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 very similar French and Welsh words

1. pont/pont Bridge
2. église/eglwys Church
3. mer/môr Sea
4. triste/trist Sad
5. fenêtre/ffenestr Window
6. terre/tir Land
7. une/un One
8. toi/ti You
9. boue/baw Mud
10. livre/llyfr Book

10 more puns for remembering Welsh words

1. Teledu - I'm watching television, tell Eddie.
2. Hedfan - He is learning to fly, the head van [driver]
3. Ty - The new house is shaped like a T
4. Canu - He can come to you to learn how to sing, can 'e?
5. Cerdd - Listen to the music. Take care th[at you do.]
6. Meddal - The flesh of this peach is so soft it could win a med(d)al.
7. Melys - He's partial to things that are sweet, Mel is.
8. Hawdd - They make it look easy. I don't know how th[ey do it.]
9. Mefus - She loves strawberries does Mavis.
10. Bread - Nothing is better than bread bar a [cake.]

A Word to the elect by Anne Brontë

I  came across this anti-Calvinist poem by Anne Brontë recently. It is worth reading and you can see her point. I particularly like the fact she knows we do not deserve salvation. That strengthens here argument. However, she starts from the wrong end. If you start with God it is not that it all becomes clear but at least you begin to see why what she offers here is a false hope.

You may rejoice to think yourselves secure;
You may be grateful for the gift divine --
That grace unsought, which made your black hearts pure,
And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.

But, is it sweet to look around, and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserved, at least, as much as you, --
Their faults not greater, nor their virtues less?

And, wherefore should you love your God the more,
Because to you alone his smiles are given;
Because he chose to pass the many o'er,
And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?

And, wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove,
Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and of love
And are your bosoms warm with charity?

Say, does your heart expand to all mankind?
And, would you ever to your neighbour do --
The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind -­
As you would have your neighbour do to you?

And, when you, looking on your fellow-men,
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then? --
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
Unmerited the grace in mercy given:
But, none shall sink to everlasting woe,
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.

And, Oh! there lives within my heart
A hope, long nursed by me;
(And, should its cheering ray depart,
How dark my soul would be!)

That as in Adam all have died,
In Christ shall all men live;
And ever round his throne abide,
Eternal praise to give.

That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies;
And, when their dreadful doom is past,
To life and light arise.

I ask not, how remote the day,
Nor what the sinner's woe,
Before their dross is purged away;
Enough for me, to know

That when the cup of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They'll cling to what they once disdained,
And live by Him that died.

More on the rapture

The Secret Rapture - its surprising orgins

I referred recently to the theory that the secret rapture is an idea that finds its orgins in the mind of a little girl in Scotland, a disicple of Edward Irving. I read that years ago in Dallimore's biography of Irving. Apprantly the origin of the theory is two books by Dave MacPherson, The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin (Kansas City, Heart of America Bible Society, 1973) and The Incredible Cover-Up (Medford, Oregon, Omega Publications, 1975).
I read that in an article I found here online. This is the relevant section

