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.

Grace Assembly 2010 09

John Hall was the final speaker. He took us to Isaiah 66 and especially verse 2. Again exploring this matter of the sovereignty of God he reminded us that what matters in the end is what God thinks of us.
He began by instancing the poor examples of the man on the king's arm in 2 Kings 6, Nadab and Abihu, King Saul and Ananias and Sapphira. He moved then to the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke only what the Father commanded in the way he commanded and to the matter of obedience - not an optional matter for us but a heart matter and a salvation matter.
Right at the end of Isaiah he noted is the theme of the new heavens and the new earth. It does not end there , however, but with the question he began with - obedience and disobedience.
He then made three points
1. The foundation for humbling oneself and trembling at God's Word.
It is crucial to see the sovereignty of God and the fact that he is the Creator. These themes are very clear in the chapter.
2. What or who it is that the sovereign Creator God esteems or looks upon
John then spoke about the difficulties of humility and obedience but that we must be determined to seek. Conscious of sin in our lives we should seek to tremble at the Word. If we merely listen to the Word it will only condemn us. It must rather change us. Self-assertion is not the answer. That leads only to misery. Rather, it is the blood of Christ that saves us. Through him we become humble, contrite and yet joyful. Sovereign grace experienced in the heart is the key to obeying God rather than man. People see this as a miserable worm theology but in fact anything self-centred will lead to misery in the end and the only hope for us is the sovereign power of God. What a thing the love of God is. It enables us to see our lameness and the need to cast ourselves on the Lord. If we have never trembled we are not converted. If we are getting older and have trembled we need to keep trembling.
3. The contrast between formalists and compromisers and the one who truly trembles
Choosing our own ways is offensive to God as is ignoring his Word. We see that in evangelical churches today. It's not the beat we need but the Word.
People will not love us for trembling at God's Word but we must be faithful. What joy lies ahead for such in God.
John is a blunt northern Baptist appalled at evangelicalism today and eager to urge preachers to preach the Word with honesty and power. It was good to hear him.

Grace Assembly 2010 08

So on our final morning there was another opportunity to hear the inimitable Barry King. I did think at one point this may be ordinary but a ever it was searching and powerful and well worth hearing.
His subject was the sovereignty of God and he spoke chiefly from 1 Chronicles 29. As an assembly we confess to a belief in this but do we really believe it in practice?
After a number of introductory remarks about how to go about the subject, Barry gave us this definition:
God because he is God has the right as well as the might to do whatever he purposes to do whether he chooses to discover the nature of these purposes to us or not
An examination of David's prayer reveals David's view of God -
Who is he? The eternally exalted King of heaven and earth. Who God is - this is something we must see and hold on to.
What does he have? He has greatness and glory, etc.
What can he do? He can do anything (that is morally and logically possible). However, God does only that which he has purposed and decreed. Our problem is usually not with what God can do but what he in fact he does do.
David lists seven things God can do
1. God can give riches and honour to men
God can do this but we are perplexed when he gives it to others and not to his people
2. God can give greatness and strength to men
Similarly we wonder why we do not enjoy more of it
3. God can provide for all his works
"God's work done in God's way will not lack God's provision" (Hudson Taylor). We believe that yet we are perplexed at times at the lack of provision for the Lord's work.
We wonder at our wonder, bewildered at our bewilderment and so we turn inward and nurse our doubts and fears.
4. God can test men's hearts
What about religious charlatans then? Why are we led into ways that are not good for us?
5. God can keep his purposes in the hearts of his people
So why then are so many led astray and why do his people fail so often?
6. God can direct hearts to him
So why does it seem at times that our hearts are going in every other direction
He slipped in that Vance Havner quote
“The church is so subnormal that if it ever got back to the New Testament normal it would seem to people to be abnormal.”
7. God can give our children all they need to obey his statutes and commandments Though God can do everything, he sometimes does not do what he can do. Mother Teresa when asked what would you say to God replied "You have a lot of explaining to do". Are we going to be like her? This is something that the Book of Job deals with. Job is not about "why do the righteous suffer?" If so, it does not answer the question. Rather, it deals with the question of "why the righteous serve?".
Barry then gave a powerful closing illustration of a faithful pastor who had seen no visible fruit yet still loved and served the Lord. The final call was to a full orbed acceptance of God's sovereignty.
He closed in prayer.
Powerful stuff.

Grace Assembly 2010 07

Our evening session was again taken by Gerard Hemmings. He took us to the passage following the one we looked at last night - 2 Kings 6:24-7:20 (the siege of Jerusalem in the time of Elisha). Again his method was to work through the narrative and then make some applications but beginning with the questions of whether we should ever take things into our own hands instead of waiting. He made the point that the Lord is there throughout but only reveals something of his army to the Arameans near the end - thus linking it with the previous section. God as he does so often uses unclean lepers to bring the good news. The application there is obvious.
The promise of divine deliverance - does God keep his Word? Can we wait for the Lord? Three people here take things into their own hands - the mother, the king, the officer - if only they'd waited. The promise is fulfilled but they are shut out of the blessing because they would not wait. Just at the last minute the answer comes. He will always do what he says. Under siege we are often tempted to take things into our own hands but we must rather remember the promises of God's Word and listen to it.
Again this was encouraging and helpful.
Following this session we had a question time to close the day.

Grace Assembly 2010 News

We had a business session this afternoon which went well. We also had a photo opportunity at tea time. Then we had a news session featuring various items under the chairmanship of Stephen Rees.
We began with Pastor Ismael Montejo being interviewed by Matt Gamston. Pastor Ismael is a pastor in the church in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines where I was last year. He is a fascinating fellow as he was converted while working as a young man in Saudi Arabia at a Filipino underground church. He spoke about the church there briefly and its various important ministries. Jim Sayers prayed.
We also had another opportunity to hear from Jeyakanth Selverajah who is currently in the UK because of the uncertain situation in Sri Lanka. This was supplemented by an introduction to Lanka Evangelical Fellowship by Barry Owen. John Hall prayed.
Then there was an encouraging report by Alec Taylor on the growing work with Pilgrim Bible Notes. There were also reports on the need for more room in Lower Ford Street in Coventry by Peter Cordle and the Open Air Mission by Geoff Cox. Jack Jenner closed the session in prayer. After he had done so Stephen was prompted to ask about Ulverston, where there is great need at present.

