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.

52 JC No 8

Women as homemakers
All the chastity they [Nuns] pretend is nothing before God, in comparison of that that he hath appointed, that is to say, that albeit it seem but a vile thing, and a matter of none account, for a woman to take pains about housewifery, to make clean her children when they be arrayed, to kill fleas, and other such like, although this be a thing despised, yea and such, that many will not vouchsafe to look upon it, yet are they sacrifices which GOD accepteth & receiveth, as if they were things of great price and honourable.
Therefore let women study this lesson day and night that first of all they may play the housewives: and if women were the most negligent in the world, yet is there here matter enough to awaken them, and to correct this idleness. And how? If we take pains, we serve GOD, and not men. Again, when a man seeth his wife employ herself all the day long to do her duty, let him also consider whereunto God hath called him, that he also for his part may do his duty. For a man is not born to idleness, nor a woman.
Therefore ... let women cast their eyes hither, for there is occasion enough to correct their slothfulness, when they shall see that the question is of serving God. And how? When they fall to kneading (as the proverb is) and apply themselves to good use, & flee not the subjection which God hath set them in: for this is to strive against GOD, when a man doth not follow his vocation, which is our true rule, that is to say, that that we have to do, & what God appointeth every one of us, according to the state, whereunto he is called. Therefore let women have this mark to shoot at, & say, well, although the world have no regard of me, yet must I find myself occupied here, for so God commandeth me. And thus much touching the first, how women have to take occasion to be diligent: and moreover also they have to consider, that when they do their duty and execute their office, God accepteth well of it, although men despise it.
And if men say, “What is this? A woman playeth the housewife, she spinneth on her distaff, and this is all that women can do.” As in deed there are a number of fools that when they speak of women’s distaffs, of seeing to their children, will make a scorn of it, and despise it. But what then? What saith the heavenly Judge? That he is well pleased with it, and accepteth of it, and putteth it in his reckoning. So then let women learn to rejoice when they do their duty, and though the world despise it, let this comfort sweeten all respect they might have that way, and say, “God seeth me here, and his Angels, who are sufficient witnesses of my doings, although the world do not allow of them.”
As recorded in A Sermon of Master John Caluine, vpon the first Epistle of Paul, to Timothie, published for the benefite and edifying of the Churche of God (London: G. Bishop and T. Woodcoke, 1579), excerpted from Calvin’s sermon on 1 Timothy 2:13-15. Found here.

Book Buys February

Book buying in February included five freebies thanks to The Times who were giving away 10 Penguin paperbacks free. I didn't get the all but did get A Clockwork Orange, The Day of the Triffids, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Great Gatsby and Nineteen Eighty-Four. I was sorry to miss Out of Africa, Mrs Dalloway and Animal Farm.
I also made an impulse buy rushing through Tesco's one day and spotting Hugo Hamilton's The Sailor in the Wardrobe for just £3. I really enjoyed his The Speckled people.
I also bought 10 copies of Richard Gibson's collection of Jewish testimonies The unusual suspects to sell in church.
At the Affinity Conference I bought the first volume of Douglas Kelly's Systematic Theology, a book of essays on Worldliness edited by C J Mahaney, which I have almost finished, addresses from a previous conference The Forgotten Christ and Iain D Campbell's little book The seven wonders of the world.


As ever the last few days have been hectic and I feel in need of a debriefing. Do excuse me.

Wednesday - Meetings
Yesterday I was at my regular meetings for older folk - one am and one pm. The morning one was fine and I enjoyed walking the Kilburn High Road after it. Got my hair cut and bought a man bag and one or two other things en route. Evidence of the recession abounds with several shops closed down. In the afternoon one at the BUPA home we were low in numbers and the organiser was rather stressed busy putting up a display for St David's and St Patrick's Day (I've never seen green dragons for Wales before). Eleri's cousin's eldest, Ifan was with us overnight - up to check out London's art galleries. He joined us at our midweek meeting - and prayed in English! We were looking at the next bit in Deuteronomy 19 especially about two or three witnesses, which has a surprisingly large number of applications (just check the NT references).
Tuesday - EMF and LTS
The day before that I was lecturing in Welwyn at the EMF School on Seventh Day Adventists, Freemasons and Spiritualists. Rather a disastrous morning in some respects as I arrived late and had to leave early. In the afternoon we were interviewing at LTS.
Monday - LTS
On Monday I was at the LTS for the John Owen Centre Theological Study Group. We were discussing Tim Keller's book The Reason for God under the leadership of Mostyn Roberts. There was general agreement that while we have a lot of admiration for Keller and his book and like his zeal for souls some of the exegesis and theology leaves something to be desired. There are one or two surprisingly uncalvinistic statements in it. We agreed to do Catch the Vision by John J Murray next time.
Monday night was rather frustrating as Eleri was out then there was a problem with the internet on the laptop. Phoning BT is always a nightmare and though we eventually got the problem sorted it was frustrating and time consuming and by the time I was sorted I'd missed the University Challenge final, which I had to watch on iplayer later knowing the Trimble girl had won it for Corpus Christi. Ah well.

Weekend - Preaching, quiz night and party
On Sunday I preached on the final three chapters of Ezekiel and was not only glad to have completed the task but felt it came to something of a climax. We were in Hebrews 10 in the evening, a very searching passage.
The night before Rhodri had organised a quiz night for kids 15+ and around 15 showed up - half of them "outsiders". One old friend, Edmund, came and stayed with us for the weekend. I spoke (rather convolutedly I thought in the end, sadly) on learning from Agur (Proverbs). One fellow took a Bible and one a copy of my book on Regeneration (he's read most of Keller - he thought the negative first part better than the second positive part) and another person was very interested.
Saturday was Owain's birthday. He had a pirate themed party and enjoyed it a lot. Thankfully the weather was fine and they could spill out into the garden. They loved the trampoline and the rabbits (BTW did I mention there's been another litter recently? It's like a farm out there. I suggested that we put a rabbit in each of the party bags but we didn't in the end ;-).

Coffee at LTS

I notice there is now a drinks machine at London Theological Seminary. I have sampled the product and found it satisfactory. The new Principal is clearly making an impact. But will it improve the work of the students? Do take part in the poll.