[J N] Darby began publishing his prophetic speculations in 1831. Coincidentally both he and Edward Irving began to postulate two stages to Christ's imminent return about the same time. First, there would be an invisible 'appearing' when Christians would meet Christ in the air and be removed from the earth, a process which came to be known as 'the rapture of the saints'. With the restraining presence of the Holy Spirit removed from the world, the Antichrist would arise and the seven year tribulation would begin. His rule would finally be crushed only by the public 'appearing' of Jesus Christ.
There is some speculation that this novel doctrine emerged as a result of the Powerscourt prophetic conference held near Dublin in 1831. 'Darby's prominence at the Powerscourt meetings has led to the supposition that he was responsible for it...' While dispensationalists have been most anxious to perpetuate this belief to ensure a measure of orthodoxy, there is much evidence to the contrary. Several have attributed the notion of a secret, pretribulational Rapture to Edward Irving. Dave MacPherson argues convincingly that the doctrine arose through a prophetic revelation given to Margaret MacDonald, one of Irvings's disciples.
Corroborating evidence can be found in the division the doctrine caused among dispensationalists between pre-tribulationists and post-tribulationists at the Niagara Prophecy Conferences from about 1884.
The 'Rapture-Rupture' essentially had Robert Cameron, Nathaniel West, and later W. R. Erdman, holding for a 'Rapture' at the very end of the age. They were to be supported by W. G. Moorehead of Xenia Theological Seminary. An apparent majority of the Niagarans, including Brookes, Scofield, Gaebelein, Parson, Gordon and George Needham, were holding for what has become the traditional pretribulation view.
Gaebelein, writing some fifty years later about the Scofield Reference Bible, looked back at the Niagara Conferences and linked the controversy to Irving.
Toward the end of the Niagara meetings several of the teachers, influenced by one man, who was considered an outstanding biblical and ecclesiastical scholar (as he undoubtedly was), began to abandon this distinction and branded it as mere invention. One of them went so far as to say that the teaching that the Lord would remove His true Church before the predicted Great Tribulation judgment, and that so far as His coming for His saints is concerned that it might occur at any moment, originated in the days of Edward Irving and his spurious gift of tongues revival. And so the blessed hope of the imminent coming of the Lord was more or less charged to the influence of subtle demons.
Gaebelein may have merely been repeating the position known to be held by Darby via Scofield concerning Irving's later eccentricities. Despite the obvious influence Darby and Irving had upon one another in the early days of the Prophecy Conferences at Albury and Powerscourt, Darby eventually disassociated himself from the fanciful prophecies of the Irvingites and the Catholic Apostolic Church. Scofield himself denied that Irving was the source of this doctrine. Responding to criticisms from a former colleague at the Niagara Conference, and following its demise over infighting over the 'rapture' he wrote an anonymous editorial in Our Hope in 1902,
We cannot, however, in the interests of truth, allow the statement to stand that 'until the days of Edward Irving, who was excluded from the Presbyterian Church for heresy, no one ever heard of this 'coming for' and 'coming with his saints.'' As a matter of fact, Irving was excluded, not for heresy in doctrine, but for his view on church order... If the editor of the Watchword and Truth will turn to Zechariah 14:4,5, he will learn of a statement concerning the coming with which considerably antedates Edward Irving... And if, further, he will turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, he will find a revelation concerning the 'coming for His saints' later indeed than Zechariah by six hundred years, but still about eighteen hundred years before Edward Irving.23
As late as 1976 Walvoord was still anxious to distance the origin of the doctrine of the Rapture from Irving.
The often-repeated charge that Darby secured his pretribulationism from Edward Irving has never been actually documented. One can hardly account for the wide acceptance of pretribulationism by Plymouth Brethren, who are devoted students of the bible, to the offering of this view by a person who had no reputation for orthodoxy.
Canfield notes that Walvoord's position contradicts several British historians who were closer to the issue.
Neatby, writing in 1901, Howard Rowden in 1967, F. Roy Coad in 1968 and Iain Murray in 1971, all find direct and reasonable links between the ideas of irving and the role of J. N. Darby. The link is so evident that a denial, using semantics on Walvoord's part, does not 'wash'.

Bragg The Rapture

I'm a little behind at present with some things. Melvyn Bragg's In our time is up and runing again on Radio 4 and at the end of last month they had a programme on The Rapture with Crawford Gribben and two other academics. You can currently access it here. The programme was very informative, although there is one thing I must chase up that I read in Arnold Dallimore's biography of Edward Irving - that the idea of a secret rapture began with a young girl in Scotland, a disicple of Irving, who began to have ecstatic visions. It was only a45 minute programme.

10 Shortest verses in the New Testament

  1. John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.” (2 words, 9 letters)
  2. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – “Rejoice evermore.” (2 words, 15 letters: shorter than the first in Greek)
  3. Luke 17:32 – “Remember Lot’s wife.” (3 words)
  4. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” (3 words)
  5. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 – “Despise not prophesyings.” (3 words)
  6. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – “Quench not the Spirit.” (4 words)
  7. 1 Thessalonians 5:25 – “Brethren, pray for us.” (4 words)
  8. Hebrews 13:1 - "Let brotherly love continue" (4 words)
  9. 2 Corinthians 13:13 -  "All the saints salute you" (5 words)
  10. Mark 4:14 - The sower soweth the word. (5 words)
Also John 6:48: I am that bread of life. (6 words but less letters than number ten)
Luke 20:30 - "The second" in modern versions (2 words and so actually the shortest)

Lord's Day at Pains Hill October 27 2019

I was at Pains Hill Chapel in Surrey yesterday. Numbers were just inside or outside single figures but people listened well and there were almost as many in the evening as in the morning. I preached on love and peace from 1 John 4:16 and Isaiah 26:3, 4. I had a very pleasant afternoon with one of the couples from the church and it wa good to catch up with an old college friend. One wishes churches like this were growing but that is hardly the ase at the moment - and not for the lack of trying. WHo know what might be ahead. One can imagine a slow demise but then it is not ificult to imagine it taking off if God should come with power. Faithfulness is important.