Grace Assembly 2010 05

Our second morning session was led by Andrew Keen, a solicitor and a member of the Grace Baptist Church in Whittlesey. His subject was whether Christians should ever disobey the law. As he said, quoting his mother, what is the issue? However, it can become complex. We are in such a situation now. Beginning with Jesus and rendering taxes to Caesar he went on to say certain helpful things. He prefaced what he had to say with three warnings
1. Remember the question - whether we should obey bad laws? While a law stands it should be obeyed where possible.
2. These are the views of a British man born in the sixties applying the Bible to today
3. This is a lawyer

We then had these helpful points

Presumption - we should obey the law
1. It is the overwhelming teaching of Scripture
2. Law is good. There is something worse than bad laws - no law
3. Obedience is part of our worship - what ever sacrifice is involved
4. God will sometimes use bad laws to punish sinners

Ten key things to do when confronted by a difficult law
1. Negotiate - like Daniel in Chapter 1 of his prophecy
2. Flee - sometimes this is an option. Change your job, etc
3. Be consistent
4. Show respect eg not evangelising on the property of others
5. Consider the cost - will this mean a fine of losing my children?
6. Consider your motive
7. Consider origins - the way the law has been arrived at
8. Be certain about what the law actually says
9. Consider need
10. We should be willing to find a way round breaking the law if we can. Eg street preacher approached and asked opinion on homosexuality may say he does not wish to say as he might be arrested!

Five examples of disobedience in Scripture that lead to blessing
1. Shiphrah and Puah the Hebrew midwives
We should refuse to take innocent life
2. The three friends in Daniel
We should refuse to worship a false god
3. Daniel
We should refuse to disobey God's law in private Here we had some helpful distinctions a law saying home schoolers should teach evolution should be obeyed but not teaching evolution as true. We should ask how important is it - eg amplification of music, not meeting at night. There is a difference between state laws about administrators and those regaridng pastors, between sacking a pastor for changing the hymn book and for immorality. He spoke of a new law due to come in that will prevent those on the sex offenders register teaching in Sunday School. He suggested that if a man guilty of an offence 40 years back is now teaching in Sunday School then the ban should be complied with though not if they try and ban him from preaching or offering hospitality.
4. The Apostles in Acts
We were urged to note that these were Jews, what happened was taking place in the Temple, there is a lack of a precedent, the content of the preaching, the context of good works, the complete ban involved. On the basis of this he gave an example of a carnival in Cardiff where a man comes from London on his own and attacks homosexuality and a local church making a stand. He suggested there was a big difference between the two examples.
5. Rahab
This was left to last because it is different to others and quite exceptional. The point is that we must never betray God. There was no chance of fleeing of compromising. It does not really apply to any situation we are facing today.
Stacked with illustrations, this was an excellent paper, one that is well worth hearing. It will be on the Grace Assembly website here in due time.

Grace Assembly 2010 04

We finished off last night with Simon Calvert from the Christian Institute. Then this morning we began with a prayer meeting before breakfast.
The first main session was a biographical paper from Stephen Rees on Obadiah Holmes (1607-1682). Stephen told us that he was born in Reddish, now part of Stockport and so a local hero for him. He was brought up by godly parents and under conviction married and emigrated to Massachusetts in 1638 where he was eventually converted. In 1648 he became a Baptist, which was the beginning of his earthly problems as he and his fellows were persecuted by the state and forced into exile in Rhode Island.
In 1651 Holmes and two others (Clarke and Crandall) travelled to Lynn to a Baptist, where they baptised and preached. Arrested, they were forced to go to the evening service, where they kept their hats on to make a point. The next day they were found guilty and as they were already exiled it was decided (illegally) that they should be fined and if they did not pay they would be whipped. Holmes is the one who ended up being whipped - 90 lashes.
Time failed to tell of his faith and acts subsequently. He was an ancestor of Abraham Lincoln.
One of the consequences of the stand Holmes and the others took led to Henry Dunster, the Principal of Harvard, to become a Baptist. The Baptist stand caused a rethinking of the role of the state in this area. Two years before Holmes death a Baptist church was gathering in Boston without persecution. Eventually the Baptist idea was written into the American constitution.
You can find biographical material on Holmes here and here. Edwin Gaustad's biography with extensive quotations from Holmes can be accessed here. Stephen quoted especially from pages 74-76.
It was good to be reminded of the stand that our forefathers made in this area, obeying God rather than men. What a wonderful story.

Grace Assembly 2010 03

This evening our preacher was Gerard Hemmings, the pastor of Amyand Park Chapel. I was chairing. He preached on that striking incident in 2 Kings 6:8-23. He took us through the narrative and then drew out these two lessons.
1. Remember God's grace. There is a lesson here about showing mercy. What a contrast between the King of Israel and God himself the King. It points us forward to the grace of God enabling people to sit down with him at his table. Gerard drew an interesting connection with what happened many, many years later just outside Damascus (in Aramaic of Syrian territory) when another blinded man was led by the hand. The story in 2 Kings 6 is the trailer for the main feature that is the New Testament period. He gave some modern examples of God saving his enemies - Spies at a Chinese church (see D Ralph Davies), persecutors in Sri Lanka, a militant atheist friend, all of us who believe, etc. We are so few and they are so many and they have one thing in mind but the Lord of hosts is with us so why be ashamed of the gospel? Why be afraid? Why flee? So I will pray for Richard Dawkins and others like him.
2. Do not fear. The problem that afflicted Elisha's servant was that he could not see the spiritual reality. That is why he was so afraid. If we see things as we should then we will be confident. We are forgiven, we have a future hope. Our labour in the Lord is never in vain. Those with us are more than those with them. We know that we will triumph in him. But then again the Syrians are all too real. We can faint or we can pray - as Elisha did. We need to pray for ourselves and for one another. We don't need to send for help. It is there.
Never forget from whom these blessings flow - the one who has all power and yet who laid down his life on the cross that we may know his protection and love.

