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.

10 countries with no army

1. Costa Rica
First country to formally abolish military forces. The constitution has forbidden a standing military since 1949. It does have a public security force, whose role includes law enforcement and internal security. For this reason Costa Rica is the HQ for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and also the United Nations' University for Peace.
2. Grenada
No standing army since 1983 due to an American-led invasion. The Royal Grenada Police Force maintains a paramilitary special service unit for internal security purposes. Defense is the responsibility of the Regional Security System.
3. Kiribati
The only forces permitted are the police and the coast guard. Defense assistance is provided by Australia and New Zealand.
4. Liechtenstein
Abolished its army 1868 because it was deemed too costly. Army is only permitted in times of war, but that situation has never occurred. However, country maintains a police force and a SWAT team, equipped with small arms to carry out internal security duties.
5. Marshall Islands
Defence is the responsibility of the United States.
6. Federated States of Micronesia
Defence is the responsibility of the United States. Maintains a small paramilitary police force.
7. Nauru
Australia is responsible for Nauru's defense under an informal agreement between the two countries.
8. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force maintains a paramilitary special service unit for internal security purposes. Defense is the responsibility of Regional Security System.
9. Samoa
Does not have a standing army. New Zealand can be called upon for military aid per a 1962 agreement.
10. Solomon Islands Had a heavy ethnic conflict between 1998 and 2006, in which Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific countries intervened to restore peace and order. Has no standing army.

Sunday Rugby

Devout Christian Euan Murray has questioned the need for Rugby World Cup matches to be played on Sundays.
The Glasgow-born prop, 31, has chosen to prioritise his faith this weekend, meaning he will miss Scotland's Pool B clash with Argentina on Sunday.
"I don't see why there have to be games on Sundays," said Murray. "I hope things will change in future."
Geoff Cross will replace Murray, who has been dubbed by Scotland coach Andy Robinson as "the best scrummager".
Murray will hope that he has done enough in previous matches to get his place in the team back for next week's match against England, which takes place on a Saturday.
Back in 2008, Murray did play on a Sunday when Scotland took on France in the Six Nations.
But, after his faith deepened, he announced a year later that he would no longer be available for selection on Sundays.
At the time he said: "It's basically all or nothing, following Jesus. I don't believe in pick 'n' mix Christianity. I believe the Bible is the word of God, so who am I to ignore something from it?
"I might as well tear out that page then keep tearing out pages as and when it suits me. If I started out like that there would soon be nothing left.
"I want to live my life believing and doing the things (God) wants and the Sabbath day is a full day.
"It's not a case of a couple of hours in church then playing rugby or going down the pub, it's the full day."
Murray is not the first sportsman to be pull out of events because of his faith, one of the best-known being Eric Liddell who felt compelled to pull out of the heats for the 100m at the 1924 Olympics.
After finding out the schedule well in advance he decided to practise doing the 400m and subsequently won the gold medal, breaking both the Olympic and World records.
More recently, triple jumper Jonathan Edwards missed the 1991 World Championships. After much deliberation he changed his mind two years later, just in time for qualifying, and went on to win bronze.
Should Scotland finish as runners-up in pool B, Murray would also miss the quarter-final and then possibly the semi-final, a similar situation to the one New Zealand star Michael Jones found himself in back in 1987 and 1991.
He was eventually omitted from the 1995 squad because he would have missed both the last-eight and last-four matches.

Chairs Y

"Y" Chair

Ezekiel's obedience

Ezekiel 24:15-18, 24
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”
So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. ...
Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

That's what you call obedience.

Jane Eyre

Eleri and I went to see the new version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre last night and I thought it was pretty amazing. Obviously the novel (despite its anti-evangelical bias, its Romanticism and downright mystical bent) is brilliant. This screenplay is very well done. The casting is almost perfect (an uglier more Yorkshire like Rochester would have suited me). Every scene shot is done with breathtaking beauty. The use of the bleak moors, the meteorological observance of the pathetic fallacy, the tempo, the attention to detail, the excellent and well judged music - it is all done very well. The acting is brilliant. I hate the way everyone goes on about how brilliant Judi Dench is but what can you do? In this she is simply brilliant. At one point she says nothing just looks and you know she just has it.
It all reminded me of how much I enjoyed some of those Merchant Ivory films of the late eighties and early nineties. I'd love to see the team on Wuthering heights, much harder to pull off I would guess.