GBM Annual Meetings 2019

It was good last Saturday to be at the GBM Annual Meetings in the Friends Meeting House once again. Things appear to be on a  better financial footing in some ways than the last time I was present thanks to some hard decisions and sacrifices. Communications man Jim Sayers leaves at the end if the year and no replacement has been found which is also a matter of concern. After the delegates meeting and some lunch I attended first a session with Theo and Sonia Donner. Theo continues to lecture at the seminary in Medellin and is currently in the process of getting a large book on hermeneutics in Spanish published. This was followed by a session with Andrzej Kampcinski who works pastoring a small church in Legionowo just outside Warsaw, Poland. This was led by Graham Field the current president.
I then attended a very full session that featured the new work the Murfitts plan to do in Madeira, the ongoing work of James Hammond in Bordeaux and the seminary in Zambia, something about the radio work and envision teams and a local church feature on giving and evangelising ethnically diverse neighbours.
By this time my brain was bursting so I decideed to skip the final session where Theo Donner was preaching and no doubt more info was shared by people from W Africa, Peru,, etc.
The sheer size and diversity of what is going on is striking. One inevitably wonders about some things but this does seem a much better way of doing mission than much that is onoffer
Great to see many familiar faces and one or two new ones.

Focus Under the Bridge

I have been to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's ground, more than once but I had not really noticed that under the East stadium near the Shed end there is a venue called Under the Bridge. Last Friday night I and a ministerial friend (who I convinced about Focus last time they were in town) were among a couple of hundred squeezed into this state of the art setting. (A light show is a rare treat at a Focus gig but appreciated - I think the visuals man must have a sense of humour as we had a picture of crocuses as we started on Hocus Pocus or as Jan Akkerman would surely have rechristiened it Focus crocus!). We caught most of Chantel McGregor's set which was of a high standard. She plays guitar and sings with a bass and drums rhythm section. Of course, once Focus stepped on stage were into a whole new zone with each member of the band making a solid contribution that was rewarded with a solo slot for for each - more in some cases. Van Leer was on form with the complete array of two kinds of flute, organ, melodica, scat, whistling, throat singing, lots of vocoder and a brief vocal on the opening song.
The set list began as usual with some very early stuff - Focus 1, a little Anonymus and House of the King. We then had a version of Eruption, good but not outstanding on this occasion I thought. We then moved on to some more recent stuff - Winnie and the simple but effective All hands on deck with the essential Sylvia in the middle.
We then had some songs rarely heard, if ever - Focus 4 (!) from Mother Focus and Focus 6 which has never appeared on a Focus album (I can only find it on a van Leer solo album. You can hear a recent live version here.). Between these we had Who's calling? originally on the Akkerman van Leer Focus collaboration of 1985 but recently revived on the Focus 11 album. Staying with 1985 material we then had a very fine version of Le Tango with melodics, whistling, etc. Before tackling that Thijs remarked on the presence in the audience of former wife Roselie Peters who wrote lyrics for  this and other songs. We then had two numbers from Hamburger Concerto regularly played back to back La Cathedrale and Harem Scarem. In the second, van Leer takes opportunity to make himself scarce. So we had solos from Menno Gootjes and Udo Pannekeet on six string bass. Van der Linden had had one in Eruption and was to get another very full one on the penultimate track.
The set of over two amazing hours (no-one in the band showing any signs of tiring) closed with the usual Hocus Pocus and then slightly over they plumped for Focus 2 (rather than Focus 3) as the closer. Stupendous stuff.
There was an opportunity to meet the band but there was a rather long queue and so we decided to head off.

Midweek Meetings 16 and 23 October 2019

I am falling down on reporting our midweek meetings it seems. The two meetings were quite different in that the second fell in half term and so it was a different set of people at the two meetings. We were seven on the 23rd and a similar number on the 16thif I remember correctly. We follow the same format each week - a hymn, prayer and reading reading, address, prayer point gathering, time of prayer and the benediction said together. We sit in a circle. At both meetings I was speaking from Haggai. I tried to be interactive both times. In the one on the 23rd I probably should have taken a little less (I went all the way from 2:10 to the end). Nobody seemed to mind that the meeting went on a little longer. It is always good to pray.