Bonus Tracks

For good or for ill we live in the age of the bonus track. Literally thousands and thousands of CDs have been released and more often re-released with bonus tracks in different years. Bonus tracks are extra tracks added to an album for the interest of the die hard fan and are often enough to get im to shell out once more for something he has bought once, twice or even more times before. The trouble is that in most cases once they have been heard once most bonus tracks are of little interest to most people. Here we simply seek to list the most common categories that these tracks fall into.
1. Live versions of songs
2. Single or Radio edits
3. Remixes
4. Demos
5. Acapella or Acoustic versions
6. Extended or edited versions sometimes from US or Japanese Albums
7. Alternative Mono or Stereo versions
8. Unreleased studio versions of unreleased songs
9. Studio run throughs or rehearsal versions
10. Other alternative versions or mixes of previously released songs
(Sixpence none the richer and may be others have released material performed in different keys)

Best ofs 07

Although no-one's actually contacted me I can guess that many of you are wondering what ever happened to the best of series of albums here (the last one was back in September I am surprised to realise). No? Anyway what happened was that I thought the Monkees would make a good next item. I really enjoyed their TV show as a kid. Anyway when I got the CD out (Definitive Monkees - one CD not the boxed set) and downloaded it I found that I was unfamiliar with half of the 29 songs on there (I'd previously had a smaller vinyl collection). In the end my top ten is not changed though I've enjoyed listening to some of the lesser known stuff on there over recent months. My top 10 goes

1. I'm a believer
2. Day dream believer
3. Monkees theme
4. A little bit me, a little bit you
5. I'm not your stepping stone
6. Last train to Clarksville
7. Pleasant Valley Sunday
8. I wanna be free
9. Words
10. Listen to the band


Two of the boys were playing guess that tune last night with the ipod and I happened to hear just two opening bass notes of song and was immediately able to guess it. It was Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners - not a song I own though a popular one and one I like. It's a tribute to the writer's skill and a reminder of how much is in our brains that we are hardly aware of.


Archaeology is to do with the study of how people lived in the past. The car showroom at the end of my street is having some changes to its shop fittings and I notice that it was previously a florists. Most interesting is the telephone number given SPE 0555. This goes back to the days when Telephone numbers in London had names rather than numbers. The Childs Hill/Golders Green exchange was Speedwell. This system lasted until the late sixties. A list can be found here.
As for the name I found this in Hansard
HC Deb 25 February 1924 vol 170 c101W
asked the Postmaster-General whether it is proposed to call the exchange, now being installed at Golders Green, Speedwell; and whether he will consider giving the exchange a name more indicative of and appropriate to the district?
The name "Speedwell" has been selected for the Exchange shortly to be opened at Golders Green. The name "Golders Green" could not be used because its numerical equivalent is the same as that of Holborn, and, under the automatic telephone system which will be introduced in London, no two names can have the same equivalent. A large number of names more indicative of the district (included some suggested by the urban district council) were tested, but had to be rejected for the same reason, or because of their liability to confusion over the telephone with other Exchange names and consequent risk of error.

Hymn of the week 31

We sang this on Sunday evening. So powerful. Like most we began with the second verse. We don't have verse 5 in New Christian Hymns either.

1 WEARY of wandering from my God,
And now made willing to return,
I hear, and bow me to the rod;
For thee, not without hope, I mourn;
I have an Advocate above,
A Friend before the throne of Love.

2 O Jesus, full of truth and grace,
More full of grace than I of sin,
Yet once again I seek thy face;
Open thine arms, and take me in,
And freely my backslidings heal,
And love the faithless sinner still.

3 Thou know'st the way to bring me back
My fallen spirit to restore;
O! for thy truth and mercy's sake,
Forgive, and bid me sin no more;
The ruins of my soul repair,
And make my heart a house of prayer.

4 The stone to flesh again convert,
The veil of sin again remove;
Sprinkle thy blood upon my heart,
And melt it by thy dying love;
This rebel heart by love subdue,
And make it soft, and make it new.

5 Give to mine eyes refreshing tears,
And kindle my relentings now;
Fill my whole soul with filial fears,
To thy sweet yoke my spirit bow;
Bend by thy grace, O bend or break,
The iron sinew in my neck!

6 Ah! give me, Lord, the tender heart
That trembles at the approach of sin;
A godly fear of sin impart,
Implant, and root it deep within,
That I may dread thy gracious power,
And never dare to offend thee more.

52 JC No 7

Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.
Again from the Institutes.

Pethau Cymraeg

Three things actually

1. Check out this link on Alan's blog here

2 I was going to comment on Ryan Giggs scoring the other week for Manchester United. He has now scored in every season (17) that the Premier League has been in existence! More here and here. Great footage here.

3 Then there was also Duffy at the Brits. More here and here.

Of course, things are going well in the rugby too.

Just looking for some reflected glory I guess.


Took three of the boys to the newly reopened Monument today. Designed by Christopher Wren on the site of a former church and built 1671-1677, it commemorates the great fire of 1666, which began in nearby Pudding Lane. With 311 steps, it is 61 metres high. We queued for half an hour before ascending. More here.

