wele ni!

Ry'n ni yma o hyd, x2
Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth, x3
Ry'n ni yma o hyd, x2
Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth,x3
Ry'n ni yma o hyd.

This translates thus

You don't remember Macsen,
nobody knows him;
Sixteen hundred years
Is too long to remember;
Magnus Maximus left Wales
In the year 383
Leaving us a proper nation
And today - look at us!

We're still here x2
Despite everyone and everything x3
We're still here x2
Despite everyone and everything x3
We're still here.

The whole story is here.

Caribbean Sorrel Drink

This Christmas one of my members gave us a drink. It was reddish and tasted gingery an slightly spicy. In the Caribbean the drink is apparently called sorrel. It is made from the fresh petals of the roselle and is considered an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the Caribbean. More here.

JC 52 No 48

On the begining of Luke 2 and Providence

Thus we see that the holy servants of God, even though they wander from their design, unconscious where they are going, still keep the right path, because God directs their steps. Nor is the Providence of God less wonderful in employing the mandate of a tyrant to draw Mary from home, that the prophecy may be fulfilled. God had marked out by his prophet — as we shall afterwards see — the place where he determined that his Son should be born. If Mary had not been constrained to do otherwise, she would have chosen to bring forth her child at home. Augustus orders a registration to take place in Judea, and each person to give his name, that they may afterwards pay an annual tax, which they were formerly accustomed to pay to God. Thus an ungodly man takes forcible possession of that which God was accustomed to demand from his people. It was, in effect, reducing the Jews to entire subjection, and forbidding them to be thenceforth reckoned as the people of God.
Matters have been brought, in this way, to the last extremity, and the Jews appear to be cut off and alienated for ever from the covenant of God. At that very time does God suddenly, and contrary to universal expectation, afford a remedy. What is more, he employs that wicked tyranny for the redemption of his people. For the governor, (or whoever was employed by Caesar for the purpose,) while he executes the commission entrusted to him, is, unknown to himself, God’s herald, to call Mary to the place which God had appointed. And certainly Luke’s whole narrative may well lead believers to acknowledge, that Christ was led by the hand of God "from his mother’s belly" (Psa 22:10). Nor is it of small consequence to the certainty of faith to know, that Mary was drawn suddenly, and contrary to her own intention, to Bethlehem, that "out of it might come forth" (Mic 5:2) the Redeemer, as he had been formerly promised.

Happy Birthday Jan Akkerman

Jan Akkerman is 63 today. We like to mark the occasion with a little clip. This is from the Hamburger Concerto.

JC 52 No 47

On the annunciation to Mary
The prophecy respecting John was published in the temple and universally known: Christ is promised to a virgin in an obscure town of Judea, and this prophecy remains buried in the breast of a young woman. But it was proper that, even from the birth of Christ, that saying should be fulfilled, " it pleased God by foolishness to save them that believe," (1 Cor 1:21)
The treasure of this mystery was committed by him to a virgin in such a manner, that at length, when the proper time came, it might be communicated to all the godly. It was, I own, a mean kind of guardianship; but whether for trying the humility of faith, or restraining the pride of the ungodly, it was the best adapted. Let us learn, even when the reason does not immediately appear, to submit modestly to God, and let us not be ashamed to receive instruction from her who carried in her womb Christ the eternal "wisdom of God" (1Cor 1:24). There is nothing which we should more carefully avoid than the proud contempt that would deprive us of the knowledge of the inestimable secret, which God has purposely "hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed " to the humble and "to babes" (Luk 10:21).

Shoes P

Poulaines or crackowes were a style of shoes with extremely long toes very popular in the 15th Century. They began in the late 14th Century and fell from fashion after about 1480-90. They were worn by men and women, but men's were the most extravagantly long. The pair above is modern and very conservative. More here.

Ship of Memories

Yet another Youtube video of mine. The music is an obscure Focus track called Ship of Memories.

52 JC No 46

Worshippers sincere and hypocritical (from the commentary)

Commandments and ordinances differ thus. The latter term relates strictly to exercises of piety and of divine worship; the latter is more general, and extends both to the worship of God and to the duties of charity. ... Now, though hypocrites, in that (one) respect, are very careful and exact, they do not at all resemble Zacharias and Elisabeth.
For the sincere worshippers of God, such as these two were, do not lay hold on naked and empty ceremonies, but, eagerly bent on the truth, they observe them in a spiritual manner.
Unholy and hypocritical persons, though they bestow assiduous toil on outward ceremonies, are yet far from observing them as they are enjoined by the Lord, and, consequently, do but lose their labour. In short, under these two words Luke embraces the whole law.

Shoes O

Orthopaedic Shoes
Orthopedic shoe is a rather general term. It covers all sorts of shoes from raised heels through to shoes for diabetics and those with bunions. Here is a classic example of a shoe with an adjustable closure that caters for various foot complaints. It is specifically designed for people with Diabetes and Arthritis but can also benefit those with corns, bunions, hammertoes, Neuromas, poor circulation or fluid gathering in the feet.