Day off week 43 2019

I did one or two other things but the main things yesterday trying to read a new book on Athanasius by Peter Barnes (not very much progress there) and, in the evening, going to see the film about Judy Garland, Judy, with Eleri. Judy Garland is very much my mum and dad's era but her life is a real draw and this performance by Renee Zellweger was pretty amazing. The child star who lives a rotten life despite immense talent is almost a cliche but it is still moving to see just how that worked out in one tragic and all too short life. As with the recent Laurel and Hardy film the picture takes place mostly in Britain, this time in London, where Bernard Delfont  (yes, him again) has arranged for Judy to perform at the Talk of the Town, which she does for money with only one or two wobbles. The childhood info is passed on via flashbacks. Judging by the size of cinema we were in the film has been out a few weeks now but I like to avoid spoilers as I can. So suffice to say that the film end on quite an emotional high,as films ideally should. It is hard to be sure what might have been done to make poor Judy's life a better one unless she had lived a much more ordinary life.

The Warlock of Love

Desire is a strange thing. In 2 Samul 13 we read of Amnon that first he fell in love with his half sister Tamar but that after he had raped her he hated her with intense hatred. Having given in to an inordinate desire he then feels an opposite emotion - hatred.
Normally, the desire is not so strong and so the reaction is not so strong either. When I was a student I used to see copies of Tabletalk magazine produced by Ligonier around and it seemed to me to be very desirable but when I investigated costs it was quite expensive having to come from America. As a poor student, I could not afford it. When I became a minister and was as rich as I had ever been I rather forgot about Tabletlak. Now I am sixty and Ligonier are giving us copies of Tabletalk free. Somehow I am not that excited.
Some while ago I tracked down a copy of Archie and the Strict Baptists. I had seen a copy again as a student and tried to find one from time to time. When I eventually tracked one down at a price I was happy to pay and I enjoyed reading it again.
Last week another book from my teenage years arrived at my door. This time I had never seen a copy but was aware of it and knew it was one of the best selling poetry books of 1970. It has rarely been reprinted and so when I have looked for a copy the price has been exorbitant. This year it has been printed once again and so I bought a copy, The book is Marc Bolan's Warlock of Love. The new edition comes with a nice CD of four songs and one poem in mono. As for the poems themselves, well I might have got mildly excited years ago but not today really. So there it sits as I try and get something out of it.

The vanquished sun
Is like the withered yolk
Of a weathered egg.

Last Things First

Back up to the Pastors' Academy today for the latest meeting of the reading group. The book was J V Fesko's Last things first. The book basically says let's forget the arguments over creation (paradovically doing more to inflame them rather than dampen them down) and let's see what we can learn about exchatology and the sweep of Scripture. He looks at Man in the Image of God, the Garden-Temple of Eden (ala Greg Beale), the Covenant of Works (Which is how he understandds Adam in the Garden), shadows & types of the Second Adam, the Work of the Second Adam and the Sabbath. Seven of us were present including a lady from East London there for the first time. We weregerally happy with Fesko without accepting every jot and tittle. Keith Holmes led us. Next time we will go for Craig Carter's Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis.

Wales reach semi-final

Despite appearances I am not unaware of Wales's porgress in the World Cup.
Sadly most of the games have been and, if successful will be, on a Sunday.
They appear to have made hard work of beating France but a win is a win.

Lord's Day October 20 2019

It was an unusual day today in that being half term this coming week a lot of people were away including both of my two deacons and my wife and son, etc. We were a decent number in the morning, however, with several recent attendees present and one of those missing for some time back at last. I preached on Acts 25 - not an easy passage to preach but I hope we got somewhere with it. Only one child present when I did the children's talk, though there were two more later. In the evening we were only five for communion and then eight in the meeting, where we looked at the darkness at noon on the cross. 

10 Shortest verses in the Old Testament

  1. 1 Chronicles 1:25 "Eber, Peleg, Reu" (3 words)
  2. Exodus 20:13 – “Thou shalt not kill.” (4 words)
  3. Exodus 20:15 – “Thou shalt not steal.” (4 words)
  4. Deuteronomy 5:17 – “Thou shalt not kill.” (4 words)
  5. Deuteronomy 5:19 – “Neither shalt thou steal.” (4 words)
  6. Job 3:2 - "And Job spake, and said" (5 words)
  7. Genesis 26:6: "And Isaac dwelt in Gerar" (5 words)
  8. Job 6:1 "But Job answered and said" (5 words)
  9. Job 21:1 "But Job answered and said" (5 words)
  10. Job 26:1 "But Job answered and said" (5 words)
Also Job 12:1 "And Job answered and said" (5 words)

Day off week 42 2019

As the above picture reveals I got over to Keats House again and this time I got to see round the place - for the first time in ages. I like Keats but have never got round to the longer poems. Much of the rest of the day was taken up with editing two chapters of a new edition of a book about music (sounding a bit cryptic there but I don't want to give too much away). I am also working on a the history of our local church and that is almost done. There was time too to read the latest Private Eye, a little bit of the book for Monday (F V Fesko First things last) and some TV with Eleri.