Bold Miriam 03

Concluding remarks
2. Miriam the prophetess – A bold and enthusiastic worshipper of God
We don't hear anything about Miriam then until Exodus 15 and the amazing crossing of the Red Sea. Long, long years pass. After 40 years Moses thinks his people will realise that God is going to use him to rescue them, but they did not and so another 40 years go by while God further prepares his servant away from Egypt in Midian. Then at last after 80 years Moses returns and it all begins to kick off. Miriam must have been around 90 by this time. Granted that people often lived longer and were often stronger and more healthy at such an age it is still along time to wait for a saviour. Did Miriam think salvation was never going to come? If she did we are not told that. What we are told though is how she greatly rejoiced following their passing through the Red Sea and the overthrown of their Egyptian enemies.
In Exodus 15:19-21 we read When Pharaoh's horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them:
Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.
Oh that bold woman was very bold that day – bold and enthusiastic in her worship of God. How thankful she was for such a great salvation and for such a great judgement. Again, she is an example for us. Delivered from slavery and drudgery after all these years, how thankful she was, how full of rejoicing.
What about you? Has God saved you from the slavery of sin? Is Jesus your Saviour? Then are you rejoicing? Are you glad about the victory he has won over the devil and the deliverance he has made for you? Here is reason to sing and to shout!
3. Miriam the rebel – A too bold and defiant critic
The next time we hear of Miriam they are still in the desert. It is found in Numbers 12 and sadly this time we don't see her in a very good light. We are told in Numbers 12:1 that Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. We do not know why they objected. This was Moses' second wife. Presumably his first wife Zipporah had died. Perhaps they felt he was too old to remarry. It may have been the fact that this woman was dark skinned. We simply don't know – but they weren't happy and instead of keeping it to themselves or discussing it with Moses in a submissive way they began to rebel. Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? they asked (2) Hasn't he also spoken through us? There was perhaps some truth in this but the tone was all wrong. This bold woman was being too bold by far. We read And the LORD heard this. It is added in 3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Boldness has its place nut meekness is important too.
So what happens is that God calls the three of them out to the Tent of Meeting, where the LORD came down to them in a pillar of cloud. First he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. He then spoke to them and said (6-9) When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; (it was like reading the Bible) he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? They had failed to see just how very special Moses was indeed. They had known blessings and had been used by God but Moses was in a different league. And so (9-12) The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam - leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; and he said to Moses, Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away.
Why it was Miriam who was struck and not Aaron it does not say. Neither of them was happy about it. It was only when Moses cried out to the LORD on her behalf that relief was found. Even then she had to remain outside the camp for a whole seven days marking her uncleanness. 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back. They then moved on with her – no doubt very chastened. She knew she had made a mistake. It was not one that she repeated. She had learned her lesson.
One of the dangers for the bold, especially perhaps bold women, is that they can overstep the mark. Sometimes we can become impatient and frustrated and we speak out in unhelpful ways. We must be very careful when we attack a servant of God or say anything against the Bible. We probably won't be struck with leprosy but God does judge rebels and we ought not to forget it. Boldness yes – but humility too. That's the combination.
4. Miriam the leader – A bold and saved believer
The last reference to Miriam in the books of Moses is in Numbers 20:1. It says In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. She dies shortly before the death of her brother Aaron and eventually her brother Moses too. There is also a final reference in Micah 6:4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.
The Bible is quite patriarchal as you know but there is also what we might call a subversive subtext throughout and here it surfaces again with the reference to Miriam as well as to Moses and Aaron as a leader. She is not mentioned in Hebrews 11 but she was clearly a believer and died in faith – a woman used by God and one we should remember with thankfulness.

Bold Miriam 02

1. Miriam the babysitter - A bold and wise young woman
Miriam is first mentioned in Exodus 2. We're told how Moses' mother gave birth to a boy and saw he was a fine child - he was healthy. Because of the situation at the time and not wanting him to be killed she hid him for 3 months. As time went by it got more and more difficult to conceal his presence so (3) when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket (a miniature Noah's ark) for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. In 4 we're told that His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Her name is not given because the focus is on the baby – on Moses. Aaron would be three by this time (things had been easier when he was born). We don't know how old Miriam was. One assumes she was around 10 or 12.
Anyway what happens is that Pharaoh's daughter comes down to the Nile to bathe and she sees the basket among the reeds and sends her slave girl on the bank to get it. The princess opens the basket and sees the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. This is one of the Hebrew babies, she said. We don't know if she could tell by his looks, the fact he was circumcised or if she simply worked it out from the circumstances.
Anyway, at this point Miriam speaks up and on this sentence (as at other points in history too - see Esther) turns the whole of history. In a bold stroke of genius she says to Pharaoh's daughter (7) Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you? The princess immediately agrees and Miriam gets Jochebed, Moses' mother. Then comes wonderful verse 9 Pharaoh's daughter says Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you. So the woman took the baby and nursed him. It had been a dangerous moment but now in one stroke not only is Moses safe but his mother is being paid to look after him! And all thanks to Miriam. Later, and this would be important too, (10) When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, I drew him out of the water.
We've spoken to you about how God's people were slaves and how they were redeemed. It all happened under Moses and the truth is that if it were not for Miriam there may never have been a Moses. If she'd panicked and either run away or confessed who the baby's mother was, things would have been very different. No doubt Moses would have survived but he would not have been brought up by his mother in those crucial early years. He might never have even known he was a Hebrew and so would not have become the saviour of his people that he did become. Obviously God gave her the words to say but Miriam was a bold and wise girl who'd learned well from her mother. Her secret, perhaps, was that she was seeking not only to help her little brother but she was looking too for a saviour. No doubt her mother had said to her about this child -may be he will be the one to save us from slavery, to lead us out of Egypt. If she did she was right.
Wouldn't you like to have been smart like that as a girl? Perhaps you were! How can children be taught to be like that? They need to be taught not to be afraid to speak up, no doubt, but they must learn not to blab out everything. What care needs to be taken when speaking especially to strangers. We inevitably think of that later Miriam – Mary the mother of Jesus. She too was the means of bringing a Saviour into the world and keeping him safe from harm. What an impact even quite young girls can have under God.

Bold Miriam 01

Miriam or Maryam was the name of the mother of the Lord Jesus and of several other women in the New Testament. We usually refer to these women in English as Mary. We keep the name Miriam for the Old Testament woman who is best known for being Moses and Aaron's older sister, the daughter of Amram and Jochebed from the tribe of Levi.
She is not mentioned in the New Testament and there are not many references to her in the Old. There we glimpse her once as a young girl, twice in later life and then at her death in the desert. That in itself is reminds us how quickly life passes and how insignificant even the lives of significant people are.
She is the subject of this adn we are using the title “Miriam - a bold woman”. I think that's as good a title as any. I want to say four things to under that heading. Before I do so I want to just set the scene by reminding you of the times in which Miriam lived. We can think of three phases.

1. Slavery. Miriam was born in Egypt. She grew up and indeed for a very large part of her life was a slave there. When the Israelites had gone down to Egypt hundreds of years before in Joseph's time, they had been welcome guests and they really prospered. Over the years things changed and a new Pharaoh came to power. Slowly but surely Israel's fortunes sank to the level first of second class citizens, then of slaves. It even became government policy to try and destroy them. It was eventually decreed that any new born Hebrew male was to be put to death. We do not know if it was ever done but that was certainly the policy. See the end of Exodus 1.

2. Redemption. The great hope of God's people was that God would rescue them as he had promised so long ago. At first this didn't seem to be happening but eventually after a long time God raised up Miriam's own brother Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. This exodus didn't come without a titanic struggle, however, and even when they finally escaped Egypt, Pharaoh and his army came running after them. Already humiliated in the 10 plagues culminating in the death of the first born throughout Egypt, Pharaoh and his army suffered one final and ignominious defeat in the cold waters of the Red Sea, the very waters that God had just safely brought his people through.