Xmas Day Preaching

This may be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs but it may be worth mentioning some things that I have learned about Christmas Day preaching, if you are doing that this week.
1. Don't be too long. This is a good general rule but is probably even more apt on Christmas Day. The whole service shouldn't be more than an hour and the sermon probably shouldn't be over 25 minutes.
2. Preach on something "Christmassy". That's what they are thinking about so strike there. A sermon on the unforgivable sin or husbands and wives will certainly have an impact but it probably won't help you in the end.
3. Choose a text and stick to it. This is by far the easiest way to preach a short sermon and to get something in that will stay. Eg Matthew 1:21, 2:10; Luke 2:7, 2:10, 2:19, 2:30; John 3:16; 2 Cor 8:9; Titus 3:4, etc.
4. Usually the text will naturaly fall into three parts. As a general rule three is the best number of points to have in a textual sermon but we must not be slavish about this.
5. Aim at getting something in that they will be able to keep in their heads at least throughout the day.
6. Don't be afraid of reminding them of things they already know and that you have only just preached on - we all forget so quickly.
7. The silly tie or the tinsel could probably distract from your message and is best resisted but we won't fall out over this I trust.
PS Happy Christmas!

Country Honey

This song is in my head for no reason. You might like it ... probably not. At least it's short and to the point (like Bolan himself in stature and life span). I like it when he says "Guitar".

JC 52 No 45

In his commentary Calvin says

Luke very properly begins his Gospel with John the Baptist, just as a person who was going to speak about the daylight would commence with the dawn. For, like the dawn, he went before the Sun of Righteousness, which was shortly to arise. Others also mention him, but they bring him forward as already discharging his office. Luke secures our respect for him, while he is yet unborn, by announcing the miracles of divine power which took place at the earliest period of his existence, and by showing that he had a commission from heaven to be a prophet, ere it was possible for men to know what would be his character. His object was that John might afterwards be heard with more profound veneration, when he should come forth invested with a public office to exhibit the glory of Christ.

Shoes N

Nike Air Max
Nike Air Max was the first shoe launched by Nike that used their patented air cushion in the sole. The cushion was marketed as improving comfort and improving athletic performance. The cushion itself could be seen from the side of the shoe. Although marketed as a sports shoe, the Nike Air Max's main appeal was as a fashion shoe.

O Kerstnacht

O, Kerstnacht, schoner dan de daegen, sung here by Thijs Van Leer as part of the Hamburger Concerto, is a traditional Dutch Christmas song based on a text from Joost Van Den Vondel's 1623 drama De Gijsbrecht van Aemstel. It was also used at Christmas in 1637 (during the opening of the Amsterdam Schouwburg) and features in a scene concerning the slaughter of the innocents of Bethlehem. We featured the tune a little while back.

A song, based on the version used in the play was later developed and given a polyphonic setting in the Livre Septième of 1644. The song's melody and polyphonic setting are attributed to the composers Cornelis Padbrué and Dirck Janszoon Sweelinck. Later alterations were made in the 19th century by the Dutch church musician Jan van Biezen. The two verses sung by Van Leer translate thus:

O Christmas Eve, more beautiful than the days,
How can Herod bear the Light,
That shines in your darkness,
And is celebrated and worshipped?
His pride listens to no reason,
No matter how shrilly it sounds in his ears.

He tries to destroy the Innocent One
By murdering innocent souls,
And wakens a weeping in both city and land,
In Bethlehem and on the fields,
And wakes the spirit of Rachel,
Which wanders through meadow and pasture.

Book Buys September on

We had a nice little series going, which is complete until August, simply recording monthly book buys. It all went a bit quiet on that front and so I haven't reported for a while and am not entirely sure where we are. I did mention getting a copy of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I had wanted it for a while but having started it I haven't really got into it. I also bought on impulse one day P D James interesting Talking about detective fiction which I have almost completed.
For another five weeks The Times were giving away Penguin paperbacks again on weekdays so I have another 20 or so of those. Some are titles I already had (eg Tlast of the Mohicans, The Moonstone, Frankenstein) but most I didn't. I read Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep which I had never tackled some of the science volumes.
That's all very secular. I have also purchased Malcom McLean's book on The Lord's Supper for the John Owen Centre reading group.

Shoes M

No, I haven't forgotten. We will try and complete our shoe alphabet. This time we go with mules. More here.

Father Bach

Another of my youtube videos

Not so silent

This is the current Focus guitarist some years back with a seasonal piece. (He reminds me of Prince William a little).

Third Photo Series 01

From Album Dec 2009
Took this today

Guilty Pleasure Thomas Kinkade

Looking for a seasonal screen saver recently I realised that what I was looking for (a winter scene featuring snow and warm light) could be supplied by Thomas Kinkade. Yet, I have to confess to some shame (guilty pleasure) in being a lover of this rather schmaltzy art form. Okay, yeah, I'm going soft.

Grandad's Swastika

Some while back (2007) I referred to the fact that my grandfather always wore a swastika - not because he was a Nazi, quite the opposite. It was the insignia of his regiment in World War I. Here now is the evidence to go with the statement made back here. He is seen with Uncle Fred in the picture (not quite sure who he was).

Having a cwtch with my Nana

Down Porthcawl we were, 1963 or may be 1964. I was as happy as I look, on holiday with my Nana Pidge and the family.

Silence is golden

Had a lovely walk on Hampstead Heath with two of the boys last Sunday afternoon.