Dr Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture 2019

I am sorry not to have written this up before now but last Tuesday we had a very special meeting at the Pastor's Academy in Finchley when Sinclair Ferguson delivered to a packed audience the annual Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones lecture. The year 2019 is the fiftieth anniversary of the delivering of the lectures in Westminster Seminary that became the book Preachers and preaching.
It was a long paper but the momentum never sagged. There were three parts - the lectures themselves, the preaching of the preacher and the preacher who wrote the book.
Sixteen lectures were given over six weeks with two final sessions for questions and answers. Lloyd-Jones liked preaching books with plenty of anecdotes and his own lectures are packed with them. One of his greatest concerns was with the matter of what is most often called unction. Dr Ferguson suggested that while we may reject Lloyd-Jones's exposition we cannot deny the evidence of church history which suggests that his view that we need the Spirit always to preach and sometimes he comes powerfully is correct. Lloyd-Jones favourite story of this was that of John Livingstone at the Kirk o' Shotts when some 500 were either converted or something similar Livingstone himself wrote
It is most probable that no gift, no pains, a man takes to fit himself for preaching, shall ever do good to the people or himself, except a man labour to have and keep his heart in a spiritual condition before God, depending on him always for furniture and the blessing. Earnest faith and prayer, a single aim at the glory of God and good of people, a sanctified heart and carriage, shall avail much for right preaching. There is sometimes somewhat in preaching that cannot be ascribed either to the matter or expression, and cannot be described what it is, or from whence it cometh, but with a sweet violence, it pierceth into the heart and affections, and comes immediately from the Lord. But if there be any way to attain to any such thing, it is by a heavenly disposition of the speaker. A man would especially read the writings, and labour to follow the gifts, of those whom God hath, in the most eminent manner, blessed with the converting and confirming of their hearers, rather than those who seem to have rare gifts for learning and delectation, without such success.

As for Lloyd-Jones as a preacher Ferguson singled out the humbling of his natural pride and his new understanding of the cross when someone showed him that he was preaching regeneration but failing to point people to Christ. On Romans 5 Lloyd-Jones says "The Christian life is in many ways a matter of logic, a matter of deduction" and he famously spoke of preaching as logic on fire or eloquent reason. His reading of Calvin, Edwads and Warfield confirmed him in this. Providentially he had a medical training and made use of this in his approach to preaching. However, it was more than that. As Dr Ferguson pointed out there have been many preachers with a medical training who did not preach like Lloyd-Jones. More important then, it was suggested, was his taking up of the recommendation of Lord Horder, his medical mentor, that his students read Jevons on logic. As for eloquence Plato's emphasis on logos, ethos, pathos was again important. Lloyd-Jones had the logos but believed he lacked pathos (as most preachers do). Ethos is to do with the integrity of the preacher and his message – and ourselves your servants for Christ’s sake.
We ended with some personal reminiscences and a reference to a picture of Lloyd-Jones being introduced to the Queen. At the end I felt like I did when I finished reading the two volume biography. This was a truly holy man, an eloquent preacher used by God. Only to be like him to some extent.

Evangelical Library Unexpected Lecture

There was another lunch time lecture at the Library last Monday. We were supposed to have Rob Childs from Manchester on John Wycliffe. He was unwell, however, and so Dr Ian Densham very kindly stepped in at the last minute and gave us a lecture not on Wycliffe but on the background and lead up to Wycliffe with Reference to Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Bradwardine and others. We had a good turn out and I don't think there was to much disappointment that the paper was not on Wycliffe, which we will try and have another time. The next lecture is on Monday, December 2 and is on Thomas Treanor.

10 Examples of claims of unfitness for office

I think I've spotted a new trend. You no longer say a person is not any good at their job, you say, rather, that they are not fit to be doing it. It's a stronger statement but I wonder if it really helps. Here are ten real (though not very well documented examples).