3. Glory. On the other side of the Red Sea God brought his people safely to Sinai, where he gave the people his holy law. The time in the desert was not easy and neither Moses, Aaron nor Miriam herself lived to see the Promised Land itself. However, she and they knew that was where the people of God were bound and where one day the Messiah would be born. Miriam did not receive the things promised. Like others she only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. Like all the Old Testament saints, she was woman of faith, a bold faith that we ought to know about and that we would be wise to copy.
So four snapshots of a bold woman – Miriam.
(To be continued)

Trafalgar Square February 09

We were very glad to be able to preach in Trafalgar Square once again on February 14th. The weather was quite cold but not too bad with no wind and a little sun shining through. There were plenty of people in the Square and lots of tracts were given out.

This blog also appears here.

8 in a row

So Wales have now won 8 Six Nations games in a row (equalling the record) and are set for a second successive Grand Slam. It didn't come easy, mind, (as the man of the match going to England's Joe Worsley and their two tries to one would suggest) and it's no walk over yet. It's not quite like when I was a boy then but so far so good.

Welwyn Series Software

I read on the Exile's blog here that

The Welwyn Bible Commentaries, published by Evangelical Press are now available for pre-order from Logos Bible Software. The set includes distinguished commentaries by Philip Eveson on Genesis and Leviticus, Gary Brady on Proverbs and the Song of Songs and Derek Thomas on Isaiah and Ezekiel.
I also hear that my Proverbs commentary is to be reprinted (with some minor corrections that I've been working on) next month.
(PS There are apparently 49 such volumes and close inspection of the above graphic suggests that they are not all there. One of the missing volumes is my fat Proverbs. Shame.)
PPS The pre-publication price is around £210 - around £4 a volume, which is not bad but a lot to fork out in one go.

Christ our Refuge

The Cities of Refuge were towns in ancient Israel where those guilty of manslaughter could claim the right of asylum. Outside these cities, the avenger of blood appointed by his family to avenge the killing of a family member was allowed to put such a person to death. In Scripture we read of six cities of refuge. Golan, Ramoth Gilead and Bezer were east of the Jordan, and Kedesh, Shechem and Hebron on the west. As the map above shows, most people were within a day of one or other of these places. The subject is referred to chiefly in Numbers 35, Deuteronomy 19 and Joshua 20.
Such arrangements may seem a little primitive to us but it is important to bear in mind that there is no evidence of any similar sort of arrangement in other ancient near eastern cultures. There is a degree of sophistication in Israel's approach to murder and manslaughter then and no doubt important principles of jurisprudence are contained in the idea and should shape legislation and practice in the nations of the world.
At the same time in the city of refuge we have a wonderful picture of part of what the Lord Jesus Christ does for sinners. As the Puritan Thomas Manton once put it “Christ is a believer's City of Refuge, or the alone sanctuary for distressed souls.” One 19th Century writer, a W J Armitage, so warmed to this theme that he went to town on it and wrote a book spiritualising all six cities of refuge in different ways to bring out various aspects of this truth (See here).
Without condoning all such spiritualising we ought to remember that Jesus Christ is the only refuge for sinners. The idea of God as a refuge, the one to run to in trouble, is everywhere in the Scriptures especially in the Psalms. In Psalm 2:12 we read of the Son Blessed are all who take refuge in him. The IVP Dictionary of Biblical Imagery suggests that the idea of refuge was very much informed by the existence of these cities and says that for the average Israelite provided "an image at once of safety, protection from pursuit, a renewal of life that would otherwise be doomed and a kind of salvation."
Such thoughts inform some of our hymns - Let me to Thy bosom fly ... Other refuge have I none; Let me hide myself in Thee, etc. Charles Wesley wrote this short poem on the subject
Our City of defence, to Thee, From the avenger, Lord we flee, Who in Thy Death confide; Justice divine pursues in vain The men who God Himself have slain, When sheltered in Thy side.
Jesus is indeed a city of refuge for all who flee to him. It is important then to do two things:
1. To flee to him. We are sinners. We are guilty. However, if we hide in him, we will be safe – in this case, even though we have deliberately sinned against God. He will keep us safe and we will be spared. If a person should leave the city of refuge then he had no protection. There is no protection for us outside of Christ. We must go on hiding in him. 2. Further, we must not only hide in Christ ourselves but be eager to see others saved too. Just as the cities of refuge were numerous, near to all and with good roads so we must do all we can to make Christ available to all through the preaching of the Word. They say that the roads to the cities of refuge were not only good but well signposted – that is how it must be today with regard to Christ. We must cry out to people 'This way! This way!' We must do all we can to bring them safely to Jesus. Matthew Henry says rightly (commenting on Deuteronomy 19:11-13) “It may be alluded to to show that in Jesus Christ there is no refuge for presumptuous sinners, that go on still in their trespasses. If we thus sin wilfully, sin and go on in it, there remains no sacrifice, Hebrews 10:26. Those that flee to Christ from their sins shall be safe in him, but not those that expect to be sheltered by him in their sins. Salvation itself cannot save such: divine justice will fetch them even from the city of refuge, the protection of which they are not entitled to.” The cities of Refuge were not designed to protect murderers and salvation in Christ was never designed to give sinners an excuse to go on in their sins. No, those who take refuge in him must break with their sins and be done with them. They cannot hold on to their sins. It is vital that we see that. Do we? Flee to Christ and turn from sin. One other anonymous verse I came across says
Six Refuge Cities all in one - For Christ is all in all! And they who are in Him, are where No evil can befall. But out of Him no Refuge is No other Name neath heaven To be the sinner s hiding place Hath God to mortals given.

Guitar Link

I notice that Jan Akkerman is rightly one of ten guitarists listed as prog rock's best at Gibson's site here.