Carson on Psalm 71

But David’s vision is more comprehensive than mere protection. He wants so to live in old age that he passes on his witness to the next generation. His aim is not to live comfortably in retirement, but to use his senior years “to declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” That is a prayer eminently worth praying. Should not senior saints be praying for grace to pass on what they have learned to a new generation? Perhaps this will be one on one, or in small groups. Perhaps one of them will take under his or her wing some young Christian or abandoned waif. Perhaps some experienced prayer warrior will teach a young Christian leader how to pray. And when there is too little strength even for these things, we shall pray that God’s grace will so operate in our weakness that God will be glorified in us: perhaps we shall teach younger Christians how to persevere under suffering, how to trust in the midst of pain, and how to die in the grace of God.
From For the love of God Vol

Rugby World Cup Wales

So Wales beat Samoa 17-10
Next game Monday 26 September: Wales v Namibia, Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth (0730 BST)

LIP Annual meetings

It was great to be at the LIP (London Inreach Project) meetings in Orange Street near Trafalgar Square last Saturday. I was there for a meeting of the trustees first over the lunch hour. Otherwise we had a news session from 1.30 pm mainly with Andrew Murray and Roger Carter (above) but also featuring Mick Lockwood of Haworth who said how encouraging the project was despite the uphill slog it has been. Mick was once approached about working with the project and although nothing came of it it eventually propelled him into his current church planting role in Haworth. Mick later preached and I chaired.
Later, after a lovely tea downstairs, I was in the chair as we met again and took opportunity to thank Derek Sewell (and family) for all his work and heard more from Roger and from Peter Jermyn our treasurer. Mick preached very encouragingly from Acts 17 especially verses 26 and 27. We were not heaving numbers wise but it was good to be there and a great encouragement. Back here we had a sort of barbecue at the house for church people. Nice time again though a little wet.

50 hours without

I woke up Friday morning to find the internet out (and the phone line too). It was another 50 hours or so before it was sorted out some time on Sunday. Thankfully mobile phones allowed us to report the fault and get calls diverted so we managed okay, which I am relieved to be able to say.

Marlowe's Faustus at the Globe

I popped down to the Globe yesterday afternoon to see Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus. It was a lovely afternoon and the production was done very well. It is the play that includes the famous lines "Is this the face that launched a thousand ships (not shops)?" I was sorry that my favourite line was cut, where Faustus says at the end
"See, see, where Christ's blood streams in the firmament.
One drop would save my soul, half a drop. Ah, my Christ!"
They did have a bit I'd forgotten, however, where Faustus asks Mephistopheles who made the world and he won't say because it is, of course, God. They made quite thing of that and it was powerful for me.
I remember reading it in university and enjoying it. It's quite different from Shakespeare in that it employs a lot of stage spectacle. This production did all that very well (there was some limited audience interaction and bawdiness almost inevitably). It must have had quite an impact on the original audiences. Its genius is that it is a real spectacle and good fun but raises the most profound theological questions. Whether we take the play on its own professed terms, those of theological orthodoxy, or look deeper it still raises crucial questions of life and its purpose. Like the last play I saw we ended with the whole cast doing a little dance with the musicians. I really wonder what that is all about.

LTS Conference 6 Hywel Jones

Former LTS Principal Hywel Jones gave the closing paper. He began with the phrase "ministry to the whole person" and spoke of the two parts of that phrase.
1. Ministry has had a long history (The cure of souls, being physicians of souls) from Chrysostom and Gregory through Bucer and Van Maastricht to today. It is important to keep theology central in ministry not psychology, etc.
2. As for the whole person there has been an increased emphasis on the oneness of the human person. Dr Jones noted the impact of science here and then noted several influential books including J A T Robinson The body and Berkouwer Man the image of God which attempts to re-focus on man as the image of God in concrete terms. Also Anthony Hoekema Created in God's Image who helpfully prefers to speak of "sides" rather than dichotomies or trichotomies in man. In his Systematic Theology Robert Reymond says Berkouwer is talking nonsense and reverts to more traditional terms.
There is the possibility that the contrast between parts and the whole person is being exaggerated. In the end it is man in the presence of God that needs to be considered. He went on to argue, following Gordon Wenham,  for a difference between being in the image and like the image. This is like P E Hughes (1989) who said that man and the divine image are not identical. John Murray and Sinclair Ferguson are similar. Murray says man is a body not that he has a body.
All this is relevant because if we over-emphasise the parts over the whole person in a wrong way it will make a difference as will the opposite error. We must preach that in Christ the image of God is seen perfectly and that every man who is in Christ is being restored to the image.
In conclusion he suggested an alternative approach, that advocated in 2 Corinthians 4:16, preaching to the conscience. This was a welcome emphasis as the conscience is a subject we had pretty much avoided throughout the conference. There was a lot more but if you weren't one of the fifty or sixty at this conference then you need to get hold of the recording from the John Owen Centre.