Dad's funeral

As I blog so many things here and have had a great deal to say about my father over the last few months, I thought it right to say something about the funeral last Friday. We headed to Cardiff last Thursday evening after the school concert. We stayed with Eleri's sister and family and then went to Gail's the next morning. We were driven from there in two cars behind the hearse (via Hazel Walk where we grew up) the short distance to the chapel. It was a cold but clear day. With Dylan, Dewi, Uncle John and an old neighbour (Alan) I helped carry the coffin into the chapel, where around seventy family and friends had gathered.
John Edmonds, pastor of the Pontrhydyrun church, led the service. John began with Scripture verses and prayer then we sang How great Thou art. He then read part of Psalm 25, which was very helpful.
Using material we had supplied and his own knowledge, John sketched my dad's life from his birth in 1929 through to those last months when he knew he was going to die. John explained how he at least became convinced that my dad came to trust in Christ. He was at pains to make clear that it wasn't that dad was a good bloke after all or that it is easy to come to faith at the end. I found a lot of help in what he said. Since I became a Christian I have tried to pray for my dad and I think it is right now that I must believe that God answered my prayers (and those of others) for him as for my sister and mother.
My Uncle John spoke next. He was understandably emotional and failed to stick to anything prepared. His main point was that my dad had a power to cheer people up when he came into a room, which is very true. John then went on to thank individuals for coming - family members, my father-in-law who he recognised from my wedding. When his eye lighted on his cousin Ron he chided him for not answering letters. We laughed. That's how a Brady deals with grief.
John then prayed a prayer of thanks and read from Jonah 2 the passage he felt led to preach on. I wasn't sure why he had gone there at first but his point was that Jonah was a man who realised before it was too late that he had been running from God. Jonah was "lucky" - God used his near death experience in the great fish to wake him up to reality. My dad had said to John that he was lucky to be told he had a short time to live. It is not always like that. We will all die however and so we need to see that we are running from God and need to get right. It was clear gospel but how it was taken I don't really know.
The service closed with the hymn At the name of Jesus, prayer and benediction.
We then went to the nearby crematorium. Rhodri helped us to transport the coffin this time. We entered and left to the sound of my dad's favourite Glenn Miller track American Patrol (as he always desired). We stood for the short committal. John used that crucial word "brother". For me to use that word is difficult but I think I must by faith. It is not the conversion I imagined and it may be that is partly to humble me.
We then headed back to the chapel for some refreshments. It was a blessing to speak with family members (big ones from my dad's family, small ones from my mam's side), old friends from Pontrhydyrun, former neighbours, etc. People are so kind.
We then headed back to Gail's. After Geoff and Iola and Rhodri and Sibyl had headed back to Aber we went for a meal together in the Ash Bridge. It was a happy time for us orphans.
We then headed back to Cardiff.
The next morning, before heading home, we buried my dad's ashes with my mother's in the chapel graveyard (there were just eight of us with John and the undertaker). I'm not a fan of cremation but to see my dad's ashes in a tiny wooden box when he had been in a long wooden box just hours before had its own powerful testimony.
Sunday was a good day but I'm a little numb. Monday was difficult in some ways. It's different to when my mother died for all sorts of reasons. Being sober is a good thing.

Cyngerdd Nadolig Yr Ysgol 09

Thursday night Owain was in the school concert at the London Welsh School. As the dad he didn't have too much to say but joined in all the songs. It was a nice evening though sadly I was too far back to follow properly (with my poor Welsh). This must be about the fifteenth I've attended and it is beginning to pall slightly.

Seniors Christmas

We had our seniors lunch the other Saturday, thanks to our hard working ladies. We were not a great number but it was a happy time and an opportunity to remind ourselves of the things that matter. We had an event for young people this last Saturday but I wasn't directly involved in that.

Christmas video

My father-in-law alerted me to this BBC Breathing Spaces Christmas video.

52 JC No 44

On church discipline. Again from The Necessity of Reforming the Church via Garry Williams

"If anyone is desirous of a clearer and more familiar illustration, I would say, that rule in the church, the pastoral office, and all other matters of order, resemble the body, whereas the doctrine which regulates the due worship of God and points out the ground on which the consciences of men must rest their hope of salvation, is the soul which animates the body, renders it lively and active, and in short, makes it not to be a dead and useless carcase"

52 JC No 43

This from "On the Necessity of Reforming the Church," as quoted by Garry Williams

"If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence among us and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz. a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained."

52 JC No 42

Preaching again. On October 22, 1548, Calvin wrote to Protector Somerset as follows (See Calvin's Selected Works, Vol. 5 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), 190). As quoted by Dr Oliver.

All these considerations [the problems particular to pre-Elizabethan England] ought not to hinder the ordinance of Jesus Christ from having free course in the preaching of the Gospel. Now, this preaching ought not to be lifeless but lively, to teach, to exhort, to reprove, as Saint Paul says in speaking thereof to Timothy, (2 Tim 3). So indeed, that if an unbeliever enter, he may be so effectually arrested and convinced, as to give glory to God, as Paul says in another passage, (1 Cor 14). You are also aware, Monseigneur, how he speaks of the lively power and energy with which they ought to speak, who would approve themselves as good and faithful ministers of God, who must not make a parade of rhetoric, only to gain esteem for themselves; but that the Spirit of God ought to sound forth by their voice, so as to work with mighty energy. Whatever may be the amount of danger to be feared, that ought not to hinder the Spirit of God from having liberty and free course in those to whom he has given grace for the edifying of the Church.

Westminster Conference 2010

So a pretty good and well attended conference. Next year's conference is on December 7 and 8. Not all speakers have been finalised yet but the subjects are as follows.