1. We have long known Donald Trump is unfit for office. (Daily Mirror)
2. SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said Theresa May is “not fit for office” due to her conduct throughout the Brexit process. (Press and Journal)
3. The leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn says Boris Johnson is not fit for the office of prime minister and thinks he is above the law. (BBC) "If he can't stand the scrutiny of his peers then he is not fit for office." .
4. Tom Watson. Sir Richard Henriques "By misusing his public office to recklessly repeat false allegations, and to characterise himself as a victim, he has shown that he is unfit to hold the office of MP." (The Times)
5. Trevor Kavanagh "The fact is Corbyn was never fit to be PM, even before he entered Parliament half a century ago as a Che Guevara lookalike. Indeed, he is unfit for office of any kind, not because of failing memory, a saggy eye muscle or a rumoured mini-stroke. He is unsuited because he regards all Britain’s enemies as his friends and prizes the IRA, Hamas and even Putin’s Kremlin above the interests of the country he aspires to lead."
6. "Remove John Bercow speaker of The House of Commons. He's not impartial & unfit for office" Online petition.
7. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has proved himself to be ‘unprincipled and unfit to hold one of the great offices of state’ after turning the UK’s back on opposing the death penalty, according to the lawyer. Ben Emmerson QC.
8. Priti Patel is not only not fit to be Tory Leader, she is not fit to be trusted with any kind of ministerial office. She is unfit to serve and should be removed from Parliament. Found on a blog by a man from Crewe.
9/10. A vicar who says his disclosures about being sexually abused as a teenager were ignored by senior clerics has told an inquiry the archbishops of Canterbury and York are not "fit for office".

10 Republics of various sorts

1. Plato's Republic - Socratic dialogue by Plato (c 380 BC) about justice, the order and character of the just city-state and the just man.
2. Dominican Republic - Country in the Caribbean
3. Banana Republic - Fashion chain owned by Gap.
Also used to refer to describes a politically unstable country with an economy dependent on the exportation of a limited-resource product, such as bananas or minerals. In 1901, American author O. Henry coined the term to describe Honduras and its neighbours under economic exploitation by US corporations, such as the United Fruit Company
4. Coffee Republic - Coffee chain
5. OneRepublic - American pop rock band formed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2002
6. Constitutional Republic - a form of indirect democracy where the represenatives are elected and the rules set down in a written constitution. It is often simply called a "republic". The head of state and other representatives are elected. They do not have uncontrolled power.
7. People's Republic - a title used by some sovereign states with republican constitutions. The term was initially associated with populist movements in the 19th century (ege German Völkisch movement and Narodniks in Russia). A number of the short-lived states created during WWI and its aftermath called themselves people's republics. Many of these were in the territory of the former Russian Empire which collapsed following the Russian Revolution. 1917. Additional people's republics were created following the Allied victory in WWII. The term has become associated with countries adhering to Marxism–Leninism, although its use is not unique to such states.
8. Pizza Republic - Pizza chain
9. Weimar Republic - Germany's government 1919-1933, the period after WWI until the rise of Nazi Germany. It was named after the town where Germany's new government was formed by a national assembly after Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated.
10. Urban Republic - Clothing chain

Lord's Day October 13 2019

A good day last Lord's Day as we carried on with Acts and Matthew 27. In the morning it was Paul before Felix and a good opportunity to cover some Christian basics. In the evning it was again basic, looking at the words of the mockers at the cross. We had tea together before th evening meeting. That was well attended and a lovely time. One or two visitors and various ones away as ever.

Another induction

Another Saturday, another induction. This one was nearer home - in Hemel Hempstead, at the Congregational Church in Alexander Rad where John Marshall ministered at one time. The new minister is Chris Bennett who was at Wilton Community Church. The chairman was Gwynne Evans of Hayes and the sermons was given by Jeremy Marshall. There was a good turn out (over a hundred) in their beautifully redesigned church building which now has the preaching point on the longer wall and chairs have replaced pews. The entrance way has also been remodelled and other improvements made. Great to meet with various ones and chat over tea. It has been some time since the church had a pastor and it is good that they now have one. Chris sounds like a good fit.

10 ipper words

1. Dipper as in on the Big Dipper
2. Whipper as in whipper snapper
3. Ripper as in Jack the Ripper
4. Nipper as in our nipper likes to tease
5. Flipper as in Flipper the dolphin
6. Tipper as in she's a good tipper or that tipper truck is full
7. Kipper as in that kipper taste nice at breakfast and all too day
8. Quipper as in he's a fast and funny quipper
9. Slipper as in he hit me with his slipper
10. Zipper as in zip that zipper up

Midweek Meeting October 9 2019

Bit behind here. Eleven of us were there Wednesday as we looked at the final section in Haggai 1. Good interaction for once (I learned a lot). The fear of God and his "withness" are great themes. This is where things get going in Haggai. Oh for such a  revival today. Good prayer time too with most praying. 