LTS Conference 5 Graham Beynon

Graham Beynon gave the penultimate paper. Again we were in the world of church history as he introduced to us two works from Isaac Watts, his Discourses on the love of God and The doctrine of the passions. We were informed that Watts saw the passions as the engine of the soul with love and hate being the most basic and leading to the others. Disorder in the passions is due to the fall, though Watts also sees the passions a being quite low anyway (though not as low as Aquinas). When a man is converted the passions are rescued from Satan's hands to be used by God. Watts has a high view of reason but sees its weakness. He opposes a ruling of head over heart that leads to hypocrisy. He argues that in a converted man the love of God is primary.
Love for God
1. Comes from a knowledge God. Knowledge should lead to love. Its springs are God's character, his actions and his promises about the future.
2. Involves feelings for him. He allows for temperament and nationality and even the weather remembering that the body and soul are a unity - but there will be some feeling. God has made us in such a way that feelings of gratitude and joy are bound to affect us to some extent.
3. If it is ruling in a person's heart, will lead to a looking to God rather than a sense of drudgery in duty. What we love and hate affects everything else about us. Love for God will lead all our other passions if it is there as seen pre-eminently in Jesus. It is bound to lead into joy and pleasure in him and all that belongs to him. It will promote zeal for him, hatred for what offends him, etc.
4. Must not lead to enthusiasm of the wrong sort. We must take care not to let any of our passions degenerate. Watts warns against living for experience or depending on them. Living on our emotions is not helpful.
5. Can be excited not by an effort of mere will but by a consideration of the truth. Meditation is the key, especially meditation on the more emotive parts of Scripture, particularly the Psalms. Watts is keen on the impact that public worship and other opportunities for fellowship can make. He warns against substitutes for real love.
We were pointed to the way Watts last view here fed into his best known work that of hymn writing.

Such wondrous love awakes the lip Of saints that were almost asleep,
To speak the praises of thy name, And makes our cold affections flame.

He opposed the practice of "lining out" hymns chiefly because of the  way it militates against stirring the emotions, as funeral dirges can also do. Preaching must also warm the heart above all. The preacher begins by warming his own heart. He must feel what he says.
Some final applications included these areas
1. The need to promote the love of God today
2. The practical help Watts can be for example with the meditations he gives at the end of each chapter
3. The need to address people's feelings, to get behind them
4. The importance of this leading to action, well motivated action
5. The whole question of praise and what it is to be like
6. In preaching, the need engage our own passions as preachers
7. Are we those who attend to our own hearts and motives seeking a heartfelt love for God?

LTS Conference 4 Garry Williams

The opening paper on our second day at LTS was by Garry Williams (Director of the JOC). His subject was  Puritan psychology. What he actually did was to look at those giants Owen and Edwards on this subject.  It was a fairly long and derailed paper that led to a good discussion but these are his nine principles drawn from Owen and Edwards

1. The believer's affection of love for God rests on the prototype of God's own prior trinitarian love
2. Love is central to the Christian life, and therefore the affections are central
3. The human person is unitary rather than composite
4. Religious affections involve a new sense in renewed but not new faculties
5. Religious affections are not identical with what we call emotions
6. Religious affections are responses to the realities of the Gospel
7. Religious affections terminate finally on God himself not his benefits
8. Affections must be universally renewed
9. Ministry must be designed to heighten affections
Garry also made these brief applications
1. The problem of rationalism on one hand and enthusiasm on the other will always be there. Is the key to be in the middle? Owen and Edwards show us a better way, a theological one. We must see the importance of both the understanding and the affections. The test of a song is its ability to focus on the truth and affect the heart with that content.
2. There is a risk that we detach our thinking about psychology lags behind our theology
3. Am I a dog loving my master because of his kindness rather than for himself?
4. There is a challenge here to hypocrisy. How easy to cultivate friendships only with those who might offer the church something rather than to all. A utilitarianism can come in too easily.

