This week's day off started just before lunch last Thursday and ended around lunch time the next day. With the last of my sixtieth birthday presents (vouchers for a 5 star hotel from the older boys) we booked to stay in the Celtic Manor in Newport. We went to see my sister and family first and then booked in to a very nice room with a view as far as the Severn and beyond and a lovely warm day. We had a meal in the Asian style restaurant Pad in the evening and breakfast in the Olive Tree before leaving the next morning. Very relaxing and served to celebrate our recent anniversary too. Thanks boys.
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.
It was a good meeting last night - for various reasons These start with a season of refreshing to my own soul that almost inexplicably began yesterday morning. That led to more earnest prayer for the meeting and perhaps better preparation. Anyway even with two deacons absent and one or two others missing we were still eight - half of whom prayed and prayed well. We were supplmented by a seminary couple and another couple who semtimes join us. We looked at Psalm 127 and that proved very stirring and led to an unplanned series of prayers regarding personal witness. Engouraging.
1. Anne Steele
2. Benjamin Beddome
3. Benjamin Francis
4. Benjamin Wallin
5. Daniel Turner
6. John Fawcett
7. John Rippon
8. John Ryland Jr
9. Robert Robinson
10. Samuel Medley
I bought very few 45 rpm singles in my life time but one of them has just been banned. It is Melting Pot by Blue Mink, first released in 1969.
Global the company who run the Radio Station Gold has taken the decision to remove the song from its playlist after a complaint was made to Ofcom.
One person complained about offensive language in the music track Melting Pot by Blue Mink. No introduction to the track was broadcast, or any other content discussing it.
Global said the lyrics – which include references to yellow “Chinkies”, “Red Indian boy”, “curly Latin kinkies” and “coffee-coloured people” – would not be acceptable on a mainstream radio station.
However, it said that Gold’s position as a “station well-known and loved for its playlist of hits from the 60s and 70s” meant that the track was unlikely to cause offence to its audience.
Ofcom agreed, acknowledging that the track had been permanently deleted from Gold’s playlist, and resolved the complaint.
The song was played during The Music Marathon on the 27th of May 2019 at 12:45pm.
Ironically, the song is intended to promote racial harmony. I must asmit that I strained to understand the lyrics asa child but what I did understand even then seemed a little close to the knuckle. I remmeber the single I bought had an instrumental on the B-side.
Perhaps the most offensive line in the song is "It really doesn't matter what religion you choose"
Perhaps the most offensive line in the song is "It really doesn't matter what religion you choose"
We had a decent number last Lord's Day morninng (and not too bad in the evening) thanks to one or two visitors (including our friend in hospital once again) and some people back who were away last week. We tackled a text in the morning - Romans 8:26, 27. Romans 8 teems with good things and it was great to be there again. In the evening we began on Matthew 27, the penultimate chapter of the Gospel on our second time through in my time. One problem in the morning not repeated in the evening was the choice of hymns. We ended up with three or four hymns set too high for us to difficult tunes and quite dense in their content. The heat didn't help either. On reflection if we had sung a version of Psalm 23 second, it would have transformed things. After a service like that I think to myself that I should prepare more thoroughly but then I like to keep spontaneity, which sometimes goes if you overthink it. I spoke to the children in the morning and in the evening we looked at Question 2 of the New City Catechism.
I read here that
The family of an influential 18th century preacher, who was buried in an American church that he founded, are fighting to have his remains returned to England.
George Whitefield, one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement, was laid to rest beneath the pulpit of The Old South Presbyterian Church, Massachusetts after he passed away in the parsonage - the church house provided for clergy members - in 1770.
The Gloucestershire born preacher started the Newburyport church in 1746 during the Great Awakening - a Christian revival that impacted British colonies in the 1730s and 40s.
His funeral was held in London, where another founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, delivered the sermon at Whitefield's personal request.
According to the Times, Whitefield's great-great-niece, Vicki Kenderdine, has accused the Old South Presbyterian Church of "claiming his body as their own property" and ignoring her grandfather's wishes to be buried alongside his wife in Britain.
She is hoping to raise £41,000 to fly his body back to Gloucester.
Rev Sara Singleton of the Old South Presbyterian Church said that funeral directors had attempted to exhume the remains last year, but the church refused to give them authorisation.
There have been a number of campaigns to send Whitefield's body back to his home country but the church has maintained that it was Whitefield's desire to be buried there in 1770.
Unusually last week I had my day off on a Saturday - not ideal in some ways. I had one duty to perform and then something else came up too but these took up a very small part of the day. One of my sons and his wife have been visiting for a few days. We loved having them here and on Saturday we spent the lovely hot day in Richmond Park with them. It took us about an hour to get there but once there we settled in some shade and had a lovely picnic. We enjoyed both the parakeets, which are all over London, and the deer, which are the park speciality. It is amazing how close you can get to both. We also had some nice games of badminton and were treated to a nice ice cream before leaving. The journey back seemed to be much quicker.