Pixar Onward Official Trailer

Interesting to see this, especially from around 1'09" where a favourite piece of music kicks in

Day Off Week 41 2019

Managed my 10,000 steps today but not much else done last Tuesday. Caffe Nero really is much better than its rivals. Dabbled in different books, did some blogging and watched the last David Gorman and the current University Challenge. Tried going to Keats House in Hampstead but it is not open Mondays and Tuesdays. Had a little look in the Library and bought two books (William Styron on depression Darkness Visible and a book of Jane Austen quotes). Went to Brent Cross and bought a new wallet. In the evening we watched the final episode of The capture. Not a patch on the five preceding episodes.

10 Moon words

1. Moonshine - originally a slang term for high-proof distilled spirits usually produced illicitly, without government authorisation.
2. Moonstruck - unable to think or act normally, especially as a result of being in love.
3. Mooncalf - a foolish person
4. Moonbeam - a ray of moonlight
5. Moon blindness - a recurrent inflammation of the eye of the horse, also called periodic ophthalmia
6. Moonmilk - a white, creamy substance found inside limestone caves. It is a precipitate from limestone comprising aggregates of fine crystals of varying composition usually made of carbonates such as calcite, aragonite, hydromagnesite and/or monohydrocalcite.
7. Moon knife - a crescent-shaped knife with a handle across the center used in leather finishing
8. Moon letter - an Arabic consonant to which the l of a preceding definite article al is not assimilated in pronunciation
9. Moon buggy - Lunar roving behicle as used in the Apollo mission
10. Mooncake - A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste surrounded by a thin, (2 or 3 mm) crust. It can contain yolks from salted duck eggs. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by tea.

(Inspired by my 10 last August on Sun words. See here.)

Downton Abbey

Monday was a full day with Westminster Fellowship followed by an Evangelical Library. After that though my good wife picked me up and we went to see the film version 
Downton Abbey.
We have left a bit late so we were in a smaller room in our local Vue than I would have wished but the film's own merits soon overcame any distractions.
We could have done without the homosexual story strand (why did Julian not go for something about racism we would have preferred that - maybe). The film does try to take it self seriously with observations on the decline of England's stately homes but its great strength is its gentle humour. It is very well written and exploits the potentialities of the old English class system to the full. This time Molesely (Kevin Doyle) even outshone Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith) for humour. They feasibly managed to get Mr Carson (Jim Carson) back (and found a part for his real life wife) but couldn't find anything for Bates to do in such a crowded cast.
Do seek it out,

Westminster Fellowship Pastoralia

We had a very good couple of sessions on Monday with Bill James, Principal of the London Seminary, on pastoral care and counselling. Bill spoke about our goal as pastors and the means to it in very helpful terms. About twenty of us were there and we had a good time discussing. The Westminster Fellowship meets in Westminster Baptist Church on the first Monday of most months October-July. The above picture is of what was happening a hundred or so yards from the venue. This was the means of blocking access to Vauxhall Bridge from one side. I have highlighted the fact that several of these protesters were from Aberystwyth where this is very much a  live issue.

10 puns for remembering Welsh words

1. Crud - From his cradle, he was taught the creed
2. Crys - My shirt has a crease
3. Byd - The world is round like a bead
4. Caws - Cheese is made from the milk of cows
5. Duw - In all things give God his due
6. Ffordd - He came along the road driving a Ford(d)
7. Dim - He knows nothing; he's rather dim
8. Wedyn - The barn dance was afterwards - later the barn dance but first the weddin'
9. Ateb - Question: When do I look for shells on the beach? Answer: When the tide is at ebb 
10. Bedd - Teach me to live, that I may dread the grave as little as my bed

Lord's Day October 6 2019

Last Lord's Day began with one of those unlooked for moments when technology let me down, I write my sermons on my laptop and then transfer them to my kindle. That failed for some reason and so I was forced to lug tthe laptop to church. It is not a large machine but if I put it on the pulpit lectern it can be seen. Typically, when I was ready to start it had turned itself off and when I wanted to input my password, caps lock was on and wouldn't budge necessitating a slight delay. Anyway. we got through it not too distracted. I had chosen last Sunday as harvest  - that is when we sing the harvest hymns and I preach a suitable message - this time on Revelation 14. Before the service it was communion (I again used some useful notes from J C Ryle) and in the evening I preached on the cross from Matthew 27:32-38. It was good to see some missing people back in the morning but some are still astray. It is beginning to become clear who might come to us from the seminary.