Sun Flower

Spotted this sunflower on the way to the conference this morning

Chairs X

X Chair

Westminster Prog 2011 Day 2

This is day two. Again double click to read if necessary. Brochures will be out soon.

Westminster Prog 2011 Day 1

These are the details for the first day of the Westminster Conference in December.
Double click the pic if you need it enlarged.

Dr Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture

This evening Michael Haykin (of the Andrew Fuller Centre) gave the Dr Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture on "Sweet Sensibility"; Andrew Fuller's defence of religious affections. This is a subject that Dr Lloyd-Jones himself tackled back in 1967.
Dr Haykin began by outlining what Sandemanianism was. It was an attempt to reduce faith to mere assent. It took the view that the affections play no role at all in saving faith. Many wrote against it including John Wesley, Thomas Scott, Anne Dutton, William Gadsby, etc, but the best work was that of Fuller, his Strictures on Sandemanianism of 1810.
Fuller was born in Wicken, a small agricultural village in Cambridgeshire. His parents, Robert Fuller (1723-1781) and Philippa Gunton (1726-1816), were farmers who rented a succession of dairy farms. In 1761 his parents moved a short distance to Soham, where he and his family began to attend the local Calvinistic Baptist church, and where Fuller was converted in November 1769. After being baptised the following Spring, he became a member of the Soham church. In 1774 Fuller was called to the pastorate of this work. He stayed until 1782, when he became the pastor of the Calvinistic Baptist congregation at Kettering.
His time as a pastor in Soham was a decisive period for the shaping of Fuller’s theological perspective. It was during this period that he began a lifelong study of the works of the New England divine Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) which, along with his humble submission to the authority of the infallible Scriptures and the fearless exercise of his mind, enabled him to become what his close friend John Ryland Jr (1753-1825) once described as ‘perhaps the most judicious and able theological writer that ever belonged to our [the Calvinistic Baptist] denomination’.
Fuller came into contact with Sandemanianism when he travelled throughout Scotland in the 1790s and 1800s seeking to raise financial support for the Baptist Missionary Society and their mission at Serampore, India.
Fuller was quite willing to admit that there was much in Sandemanianism that he considers ‘worthy of serious attention’. Sandeman’s critique of the undue subjectivism that reigned in certain quarters of eighteenth century Evangelicalism, for instance, was not without merit. As Fuller notes: ‘If the attention of the awakened sinner, instead of being directed to Christ, be turned inward, and his mind be employed in searching for evidences of his conversion, the effect must, to say the least, be uncomfortable, and may be fatal; as it may lead him to make a righteousness of his religious feelings, instead of looking out of himself to the Saviour.’ Fuller shared Sandeman’s concern that some professing believers of their day were more taken with their experiences of Christ than with Christ himself. For them, faith is all but reduced to religious feeling.
Yet, he goes on to argue, the solution to such an unbalanced focus on the subjective elements of Christianity is not to be found by rejecting them out of hand: ‘Subjective religion is as necessary in its place as objective.’ While faith can never be identified simply with feeling, nor can it be ever divorced from the affections of the heart. Genuine faith ‘does not pertain to the understanding only’, Fuller stresses. In elaborating this position, Fuller makes a number of telling points against the Sandemanian system.
First, if faith does concern only the mind, then there would be no way to distinguish genuine Christianity from nominal Christianity. A nominal Christian mentally assents to the truths of Christianity, but those truths do not grip the heart and re-orient his or her affections. The so-called faith of a nominal Christian, Fuller points out, is really little different from that of the fallen angels, whom we are told in James 2:19 ‘believe’ in the existence of one God and ‘tremble’.
Fuller dealt with other issues such as the holy kissing, their obsession with the letter of Scripture, their glorying in the smallness, etc but central was the issue of saving faith.
Dr Haykin closed by pointing out that Sandemanian ideas do recur from time to time. The Campbellites are an obvious example from the 19th Century as is easy believism from the 20th century. He also cited this paper about the relevance of Sandeman in recent years.