Seven of us gathered on Wednesday to look at Psalm 133 together. It is a famous psalm on Christian unity but one that for some reason I have never tackled before. It was good to prepare through the day and then because we try to be more interactive these days I learned more things as we went through it. We then discussed what to pray about and prayed for the many needs that we are aware of among ourselves and beyond.
Christians today disagree on the value of trying to give out tracts in the High Street. I can see both advantages and disadvantages. We continue to try and go out once a month, however, and I find it stimulating. Last time we went most did not take tracts but some did. One lady wasn't going to but then did.
Among the refusers were a lady who claimed to be an atheist. Apparently there is a lack of evidence so I suggested she take a look around. She was unconvinced so I pointed out that God had sent me to her to tell her that there is a God/ She was unimpressed. It is hard to see what more could be done.
Another refuser said he did not believe in Christianity. I try not to get wound up but I did tell him he was a silly man as the whole reason I was there on the streets was to reach people who don't believe.
I also saw three Hindu priests dressed in saffron accompanied by a minder. They were heading for the opticians. They politely refused my Christian tract.
At one point I saw someone I knew. I thought it was someone else, a woman who grew up coming to the church, at first but then I realised who it was. I don't think what I said was out of place.
Some of the time there was a lull and at one point the wind blew a tin can about so that it danced in quite a delightful way for about 30 or 40 seconds. God puts on these little shows sometimes quite unexpectedly just to amuse us.
At one point a girl stopped to sit on a bench nearby and take a stone out of her shoe. I remember thinking - if only all problems were as easy to solve.
We have commented before on the joys of multi-culturalism. I was aware of it the other day when I had breakfast in the American chain McDonald's. I chose my breakfast in Welsh, as you can these days. I chose a bagel (an invention of Polish Jews). I added bacon (something first known to the Chinese and copied by the Romans from the middle east and no doubt first served in a bagel by New Yorkers). I was served by a lady in a hijab (an Arabic item worn by many Muslim women).
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While we were away Wales played England twice (both games were on the Lord's Day so I did not investigate whether I could have seen them*). They lost once and won once. This means that for the first time since such records began Waales are the world's top rugby team. For a small nation this is quite an achievement and bodes well for the world cup ahead - although none of us like being top dog.
* See correction in comments
* See correction in comments
The EMW conference in Aberystwyth is a highlight in the year that we usually highlight. I was unable to do that this last week owing to the computer problem. I did want to note it, however. I normally get time before and/or after the conference which helps me cope with such a busy week. Things have been different this year (I was at a conference in London the week before, for example, and I did not arrive until the Monday) and so I was very selective in what I attended.
I only physically attended the morning sessions. These were taken by Ian Parry who spoke on Galatians. Quite Kelleresque, he preached very well and mostly helpfully. I am not sure why he wanted to say that the law does not help to sanctify us. We didn't learn anything about Ian himself and I'm not sure if that is good or bad. There was a little banter about London Seminary - not initiated by Ian. Perhaps any publicity is good publicity.
I also listened to most of the evening sessions at home (we stayed with our son and his family in the manse). I missed Conrad Mbewe on the Sunday but heard him on the Monday night. He has a fairly unique style with no illustrations and a focus on the cross. Vaughan Roberts, John Benton and Andy Pitt did well in their different ways. Lyndsay Brown is always enjoyable to listen even if you have heard the anecdotes many times before.
I didn't get to any seminars. One of my sons went to Vaughan Roberts one on gender and found it very helpful. I did get along to the missionary exhibition and wish I could have spent longer there. Not sure what to think of the bookstall. It was a sunny week but the rain on the Friday put paid to the traditional sports matches. David N Jones next year.
The videos are all available on Youtube.
So I was sat there on Saturday the tenth finishing off my preparations for the Lord's Day when I realised that my laptop was almost empty of power and the power cord had broken from inside. I tried to do some rescue work but largely unsuccessfully. Thankfully I found another old laptop about the place and was able to get down most of what I wanted from a print out and a memory stick. I then converted my finished document online to mobi format and transferred the sermons to my kindle with a wire. I had to follow this method both Sundays as I was in Aberystwyth in between and could not find anyone to repair my machine.
I managed to get notice sheets for the second Sunday organised by getting my son to scan the sheet from the first Sunday and cutting and pasting on his Apple desktop.
I preached both Sundays on texts and the closing verses of Matthew 26. The first Lord's Day it was 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 and Jesus's trial before Caiaphas and the second, Luke 1:1-4 and Peter's denial. We had decent morning congregations and smaller evening ones both times, though on the second Sunday a member was turning 30 and her visiting family meant some extras. We sang happy birthday to her after the morning meeting. On the first Lord's Day we sang the first two hymns unaccompanied. Someone volunteered to play for the second two which was probably for the best. On both Sundays we had a minister from South Africa present who is in hospital nearby. (A deacon got him the first time and I weaved through the crowds going to the cricket to get him the second time).