52 JC No 6

Matthew 6:13. And lead us not into temptation ...
Some people have split this petition into two. This is wrong: for the nature of the subject makes it manifest, that it is one and the same petition. The connection of the words also shows it: for the word
but, which is placed between, connects the two clauses together, as Augustine judiciously explains. The sentence ought to be resolved thus, That we may not be led into temptation, deliver us from evil. The meaning is: “We are conscious of our own weakness, and desire to enjoy the protection of God, that we may remain impregnable against all the assaults of Satan.” We showed from the former petition, that no man can be reckoned a Christian, who does not acknowledge himself to be a sinner; and in the same manner, we conclude from this petition, that we have no strength for living a holy life, except so far as we obtain it from God. Whoever implores the assistance of God to overcome temptations, acknowledges that, unless God deliver him, he will be constantly falling.
The word temptation is often used generally for any kind of trial. In this sense God is said to have tempted Abraham, (Genesis 22:1) when he tried his faith. We are tempted both by adversity and by prosperity: because each of them is an occasion of bringing to light feelings which were formerly concealed. But here it denotes inward temptation, which may be fitly called the scourge of the devil, for exciting our lust. It would be foolish to ask, that God would keep us free from every thing which makes trial of our faith. All wicked emotions, which excite us to sin, are included under the name of temptation Though it is not impossible that we may feel such pricks in our minds, (for, during the whole course of our life, we have a constant warfare with the flesh,) yet we ask that the Lord would not cause us to be thrown down, or suffer us to be overwhelmed, by temptations
In order to express this truth more clearly, that we are liable to constant stumbling and ruinous falls, if God does not uphold us with his hand, Christ used this form of expression, Lead us not into temptation: or, as some render it, Bring us not into temptation. It is certainly true, that “every man is tempted,” as the Apostle James says, (1:14 ) “by his own lust:” yet, as God not only gives us up to the will of Satan, to kindle the flame of lust, but employs him as the agent of his wrath, when he chooses to drive men headlong to destruction, he may be also said, in a way peculiar to himself, to lead them into temptation In the same sense, “an evil spirit from the Lord” is said to have “seized or troubled Saul,” (1 Samuel 16:14 :) and there are many passages of Scripture to the same purpose. And yet we will not therefore say, that God is the author of evil: because, by giving men over to a reprobate mind,” (Romans 1:28 ,) he does not exercise a confused tyranny, but executes his just, though secret judgments. ...


I just sat down to do a blog and I find my friend Adrian has already done the very exact blog I had in mind a week ago. Coincidences abound. See here for a note on the death of Sharat Sardana.

Fowlis Real Thing

After that spoof, it's only fair that we have a bit of the real thing.


(Indulge me, hey?)

Who'll give a bonnet more?
Do you wanna see it there?
Did you getta bonnet, Jenny?
Can you lick an aura?

Bonnet jelly cull,
Barn and a bull,
And your cars are Eurovision
Spar, Spar in a walled barn.

Or is it Gaelic and

Hùg air a' bhonaid mhòir
Cuiribh oirre 's leigibh leatha
Tuilleadh air a' bhonaid eile
Chan eil leth gu leòr oirre
[Celebrate the great bonnet
Add to it, leave it alone
More on the other bonnet
There's not half enough on it]

Bhonaid a bh' aig Dòmhnall Bàn
Ann an Bothalam na tàmh
Bha i uiread ris an spàrr
B' àird' i na lòban [2]
[Donald Ban's bonnet
Is to be found in Bothalam
It was as high as the roof joist
Higher than the corn-stack frame]

If so minded, why not try for the later part (less close to Fowlis own words)

Barber with a mighty hammer
Did a scissor cut
Barber with a mighty hammer
Nicked Uhura

Peppermint, bring them back
And peel em with a scissor cut
Peppermint, bring them back
And try to be Uhura

Bloggy Special 37

Weird thing

[Keith, no Ken Turner]
I haven't mentioned that while we were in High Leigh there was another conference taking place. This was the Genesis Kinds conference organised by Bryan College's Centre for Origins Research and others. We were invited to attend any of their sessions when we were free (not something I was able to do).
Anyway shortly after they arrived I looked across the room and had that strange experience when you unexpectedly see someone you know and can't quite place them. The extra weird thing here was that as I began to think I was seeing my wife's cousin's husband Keith Turner I slowly realised it was in fact his twin brother Kenneth.
Kenneth Turner is Associate Professor of Bible at Bryan College, Tennessee, where he primarily teaches Hebrew, Old Testament and theology courses (those boys have a thing for language - should hear Keith's Welsh!). Kenneth's main interest is Old Testament Theology. We've only met twice before but it was good just to shake hands and chat a bit.

Affinity blogged

The whole conference concluded with an opportunity to put a few questions to the speakers as a panel. That was a good time. Then after lunch we were all off. Despite a little a snow that morning travel didn't prove too difficult. One of the speakers, Michael Horton, came home with me and stayed the night. I took him to Heathrow this morning. It was good to have further fellowship in that way. Michael is a professor in Westminster West and the father of triplets! Copies of his magazine Modern Reformation were given to everyone at the conference.
It was a very good conference that provided sidelights on all sorts of issues. I get the impression that it is the younger men who are most attracted to new covenant theology in its various forms. I was attracted as a young man myself. The attraction seems to be the emphasis on exegesis over against systematics. Rightly the approach "where will these lead to?" was rejected by the conference. I personally want to reject NCT as it stands. It is important to say, however, that it is not so very different in practice and perhaps has some insights for us to take on board.
We were very kindly given CDs and mp3s to take home with us. Affinity can be found here.
I hope my blogs have been of interest to someone. I'm only sorry I was not able to to convey more of the fun and finesse. Bob Letham began what became a running joke on Percy the tank engine that has gone largely unreported. I enjoyed the informal fellowship with several men especially Heresy Huntin Martin Downes, Mark Thomas and others, especially from Wales. I even had time to ask Iain D Campbell (thanks for the link) about Julie Fowlis.
Anyway it's good to be back. Lots to do.
[Pics: Stephen Clark Conference chairman; my small group chaired by Jonathan Stephen; Doug Moo, Campbell and P Helm - half the final panel; the apparently uncotnroversial Horton covenants diagram; Mr Horton chats with Ayr based Gavin Beers - young but by no means NCT!]