Grace Assembly 2010 02

It was a privilege to hear in the second session Gerhard Roth from Wetzlar, near Frankfurt, in Germany. He spoke of the darkness of Germany where just 2 million of the 85 million are Protestant (Lutheran or Reformed). Most of these would be nominal. There are also a million or so independent Christians, the Baptist Union being the largest group. Johan Oncken was the original founder of the Reformed Baptists in the early 19th century. There were close connections between Spurgeon and Oncken. The Oncken Verlag published many Spurgeon sermons in German. The BU, however, soon moved from its good origins and today is not Reformed and liberal in many cases.
More recently there has been a small movement towards Reformed Baptist theology. A few people in different places in Germany came across Reformed books such as the Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain Murray translated into German. Bowdlerised versions of Spurgeon also raised questions for people. Jorg Muller's Warburg Verlag also began alongside the Fiel Verlag.
In 1995 a church was formed - probably the first RB church in Germany in many, many a year. The church sought help from other RB churches but made little progress until a church in Northern Ireland lent a hand. Still the church had no pastor and eventually there was a sad split. However, in 2009 a small church formed in Wetzlar (and also in Biskirchen). Two other churches also formed (in Waldenbuch and Heilbron) soon after and there are now 5 or 6 of them (Neunstadt is another).
There is also work in Denmark (refugees because they are home schoolers - home schooling is illegal in Germany), near Munich and now in West Berlin. Since 2005 there have been camps for young people involving people also from France and Switzerland. Martin Holdt did consider coming as a missionary but eventually declined but two others have gone to Germany (including former LTS student Andre Bay). Germany that once sent out missionaries to Africa is now receiving missionaries from Africa.
We were urged to pray for the many young people. He confessed the danger of Shibboleths and the need of love. He also spoke of the danger of emigration under pressure. He explained the freedom that they have but there is a problem of an increasingly anti-Christian climate of the atheistic and superstitious sorts. Because the schools are so bad many Christians are keen to home school. However, Germany is the one country in Europe where state schooling is compulsory (it has been the case since 1938! - significant year) and there can be many difficulties. The German law is actually anti-constitutional. He drew attention to the story of the Romeikes who have found asylum in the USA - see here. Also see here.
At the end Daniel Webber of EMF also spoke about Jorg and Heike Muller.
Wetzlar RBC
Heilbron Fellowship
Also Hanover and Celle

Grace Assembly 2010 01

Our opening session featured our host David Last. The Assembly this year is entitled Obeying God rather than men and David began by taking us to Luke 4 and Jesus's appearance in the synagogue in Nazareth. He spoke on the subject of expectations and how these can be very difficult. It is especially difficult with regard to the expectations of unbelievers. This what Jesus is facing in the passage. These people are full of expectation about what he can do for Nazareth. Jesus confronts them about the need for repentance. In this obey God rather than men moment he refuses to pander to their selfishness any more than he had pandered to selfishness when he was in the desert shortly before. The reaction to his bluntness is predictable. How dare he treat his own community in this way. They turn into a mob - a devilish mob. Like him they want to see if he can survive a long fall.
Having sketched the picture David made three helpful points.
1. The importance of humility. Like Jesus we need to put others first in genuine humility. This does not come naturally but the same Spirit who enabled him can enable us.
2. We need to be willing to cause upset. It is not always the tone needed but sometimes it is. Sometimes to obey God rather than men, we must go against expectations. It is most likely to happen with those nearest to you. That will no be easy. You will appear to be a failure and it will hurt.
3. We need to look to the hope set before us. In the midst of the tension and the difficulty there is this wonderful message from Isaiah about Messiah. There is an unstoppable plan as are those who serve in it - people like you and me. Jesus was taken to the very cliff edge but it was not his time. Even though they killed him in the end, he rose again. Nothing can ultimately go wrong for the believer. Life can only get better and better.
So a great start!

Family bowling

To celebrate my reaching the grand age of 51 last Saturday we went out as a family to a bowling alley followed by a meal in Nando's. Great fun! Modesty forbids my stating who won.

Football Focus

This new Nike ad neatly combines two subjects - the upcoming world cup and my favourite band Focus (Hocus Pocus is the main music - though it starts with something else).

Fallen Fallen Fallen

I was reading from Isaiah the other day.

Fallen fallen fallen
is Babylon the great!
Space is getting bounded,
time is getting late!

Masters fall and wonder,
people rise and wait
Fallen fallen fallen
is Babylon the great!

You don't need a coin,
I don't have to shine
We don't know the reason

But I need you madly
and you need me too
and we need each other...
and we need each other...
and we need each other...

A few words

I knew you'd want to see this picture of me lecturing last Monday. In front of me are about half the 28 books that Lloyd-Jones wrote forewords for. You can read the whole lecture here.

A few words on forewords 4

An emphasis on the Bible's absolute authority and divine inspiration
Alongside this obvious concern about authentic Christian experience and revival in particular, Lloyd-Jones never lost sight of the vital importance of Scripture. His foreword to Burrowes on Canticles bristles with eagerness to get at what the text means. Similarly commending Hendriksen on John his stance is

Here is an invaluable aid for all preachers, Sunday school workers and Bible Class leaders, and indeed for all who “desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby.” All who enter into the riches of this great Gospel under the guidance of Dr Hendriksen will find their minds informed, their faith quickened, strengthened and established, and their hearts moved to adoration. At any rate that has been my experience. That is what one is entitled to ask and to expect of any commentary, but alas it is a desideratum that is but rarely satisfied by modern commentaries.

His commitment to divine inspiration made him a great admirer of Warfield. He describes his unforgettable experience of discovering Warfield's works in a library in Toronto in 1932. He felt like “‘stout Cortez’ as described by Keats”.

Before me stood the ten sizeable volumes published by Oxford University Press. But, alas, it was the OUP of New York only and not of this country also. Friends and pupils of Warfield had arranged the publication ... The fact that they were not published in this country is a sad commentary on the state and condition of theological thinking here at that time.

Lloyd-Jones was full of admiration for Warfield's stance in the “the age of the 'liberal Jesus' and 'the Jesus of history' who was contrasted with the 'Christ of Paul'”. As he says

The Bible had been subjected to such drastic criticism that not only was its divine inspiration and unique authority denied but the whole idea of revelation was in question. The Lord Jesus Christ was but a man, 'the greatest religious genius of all time', miracles had never happened because miracles cannot happen, our Lord's mission was a failure, and His death on the cross but a tragedy. The great truths proclaimed in the historic Creeds of the Church, and especially in the great Confessions of Faith drawn up after the Protestant Reformation, concerning the Bible as the Word of God and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ were being questioned and rejected by the vast majority of 'scholars'.
While there were many who fought valiantly to stem this tide and to refute the errors which were being propagated, it can be said without any fear of contradiction that B B Warfield stood out pre-eminently and incomparably the greatest of all. He was peculiarly gifted for such a task. He had a mathematical mind and had at one time considered the possibility of a career as a mathematician. His precision and logical thinking appear everywhere. Added to this he was a first class New Testament scholar and a superb exegete and expositor. Furthermore, he had received the best training that was available at the time, and not only in his own country. He thus could meet the liberal scholarship on its own grounds and did so.