We had communion the second week - just five or six of us present. The first Sunday we had five children present and I spoke to them about sanctification (fourth and final one in a series). The second Sunday we were down to one but I started a new series on what Jesus became and why (he became poor so that we who believe might be rich). People missing both times but visitors too.
hiatus noun [ C usually singular ] formal UK /haɪˈeɪ.təs/ US /haɪˈeɪ.t̬əs/
a short pause in which nothing happens or is said, or a space where something is missing:
a short pause in which nothing happens or is said, or a space where something is missing:
The company expects to resume production of the vehicle again after a two-month hiatus.
We have been rather quiet here as on from August 10-19 my computer has been down (broken power cord) and so I have missed my usual items and the Aber Conference, whcih I usually comment on. We will see what we can do to bring things up to date.
The final day of the Steadfast Conference at Grace Life was a bit different in some ways. The first session featured Rick Holland on 1 Peter 2 and the call to be aliens and strangers in this world. Excellent. This was followed by an impromptu prayer time before the break. I then spoke on The Great Ejection 1662. I looked at three men - Thomas Manton, Joseph Alleine and Philip Henry - and mentioned others. That seemed the best way to go at it. The message was appreciated by many. I spoke afterwards to a Dan Pugh who told me about a new documentary he has filmed with Philip H Eveson on Henry's son Matthew. See here for more. After lunch Phil Johnson spoke from Hebrews 10:21 on the powerful, penetrating and precise Word of God. I was always taught that the verse referred to the preached Word which was implied though not stated. Interestingly Owen saw it as a reference to Christ the incarnate Word. Paul Washer then spoke in his typical forthright way. Then came a question panel, which I was involved in. I seemed slightly out of kilter with the others but may be that is just my perception. Over all I felt in line with these men although may be there was a fundamentalist and premillennial message in there that I would find hard to fully sign up to. I missed the last session of the conference as I needed to back home. What a privilege to have sat with these men of God and to have heard them and to have met so many believers present to hear. A great foru days. Next year it will be on the church.
Another good day down in Clerkenwell. We only had one slot of Rick Holland today on Romans 8:28 as he graciously stepped aside for Paul Washer who is still taking it comparatively easy with his health issues. Always challenging. Paul Johnson spoke for the first time today - twice - and was very helpful both times from 1 John 4:10 and 1 Corinthians 1:21. He began the latter evening session, appropriately, with his testimony, which can be found here in another form. There was also another good question and answer session. It is quite difficult for Americans to bridge the gap to our situation here but with a little aptitude one could modify the answers given I guess. Nice talking to various people during the day once again.
We were only four last night and one was late. Lots away at the moment. We looked at Psalm 130 and then prayed in turn - we must have prayed for twenty minutes I guess. Lots to pray for. Glad those who came did come.
Another really good day yeseterday. Owen Strachan continued his strand on male and female. I liked the way he carefully nuanced what he said about male and female without saying some of unhelpful things that can sometimes sneak through when the roles of men and women are discussed. Rick Holland has had quite some trouble getting to England so it was good to see he has finally arrived. I do not know this gentleman at all but it was good to hear him begun to open up on Romans 8:28 - such a crucial verse (I had to miss the second of his two sections as I needed to be back in Childs Hill). We also had a good if rambling question and answer session.
Most often I spend the first week in August in Wales but this week I am in London attending the Gracelife Summer Institute in Clerkenwell. We had a good full day in a packed church - warm but bearable. In the end, slightly outside the original plan, Tom Drion led us off very well from Matthew 5:10 giving many examples of the trouble Christians are getting into these days when they take a stand for the truth. That set the tone well for the conference theme - remaining steadfast. During the day they played a message from John Macarthur to the conference and then, at different times, we heard two messages on Romans 1 - one here. It is not an ideal set up but one understands how this has happened. We heard live from Paul Washer preaching from Daniel on Antiochus Epiphanes and other matters. I have not met or heard Paul Washer before so it was good to be there. We also had two sessions from Owen Strachan of CBMW. See here. I only knew three or four people here before coming but it has been good to meet others. Most people here are not ministers. Most are from the church here. We are quite ethnically diverse and dominated by under-40s. A very good day.
The beginning of a new football season has set my mind back on getting a new poster or whatever at the strt of the season with all those Scottish teams on it. Most of the names mean nothing to me but I haave onderful feelings of nostalgia for them.