LTS Conference 3 Robert Strivens

The third session focused on the NT data. Robert Strivens began by pointing how most people today tend to take the view that man does not have a soul, an immaterial element. Even some Christians have accepted the idea. He cited Nancey Murphy of Fuller Theological Seminary. Nevertheless the traditional view was reasserted in the light of verses such as 2 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 2:11, 5:3, 5, 7:34, James 2:26.
Again we had a word study on the various NT words and how they are employed (soma, sarx, nous, chardia, psyche, pneuma, etc). Passing over the trichotomy, dichotomy issue, he warned against over emphasising the difference between body and soul. The traditional division of mind, will and passions is okay as long as we remember that while compatible with Scripture the words as used there cannot aways be given the expected understanding.
The NT (like the OT) views man as a whole, though it will often take a physical or inward perspective. Generally speaking, the inward is not thought to be more spiritual than the body. Each aspect is interconnected and what tensions there are, are caused by sin.
In conclusion then we were reminded that we must always keep in mind our physical as well as spiritual nature. Physicality should not be seen as a problem. Practically, he warned against a false asceticism or an elevation of spiritual over physical. If a person cannot hear you speak or see the word on the page his soul will not be reached. Preachers must treat their hearers as whole persons. This is often forgotten as with conversion for example. To say either that everything depends on the Spirit or that everything depends on what we do is to create a false dichotomy.We need to speak the Spirit, of course, but we must also be fully aware of our own responsibilities. Discussion followed.

LTS Conference 2 Philip Eveson

The second paper was given by former LTS Principal Philip Eveson. This was in part a reprise of his paper on the psychological life of our Lord given at a previous Affinity Conference but fairly different. This time after a careful statement of the orthodox doctrine of Christ's humanity he proceeded to look at Christ at 12 years old, at his baptism and at other times.
He spoke of Christ's thorough knowledge of Scripture and his comitment to always doing the will of the Father he loved. It is this commitment to the Father that fuelled his very human emotions evidenced in various places in Scripture - anger, joy, etc. He was never emotionally out of control, having the Spirit at all times.
He made use of the means of grace. Behind his life of obedience was a continual delight in prayer. He was very often in prayer. In prayer intimacy and respect combined.
Christ was no loner. He saw the benefit of human companionship. His pracitce and teaching meshed. As he taught so he lived.
Finally, we looked at the death of Christ. His humanity is seen no more clearly than in Gethsemane. Like any man he recoiled from it and prayed to be delivered if possible. He had always resisted the Devil and even here he does the same. His human knowledge was finite adn he made real choices. It was not unnatural for him to want to escape the cross if he could. He placed his hope in God. The horror of death and the ardour of his obedience were meeting together (Bengel). We ended at the cross but did not go on to look at Christ's humanity beyond that point. It was quite a moving paper in some ways.
We discussed mainly Christ's miracle working and it may be that some other subject would have been better.