The Doctor then exults in the Warfield method and especially the fact that though “thoroughly familiar with all the literature for him the test always was "to the law and to the testimony"”. His question was “Was this a true exegesis and interpretation of what the Scripture said? Was it consistent and compatible with what the Scripture said elsewhere? What were the implications of this statement? and so on.”
He goes on to say that “no theological writings are so intellectually satisfying and so strengthening to faith ... He shirks no issue and evades no problems and never stoops to the use of subterfuge.” Lloyd-Jones was impressed by “his honesty and integrity as much as by his profound scholarship and learning” that meant there was “a finality and authority about all he wrote”.
Like other of the Doctor's heroes, Whitefield in particular, it was Warfield's fate to be largely ignored. “It is quite amazing to note the way in which this massive theologian is persistently ignored and seems to be unknown. A 'conspiracy of silence' is perhaps the only weapon with which to deal with such a protagonist.” No doubt it was easy to sympathise for one who would often tread a lonely path down the years. For Lloyd-Jones the contemporary need was great but the reader can be greatly helped “thanks to Warfield's particular method”. He will be helped “to face and to answer criticisms of the historic evangelical faith in their most modern form and guise”.
Though very different to Warfield, this is one of the things the Doctor admired about J C Ryle too. Writing about the book Holiness he says

The characteristics of Bishop Ryle's method and style are obvious. He is pre-eminently and always scriptural and expository. He never starts with a theory into which he tries to fit various Scriptures. He always starts with the Word and expounds it. It is exposition at its very best and highest. It is always clear and logical and invariably leads to a clear enunciation of doctrine. It is strong and virile and entirely free from the sentimentality that is often described as "devotional."

His foreword to the 1946 edition of The Infallible Word by lecturers at Westminster Seminary also points to his emphasis on the Bible's absolute authority and divine inspiration. He wrote

The problem of authority has always been crucial in the life of the individual and the Church; and to Protestants that authority has always been found in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself mediated to us through "the infallible Word." The Bible and our attitude to it has always therefore been at the very heart and centre of the conflict between true evangelicals and Roman Catholicism on the one hand, and liberal and modernistic Protestantism on the other hand.

He goes on to lament that

Once more the Reformation cry of "Sola Scriptura" is being questioned and that in a most subtle manner. A new authority is being set alongside the Scripture as being co-equal with it, and in some respects superior to it - the authority of modern scientific knowledge. The Scriptures are still regarded as being authoritative in all matters of religious experience. But not only is their authority in such matters as the creation of the universe and man, and even historical facts which play a vital part in the history of salvation, and which were accepted by our Lord Himself, being questioned and queried; it is even being asserted that it is foolish of us to look to the Scriptures for authoritative guidance in such matters. It has recently been remarked that some well-known evangelical writers are arguing that there is a distinction between the Bible's teaching and what is found in that book which is incidental. They believe that the scientific assumptions are usually in the category of incidentals and do not belong to the infallible teaching. In like manner certain historical data are not a part of the infallible message of Scripture.

Men were forgetting the work of the Holy Spirit “and that our task is to be faithful to "the truth once and for ever delivered to the saints."” Once again it was book he could commend as one that would inform minds, warm hearts and strengthen resolution.

A few words on forewords 5

An emphasis on Calvinistic doctrine as against Pelagianism and Arminianism
This particular emphasis is more implicit rather than explicit. The very authors and subjects speak volumes – Bunyan's Holy War, the Puritans, the Geneva Bible, Whitefield, Williams, Harris, Haldane on Romans, Warfield, Hendriksen, Klaas Runia. Writing of Donald McLean he remarks

But one had not been long in his company before realising that the most important thing about him was his great concern for the Truth, and his special zeal for the propagating of the Reformed Faith. That was the great passion of his life, and in a very short time he always turned the conversation in that direction.
Above everything else, however, what was most striking about him was the way in which he combined absolute loyalty to the Truth as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith with a marked catholicity of spirit.

That was an ideal for Lloyd-Jones “loyalty to the Truth as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith with a marked catholicity of spirit”. He praises McLean's “truly oecumenical spirit”.

An emphasis on biblical church unity as against false ecumenism
That leads us onto the matter of biblical church unity, a well known concern of the Doctor's that surfaces at several points. In the preface to the book by Fletcher of Madeley (1968) we have an emphasis both on experience and unity. Speaking of a great communion service held in August 1769 and attended by Calvinists and Arminians, he says that what made it possible was

Their common experience of the grace of God, their doctrine of assurance, but above all their deep experimental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what made them the men they were and gave them their evangelistic zeal; and this accounts for the authority which was such a great characteristic of their preaching. This is what brought them together, in spite of their differences.

With typical Lloyd-Jonesian hyperbole he says “Nothing is more important than this”.
His interest in church history was fuelled not only by an interest in Christian experience but also in the need to learn lessons on the matter of true Christian unity. He commends Poole-Connor's History of Evangelicalism in England (1951) as “a most timely and much needed book” saying

The so-called Ecumenical Movement will, of necessity, cause all Evangelicals to re-examine and re-consider their position more and more. It has already done so in many countries, and there is much uneasiness in many minds in this country.
Our first duty, therefore, is to make certain that we are clear as to the meaning of our terms. What do we Evangelicals represent, and how can that be determined? This book is an answer to these questions.

It was Poole-Connor's interaction with “the leading problem of our age” that he highlights in his foreword to his biography (1966) “the question of the nature of the Christian church and especially the relationship of the evangelical Christian to that problem”.
Lloyd-Jones speaks in much the same terms in his preface to Lewis Lupton's book in 1972

At a time when the nature of the church and its form of government is constantly before us because of the various ecumenical activities, it is essential that all branches of the church should be familiar with their origins and factors that determined what happened.

In 1968 he wrote a foreword to Klaas Runia's book on the subject Reformation Today. Again he writes of “the most urgent problem confronting the Christian church today” thankful for a study the ecumenical movement that was “fair, biblical, theological and historical”. He concludes

It is my prayer that it might be used to bring all evangelical people to see the tragedy, and indeed the sin, of their present divisions and fragmentation and to heed his appeal for true and visible unity among them.
I urge all who are concerned about the lamentable state of the church and the urgent need of the presentation of our glorious evangelical message to the masses throughout the world to read this scholarly, incisive and most readable book.

An interest in medicine and healing
As a medical doctor Lloyd-Jones inevitably had an interest in things medical and especially faith healing, a subject into which he had looked most thoroughly.
In 1945 he wrote a foreword to a little collection of addresses by Duncan M Blair and, as mentioned, he was one of those who commended a book on medical ethics edited by Edmunds and Scorer (1958). In the first of these he makes some remarks about Blair being an anatomist and how “studies which are supposed to account for the scepticism and unbelief of so many simply went to confirm and increase his faith”. He calls the Shorter Catechism Blair's “backbone” and then uses words that are just as appropriate to the Doctor himself

That indeed was the secret of his life. He had accepted the revelation of God given in the scriptures. That led to a personal experience of Christ as His Saviour and then to an ever- increasing comprehension of the great plan of salvation. And everything he learned and discovered in his scientific work seemed to fit in with that plan and to reveal it still further.