1. Rewriting the Reformation (response to Duffy, Starkey, Sansom, etc)
2. Puritan attitudes to Rome
3. AV 1611
4. Preaching for repentance
5. The 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference
6. Andrew Bonar (born 1810)

We will use the American Church again despite some drawbacks. The rearrangement of the chairs this year was a great help.
Website here.

Westminster 09 2c

The final paper was from Bruce Jenkins from Caversham, Reading - a fascinating look at the Moravians and their amazing missionary work. The Moravians are sometimes typified as having heat without light and so Bruce looked first at how much light they had then considered what we can learn from their "heat". The Moravians trace their roots to Hus. The Independent Episcopal Church began in the 15th century long before the Reformation. In 1721 a remnant set up in Herrnhut at the invitation of Count Zinzendorf. In 1727 the Moravian Pentecost brought revival. A neglected part of studies of the great awakening is the role of these people. They are certainly outside the main stream but had an important influence. In 1732 Zinzendorf was banished from Saxony. Moravian Societies were formed in various places such as Fetter Lane in London. In England they were able to get recognition as part of the established church. In the 1740s they experienced what they call the sifting time. By the end of that period they were mired in debt and in 1755 Zinzendorf returned to Germany in shame. The Moravians practiced strict segregation of the sexes, other divisions, women in ministry, ecumenism, use of the lot, voluntary socialism, children removed from parents while still young, etc. They were a great mixture. They focused on Christ but gave expression to this in ways that disgusted most people. It was very much a personality cult around Zinzendorf. Though accused of antinomianism they were very legalistic. They were very frugal but got into financial trouble through mismanagement and over indulgence. Having had the background there were then three points on their
1. Provocative piety - Evaluating Moravian doctrine and practice
They can be spoken of as Non-confessional Lutheran Pietists. They were essentially people of the heart. What mattered to them was not orthodoxy but authentic spiritual experience. Zinzendorf referred to the Holy Spirit as Mother. This is not a doctrinal point but an attempt to express things experientially. It was the same impetus that led to Zinzendorf's blood and wounds theology. They saw the wounds as a mark of Christ's humanity and spoke graphically of the need to hide in the wounds and to delight in them. Cf The Litany of the wounds. It was only a step to eroticising the relationship between Christ and his church. The notorious Appendix 12 to their hymnal was overtly sexual. Their worship then went in a very vivid, spectacular even sensual direction. These practices became a scandal. Today Moravians say the sifting period 1743-1750 was the limit of this temporary aberration. However, the phenomenon was longer and less unusual than they claim. They were not popular when they were most controversial. Wesley was converted through the Moravians but slowly became disillusioned and wrote against them (1745) as antinomians. He was not bitter against them. Whitefield reluctantly distanced himself from them. He wrote a letter to Zinzendorf admonishing him. The Moravians defended themselves but lost the support of the evangelicals. Zinzendorf himself was a curious mixture. The author of such mad novelties also wrote Jesu Thy blood and righteousness and showed many marks of evangelical understanding. He was quite self-contradictory and an autodidact who refused to speak precisely. The explanation of all this is the lack of a confession of faith, the predominance of a youth culture at the height if their influence. The core explanation is a wholly inadequate view of and use of Scripture. Zinzendorf did not believe in verbal inspiration. He actually said that "The fact that the Bible has so many errors (scarcely a book today would be published with so many) is, for me at least, the an unassailable proof for its divinity". Even today Moravians use Bible texts deliberately removed from their context.
2. Missionary practice - Describing the principles
Zinzendorf believed that the nations would not be converted until the Jews were. He believed the Jews would not be converted until they saw Christ's wounds. This idea was subsequently rejected and mission flourished to an astounding degree. It was voluntary. They sent out artisans. The emphasis was on enthusiasm rather than education. Study was done in medicine, geography and languages. Missionaries were given the money to get to the port of departure then worked their passage. Whether a missionary would marry or not was decided by lot. Their message - they rejected the established method and started with Christ rather than God, creation, fall, law, etc. People know there is a God, it was felt, but not about Christ - that is what they need to know. They used a picturesque narrative method in line with their theology. Spannenburg, Zinzendorf's successor, however, was quite orthodox.
3. Exemplary passion - learning from Moravian missionary zeal This what made their contemporaries admire them even if they could not work with them. They gave long, long years of service and many died on the field. What maintained that zeal? Seven things were suggested
1. Readiness to make the world their home (part of their history) 2. Profound experience of God 3. Inspiring leadership 4. Whole church mission involvement 5. Prayer 6. Constant exposure to mission 7. Commitment to mission

