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.

Ligonier London Conference

Mike Reeves and Mez McConnell on the question panel proving that these Reformed types are all just clones of each other
Today and yesterday evening I have been attending the first Ligonier Conference on the British mainland. We met in the huge Westminster Central Hall. I guess there were about 800 present. I know about 10% of the people present, mostly ministers. A diverse group gathered not just from the UK but further afield too. I met people from Germany, Italy and the USA plus Scots, Welsh, English and the pastor of the Korean church that meets in our building on Sunday afternoons. Two of my sons and their wives and several other family members were present.
The conference was well organised and what one might have expected from a group like Ligonier keen to expand their work among the Lord's people and beyond. Several men spoke - Mark Johnston and Alistair Begg on the Friday night; Al Mohler and Sinclair Ferguson this morning; Mike Reeves and Burk Parsons this afternoon. There was also a panel with Drs Ferguson and Reeves plus Jeremy Walker from Crawley, Paul Levy from London and Mez McConnell from Edinburgh.
Obviously some speakers got on better than others but it was all worth hearing. The applause got a bit much, it is true, but our American hosts did their very best to adapt otherwise. Lovely to see so many old friends.

Midweek Meeting September 25 2019

For the sake of completeness let me repeat that we did meet as  church on Wednesday night and it was, "only a prayer meeting". We briefly sang and I read from Zechariah 12:10, we discussed topics briefly and then we prayed. All over by nine. It is one of several prayer meetings this week.

Day off week 39 2019

Not the best organised of days off. I did have a prayer meeting mid-morning with a good turn out. The milk was off so I could not provide the advertised coffee or tea for most but no-one complained. Otherwise I tried to get out of the house and walk and do some reading. I am still trying to finish Hot Protestants by Michael Winship, a history of Puritanism. It is proving harder going than it was in the beginning. I also did some catch up on the TV - the latest editions of University Challenge and Dave Gorman's Modern life is goodish. With Eleri I watched a bit more of The capture (I think it was that). I also did a bit of blogging.

Busy Days

The last few weeks have been pretty busy. My daughter-in-law's younger sister was married on the 14th and it was good to be there. The wedding was held at King Alfred's School, where my first son's wedding reception was held ten years back. Lovely day. Nice to have family around for that and for some days before. The following Saturday (21st) we headed down to Crawley where our friends the Saywells were having a house warming cum birthday party for their boys. Nice to meet Jeremy and Alyssa Walker and many others new and old. We were able to pop in and see our friend Georgina too before she heads back to New Zealand. I'm glad we did. These are not easy days. before that Eleri and Owain had gone to Essex to view birds of prey and I had been at a men's meeting followed by tract giving in Golders Green. I then took the train to meet Eleri and lost my wallet en route somehow.
This week is a week of prayer and so I was up early on Monday for the first of these. The next was on Tuesday morning and then we gave our midweek meeting over to prayer and will meet again, God willing. We have had seven or eight at each meeting and most have prayed aloud. My wife's brother-in-law was with us last night and that was nice.

10 Three letter short form girls names

1. Abi
2. Ali
3. Bev
4. Deb
5. Dot
6. Jen
7. Pam
8. Pat
9. Sue
10. Vic

10 Three letter short form boys names

1. Abe
2. Ben
3. Bob
4. Dan
5. Hal
6. Joe
7. Ron
8. Sam
9. Tim
10. Tom

10 Three letter words for family members

1. Nan
2. Pop
3. Dad
4. Mam (Mum, Mom)
5. Bro
6. Sis
7. Hub
8. Coz
9. Unc
10. Son

(All are abbreviations except the last. I started on this on seeing the way funeral flowers often use three letters. I assume this is partly driven by economy.).

Wales win opening game

Glad to see Wales beat Georgia 43-14. They rather slacked off in the second half but there we are.

Lord's Day September 22 2019

We had interesting sermons yesterday as we carried on in Acts and Matthew. In the morning I found myself quoting the European Convention on Human Rights and in the evening we were talking about dreams. These are not things I've ever found myself doing in my long ministry before. The ECHR reference arose as I wanted to remind my listeners that just as Paul had some protections and made use of them as a Roman citizen s we are in a  similar situation. Dreams came up as I was looking at Matthew 27:19. I made liberal use of B B Warfield's article on the subject which I have long been aware of. Do seek it out. Our friend Mohammad was back plus two other Iranians, a teenager and her mother, in the morning. There was also a young woman from Ecuador. I do not recall someone from Ecuador attending before. Our Colombian friend was missing, as were some others. Whole Dutch family with us in the evening. Good day though and great old fashioned hymns.

Midweek Meeting September 18 2019

Behind with this too. My apologies. Some 11 of us gathered on Wednesday and we started a new series on Haggai (just the first four verses). We prayed too as usual but did not go on too late as there was a members meeting the next night.

Day off week 38 2019

Sorry to be late with this. It is very busy at the moment and it is hard to decide on things like Days off. Last week it was so busy I did not take an official one but felt I ought to this week. It fell on Eleri's birthday but she was working much of the day. She enjoyed opening her presents when she came home. We talked about going out to eat as a family but in the end we sent out for Domino pizza. Very nice. We two caught up on the itv drama A confession based on real life. During th day I was reading a book recently publsihed called Books fo furnish a painting. Very interesting.