Commending the Pastor Hsi book he says that there is a great deal to learn from it about faith healing, something believed in and practised. However, there was no flamboyance or “loose statements and exaggerated claims; indeed it is here that his his sanity and balance stand out most clearly.” He commends Hsi's willingness to use conventional medicine too and says

He was acutely aware of the dangers connected with the whole subject and always proceeded in a most cautious manner. It is particularly interesting to note how he became increasingly cautious as the years passed. The effect of all this is that one does not have the usual feeling that most of the purported results can be explained in terms of psychology. One feels rather that they are true, unmistakable cases of faith healing which can be explained in no other way.
It is exactly the same with the question of demon possession. Here again valuable evidence is provided which establishes the reality of this condition as a clinical entity and which shows that there is but one effective treatment.

The Doctor thought the best book on the subject was by Henry Frost of CIM. Commending it in 1951 he wrote

Some recent writings seem to suggest that the only problem is as to whether one believes or not that miraculous gifts ended with the apostolic age. But this is by no means the only problem. Dr Frost shows clearly that theological problems are also involved, and which we only ignore at our spiritual peril. The Bible frequently warns us against the danger of being deluded by evil powers. All ‘miracles’ and ‘wonders’ are not produced by the Holy Spirit, and we must know how to ‘test the spirits’ in this matter. Our Lord Himself has warned us that the ‘lying spirits’ are so clever and so subtle as to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect (Matt 24:24).
Dr Frost’s method is particularly helpful. He starts on the practical level by citing cases and examples which prove the fact of miraculous healing. He then proceeds to deal with the difficulties, both on the practical and experimental plane, and also in the realm of correct and clear thinking.

His final sentence brings us back to his overall emphasis. “Above all” he says “he is thoroughly biblical, and not only orthodox, but truly spiritually minded. I strongly recommend this most valuable study.”

A few words on forewords 3

An emphasis on revival
Haldane, of course, like several authors Lloyd-Jones drew attention to, experienced revival. This can be thought of as a personal knowledge of Christ and an experience of grace on a large scale. One of the attractions of the book by Fletcher of Madeley was that it pointed “to the one thing that finally matters, and without which all else is more or less vain” and “to the highway to revival - both personal and general.”
Revival was always an important theme for Lloyd-Jones. In 1947 he had written a foreword to a little book by his friend P E Hughes, Revive us again. Typically Lloyd-Jones says

There is no subject which is of greater importance to the Christian Church at the present time than that of Revival. It should be the theme of our constant meditation, preaching and prayers. Anything which stimulates us to that is of inestimable value. At the same time it is the finest spiritual tonic.
At a time when the greatest danger is to rush into well-intentioned but nevertheless oft times carnal forms of activism, it is good to be reminded forcefully of the essential difference between an organised campaign and the sovereign action of the Holy Spirit in Revival.
Likewise it is right that this subject be approached from the standpoint of Scripture teaching and also the testimony of history. We are thus reminded that in spite of all we are told about the new and exceptional features in the modern situation, the laws governing the operation of the Holy Spirit in Revival seem to be strangely and wonderfully constant.
Above all, no one can read this book without realising that the way to Revival is still the way of holiness.
May God bless and use these eleven brief chapters, and in his mercy "revive us again".

A decade and more later, in 1958, thoughts were turned to the coming centenary of the 1859 revival and Sprague's lectures on the subject were republished. The Doctor was again arguing the case

I am profoundly convinced that the greatest need in the world today is revival in the Church of God. Yet alas! the whole idea of revival seems to have become strange to so many good Christian people. There are some who even seem to resent the very idea and actually speak and write against it. Such an attitude is due both to a serious misunderstanding of the Scriptures, and to woeful ignorance of the history of the Church. Anything therefore that can instruct God's people in this matter is very welcome.

He particularly commends Sprague's treatment as it is “scriptural, theological and balanced”. He likes the collection of letters in the appendix where “great saintly and scholarly men of God” such as Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller and “the seraphic Edward Payson” write of their own experience in revivals.
He sees the book as an excellent tool to prepare for the meetings due to be held the next year “to recall the great revival of 1857-59”. He concludes

My prayer is that as we read it and are reminded of "Our glorious God," and of His mighty deeds in times past among His people, a great sense of our own unworthiness and inadequacy, and a corresponding longing for the manifestation of his glory and His power will be created within us. His "arm is not shortened." May this book stir us all to plead with Him to make bare that arm and to stretch it forth again, that His enemies may be confounded and scattered and His people's hearts be filled with gladness and rejoicing.

The same concern underlies his foreword to Eifion Evans' account of the 1904 revival (1969), which he sees as helpful not just in analysing a particular revival but the phenomenon more generally. As ever his concern is contemporary not merely historical. He saw the book as important for particular reasons

First, the great need of revival in the churches. This is surely the only real hope; but it is essential that Christians should be clear as to the difference between revival and organised evangelism. Here is a reminder of what is possible, and especially for those whose whole doctrine of the Holy Spirit really leaves no room for revival.
Secondly, this book is most opportune because of what is known as the "Charismatic Movement" and a new interest in spiritual phenomena. It helps to show the danger of passing from the spiritual to the psychological and possible even the psychic.

He admits that there are particular issues in connection with the 1904 revival but warns against dismissing “the entire phenomenon because of certain excesses that often accompany it”. He ends

No one can read this book without coming under judgement. It will reveal whether our ultimate faith is in "the power of God" or in human ability and organisations". It is my prayer, and my hope, that it will lead many so to realise anew and afresh the the glory and the wonder of the former that they will begin to long and to yearn and to pray for another "visitation from on high" such as we experienced in 1904-5.

It is the same concern he had just a few years before in the 1962 book on Harris.

Would you know something of what is meant by the term "revival"? Would you know the real meaning of, "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God"? Would you know more of "life in the Spirit," and "prayer in the Spirit," and something of "the powers of the world to come"?

“Then read this book” he says “and remember that Harris was but "a man of like passions with ourselves" and that Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today and forever."”
One more example of the same thing is in the foreword to Whitefield's sermons

May God grant that, as we read of the man whom God made so mighty, and the things which he taught and preached, we may be led to long for and to pray for such a revival in our day and generation as God gave in His sovereign grace and mercy 200 years ago.