Westminster 09 2b

It was my privilege to chair in the afternoon the session on Darwin. Ken Brownell spoke on the attitudes of C and A A Hodge and Warfield (no time for Machen) to evolution. It was a fascinating, informative and challenging paper. The discussion was rather wide ranging and ran over slightly but was very stimulating. Here are Ken's five concluding principles.
1. Like old Princeton we must be committed to a high doctrine of Scripture and as infallible and inerrant word of God. The Bible is in the end our touchstone but while we must have the same high view of Scripture we will have differing legitimate interpretations. In relation to science we may have to revise our interpretations as the church has done before, but only cautiously and after long reflection. As Charles Hodge said there will be a struggle in this, but we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us. But here we need to do better than the Princetonians. In this area they were strangely weak in their exegesis of the relevant Biblical passages in spite of having such a high view of Scripture.
2. Like old Princeton we must be robustly and enthusiastically Calvinistic in theology, not only in understanding how God saves, but also in how he works in the world. The Princetonians’ doctrine of providence and the absolute sovereignty of God helped them in their assessment of the idea of evolution. Likewise a Calvinistic view of reality will help us face many of the challenges of science today.
3. Like old Princeton we should have a deep respect for the scientific enterprise.
I sometimes get the impression that some Christians are deeply suspicious of science. That is not something Hodge and company could understand. Perhaps they had a too high an estimation of the objectivity of scientists, but some Christians may have too low an estimation. While sin affects the scientific enterprise as much as everything else, God’s common grace is operative. There needs to be respect for scientists, support for Christians working in science and respectful dialogue particularly in this area of evolution.
4. Like old Princeton we must engage in this dialogue with courtesy and respect for those with whom we disagree. Nothing brings more discredit on evangelical Christianity than the intemperate way in which we sometimes deal with our opponents. The Princeton theologians always dealt with those they opposed with courtesy and respect; they were gentlemen controversialists and we should be as well. Among other things that means being fair in the way we assess the views of those we oppose. A good example of this in another area of controversy is the way John Piper evaluated N T Wright’s views in his book on justification.
5. Like old Princeton we must remember that the big battle is not on the details of how God created things, but with naturalistic materialism that has no place for God. This was the big issue for old Princeton and it must be for us. Whatever our specific views on many aspects of the evolution debate all Christian theists need to stand together to contend for the Christian worldview. He closed with a quote from Kuyper on evolution
Evolution is a newly conceived system, a newly established theory, a newly formed dogma, a newly emerged faith. Embracing and dominating all of life, it is diametrically opposed to the Christian faith and can erect its temple only on the ruins of our Christian confession… And therefore against that system of the aimlessly and mechanistically constructed cosmos we set our full-fledged resistance. We must not only defend ourselves against it but attack it… Over against Nietzsche’s Evolution-law that the strong must tread the weaker we cling to the Christ of God who seeks the lost and has mercy on the weak. Over against the undirected mechanism of evolution we present faith in that Eternal Being who “has worked and continues to work all things after the counsel of His will” [Eph. 1:11]. Over against the selection that selects the species and neglects the individual, we cling to Election… Over against the annihilation of the individual person in the grave we continue to testify to the coming judgment and of an eternal glory. And over against the altruism that is nothing more than a “transformed” and therefore disguised egoism we raise up the fire of eternal love that burns in God’s Father-heart, a holy spark of which has leaped to our own… And so I conclude by returning to what was, is now, and ever will be the starting point of the Confession for the entire Christian church on earth, by maintaining over against Evolution the first of all articles of faith: I BELIEVE IN GOD ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.

Westminster 09 2a

The first paper of the second day was given by Robert Oliver of Bradford on Avon. He spoke on Calvin and Elizabeth I. This is not an obvious topic but there was certainly material enough.
Dr Oliver began with Elizabeth. He sketched the background from Henry VIII through Edward VI and Cranmer's correspondence with Bullinger, when Bucer and A Lasco came to England and went on to Mary's efforts to return to Rome, so that the whole cause seemed lost. The sudden and early death of Mary from cancer (and of Cardinal Reginald Pole 12 hours later from influenza) changed everything with the coming of Elizabeth I to the throne. There were general expectations of change but no-one knew exactly what she believed. As the daughter of Ann Boleyn and as illegitimate in the eyes of Rome she was rather likely to be Protestant. She was politically astute and very well educated by the best renaissance scholars. She spoke Latin, read the NT in Greek and spoke many modern languages (including Welsh!). Before her coronation she walked out on a mass led by Oglethorpe. Her coronation was largely Protestant but she deliberately avoided the elevation of the host again. She sanctioned the use of English but put a moratorium on preaching.
We then turned to Calvin. It was only in 1553 that Calvin had become a major figure although he had corresponded on the subject of England's Reformation. English exiles in Geneva imbibed the Reformation principles of Calvin. They observed the church order there and the emphasis on preaching the Word ad fontes. His simple clear expository method was noted and appreciated. The serious way he went about his pastoral duties also had its impact. He had written to Protector Somerset saying "preaching ought not to be lifeless but lively, to teach, to exhort, to reprove, as Saint Paul says in speaking thereof to Timothy". In 1556 the exiles wrote a liturgy based on Calvin. They also produced other materials and eventually a Bible translation.
Calvin was re-issuing his commentary on Isaiah, dedicated to Edward VI, when Elizabeth came to the throne. He wanted to dedicate it now to her but that didn't happen. The problem was Knox's First blast of the Trumpet - published in Geneva. Writing to Cecil Calvin sought to disassociate himself from the book. Elizabeth continued to loath all that came from Geneva. Calvin opposed Nicodemites but Elizabeth and the new Archbishop Parker had been just that in Mary's reign. When Elizabeth appointed new bishops she was suspicious of those who came back from exile and excluded most of them, although 17 of 35 became bishops eventually.
What Elizabeth felt was right for the country was not necessarily what she personally preferred. She herself loved ceremonial and silver crosses and elaborate music. Like all of the Tudors she insisted on law and order. Her suspicion of preaching may have arisen from the fact that it was the only unpredictable part of a service.
She brought in a fixed settlement that was not tinkered with thereafter. The exiles anticipated the removal of Roman elements but such hopes were not realised. The government was keen to keep things broad.
With this background Dr Oliver then went on to speak of the real impact of Calvin on England. How did England become a bastion of Protestantism? It was not by legislation but a new love for the message of Scripture. The great changes did not come through legislation but in other ways. It is not until the following century that the full flowering comes but the seeds were sown in the Elizabethan period. William Perkins and many, many others preached in such a way that the country was transformed. Formal attempts at reformation would get nowhere and so the Puritans ploughed themselves into preaching. By the middle of Elizabeth's reign a second generation of preachers, men like Henry Smith, arose. Smith is a good example but there was no time to quote him. Later Puritan used a more formal style but by the 17th Century there had been a long history of expository preaching.
The other obvious thing apart from preaching was the Geneva Bible (1560). It was in Roman type in quarto form. It was a study Bible and was the English Bible for a century. It brought Calvinism to the masses. This was the version that made England the land of the book. Extraordinary Bible. Reputation unfairly blackened but a great renaissance achievement. It undoubtedly stimulated reading too. There certainly was a great increase in literacy in England. This was the seed bed for Puritanism. There was much opposition to the Geneva Bible and that partly led to the AV in James's reign. The Geneva Bible informed the AV and continued to be widely used after 1611.
It is true that Lancelot Andrews and others opposed Calvinism leading to the Lambeth Articles in opposition. to their proto-Arminianism, which came in the next century. However, the Elizabethan age was not just one of great literature but also of great spiritual books. A prodigious amount of this came from the Puritans. These were preachers of the Word who moulded people by the Word of God and left a great legacy that is ours.
Discussion followed on why we are not making the impact they did today and some useful contributions were made.