LTS Conference 1 Garry Millar

We are at the two day conference at the LTS/John Owen Centre in Finchley. Our first speaker was Ulsterman Garry Millar who considered with us the OT teaching on man. He began by noting how the book by Hans Walter Wolff on the anthropology of the OT has dominated thinking in this area since its appearance some twenty years ago. He then did two things - analysing the OT data and considering the question of change in the OT.
The obvious place to begin is Gen 1:27 but the theme of being in God's image is hardly taken up in the rest of the OT. It is better to go to Gen 2:7, although even there difficulties arise. Is the nephesh there the soul in a Platonic sense?
In fact the terms have a range of meaning in the OT.
Nephesh can be used anatomically (throat), to mean life force, for dead people, the organ of human emotions and feelings, also as something like a reflexive pronoun.
Ruach - breath, life force given by God, reason or will
Also note
Flesh - flesh, body, relations, etc
There is no spirit/flesh distinction in the OT.
The OT also often speaks of bowels and kidneys, etc, as the seat of emotions and feelings.
Heart (814 times) - the muscle, the whole gamut of feelings and reasoning, etc.
It is impossible to draw out an accurate anthropolgy from the OT. This should not concern us unduly if we are happy to accept that the NT gives the answers.
Since Wolf's book it has been common to speak of Hebrew thinking on the subject as holistic and quite different to Greek dualism.
Though there is truth in this the drift is now seen, for example in missiology, into ideas such as that mission must holistic. He points out that in Chris Wright's book on mission there is a chapter on Gen1:27 but not on the themes touched on here.
Another example of changes in teaching is from the annihilationists who jump from Wolf to the idea that the OT does not teach the immortality of the soul.
The OT makes no attempt to describe the inner workings of the soul. We must not be too quick to jump to conclusions from this. It is important not to confuse our ideas of self with the ideas that existed in Hebrew thought. For example, there is no disconnect between what is in the heart and what man does. Personal autonomy is also a given today but a sin in the OT. It is also important to note that the OT has a firm if shadowy idea of life after death.
The problem for us is that this leaves us with what seems a rather vague understanding of man. However, when we remember what it reveals concerning man in action and that reveals a great deal. Genesis 3 is vital in understanding anthropology even though it is seldom considered. In the OT human action is the key to understanding human nature. Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 set the trajectory for the rest of the OT. Human beings are innately unreliable, selfish, proud, idolatrous, insecure, deceitful, defensive, unwilling to take responsibility, etc. The OT is more interested in these basic traits rather than the inner workings of the soul. This theme of the utter corruption of human nature is seen in the rest of the OT - Deuteronomy, Joshua, etc.
The emphasis is on total depravity and the need for the new covenant. How then were people in the OT to change? Tentatively he suggested that in the OT they seldom do. God is at work in men's lives but is there real change? He extended this to the way there seems so little change in the run up to the exile and Jeremiah's words about the Ethiopian and the leopard. In the discussion there was a tentative acceptance of this view provided we do not suggest that the OT saints were not regenerate.

Cadbury Twirl

If you have a minute, you may like this ad. I do. A video on how it was made is here. Fascinating.

Good Week

It's not over yet, of course, but it's been a good week. I started off at the Evangelical Library in Bounds Green where I was just making sure all was well for the final day of the Librarian's holiday. Then after getting some post done in Temple Fortune it was on to the John Owen Centre in Finchley, where the American assessors from ATS were in checking on the standards for the Westminster MTh. They wanted to speak to an "alumnus" which I am. Not one to say no to one of Giovanni's lunches I stayed on for that and had the unexpected pleasure of sharing it with Robert Strivens and Carl Trueman (in town to lecture on Luther for the MTh) plus Nigel Redford and Becky Lippert (just realised how similar that is to a name that appears below) from Westminster. After that it was down to Soho for the LIP committee which went off okay.
Tuesday, of course, was the football and Wednesday was dominated by our midweek meeting looking at Jeremiah 22. Thursday a new couple moved into the church flat and in the evening we had a meeting about our children's work. I also did some visiting in the afternoon. Friday I completed a book review for ET of this book and sneaked a look at part of the opening game of the world cup and in the evening we started back on our meetings for children and young people, which went okay though we were quite depleted seniors wise as our own young people have decamped to Bradford on Avon for 24 hours. I spoke on baby Moses using the Go Teach stuff. Also saw Outnumbered in the evening. Brilliantly observed as ever.
This morning has been dominated by the rugby. One is reminded once again of what a good game rugby is and the skill level these days even from the likes of Japan and Romania is very high. No upsets so far but Argentina almost did it only losing to England by one point. I must confess that seeing Johnny Wilkinson missing so many penalties and England being told off by the referee did give some pleasure.
Anyway, just had a nice chat to Rhodri fresh back from UCCF Forum with Mike Reeves and Becky Pippert. The rock music was rather loud he felt but there were lots of good things. He's always very positive. The younger boys will be back soon from walking the dogs with one of our church members and we'll have our traditional mixed grill or fry up (or full English) before I head out to photocopy tomorrow's notices and the (rather late) September newsletter.