A few words on forewords 2

An emphasis on the necessity of a personal knowledge and experience of grace
This is what lay behind much of the Doctor's interest in biography. In 1962, in his foreword to Howell Harris and the Dawn of Revival he asserts that “nothing is more profitable, after the reading of the Bible itself and books that help us to understand it, than the reading of the biography or autobiography of a great Christian man”.
You can see what he is seeking from his statement in his foreword to Pastor Hsi's biography (1949)

The ultimate way of judging the true value of a book is to discover its effect upon our personality as a whole. Many books entertain and divert, others provide intellectual stimulation or appeal to our artistic sense, but the truly great book affects us more vitally, and we feel that we shall never quite be the same again as the result of reading it. Such is the effect produced by this Life of Pastor Hsi. To read it is to be searched and humbled - indeed at times to be utterly humiliated; but at the same time it is stimulating, and exhilarating and a real tonic to one`s faith. In all this of course it approximates to the Bible itself.

It was the thing that drew him to Whitefield too. In a foreword to the Sermons (1958) he says

Whitefield was not only the greatest preacher and orator of the eighteenth century, he was also one of its most saintly characters, if not the saintliest of all. Certainly there was no more humble or lovable man amongst them. ... To read the wonderful story of his life is to be reminded again of what is possible to a truly consecrated Christian, and how even in the darkest and most sinful ages God in his sovereign power is able to revive his work and shower blessings upon his People.
There is also the argument we have already mentioned “what can be more profitable, next to the Bible itself, than to read something of the life of such a man and to read his own words!”

No doubt his interest in church history was also fuelled partly by this same interest. In 1973 he wrote an introduction for William Williams' little book on the Experience Meeting. There he explains how these societies were formed

to provide a fellowship in which the new spiritual life and experience of the people could be safe-guarded and developed. The great emphasis was primarily on experience and the experimental knowledge of God and his love and His ways. Each member gave an account of God's dealings with him or her and reported on any remarkable experience and also their sins and lapses and so doing compared notes with one another in these respects. The societies were not ‘bible study’ groups or meetings for the discussion of theology. Of course great stress was laid on reading the Bible as well as prayer, but the more intellectual aspects of the Faith were dealt with in the preaching services and not in the societies. Here, the emphasis was on daily life and living, the fight against the world, the flesh and the devil and the problems that arise inevitably in the Christian's pilgrimage through this world of sin.

Williams' book was written to help people to learn how to lead such small groups. Lloyd-Jones comments that “his genius, his spiritual understanding and what would now be described as psychological insight stand out everywhere and are truly astonishing”. This leads to some remarks typical of Lloyd-Jones' emphases.

The experimental or experiential aspect of the Christian life has been seriously neglected during the present century. Certain factors and tendencies have led to this unfortunate condition. Chief among these has been a superficial evangelism which has neglected real conviction of sin and repentance and encouraged an easy believism. Secondly, there has been a theory of sanctification, more psychological than spiritual and scriptural, which has discouraged self-examination and taught that we have only to 'leave it to the Lord'. Thirdly. and more recently. has been an unbalanced emphasis on intellectual understanding of Truth, the social application of Truth and the manifestation of particular spiritual gifts. All this has greatly impoverished the spiritual life of both the individual Christian and the churches and led to coldness, barrenness, and loss of power. The greatest need of the hour is a return to the emphases of the Evangelical Awakening. It is in the belief that this classic of the spiritual life and warfare can greatly stimulate and hasten that return that I encouraged my Wife to translate it, and am now happy to commend it and to advise all Christians to read it.

It was no doubt the Doctor's stress on the experiential side of Christianity that got him so excited about that rather strange book More than notion by the anonymous Mrs Alexander for which he wrote a foreword in 1965. His attitude is the same as he had to the Pastor Hsi biography. He writes

There are some books of which it can be said that to read them is an experience, and one is never the same again. The extracts out of the lives of these various people who came in varied ways to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ are, at one and the same time, convicting and encouraging. Some were poor and ignorant, others well placed socially, and learned and cultured; but all came to the same glorious experience.

What he felt in particular was that “in reading about them one is shown the vital difference between a head knowledge of the Christian faith and a true heart experience.”
He goes on to say that it “should be made compulsory reading for all theologians especially, but ... will prove valuable also to those who long for a vital Christian experience.” He says that many who had read it as the result of his recommendation “have testified to the blessing they have received. In one church known to me the reading of the book by one man led to a prayer-meeting such as they had not experienced before.” He concludes “In these superficial and confused days I thank God for a book such as this and pray that He may bless it to countless souls.”
It has to be said that not everyone shared his enthusiasm but at least we ought to appreciate what it is that he was enthusiastic about.
It is the same desire for an experience of grace that had made him enthuse over the book about Howell Harris a few years before

But the object of Richard Bennett, the original author, was to allow us to see the working of God's Spirit in the soul of Howell Harris in the detailed manner recorded in Harris's own Diaries, in these first formative and thrilling years. Bennett therefore rightly felt that his own remarks should be reduced to a minimum, and that all that was required of him was to supply the connecting links in the story so as to enable the reader to understand the various allusions to actual events.

For this Lloyd-Jones, for one, was profoundly grateful.

A few words on forewords 1

Having featured all the Lloyd-Jones forewords I have written an essay arising from them, delivered at the Evangelical Library. Here is the first part.

A few words about forewords – the shorter writings of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The significant effect of the ministry of Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones on evangelicalism cannot be doubted. Since his death in 1981 his ministry has continued to have an impact by means of his recorded sermons and written ministry. This written ministry, like the recorded ministry, is chiefly in sermon form, especially his expositions of various books of the Bible.
At the end of Iain Murray's official biography Volume 2 The Fight of Faith in Appendix 6 there is a bibliography. This begins with the main books then available but in sections 7-9 there are some shorter items – nine book reviews, miscellaneous items and a number of “forewords” listed in the eighth and penultimate section. Some 23 or 24 items are found there, an almost but not quite complete list. The exact figure is nearer 28. These “forewords” are not those he wrote for some of his own books but those he wrote for others.

Type of writing
A foreword is a piece of writing, usually quite short (ideally a page or two), found at the beginning of a book, before the introduction, if it has one. It can be written by the primary author of the work but is often written by someone else in order to introduce the author and his work, seeking to establish credibility for both. A foreword does not generally provide the reader with any extra information about the book's subject but instead serves as a reminder of why to read it.
A preface, by contrast, is always by the author of the book. A preface generally covers the story of how the book came into being or how the idea for it was developed; this is often followed by thanks and acknowledgements. It has to be said, however, that the two terms are often used interchangeably.
Often, a foreword will tell of some interaction between the writer of the foreword and the story or the writer of the book. A foreword to a later edition of a work often explains in what respects that edition differs from previous ones. Unlike a preface, a foreword is always signed.
According to one writer “by their very nature, forewords are rather light literary works designed not so much to draw attention to themselves but to the books that they draw attention to. Nevertheless when a full bibliography of a writer is drawn up a place will be found for forewords and similar pieces and sometimes these will even merit republication in their own right.”