The night before Christmas

Westminster 09 1c

For the final session of the day we left Calvin on one side and focused with Stephen Clark on the 1859 revival. It was good to do that as other anniversaries have crowded this one out for me this year.

Westminster 09 1b

The second paper was again on Calvin. This time we had a paper from Don Carson on Calvin as commentator and systematician.
By way of opening remarks Dr Carson observed that it is a remarkable thing to be both. Studying the subject is complicated by the constant interaction between the commentaries and the successive editions of the Institutes.
We then had a brief history of the use of the phrase "biblical theology". Also some words on tracing themes, understanding books in their context, etc. The best roots of biblical theology, however, are seen in Calvin.
Calvin self-consciously criticised the commentaries of Melanchthon and Bucer and others. The Aristotelian method used was to identify certain loci and then deal with them exhaustively. That meant that certain things were missed. When all was included the commentary became too long (as with Bucer).
Calvin aimed at "clear brevity" in his commentaries and then dealt with loci in his Institutes (see T H L Parker 51ff "Calvin's NT commentaries")
Sometimes Calvin expanded on certain subjects. Eg Knowledge of God, justification, repentance, OT/NT, predestination, providence, monks vows.

Genesis 1 and 2
Referred to in Chapter 1 of the 1536 Institutes. Lots on the image of God. Commentary (1554) much briefer on the image of God.

Genesis 1:2, 26
Plural references to God poses a question. Calvin careful not to read in Trintarianism carte blanche. "Addressing his wisdom and power". Accused of being a Judaiser in his time. Not an unsystematic theological minimiser in his commentaries. Followed the grammatico-historical way rather than the Christological one of Luther. He did not wish to say more than the text warranted.

Genesis 3
In the Institutes 1536 he speaks of the removal of the image of God. Living for righteousness (little Book on the Christian Life) an increasing part of the Institutes.


1. In the commentary on the last 4 books of Moses he makes an exception to his normal method and pursues certain loci
2. He gives a more lengthy discussion of the introduction to the law in the commentary than in the Institutes
3. He alters the order of things in his commentary on the last four books (something he does not do with the harmony of the Gospels)
4. Note that his Harmony of Exodus-Deuteronomy was an actual book not just lectures. Perhaps it came from his attempts to employ biblical theology

Exodus 20:1-17
Discusses verse 18 first. Similar things in Deuteronomy 5 commentary.

1 Peter 2
Calvin speaks of three marks of the church but in later editions of the Institutes it comes down to two. This was not a change in his theology as other documents show. Why is not clear. He was willing to adapt clearly, however.

1 Corinthians 1
Sanctification. Paul calls the Corinthians sanctified leading to the distinction between definitive or positional sanctification and progressive sanctification that leads to real holiness. In his commentary in a summary of the first chapter he says that Paul prepares them for what is to come and that although the statement in verse 2 may seem strange there were still tokens of a true church there. He speaks of initial separation (regeneration) but he says "it may be taken in two senses". He goes for the defintional but says it makes no great difference.
He refers to the verse only once in the Institutes (4.1.14). In both works he strongly rejects over zealous separationism but argues for sanctification.
It may be that the word sanctification is used to refer to the positional sort more often. However, Calvin was already seeing that the vocabulary of the discourse of systematics is not always the same a the vocabulary of the discourse of the Bible.
Another example - is it right to speak of God being reconciled to us? We sing in these terms without any idea of saying he compromises.
The vocabulary of the discourse of hymn singing is not always the same as the vocabulary of the discourse of systematics.
If you read a lot of systematics read more commentaries and vice versa, etc.
This was a rather bitty paper but easy to listen to and led to a good discussion on hermeneutics. There was a general feeling that Calv in could have been more Christological.