Affinity 06

Our final paper was by Michael Horton (Westminster West) in which he proposed the idea of two sorts of covenant in Scripture - the royal or unconditional grant and the more contractual sort. Using, surprisingly, Jewish and Roman writers (including the present Pope!) he explores this approach which looks to be a useful hermeneutical tool.
In introducing the paper, the danger of looking for a distinctively Reformed theology of everything was highlighted. If we do that we will miss contributions from elsewhere eg the threefold use in Aquinas, covenant ideas and the third use of law in Melanchthon. Calvin was not innovative but more nuanced than Luther (Melanchthon was too). Luther begins by following Aquinas and thinking in OT/NT terms but with Melanchthon's help he comes to his law/gospel thinking. It is important to see that in Calvin both continuity and discontinuity exist. For Calvin, in redemptive historical terms law and gospel are opposites. As for being a principle of life, here he synthesises.
Calvin was still a child of Christendom and so instinctively he upheld the principle of general equity. On usury – Luther preached against it from Exodus but Calvin did not and calls for love to one's neighbour. He actually says these laws are obsolete.
The irony is that just when so many non-reformed are recognising two types of covenant we Reformed are fudging it.
The paper goes to RC and Jewish writers who see covenant of works/grace distinction. John Levenson notes that today's Judaism is not the same as in Second Temple Judaism. He makes clear unconditional grant and contractual yet says the always louder Sinai absorbs Zion thinking.
David Novak on ethics, emphasises the idea of conscience – a covenantal connection. Jews must keep the law but Gentiles have responsibilities too.
How interesting that Horton finds so much in Jewish and RC writers. The Abrahamic and Sinaitic difference is accepted by Ratzinger.
Questions for clarification
Genesis 15 and 17 look conditional. It looks as though circumcision is a condition. But the point is that the giving of the covenant does not depend on doing something – unlike the “If you do this I will do this” type. Circumcision is a partial cutting off, not a whole cutting off (as in the cross).
Novak says that Gentiles are under the Noahic (Noahide) Covenant (which doesn't include the law's first table). It equals natural law.
The idea of one covenant of grace with different administrations is common and fits here. Think of an over arching Abrahamic covenant with the Mosaic as a subordinate and temporary covenant of works not separate from the administration and fulfilled in Christ. The blood splashed on the people signifying their taking responsibility not as a sign of a redemptive covenant. The national covenant is conditional but there are unconditional promises too. Hodge though he says the Mosaic covenant was gracious adds that there is a works element.
Another question was whether Horton would preach on the Decalogue and the importance of the preface anchoring it in grace. In what way is the law not conditional eg Sabbath? Bavinck says that the Covenant of grace is unconditional in basis but not in operation.
Horton explained that he no longer takes the "Calvin Kline" (!) view on the Sabbath as published in his book on the Ten Commandments.
Is the Law an expression of God's character? Not of his necessary character but of his activity.
Just as we were about to leave the subject of angels was raised and how God deals with them.

Affinity 05

Our fifth session was on the use of the Mosaic Law in the NT by Chris Bennett with Steve Wilmshurst (Bristol) chairing. Chris's paper was the shortest (and latest) of the six.
Outline of the paper
1. The whole Bible - Covenant, kingdom, Christ
2. Mosaic Law and the NT
3. 1 Corinthians 5
4. 1 Corinthians 9:7-14, esp 9, 13
5. 1 Timothy 5:17-20
6. Matthew 18:16
7. Synthesis and some application
In what he himself later described as a harangue Chris explained that he was attempting to supplement and slightly modify Moo taking it into a more Reformed position. He mentioned
1. The church and the fact that dispensationalism is a big error. Replacement theology is correct. Further, Paul interprets and applies the law not in a literalistic way (not a regulative principle approach - or normative principle either). Ordering the church is not so different to ordering other things.
2. On NCT he said that this was correct in light of the exegesis of Col 2:16. Also Gal 3:15-4:7; Rom 14:5, 6; Rom 7:1-6; Rom 6:14. Even advocates of Westminster theology do not carry through it was claimed their commitment to the Decalogue as they accept that the Sabbath day has changed.
Chris repeated his idea that if the gospel is scattered throughout Scripture then why confine the law to the commandments argument.
3. His main concern was what motivates us - it should not be law.
Questions for clarification
Chris said the Puritans were fearful of antinomianism, which Stephen Clark denied but is in fact so -so I defended him. The Larger Catechism was quoted to refute the idea that it was not gospel driven - Q 75: What is sanctification?
Answer: Sanctification is a work of God's grace, whereby they whom God has, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.
Plenary Questions
After our small group session we reconvened.
Plenary Questions
These included those on whether an Infant Baptist can accept NCT, which Chris does.
It was asserted that the Westminster catechisms are gospel driven and it is unhelpful to drive a wedge between law and gospel in understanding them. This prompted a confession of hyperbole from Chris.
It was suggested that the general equity of the moral law is what is to be sought just as with other laws, which makes sense.
A question was asked about unbelievers and the Law and an orthodox answer was given.
Professor Helm also tackled Chris on doing theology and the danger of reactionism which is not the way to deal with problems (eg moralism, legalism). He also questioned the suggested Platonism in the Puritans.

Affinity 04

With our fourth paper we turned to the use of the Mosaic Law in society today, which Paul Helm tackled with Stephen Clark chairing.I hope my abbreviated notes make sense.
Professor Helm summarised his paper thus:
1. Preliminary observations. This comes from the perspective of a principled pluralist (unlike Rutherford, Calvin, etc). The problem is what is the glue that keeps society together? It cannot be Scripture. So we look to natural law. However, the problem is that the phrase is ambiguous. The approach is a bottom up one – a posteriori. It is confined to the second great commandment
2. Biblical survey. Before the law was given there was no law but there were norms. Sin but not transgression. What are these norms – things that shame the patriarchs. They recognise the fear of God – remnants of a sense of obligation. Genesis is partly organised in this way. These norms figure largely in its structure. The book of deceptions would be a good name. Part of the plot is how these deceptions are perpetrated and dealt with. Motive is not an issue here. See David van Drunen. Mosaic law is not a novelty but a codifying of norms found in the early chapters of Genesis. Though not the only fulcrum, the early chapters of Genesis define natural law. The Reformers were happy to use the language of natural law – original, universal, not secular, not pristine.
Application to the contemporary world. Very difficult to do. Eg shelter, food, children, etc. Constraints on behaviour. Yet spoiled. Some cultures are morally superior to others.
4. Connectedness or disconnectedness of morality and law.
5. Oscillation in society. After extremes, norms kick in.
Questions of clarification
1. Romans 1 and oscillation
2. What about the first table? Much more difficult. Also creates problems.
3. Practical outworking. Points of contact. Our society not secular but showing vestiges of the image of God.
4. Why is PP a good thing? See the previous but one Affinity conference. Christ is King of kings? Now and not yet.
5. More on pendulum mechanics – how do the norms kick in? Sometimes by revival but sometimes it just becomes intolerable.
Further plenary questions
After the small groups we reconvened and asked
1. The difference between natural law and common grace.?Kuyper and Bavinck moved away from Calvin and natural law to common grace under the influence of 19th Century views. Two ways of looking at the same thing.
2. Self-evidence? Not an unphilosophical term though there may be differences on the matter. Gut feelings. An appeal to conscience very similar.
3. Paul Robert's painting in Geneva with justice pointing to the Law of God. How can principled pluralism be right? Do we want to deal with Servetus as Calvin did? Th impact of the Constantinian settlement was raise and Dr Helm spoke as a good Baptist on it.
4. Really a matter of approach to winning society.
5. Importance of Romans 13.
6. Is self-evidence the same as democracy? Politics - tactics, etc. In moral argument there has to be a stopping point. Otherwise utilitarianism rules. Here is where we can take a stand eg on abominations.
7. NT impact
8. Abimelech and the fear of God
9. I asked him about Paul's references to long hair and homosexuality being unnatural.
10. The great commission is primary not the cultural mandate? For ministers yes but what about Shaftesbury, Wilberforce, etc? But the call as a church.