- Alloa Athletic
- Berwick Rangers
- Dunfermline Athletic
- East Stirlingshire
- Forfar Athletic
- Hamilton Academicals
- Raith Rovers
- St Mirren
We began with communion and then I preached morning and evening on Hebrews 9:22 about the blood of Christ and Matthew 26:47-56 about Jesus's arrest. I thought I might have done better in the morning but it was good to be laying down clearly that it is the blood of Christ alone that can save us. Lots missing as ever, one visitor, plenty of people all told. Good to be there. Spoke to the children about adoption. Started the New City Catechism in the evening and remembered to mention the memory verse at the beginning of the month.
Jim Packer's last book came out in 2014. It's called Finishing our course with joy and is subtitled Ageing with hope (by the by Ageing is the British spelling; I think the content is in American or Canadian spelling). I have mentioned it before but this is an attempt todraw attention to it once again. It is aimed at people slightly older than myself but I found it helpful as I approach retirement or whatever. The thesis is that as we approach old age people tell us to slow down, take it easy, etc. Packer says no. If you have an eternal perspective you will not take that approach. I found his arguments surprisingly helpful. I have not entirely enjoyed turning 60 and this book helped me to see that my problem is exactly this impetus to wind down. Packer argues well that this is not the way forward. The book is not long and the publishers (IVP) have thoughtfully printed it in large print.
My father-in-law has a little booklet out with Reformed Heritage Books called How Can I Aim to Please God in Everything? It simply sets out the importance of faith and then says that we must go on to glorify God in all we do. The four examples he gives concern
1. Being a faithful witness for his glory
2. Going about our dauily duties in a godly way for his glory
3. Keeping the Lord's Day to his glory
4. By having a Christian hime that is for his glory
The book is cram full of illustrations from nineteenth century missionaries and other sources. Really worth getting hold of.
Recently placed on one of my other blogs
There was a pub in Newport town
They called the Rising Sun
They changed it to the Harlequin;
It's now a restaurant.
My mother was a Thomas
She sewed my old blue jeans,
My father came from Corpor Road
They lived up in Cwmbran.
I once met gransha in that pub,
Into that haunt he'd slunk.
He looked so very satisfied,
He was a little drunk.
Oh mother tell your children
Why the name of Harlequin
Is still found on the roundabout
And how it was The Rising Sun
I have one foot on the platform
The other on a train
And I'm goin' back to Newport town,
It looks like it might rain.
Yeah, there was a pub in Newport town
They called The Rising Sun,
I remember it from when a boy
And I'm not the only one.
Eight of us gathered last Wednesday. We are continuing to look at Psalms of ascent, looking this week at Psalm 129. So we re back to persecution but in a different way with plenty of references to Foxe's Book of Martyrs. I included this story of Roger Holland.
Somewhere near St John's Wood I think it was that some 40 gathered for worship. The meeting was interrupted and 27 were brought before Sir Roger Cholmly. Some women managed to escape but 22 were committed to Newgate and remained there seven weeks. The jail keeper explained to them all they needed to do to be released was to hear mass but this they could not do, so 13 were burnt, seven in Smithfield and six at Brentford (two others died in prison, the other seven survived). The seven who died in Smithfield were called Pond, Estland, Southam, Ricarby, Floyd, Holiday and Roger Holland. They were sent to Newgate, June 16 1558 and executed June 27.
Roger Holland, a merchant-tailor of London, was first an apprentice with one Master Kemption, at the Black Boy in Watling Street, giving himself to dancing, fencing, gaming, banqueting and wanton company. He had received for his master certain money, to the sum of £30 and lost it all at dice. This set him on escaping to the continent.
He shared this with a fellow servant in the house, Elizabeth, a believer. She had recently inherited a legacy and so she gave him £30 to cover the losses on condition that he reformed his way of life and come and hear the gospel preached and read the Bible, calling on God for grace in prayer.
Within six months Holland had become a zealous Christian and was used in the conversion of his father and others when he visited Lancashire. His father gave him £40 to start a business in London. He used this to repay Elizabeth and shortly after the two were married. It was the first year of Queen Mary. He was not martyred until the sixth and final year of her reign. He was among the last to die in Smithfield.
We had a good prayer time too.
This week's day off on Tuesday was quite people oriented, which is good. Early on I nipped over to Finchley in the car to see if I could help with our good friends moving to Crawley. As it turned out, it was limited what I could do but hopefully I was of some help. In the afternoon I ha a nice long chat with one of my sons on the 'phone. In the evening we had three friends from church around and after an excellent meal (my wife is a brilliant cook - moussaka this time) we enjoyed chatting until not too late. I also enjoyed doing some blogging and made a slight dent into the new Joel Beeke Systematic Theology from Crossway that has come out. I am through Section A of Part 1, the Prolegomena. Great stuff- clear, warm, nuanced, stimulating Scriptural. Managed to get out for a quick coffee and crossword too.