Westminster 09 1a

And here we are again at the Westminster Conference in Tottenham Court Road. The first paper was given
by Garry Williams of the John Owen Centre and was on "John Calvin's Agenda: Issues in the separation from Rome".
We looked first at Calvin's writings (the three central texts are The Reply to Sadoleto (1534), On the necessity of reforming the church (1543) and The Antidote to the Council of Trent (1547). These reveal that Calvin grasped the necessity of urgent reformation. He uses the image of the church having been rocked to sleep.
"What then? When we saw idolatry openly and everywhere stalking abroad, were we to connive at it? To have done so would have just been to rock the world in its sleep of death, that it might not awake."
"call to mind the fearful calamities of the Church, which might move to pity even minds of iron. Nay, set before your eyes her squalid and unsightly form, and the sad devastation which is everywhere beheld."

He saw temporal as well as eternal consequences for rejecting the gospel. "Even now, while your own eyes behold, it is half bent, and totters to its final ruin."
He would quote 1 Corinthians 11 and its reference to temporal judgements.
"But if we reflect how slight the error by which the Corinthians had vitiated the sacred supper was? If contrasted with all the defilements by which, in the present day, it is sullied and polluted amongst ourselves? It is strange not to perceive that God, who so severely punished them, is justly more offended with us."
"I admit that there cannot be too much dispatch, provided, in the meantime, the consultation which ought to be first, the consultation how to restore the church to its proper state, is neither neglected nor retarded. Already delays more than enough have been interposed. The fuel of the Turkish war is within, shut up in our bowels, and must first be removed, if we would successfully drive back the war itself."

We tend to avoid this sort of analysis but Calvin did not.
For Calvin then worship and doctrine were priorities. He was very concerned about the mode of worship "I would say, that rule in the church, the pastoral office, and all other matters of order, resemble the body, whereas the doctrine which regulates the due worship of God and points out the ground on which the consciences of men must rest their hope of salvation, is the soul which animates the body, renders it lively and active, and in short, makes it not to be a dead and useless carcase" (He was a Hebrew thinker not a Greek one).
He has a particularly high view of justification. "The safety of the church depends as much on this doctrine as human life does on the soul. If the purity of this doctrine is in any degree impaired, the church has received a deadly wound."
Beza "Seeing that the city stood greatly in need ... regular presbytery ..."
He had a deep posthumous disagreement with Zwingli who denied the instrumentality of external things for grace to be built up. Outward things can only affect the mind and do not have a direct impact on faith. It can only negatively restrain Zwingli thought.
Calvin had a higher view of things such as the sacraments to build up faith.
We are quick today to defend justification but we are not so concerened about the mode of worship. Calvin was vey much concerned over public worship. It is not simply a matter of being constant and serious. Are we actively engaged in thinking this through. Calvin kept reforming worship.
Garry then quoted a letter to Knox connecting baptism with the promise. This was rather lost on the Baptists present but the point was that he was a man carefully thinking about things.
Surely Calvin's approach was similar to the NT. Worship has an important public role and is also pedagogical. We then moved on to Calvi2. His practice - seeking unity. Calvin, of course, worked worked prolifically hard - preaching, teaching and in pursuing unity. He saw it as very important and poured himself into this in the 1540s, meeting with Bullinger, etc. Some remarkable agreements were drawn up.
Calvin wrote, regretfully, of "the vehemence of Luther's natural temperament, which was so apt to boil over in every direction," even to the point of "flashing his lightning upon the servants of the Lord."
Certainly this is a serious matter. The importance of fraternal realtions with other Bible believing Protestants. We should sit down and talk rather going in all guns blazing (sometimes we are not even as good as Luther).
Garry sought to apply this to Anglican/Nonconformist realtions.
Certainly many things we deplore in Anglicanism (eg Gafcon). The issues we disagree on do matter but we must still try to have relations with genuine believers. There is not that much hostility but there is ignorance and distance at times. What is our disposition?
Finally, we looked at the centre of
Calvin's vision. Calvin was a great user of metaphors and similes. One pervasive metaphor he uses is to see everything in relation to the physical body of Christ. This is a lesser known feature of Calvin. What the Spirit unites does is to unite us to Christ's body.
"The flesh of Christ is like a rich and inexhaustible fountain that pours into us the life springing forth from the Godhead into itself” (Institutes 4)
Calvin thought in very concrete terms. He spoke of unbelievers in these terms too.
"Let our opponents, then, in the first instance, draw near to Christ, and then let them convict us of schism, in daring to dissent from them in doctrine."
"Are we, then, to be silent when the peculiar dignity of Christ, the dignity which cost him such a price, is wrested from him with the greatest contumely, and distributed among the saints, as if it were lawful spoil?"
"he hesitates not to strip Christ in order that he may deck his Pope with the spoils."
"poor souls, which ought to have been ruled by the doctrine of Christ, are oppressed by cruel bondage; that nothing is seen in the Christian Church that is not deformed and debased; that the grace of Christ not only lies half-buried, but is partly torn to pieces, partly altogether extinguished. "
Surely this is again something that we do find in Scripture in several places. Every human being stands in some relation to the body of Christ. Let's avoid the fuzziness of today's feminised church.
The split with Rome was all about being near to Christ or far from him. The irony is that Romanism claimed to be able to do it but could not for that is by faith.
The discussion that followed focused on worship, including the Sydney view.

Darwin's monstrous fable

I recently came across this from Darwin's autobiography here.