Affinity 03

So here we are in another new day and we begin with Douglas Moo on the covenant and the Mosaic Law, expounding Galatians.
Brief outline of the paper
Moo used no headings but these could have been inserted
1. Hermeneutical assumptions
2. Galatians
3. Threefold division of the Law
4. Detour “Under the law”
5. Back to Galatians
6. Other texts - Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4
7. Important nuances
Dr Moo spoke of method. An affirmation of systematics. On the other hand, speculation is to be avoided. We must be grounded in Scripture. There is a hermeneutical spiral and we never arrive. He commented on the NT use of the word covenant. It is not that we cannot use Scripture words in ways not found in Scripture. However, we are raising the question of whether the Reformed use of the word covenant meshes with the NT. OT terminology does not necessarily (in fact is unlikely to) match NT terminology. As for the term New Covenant theology, Moo is uneasy about such categorisation. The view is that held by Luther, dispensationalists, etc. Labels are necessary but this one is not helpful.
We all struggle with certain texts but Scriptural data is important.
Textual data. Moo spoke of himself jokingly as just a humble NT scholar! Some people like his undoubted humility. I'm a suspicious type and so I'm not sure it proves anything.
On the threefold division, uses of the Law, etc he simply asks do any of these distinctions become a basis for continuity or discontinuity in the NT data?
Trying to find a way to express continuity. Form and substance does not work. No Mosaic Law continues to have authority over the believer except as it does through Christ and his Apostles. (This is no doubt correct but is something of a truism if the Ten Commandments are all treated like this – as I am sure they are).
Place of the law in the Christian life. There is a tendency to give the law too great a place. If Paul was asked about this he would emphasise life in the Spirit. Law is important but it must not supplant the Spirit.
Questions of clarification
Dr Moo questioned our use of the word clarification but answered many questions including these
1. When NCT types speak of the need for commands to be repeated in the NT they are not saying that in a wooden, proof texting way.
2. I asked Dr Moo if his position was Reformed. He agreed it was not but claims to be Reformed in other respects. To be fair to be Reformed while rejecting covenant theology is a strange kind of reformed but then some Reformed people would say that about all Baptists!
3. We are bound only to what is repeated in the NT – this was reiterated.
4. Dr Moo is inerrantist lining up with the view of Greg Beale.
5. When asked about the Spirit as prophesied in Ezekiel and the fact that the Spirit was to be given “so that you will obey the Law". He felt there must be a difference between the prophetic concept and the NT reality. What the NT transformed heart would look like was not clear to OT saints.
6. As for any difference between morality in the NT and in the Decalogue there is none – except with the inevitable fourth commandment. The Decalogue, however, is OT not NT. The 4th commandment is not an eternal moral law. Otherwise why the change to a Sunday? After our small group meeting we came back and questioned Dr Moo further.
Further questions
These included
1. In Matthew 23 Jesus tells the people to do what the religious leaders say but not what they do was the religious leaders say but not what they do was raised. It is difficult but is probably to do with the change of dispensation.

2. Implications of NCT. Fourth commandment. Importance of the Lord's Day. If we lose this aren't we losing out and failing to witness to Christ's resurrection.
3. When asked to confess a dispensationalist background Dr Moo denied having one but affirmed that he had many good friends who are dispensationalist.
4. Fears of disaster if NCT takes hold were expressed and the matter of creation and the Sabbath raised. Dr Moo doubted whether the Sabbath was established at creation.
5. OT/NT believers. Certainly there is continuity but there must be discontinuity. It is seen by Moo in terms of greater inward power and direction.
6. Tom Holland (WEST) spoke of huge differences between the discussion of the Law in the Gospels and in the epistles. We must not confuse the two. We are too atomistic in our approach too. The context of Gentiles and Jews is important. The covenant is a marriage relationship. We must see the bigger picture, the context. 7. The question of bestiality was raised as this is a command not repeated in the NT but there is surely no difference in the way Moo would deal with this as opposed to a Reformed theologian.
If you would like a less pedestrian and more up to the minute blog try
here with Adrian Reynolds.

Affinity 02

Our second session was on the threefold division of the Mosaic Law, a view often under attack today. The paper was prepared by Iain D Campbell (Back Free Church). Mostyn Roberts (Welwyn) chaired.
Brief outline of the paper
1. Threefold division articulated
2. Historical considerations
Patristic thought; Aquinas; Calvin
3. Alternative considerations
4. Exegetical considerations
Manner of the giving of the Ten Commandments; Subsequent OT reflection on the law of God; Use of the concept of the law in the Gospels and Paul
5. Theological considerations
Adam prototype of Israel and Christ; Christ incarnation and embodiment of the law; Sin as violation of the moral precept; Atonement and its consequences as the vindication of the law's righteousness
6. Conclusion
We were also told that a PhD on the subject by Philip Ross has been completed plus various points such as the point that a covenant only formalises an existing relationship. The law should be seen as a generic development of the Abrahamic covenant. The importance of the preface to the commandments was stressed. It was denied that Sinai saw a republication of the covenant of works. The gospel is God's determination to save sinners.
Questions for clarification
It was questioned whether the statement that for Calvin the moral law, the 10 commandments were absolute and perpetual was correct. The difference between a relationship and a covenant was pursued. The remark that though the gospel gives us wings it is the law that gives us direction was queried. Etc.
Small groups
Here we looked at questions raised by the paper such as whether Adam broke all 1o commandments in one go (as Thomas Boston asserts) and made a little more progress.
Plenary Questions
This was when Doug Moo and the new covenant men came out fighting. They are clearly very unhappy with the threefold division but did not seem to me to make a valid case against it. 1 Corinthians 9 was mentioned and the oxen ploughing yet that does seem to be an example of drawing out the general equity of a civil law.