Lunch Time Lecture at the Evangelical Library

It was most gratifying to see such a good turn out at the Evangelical Library recently for the first of this Autumn's lunch time lectures. A special thanks to Stan Evers who gave an excellent overview if the life of the 18th century preacher George Whitefield with a helpful PowerPoint presentation adding to the pleasure. Whitefield's life is one that ought to be kept in the public eye as it is easy to forget how powerfully God used him in time of revival. The talk was videoed as well as being recorded in audio and will soon be available. Do join us next time on October 14 at 1 pm when Rob Childs from Manchester will speak about John Wycliffe.

Lord's Day September 15 2019

An odd thing happened last Sunday morning. I preached on Paul's speech to the Jews in the Temple in Acts 22 and in my manuscript wrote "thankfully this sermon has not been interrupted" (as was Paul's). When I wrote it I did think "we'll see". You guessed it. Near the beginning of the sermon a local character I have mentioned here before popped in and started a conversation with me about football. (It has happened before but not to this extent). Anyway when you've been preaching for 45 years you have an idea how to deal with things and we managed to get through it. The whole service was a joy as was the evening meeting, looking at Jesus and Barabbas. We had a decent turn out morning and evening - the congregation swollen by visitors, including some of my own family, and a number of seminary students deciding where they will worship this year. I'm not sure how it will all pan out but as there are 21 children on site this year we may have a significant number joining us, which would be great. This Sunday four children were away but I had five children to speak to (the last in the series of what Jesus' became -  this time curse). Glad to have a man back who has been away several weeks after falling down. Loved the singing today - we sang some good old fashioned hymns and it was a good day a round despite three or four people being away for no reason I know.

Midweek Meeting September 11 2019

Ten of us gathered last night for the midweek meeting. We looked at Psalm 132, the last of the songs of ascents we are planning to look at for now. Psalm 132 is a little longer than the others and has some difficulties but it did not take too long to go through and there were good lessons about prayer. Not sure what we'll do next. We had a good time of prayer too. 

Pastors' Academy 2019 Sons of Jacob Day 2

Numbers were slightly down for day 2. We had such a good day yesterday, it was hard to keep up the pace and the first two of the three papers were quite demanding. First, Mark Garcia continued his exploration of Genesis 38, especially taking in the story of the other Tamar in 2 Samuel 13. He sought to connect the reference to Joseph's long sleeved garment to that of Tamar in 2 Samuel and that, with much else he said, was very stimulating. Sadly, there was less discussion time on this second day and so we had no chance to discuss.
After lunch it was a change of pace as we were in the hands of Yannick Imbert from Aix en Provence who spoke on the remark in Genesis that God intended it for good. This was a thorough an academic, highly nuanced look at a difficult subject.
We ended the day with David Green who looked with us at the references to Egypt in Genesis. This was typically thorough and provocative. He argued for a nuanced understanding of this world and our place in it as believers. We had a good discussion to follow before parting.
This is a really worthwhile conference and one wishes it was better attended.

Pastors' Academy Conference 2019 Sons of Jacob Day 1

We had a very good first day of conference at the seminary today with Academy leader Garry Williams giving us two sessions and US based Mark Garcia, president of Greystones Theological Institute. About 40 of us were present. Garry spoke on the subject of typology, giving a brief and interesting history and urging a cautious but willing use of typology. His focus was on the story of Joseph. He sought to lay down parameters for the employment of this tool. We had a good couple of discussions on the subject with several taking part.
Mark Garcia spoke at the end of the day on Genesis 38. He began with these observations

1. We should be happy to admit that its placing is jarring and unexpected at first sight
2. Tamar reminds us of Eve and her desire to be blessed with children and to see Messiah
3. There is also the link forward to David and his family, including a namesake Tamar
4. Tamar is the first woman mentioned in the New Testament
5. At the very end of the canon we meet the final king Christ on his throne, the lion of the tribe of Judah who has a glorious bride, which takes us back not just to Eve but to Tamar.

The story is a smaller type scene of the larger Joseph type scene. Dr Garcia focussed on the moment where Tamar asks Judah to recognise whose beongings she had. This echoes the request of Jacob's sons to him to recognise Joseph's coat.

At the end of Ruth Tamar is remembered in reference to fruitfulness
Here in Genesis 38 is a type scene 
Expectation is followed by deception and counter-deception, admission of guilt and final denoument. There are many examples of this in Scripture.
Judah deceives Tamar just as his son has. It is Judah who in the wider Joseph narrative is the spokesman for the deception toward Jacob. Again in th wider narrative we have Joseph remaining unknown to his brothers adn so on, leading to a similar revealing and resolution moment.
When preaching we might want to back further and point out how the story refects the history of the world. Thecross is the final resolution.
Very stimulating stuff, and a good discussion again to follow.