One little event during this year has fixed itself very firmly in my mind, and I hope that it has done so from my conscience having been afterwards sorely troubled by it; it is curious as showing that apparently I was interested at this early age in the variability of plants! I told another little boy (I believe it was Leighton, who afterwards became a well-known lichenologist and botanist), that I could produce variously coloured polyanthuses and primroses by watering them with certain coloured fluids, which was of course a monstrous fable, and had never been tried by me. I may here also confess that as a little boy I was much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, and this was always done for the sake of causing excitement. For instance, I once gathered much valuable fruit from my father's trees and hid it in the shrubbery, and then ran in breathless haste to spread the news that I had discovered a hoard of stolen fruit.

Darwin's son Francis writes a note just before thi saying
Rev. W.A. Leighton, who was a schoolfellow of my father's at Mr. Case's school, remembers his bringing a flower to school and saying that his mother had taught him how by looking at the inside of the blossom the name of the plant could be discovered. Mr. Leighton goes on, "This greatly roused my attention and curiosity, and I enquired of him repeatedly how this could be done?" - but his lesson was naturally enough not transmissible.

The more one learns about Darwin the less attractive a character he becomes.

Phonetic crib cards

My dad spoke not a word of Welsh. If you're in a Welsh choir, however, they expect stuff in Welsh. What to do? There are always a few who have the Welsh and they have perfected the art of English phonetics. (Here 'C' is used rather than 'K' but notice the 'V' there on the top one. It's not entirely consistent). These I would guess are in my dad's handwriting copied from elsewhere. We found lots of crib cards like this in English, Welsh adn in this style. My dad always found it difficult to remember words to songs. (I notice that the Battle hymn of the Republic in English is there with the others).
For more phoneticised Welsh - see video here

Notebook, tin and nutcracker

Okay, I think this is the last. Here we have an old red spined purple hardbacked notebook that was my grandmother's. It mostly contains addresses and phone numbers and recipes and I remember it well and with affection. Then there is a rusty nutcracker that used to come out at Christmas. Finally, and best of all, an old tin in which my mother would keep pins (see another example in the second photo). Interestingly, it was made by the D F Tayler Company and once contained (well named) Dorcas dressmaking pins.

Dish, lighter, etc

This is a leaf shaped dish in amber glass that my mam and dad had as a wedding present. Originally there were two adn they both fitted neatly into a larger double dish. I smashed one in my early twenties on a return home (shame). In the dish are three bottle shaped ornaments. Two are Guinness bottle openers (you press the lid and the opener appears beneath the bottle. the other is a Heineken butane lighter. The whole bottle facade removes to reveal the wheel action butane fuelled item.

Clothes brush, First Aid

First aid box and the family clothes brush

Cards, ruler, lock, etc

This time we have a numberof items (10 points if you can identify every item!) - a metal puzzle (representing my disappointment on a Christmas morning when I received such presents), what I learn is called a crinkle cutter (mam's - I remember it being new), three packs of cards (dad liked to play now and again), a bottle opener (best remembered opening tins of evap at Sunday tea time), an old fashioned rotary dial telephone lock (remember those? - my sister was the problem not me!) and finally a six inch plastic ruler with holes for measuring the size of knitting needles (my mam's, of course).

Mole wrench, oil can, etc

This one features my dad's old Mole wrench (the Mole wrench or self-locking pliers have a strong Newport connection but having just looked it up I see that they were not invented in Newport as I once thought) a few more tobacco tins, what must be a hollowed out bottle cork containing three small dice (from Germany I think). Pinned into the top of the small cork container is a white horse, part of a long forgotten promotion for White Horse Whisky I think. There's also an old oil can that was in my grandmother's for years.

Knives, cribbage, etc

Another personal still life. This one features a green tobacco tin (my father gave up smoking years ago but, as I may have mentioned in the past, the old tins survive - I found several in the flat as we cleared up), a small case of tea knives (a wedding present to mam and dad rarely used), a Pontypool Male Choir blazer badge, a home made cribbage board (not sure who made it but it's been round all my life) and the stub of a ticket to Vancouver where my Uncle Peter lives.

Let him give

This is quoted from a Gibert MacAdam prayer letter in the December Banner. I thought it was challenging and inspiring.

One Sunday morning I was waiting to begin the service when a particular family, who have recently started coming, arrived and took their seats. Their little boy of about 8 years of age then came over to me and put a plastic bag into my hands. It was extremely heavy and I said, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘I want to give my savings for the poor people who were flooded.’ In the bag was a large tin full of coins. Afterwards it took about 6 people to sort and count it. The total came to 1487 pesos (about £20/$32). It was obvious that he had been saving up for a long time, and he gave the lot to help the flood victims in the Philippines. I was very moved. We plan to visit other areas with relief aid. Please continue to pray for these desperately needy people as we try to show the love of Christ in a practical way as well as spreading the word of the gospel.

Yng Ngwmbran 2

Today we made a lot of trips to the municipal dump as we continue to clear the flat. Gail and I had lunch at Owen's Sandwich Bar on the Highway. Gail has looked after me well but we've eaten out a little. On Monday we were in a Wetherspoon's. It used to be called the Moonraker but is now the John Fielding after the VC winner at Rorke's Drift. See here. So we're getting on with it all. Cards and calls continue. An old friend called tonight. He likes to try out his Welsh when he can so that was fun.