Chairs W

Windsor Chair

Chairs V

Voyeuse Chair - you sit on it backwards

Reaching the human heart

I hope to be at the 2011 Conference of the John Owen Centre next week. Details below

Reaching the Human Heart:
Understanding, Will, and Affections in Scripture, History, and Contemporary Ministry
Christian ministry needs to nurture the whole person in Christ, not just some aspects of who we are. But if we are to reflect on how it can do this then we must ask a number of other questions: What is a human person according to the Bible? What is the heart? How do mind, will, and affections relate? What can we see of their perfect relationship in the Lord Jesus himself? What of the central place of love in the Christian life? These are the kinds of questions that the 2011 John Owen Centre conference will seek to address, with a view to strengthening the faithful ministry of under-shepherds charged with caring for the Lord’s sheep. The conference will be held at London Theological Seminary.
Speakers and topics:

Monday 12th September
Garry Millar
The nature of the human person in the Old Testament 11.00am
Philip Eveson
The Lord Jesus Christ as the Proper Man 2.00pm
Robert Strivens
The nature of the human person in the New Testament 4.00pm
Michael Haykin
‘Sweet sensibility': Andrew Fuller’s defence of religious affections 7.30pm (Martyn Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture)

Tuesday 13th September
Garry Williams
Puritan accounts of the human person 11.00am
Graham Beynon
The central place of love in the Christian life 1.30pm
Hywel Jones
Ministry to the whole person: the difference all of this makes 3.30pm

Registration and coffee will be at 10.30am and the first lecture will start at 11.00am. The last lecture should finish around 5.00pm.

The Martyn Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture, which is open to everyone - free of charge - will be at 7.30pm on Monday 12th September.

Costs - (including light refreshments, lunch and tea) booking after 2nd September the two-day conference -£60. Day one only - £40; Day two only - £35
Book now by emailing

Wales at Wembley

So we didn't win but when we consider that Wales are ranked 113 places below England and there was only one goal in it, it wasn't a bad evening all told. The fact Wales captain Aaron Ramsey was man of the match says a lot. I'd not been in the new Wembley before. It is an excellent venue, much better than the old stadium. The 77,128 present (including me and three of the boys) were good humoured and enjoyed as best they could what was not a great night of football.

Chairs U

Urban chair made by IKEA

The Story of Life

Do take note of these upcoming meetings at Childs Hill
A warm welcome to all

Disappearing words

Mind your head!
I'd meant to comment on an article last month about disappearing words. It was the two headline words that caught my eye. The Guardian version began "Aerodrome and charabanc are among the words presumed to have become extinct in the past year, according to lexicographers. Collins Dictionary experts have compiled a list of words which have fallen out of use by tracking how often they appear."
The article went on to mention several other words most of which I had not heard of except for supererogate (to perform more than is required) which I know from the study of Romanist teaching, which claims that some did more than enough and so have merit to share with others.
Aerodrome is of interest to me in connection with my father and charabanc with my grandfather. When my late father had a stroke some years ago he made a pretty full recovery. At first however I noticed him using the word aerodrome instead of airport. I would guess that something had happened in his brain to cause him to revert to the older word, which he would have learned first before airport replaced it.
Charabanc takes me to a story my grandfather would tell and that my father would repeat as I do to warn kids against sticking their heads out of the widow of a moving vehicle. My grandfather was once on a charabanc outing when a fellow stuck his head out and got it knocked off by a telegraph pole!
When you are young and hear an older person use an unfamiliar, especially an old fashioned word, it always seems strange (my dad would talk about alleys (pronounced aallees) not marbles, football togs not football kit, ashcart not rubbish lorry and the picture house not ... we'll come to that. Also the now quite unacceptable half-caste). It's strange then to be caught using words that my own sons find strange. Eg I still tend to say training shoes rather than trainers, pictures rather than cinema. My boys also pick me up on junior school rather than primary school and being in goals rather than in goal. I think as you get older you become more stubborn. I obviously made switch somewhere along the line from continental quilt to duvet quite easily but these other words I find difficult to alter.

Chelsea Our Religion

I spotted this banner at Chelsea the other day. Frightening thought.

Of a different stripe

I recently saw two things that I enjoyed. The first was actually on the side of a clipper lorry and was a rhino front and a zebra back combined. The above probably makes the point about strength and speed better. Then I also saw this Paul Smith T-shirt design, which I thought was funny at the time. Only looking at it again did I get the cat bit. Just to add that I found a stripe generator here.