Lord's Day September 8 2019 Plus

This weekend I was down in Wiltshire once again - preaching this time at Providence Baptist Chapel for Guy Davies at the church's anniversary. There was a Saturday afternoon meeting to which those from other churches were invited and we had a decent turn out for the meeting in the large chapel, followed by a nice tea. Psalm 133 had gone well at a recent midweek meeting and so I decided to look at that - it seemed an appropriate subject for a church anniversary. What I had not calculated on was the presence of at least some who were once in the same church but not now. Anyway, where angels fear to tread ... I put it down to the providence of God. It was nice to chat with Dr Oliver and others afterwards.
I spent the night with a widower in the church who I had met some years ago at a Grace Baptist Assembly. John is well on in age and not so well but he looked after me very well and we had some sweet fellowship. I noted how we were both converted through evangelists - they really have a knack of reaping.
Sunday went fine as we looked at John 4:13, 14 and 1 Corinthians  15:55-57 in the large back room. I found there were people I had met before and other connections, which is always delightful. I had a lovely afternoon with Guy and Sarah who saw me int the train to London after a quick look at the Westbury white horse. See here. (I had come by car with the family en route to Cardiff).

Carey Conference 2020

Bear Leap

A female bear shows an impressive leap as she pounces to catch salmon in the Ozernaya river, on the Kamchatka peninsula, in Russia’s far east ROIE GALITZ/SOLENT NEWS (As seen in my newspaper today) more here

Midweek Meeting September 4 2019

It was the usual select gathering last Wednesday as we looked at Psalm 128. About 8 of us there. There was little bit of interaction but mostly just me speaking. Most of us prayed. Unusually we sang a hymn at the end as well as at the beginning.

Day off week 36 2019

It was a very full day the latest day off, which is good. I had to visit the dentist first thing - all well there - and make a trip to collect something from the doctor's. Before and after that I did some emails and blogging before heading out with my son to St Giles, Cripplegate, near the Barbican. I had been reading recently about how Milton and Fox are buried there, etc. There's not much to see, as I expected but just to know such people once walked those streets is something. We had lunch in a  Wrap it up! which was knew to us - a nice wrap each (mine Mexican, his Portuguese). We then walked to Aldersgate Street where Wesley's heart was strangely warmed and had a quick look at Postman's Park. I not ice that this is where City Presbyterian Church now is. I had not realised that. Anyway, we were home fairly early and there was time to begin reading the latest Private Eye and I almost finished a lovely book on Bach by Horatio Clare. I did that listening to Focus 3 which is still an absolutely amazing album. After an evening meal I watched some TV - talking head documentaries on the Rise of the Nazis and on Harvey Weinstein. Interestingly, people have so low view of women that they assumed they were willing to give sexual favours to get parts. Also, Weinstein was not in trouble until he lost his power. Meanwhile I tried to follow the news of the day - strange times. Glad to see I managed to get over the 10,000 steps mark today.

Welsh rarebit day?

Seen at Golders Green today

10 Famous people with connections to St Giles Cripplegate, London

1. John Milton 1608-1674 Buried there (next to his father)
2. John Foxe 1517-1587 Buried there
3. Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658 Married there (1620)
4. Lancelot Andrewes 1555-1626 Vicar there 1588-1605
5. Sir Martin Frobisher c1539-1594 Buried in the church (though part of him is in Plymouth)
6. John Speed 1552-1629 Buried there (with his wife)
7. Daniel Defoe 1660-1731 Born in the street where the church is and buried nearby
8. John Bunyan 1628-1688 Often preached nearby
9. Ben Jonson 1572-1637 Lived in the parish and two of his sons are buried there
10. William Shakespeare 1564-1616 Lodged here; his rother Edmund had two sons christened there

It's still going on

Another recent piece of ignored news - see here.

That Book is now out

See here for more details.

Lord's Day September 1 2019

It was great to be preaching oncne again last Sunday. We looked at John 4:13, 14 in the morning - very evangelistic - and at the silence of Jesus before Pilate (Matthew 27) in the evening. We started with communion. Our two deacons are still away and so we were a miserable number at the start but then four men joined us and more or less doubled our numbers. In these situations one just has to ask quick questions and give out the elements as best you can. Three turned out to be Dutchmen (two just about to start at the seminary and one son) adn the other was an Iranian believer called Mohammed. I love it when I get opportunity to preach to people called Mohammed! At the table I used some notes I have from J C Ryle to focus minds. I spoke to the two children in the morning on Christ being made sin. In the evening there were two under 8s present so on a whim I got them to write down how many times I said silent or silence. The tallies differed widely but it must have been between 45 and 55 times or so, In the end we were not a bad number am (or pm either). It wa snice to have some members back for lunch. I noticed again how diverse we are congregationally - Filipinos, Nigerians, Jamaicans, the Dutchmen, the Iranian, a Ghanaian, an Indian, a Colombian, a New Zealander, etc. The hymns went well.

10 UK Products and the towns that traditionally manufactured them

1. Carpets - Kidderminster
2. Men's shoes and boots - Northampton
3. Hosiery - Hinckley and Loughborough
4. Lace - Nottingham
5. Hats - Luton
6. Pottery - Stoke
7. Brushes - Wymondham
8. Liquorice products - Pontefract
9. Mustard - Norwich
10. Ale - Burton on Trent