Induction at Emmanuel Cardiff

We were so glad to be with the folk in Emmanuel, Gabalfa in Cardiff last Saturday. This is the church where my sister-in-law and her family and two of my sons are members. Fflur's husband Glyn Ellis is an elder there and Dylan is one of the ministers in training. They have been without a pastor for some time but have recently called Paul Whitely, previously at Penyrheol in Gorseinon, Saturday was his induction. Paul and his wife Lynsey are from Swansea. They have three kids. The meeting was chaired by Peter Milsom. The preacher was Steffan Jones from Pontardawe who preached to Paul and the congregation, helpfully, on Philip the evangelist. A lovely tea followed. Nice to meet Geoff Gobbett, Meirion Thomas, Dave Lewis, family members et al. There must have been 15 or more ministers present. The trip home was very straightforward, which we appreciated. We wish the church well.

10 Parodies of the Abbey Road LP cover

There's been some fuss recently about the Beatles album Abbey Road, now 50 years old. The cover has become iconic and day after day people flock to the zebra crossing to re-enact that moment. You can see it for yourself here on this webcam site. For further parodies see here

1. Snoopy characters
2. Disney characters
3. Simpson characers
4./Dr Who, asistant and daleks
5. Fantastic 4
6. Volkswagen Beetles
7. Sesame Street charcaters
8. Teletubbies characters
9. Ministry of silly walks
10. Star Trek characters

There is another zebra crossing further up Abbet Road. I used to have achuurch member who lived near it and would take a perverse delight in seeing fans taking photographs at the wrong one.

Midweek meeting October 2 2019

Nine of us gathered last Wednesday for the midweek meeting. We carried on with the next bit in Haggai (1:5-11). That was nice and brief and so we had plenty of time for gathering prayer material (always plenty of that around) and then praying for a good little while. Six of us took turns to lead in prayer. I wish we'd all prayed.

Day off Week 40 2019

This week's day off was quite similar to last week's. I wanted to make it different as it is easy to get stale but there we are. I read a chunk of Kevin DeYoung's book on the Synod of Dort Grace defined and defended and one or two stories from a collection called Capital Crimes. The former is beautifully produced - hard back with a lovely dust wrapper. Both books were good contnewise but in different ways. I also watched the latest Dave Gorman and then when Eleri came home we caught up on our TV (Sanditon, The Capture, A Confession). 

10 Dairy Alternative Milks

1. Soya
2. Almond
3. Oat
4. Hemp
5. Flax
6. Cashew
7. Peanut
8. Coconut
9. Pea
10. Rice

Lord's Day September 30 2019

It was pretty much the usual mix of regulars, visitors and missing people on Sunday. There was a visitor who I do not think had been in a church like ours in a long time so I hope he got on okay. I preached the next part of Acts in the morning and from Matthew 27 in the evening on the soldiers mocking Jesus. Wonderful hymns again. The morning passage had not mention of Christ so I began with this quote from Spurgeon, which I hope helped.

“I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers. Let your sermons be full of Christ, from beginning to end crammed full of the gospel. As for myself, brethren, I cannot preach anything else but Christ and His cross, for I know nothing else, and long ago, like the apostle Paul, I determined not to know anything else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. People have often asked me, “What is the secret of your success?” I always answer that I have no other secret but this, that I have preached the gospel,—not about the gospel, but the gospel,—the full, free, glorious gospel of the living Christ who is the incarnation of the good news. Preach Jesus Christ, brethren, always and everywhere; and every time you preach be sure to have much of Jesus Christ in the sermon. You remember the story of the old minister who heard a sermon by a young man, and when he was asked by the preacher what he thought of it he was rather slow to answer, but at last he said, “If I must tell you, I did not like it at all; there was no Christ in your sermon.” “No,” answered the young man, “because I did not see that Christ was in the text.” “Oh!” said the old minister, “but do you not know that from every little town and village and tiny hamlet in England there is a road leading to London? Whenever I get hold of a text, I say to myself, ‘There is a road from here to Jesus Christ, and I mean to keep on His track till I get to Him.'” “Well,” said the young man, “but suppose you are preaching from a text that says nothing about Christ?” “Then I will go over hedge and ditch but what I will get at Him.” So must we do, brethren; we must have Christ in all our discourses, whatever else is in or not in them. There ought to be enough of the gospel in every sermon to save a soul. Take care that it is so when you are called to preach before Her Majesty the Queen, and if you have to preach to charwomen or chairmen, still always take care that there is the real gospel in every sermon.”

C H Spurgeon, The Soul Winner