Affinity 01

I set off to the Affinity conference in High Leigh this morning and met Mark Johnston (Grove) and his assistant Simon Arscott en route. There are about 140 of us here including LTS students coming in on a daily basis. We began rightly with an examination of the concept of covenant in the history of theology. Dr Robert Letham (WEST) had prepared the paper; Robert Strivens (LTS) chaired.
Brief outline of the paper
1. Preliminary considerations
Covenant in the Bible; Covenant theology: a problem of definition
2. From the Apostles to Augustine
Covenant and redemptive history; Covenant and soteriology
3. Mediaeval Europe
Covenant and politics: mediaeval constitutional theory; Emergence of social contract theory;
The King and the rule of law; Soteriological perspective again
4. Covenant theology in the classic reformed period
Covenant of grace; Classic statement Westminster
Under law Under gospel
Covenant of works/life
Arguments against Rationale
Covenant and law; Covenant and politics; Covenant of redemption?
In addition to his paper Dr L called attention to the idea of progress in theology, warning of the danger of reading ideas back into history. He also spoke of the differences among Reformed theologians over the place of the Mosaic covenant in relation to the Abrahamic covenant. The majority with Calvin wrote of one covenant with different administrations. Generally the Puritans taught that Sinai was never intended to be a means of grace. As for the covenant of redemption, the idea is post Westminster standards beginning with Owen and others. It was intended to buttress the doctrine of penal substitution. Covenant and union with Christ are very important. However, for Dr Letham the notion as normally propounded undermines its own case by threatening classic Trinitarian doctrine. Owen was aware of this. Dr Letham seemed happier with John Brown, Dick, Kuyper, Hoeksema (Council of peace) – the Trinity in covenant with the Second Adam.
He closed with an amusing but slightly irrelevant reading from "Percy takes the plunge" by Rev W Awdry (sic)
Questions for clarification
These were with regard to one will in God. (Gethsemane is best understood as being an alignment of Christ's human and divine wills. Certainly God has one will and great care needs to be taken in the matter of the covenant of redemption. It was confirmed that Owen took the minority view that Sinai was a republication of the covenant of grace. The objection to the covenant of redemption was reiterated. It is like a business meeting, the Holy Spirit sending his apologies.
Small groups
We then adjourned to small groups for half an hour to consider five questions including
1. Mosaic covenant radically different from Abrahamic? After fall two different covenants or always only one covenant of grace?
We felt the second was development of the first.
2. Arguments for and against the pre-fall covenant of creation/nature/works/life? Are arguments against the priority of law valid? Not sure.
3. Should we abandon the idea of an eternal covenant? No.
We made little progress with these difficult questions despite some able contributors in our group.
Plenary questions
These didn't get us very much further. Dr Letham summed up recommending Last Things First: Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology by John V Fesko. He saw the covenant of works as logically deducible, opposing a solo scriptura approach (something evidenced in our small group). The covenant of redemption needs care in how it is formulated. The view has no confessional support.

Heavenly Worldly Links

Here are some links you might like.
Two are more worldly

1. Animal babies. I guess this one is designed for kids but it's interesting anyway. I discovered it when I wanted to know the correct name for baby rabbits. There's a nostalgia element here as this is the sort of thing they taught you when I was a boy.

2. Historical coincidences. I found this one when I had that coincidence with hearing Focus's Sylvia opposite a hairdresser's called Sylvia. Example

Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins was delighted to hear that he had landed a leading role in a film based on the book The Girl From Petrovka by George Feifer. A few days after signing the contract, Hopkins travelled to London to buy a copy of the book. He tried several bookshops, but there wasn't one to be had. Waiting at Leicester Square underground for his train home, he noticed a book apparently discarded on a bench. Incredibly, it was The Girl From Petrovka. That in itself would have been coincidence enough but in fact it was merely the beginning of an extraordinary chain of events. Two years later, in the middle of filming in Vienna, Hopkins was visited by George Feifer, the author. Feifer mentioned that he did not have a copy of his own book. He had lent the last one - containing his own annotations - to a friend who had lost it somewhere in London. With mounting astonishment, Hopkins handed Feifer the book he had found. 'Is this the one?' he asked, 'with the notes scribbled in the margins?' It was the same book.

Two are more heavenly

1. Grace Publications. One of many hats I wear is that of a trustee of Grace Publications. Andrew Shrimpton has recently set up a website for us and has kindly reminded me that I have not mentioned it yet. So here it is. Do have a look. There are excellent books there, especially the condensed classics series and Nick Needham's church history.

2. Don Carson. I also recently came across this link to a wealth of audio material by Dr Carson.

New Photo Series 17

London Underground

Bunnies - More footage


The Kids Trivia game we got at Christmas is good but this reference to the explorer Dr Henry Livingstone is off the mark.

Book Buys January

I've been busy reading the Affinity papers but in the last month or so I've also bought five books. These are they:
(Studies in Baptist History and Thought)


I must admit I'm half glad that the snow has come as I'm incredibly busy at present. It started last Monday with an evening committee meeting for the London Inreach Project in Covent Garden. Prior to that the day was fairly easy. Managed to go for a run round the park.
On Tuesday I was out all afternoon continuing to pursue the matter of where the Evangelical Library should move to. As reported, I spent Tuesday evening at Grove Chapel listening to jazz.
Wednesday was dominated by my regular visits to take services at Spring Court and Heath Grove Lodge (on Philippians 1 and Jonah 4). In between that I popped into central London to meet up with my good friend Chris Buckingham. In the evening it was our regular midweek meeting (looking at Deuteronomy 18).
In the midst of all this I found myself sheltering from the rain with my i-pod on. A live version of Sylvia (my all time favourite) came on and although I've listened to that song thousands of times it struck me once again how good it is. As I looked up there was the word Sylvia across the road in front to me (good job I'm not religious, eh?).
By Thursday I had so much to do I had to get up an hour earlier. I fitted most of it in, including writing a tract, preparing various other things and an afternoon Greek session at LTS on participles and the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount. In the evening we had our bi-monthly church members meeting. It's always a good time but I wish we could have more present.
On Friday I was in Welwyn at the EMF lecturing on JWs and Mormons. I had some business at a bank near Goodge Street en route home plus a visit to Finchley to read from Lloyd-Jones' masterful Preachers and preaching with Richard Raven a student at LTS who is one of our mentoring students. (He preached for us yesterday and quite acceptably too). We celebrated Dylan's birthday in the evening with fahitas and krispy kreme doughnuts. Also that evening, of course, it was the clubs for children and young people where I spoke about this current ad on the buses suggesting there is no God and we had a quiz.
Saturday morning we were giving out tracts in Golders Green in the bitterly cold wind - not the best weather for it. In the afternoon most of the family went to Aldenham Country Park and had a nice time there despite the cold.
Sunday morning I preached in the Welsh church, as reported. The three older boys were in Childs Hill to hear Richard. We went for a walk in Kenwood in the afternoon. I took communion in the evening adn then Richard preached on Psalm 145.