Lloyd-Jones forewords
Some of what we are calling Lloyd-Jones' forewords are technically not forewords but can be considered under that heading (two are called introductions, one a preface, one an “endorsement”). They were mainly written either to introduce books from the past or for people the Doctor knew personally. Written over a 30 year period, the first is from 1944, when the doctor was 45 (a biography of Donald Maclean by Professor Collins) and the last in 1976, five years before his death at the age of 80, for a modernisation of Bunyan's Holy War by Thelma Jenkins, a member at Westminster Chapel.
They make an interesting set of writings, revealing, as they do, some of the pre-occupations of one of the leading evangelical preachers of his generation. We can divide the books in several ways. Eleven of them are books from the past. Another three or four deal with historical themes. Others in that same area are Peter Lewis' The Genius of Puritanism and Thelma Jenkins' book. Seven are largely biographical works. Several deal with the subject of revival and three are commentaries – Burrowes on the Song of Songs, Hendriksen on John and Haldane on Romans. Two are symposia by various writers. One of these is a joint effort with two others.
The Welsh connection is prominent in at least four cases – Eifion Evans on the 1904 Revival and three translations from Welsh (Richard Bennett on the early life of Howell Harris, Mari Jones' book of parables – In the shadow of Aran and William Williams' work on the Experience Meeting). The last two of these were translated by his wife, Dr Bethan Lloyd-Jones.
As for his medical background, the main work with a foreword by him in that area was Ideals in Medicine edited by V Edmunds and C G Scorer. The re-issues of the biography of Pastor Hsi and the work on Miraculous Healing by H W Frost reveal his interest in the subject of healing. Some contributions perhaps are less obvious, such as his foreword to John Wilmot's Inspired Principles of Prophetic Interpretation.
What one finds in reading these forewords and similar writings is that several of the notes sounded in the wider ministry are also found in these shorter works and what I want to do here is simply to revisit some of these writings and remind ourselves of the important themes.
Perhaps a good place to start is with the 1958 foreword to Haldane on Romans. Lloyd-Jones typically enjoys relating the story of what happened to Haldane in Geneva so many years before and the fact that he knew revival. Equally typical is a preference for Haldane over Hodge. He says that he always finds it very difficult to decide which is the better commentary on Romans, that of Hodge or that of Haldane. What decides it for the Doctor is that “while Hodge excels in accurate scholarship, there is greater warmth of spirit and more practical application in Haldane.” Later he says “one cannot read it without being conscious of the preacher as well as the expositor”.
At the end of the foreword he says

What a distinguished French minister Dr. Reuben Saillens says of what became known as “Haldane’s Revival” can be applied with equal truth to this commentary: “The three main characteristics of Haldane’s Revival, as it has sometimes been called, were these:
(1) it gave a prominent emphasis to the necessity of a personal knowledge and experience of grace;
(2) it maintained the absolute authority and Divine inspiration of the Bible;
(3) was a return to Calvinistic doctrine against Pelagianism and Arminianism.

He adds “Haldane was an orthodox of the first water, but his orthodoxy was blended with love and life. God grant that it may produce that same “love and life” in all who read it.”
A reading of the other forewords reveals that history, revival and these three issues are among those that lie at the heart of Lloyd-Jones' thinking. Besides these major issues two others are prominent and we will also look at these later.

EL Lunch time meeting Monday

Just a reminder that on Monday May 17 I will be speaking on "A few words about forewords - the shorter writings of Dr D M Lloyd-Jones". It starts at 1 pm and should last about 50 minute with discussion It is at our new home off the North Circular near Bounds Green tube. More here.

Owen and Bible burning

The June Banner of Truth Magazine is fresh out.
Efforts for Union of Protestants W J Grier
page 1
News and Comment
page 4
Can a ‘Lonely’ Faith Save? — Cornelis P Venema
page 9
Thoughts on Using Owen on Hebrews Ryan M. McGraw
page 13
The Visitation of the Sick John Calvin
page 17
Freedom of Religion and a Bill of Rights Peter Barnes
page 19
Book Reviews
page 22
Pleading for Prayer C. H. Spurgeon
page 24
Not a Time for Sleeping! R. B. Kuiper
page 32
It includes this quotation from Owen Volume 3 page 192 as paraphrased by Sinclair Ferguson and used in a previous article by Stuart Olyott.
‘He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the word had as good burn his Bible. The bare letter of the New Testament will no more ingenerate faith and obedience in the souls of men, no more constitute a church-state among them who enjoy it, than the letter of the Old Testament doth so at this day as among the Jews, 2 Cor. iii. 6, 8. But blessed be God, who hath knit these things together towards his elect, in the bond of an everlasting covenant! Isa. lix.21.’

Ascension Day

Today is what some people call Ascension Day. If you want to read about the subject, you could do a lot worse than to turn here to T V Moore's Last Days of Jesus. See page 255 forwards where he covers
Why the Ascension is so little alluded to in scripture.
I. The fact of the Ascension. (1) The time. (2) The place. (3) The attendant circumstances.
II. The reason for the Ascension. (1) The Priesthood of Christ. (2) The entrance into glory after suffering. (3) To display his Divine nature. (4) Connection with the descent of the Holy Ghost. (5) His intercession. (6) Preparing a place for us. (7) Our forerunner and example - His Ascension the picture and pledge of ours. (8) Sitting at the right hand of God - The Pilgrim.

Indian Summer

Yes, another of these interminable Youtube videos. This is from the 1985 album Focus by Messers Akkerman and Van Leer.

AHOCIA 100 Objects 12

This is a page from a 14th century Bible translation from the Vulgate led by John Wycliffe, the first English transaltion of the complete Bible.

Free Grace Broadcaster

I caught a glimpse of the latest Free Grace Broadcaster from Chapel Library today looking at the subject of hell. You can find it online here along with previous copies set out in alphabetical order (from Apostasy to worship). It's quite a collection. The whole site is worth checking out. See here especially.

Grace Magazine

The annual Grace Magazine trustees meeting took place in the chapel today. The trust is well aware of the difficulties getting a good Reformed Baptist mag into people's hands these days but rightly has great confidence in the product and it was good to be with people so committed to the doctrines of grace once again. The magazine website is here. Chris Boyes, elder at Bradford on Avon, joined us for tea before heading west. It was good to share fellowship with him.