Chairs T

Tulip Chair

Y Lloegr v Cymru

One Day

It was Eleri and I's anniversary the other day and so we decided to go to the cinema together but there was nothing on really so we waited a week and there was still nothing on so we went to see One Day, which Eleri had already managed to see once. My scepticism about whether I would enjoy it was only heightened when I saw that 85% of the audience were women. The trailer suggested that it was just a typical romance but Eleri assured me it wasn't quite and she was right.
The Bible tells us that a in God's sight a day is a thousand  years and a thousand years a day. This film, based on a highly praised novel by David Nichols, takes that idea up and rather more modestly takes the premise that a day is like 23 years and 23 years like a day. The day in question is St Swithins day, 1988, and what happened to two people in their early twenties on that day bookends a 23 year story that is mostly pretty predictable but has some less obvious twists and turns. What you get on the way is a cursory consideration of changes in technology and fashion between 1988 and today (done quite subtly on the whole - if only they could have resisted having the female lead scoff at the idea of owning a mobile phone) and a modern take on what really matters in relationships and life.
The piece was fairly well done though one or two plot devices seemed, to me at least, rather jejeune. (I also couldn't understand why nothing was made of the St Swithins connection or was I missing something?) I enjoyed watching it I guess but not what it was saying. It made assumptions about the nature of relationships, of success and about what the purpose of life is that I would totally reject. I also spotted chauvinism (the way the female lead is put on a pedestal is ultimately chauvinistic and juvenile), product placement (the white earphones near the end), the predominance of stereotype over real characters and the blatant presentation of a clearly stunning actress as every woman. There was also I fear a typically modern and shallow obsession with the sexual act. Whenever it got close to questions of morality it quickly shied away and avoided spiritual questions like the plague.
Oh yeah, people complained about Anne Hathaway's poor and fluctuating Yorkshire accent but the real problem is the complete lack of insight into the class divide that the film seems to possess. I've not read the book but I would guess that the huge class divide between the two main characters could have been explored well by someone who understood what that is all about.
As with most modern films there were brief problems with language and flesh that anyone going to see it should at least be aware of. So go see it if you have the chance. I'd love to talk about it with someone.

September Sunset

Sep 2011 Just can't resist these Childs Hill sunsets
A change of angle here at least

The Evangelical Library

The Librarian is away and so I've spent a couple of days at the Library in Bounds Green. It's been very quiet as far as visitors are concerned though the email, snail mail and telephone messages trickle in and at least I've been able to get more of an idea of how the place is run. Do note that I'll be giving alunch time lecture there on Monday, September 19 at 1 pm. Subject: James Harvey "Suffolk lad to London merchant".

I scream

Part of Dewi's birthday celebration yesterday was a trip down to the Häagen-Dazs shop in Leicester Square.(Just to show they are American they currently claim that Leicester Square is in Ken! Goes with the silly made up name I guess). Anyway, for fairly ridiculous sums you can really enjoy yourself. One or two in our party couldn't actually finish what they ordered. So be warned. Our youngest kept talking about Ben & Jerry which we told him was bad form.

Chelsea Liverpool Montages

Chairs S

Sedan Chair
(There are Sedan arm chairs too based on this 18th century mode of transport)

Stamford Bridge

It's my third son Dewi's birthday today and so as he's a life long Chelsea fan for a treat we headed down earlier this week to Stamford Bridge. Getting a ticket for a Chelsea game is not easy and so we had never been there (although ironically my fourth son has been to Stamford Bridge twice with a friend whose grandfather has a season ticket). Anyway we really enjoyed being shown round. Dewi turned out to be the Englishman on the tour (and he's not so English in some ways). it was much the same as at Liverpool - the stadium, the press room, the changing rooms, walking on to the pitch and then the museum. As at Anfield I was struck by how close you are to the pitch and the excellent view all round as well as the perfection of the sward. The biggest difference was in  the home changing rooms (although Chelsea's press room was twice the size of Liverpool's and featured a bar, etc). Liverpool's is very basic (one hair dryer and one physio bench) while at Chelsea there are beautiful fitted wooden wardrobes, a sound system and TV, etc, etc. We didn't get to touch the Chelsea shirts either. Neither do much for the visitors - it's all part of the psychology. They have the same problem with expansion, however. Their capacity is just under 42,000 (Liverpool is just over 45,000) and the same limited number of executive boxes. Man U and Arsenal can take 75,000 and 60,000 respectively and have bags of executive boxes.