London museums

I managed to get to two museums last week. Monday was a bank holiday and so we took the youngest boy to the British Museum. It didn't sustain their interest very well (the youngest enjoyed claiming they were all fakes) but I think there is something about the very place that has an impact - the rosetta stone, the Elgin marbles, etc. We met up with the older boys at Trafalgar Square later and went on to Covent Garden for a little while.
Then on Friday when I got off the train from Liverpool I noticed the Wellcome Collection that has a museum of curiosities among some other interesting things. I've always wanted to pop in and so this week I had my opportunity. Good fun.

Cash on commentaries

Over on Reformation21 Steve Nichols wrote recently

Maybe you know or don't know that Johnny Cash wrote a biography of Paul, called The Man in White. I came across a great line in the introduction as Cash recalls the research he put into the book, especially his reading of commentaries. He quips:

"I discovered that the Bible can shed a lot of light on the commentaries."

Trip to Liverpool

So I've been up in Liverpool for a few days. I left London around lunch time on Wednesday and got back late Friday morning. I travelled by train and was met at Lime Street by Ray Peel, pastor of Calvary church in the city. Ray is a genuine scouser but was converted while in the merchant navy and worked around the country for the MOD ending up in Weymouth for 13 years where he became a pastor. Calvary is an FIEC church and has been the venue for the annual Calvary Bible Convention for many years. They currently have problems with their building so the convention has reverted to an earlier incarnation as the Liverpool Bible Convention under the auspices of a small group of six mostly FIEC churches. This year the meetings were hosted by the nearby Dovecot Evangelical church. I was treated to a very nice meal with Ray and his wife Lyn, also a Liverpudlian. I have been to Liverpool five or six times over the last 25 years and so have some idea of the place. What is slightly weird is seeing names like Anfield, Everton, Alderhey, Bootle, Huyton, Knotty Ash that all mean something but not very much. Ray kindly pointed out Ken Dodd's house and the church he attends. I remember my mother saying to me as a boy that Knotty Ash was a real place not a made up name. It was also a thrill later to get a glimpse of Aintree race course (I once met Red Rum who was opening a fete in Cwmbran!) and busses headed for Penny Lane.
Anyway the convention was on for four nights. Ian Higham from the Belvidere Road church spoke Tuesday and Dr Emil Silvestru was due to speak on the Friday night. I spoke Wednesday and Thursday nights. The former was better attended as some fellowships had cancelled their midweek meetings to be there but both meetings were well attended with a range of ages represented. I knew almost nobody except John Kilpatrick (and his wife Jill) previously a neighbour here in north west London. It was good to catch up. Aware of the election I had thought of relating to that fact in the preaching but decided against and stuck to my recent preaching from Mark 14 on Gethsemane and the arrest. (Mp3s here). One of the elders from Dovecot, Prof Steve Taylor, led. On both evenings he focussed on the work of United Beach Missions. I got the impression that this was very much a UBM/Young life church. I have slightly mixed feelings about UBM. It does excellent work and many fine Christians are involved (including one of my deacons who leads a beach mission in Italy). It has its own agenda, however, and that can dominate in a way that could potentially swamp the work of local churches. An elder from Bethany, Fazakerley (I just love that name delivered in scouse) read and prayed the first night and Paul Kinnaird (Bankhall Mission Church) the second night.
I stayed with Paul, his wife Kay and their family in Crosby over the two nights and was made to feel more than welcome. Being Scots they gave me porridge and marmalade and curry which I appreciated - and nothing deep fried! A former LTS man, Paul has pastored the FIEC church nearby for the last seven years or so. Crosby is on the edge of the countryside and it was nice to be driven through Little Crosby. We also got down to the beach where an Antony Gormley installation (Another Place) remains following the year of culture. This is a series of one hundred life size metal statutes of himself dotted about the beach over a large area. Like so much modern art it seems a little banal and the descriptions are overblown but you can see the idea. The tide was right out at the time but to see the tide coming in and submerging them must be fun.
We also spent Thursday morning at a ministers fraternal just outside the city in Trinity Evangelical, Rainhill. About 12 or 13 of us gathered. Adam Laughton (Southport) chaired and I spoke on Christ in heaven. It was a very good time of fellowship.
So all in all an interesting and refreshing time in the midst of a general election still as yet unresolved.

Andrew Reed

This book about the 19th century preacher and philanthropist Andrew Reed The Greatest is Charity by Ian J Shaw came out about five years ago. It really is a great book. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, Calvinist Reed was not only a very successful pastor and preacher in London's east end but also the founder of several significant charities that were such a great help to orphans and others in great need. 
Nevertheless, his name has been rather forgotten. In this book Ian Shaw has out together a very well researched, judicious and interestingly written book that covers all aspects of Reed's life - his background and birth in 1748, ministry in Stepney including the building of Wycliffe Chapel, the beginnings of his charity work, his trip to the USA in 1833, his family life and friendships, his political involvement and various controversies including his partly unwise novel, the revival he saw in 1839, the restarting of his charity work when badly let down, his mixed involvement in the promotion of overseas mission, his old age and death in 1862 and something of what has happened since.
Much has changed since Reed's day and even then one wonders whether one would have taken the approach he did - very establishment oriented, with great respect for royalty and for Anglicans who sadly let him down in the end. What a man though. There were giants in the land in those days and Andrew Reed was one of them. A 430 page hardback this book was published by Evangelical Press. The foreword is by Brian Edwards.

Kuiper Sermons

While I was at the Banner Iain Murray told me I must get this new Banner book While the Bridegroom Tarries. I had overlooked it on my first visit to the bookshop.
It is a collection of 10 sermons preached in 1919 by Dutch American pastor R B Kuiper. With sometimes striking titles such as "Present day Anti-Christs" and "Latter day Devil-worship" these sermons from various texts look at the issue of the Second Coming in a way that seeks to shed light rather than to satisfy curiosity. They are of interest on at least three levels - on their own terms, as a homiletical guide and as an interesting historical document. On the first level they seek to soberly encourage Christians and warn unbelievers. On the second, these are sermons that seek to be a little more broad in their outlook than the narrow and individualistic sermons that are more often preached. They reminded me in some ways of Lloyd-Jones. From a historical point of view his horror at women's suffrage, his speaking out against theosophy, the infancy of the JW cult and his views on the Jews returning to Palestine are all of interest.
Few of us book has an attractive cover. The publisher's introduction and the sparse footnotes are helpful and the text is generally free from proof reading errors, though stray punctuation marks appear from time to time.


I don't want to comment on the football club failing to reach the European final. Rather I want to draw attention to meetings being held in the city all next week. I am speaking (God willing) on Wednesday and Thursday night. I am also addressing a ministers' fraternal on Thursday morning. Formerly the Calvary Convention and now Listen Liverpool, all the details can be found at the website here.