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.

Lord's Day June 28 2020

It was a good day last Sunday. Different yet again in some ways. We began again with the singing time but our pianists were unable to be at their piano and so we made use of the excellent collection provided by the EMW. My son Gwïon kindly organised that for us. It's been good having him mostly with us over the summer (he has now headed back to Aber where he will work in the newly reopened bookshop over the summer). I recorded a service for YouTube last Friday on 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. (I had the camera a little low. I notice it officially has no views but I'm pretty sure that is wrong). In the evening it was Zoom time once again and I preached on the final three verses of Joshua 5. We also had Jonathan Parkinson with us from Caring for Life. We started supporting them years ago but have not been very good at keeping up so it was good to hear some news.

365 Albums 166-180

  1. Tarkus Emerson Lake & Palmer 1971
  2. Gach Sgeul Julie Fowlis 2014
  3. Cyclone Tangerine Dream 1978
  4. Dancehall Sweethearts Horslips 1974
  5. Not too late Norah Jones 2007
  6. Eli Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux 1976
  7. Unicorn Tyrannosaurus Rex 1969
  8. Guitar for Sale Jan Akkerman 1969
  9. Hymns IV Page CXVI 2011*
  10. Nice to have met you Thijs van Leer 1978
  11. Two sides of Peter Banks Peter Banks 1973
  12. In and Out of Focus Focus 1970
  13. Always Gabrielle 2007
  14. Aqua Edgar Froese 1974
  15. Voyager Mike Oldfield 1997

London Seminary End of Term

It was not possible, of course, to have the usual end of year service at the seminary with a visiting preacher and tea on the lawn. Instead we had a stripped down zoom meeting with testimonies from the leaving students and a short sermon from the principal. It is a shame that we can do no more but at least something was done. Thank you to those who arranged it. There appeared to be over 100 participating.

Rutherford on Providence

Rutherford to Lady Kenmure, as quoted by Alistair Begg.

Madam, when you are come to the other side of the water, and have set down your foot on the shore of glorious eternity, and look back again to the waters, and to your wearisome journey, and shall see in that clear glass of endless glory nearer to the bottom of God's wisdom, you shall then be forced to say, “If God had done otherwise with me than he hath done, I had never come to the enjoying of this crown of glory.”

Banner Lite 2020

As the usual Banner Conference was not possible this year, Banner very kindly sent us all a box of books and organised a series of messages on All Things for Good. Ian Hamilton, a very familiar face, kicked us off in an obvious place, Romans 8:28. He was followed by someone unfamiliar to me, Hensworth Jonas, a Baptist in Antigua and Barbuda. he took us to Psalm 27:14 in a fresh Al Martin style that was helpful. We then had a book review of Thomas Watson's book on the conference subject. Ian was backed by a word map and I guess Hensworth was in his church - a slick production with camera angle changes and words appearing appropriately. Jeremy did the no, no, and had his library behind him. Not a problem for Banner types I guess but some may have been tempted to try and assess what he has (everything) and does not have.(nothing). The final session was good old Alistair Begg on lessons from the life of Joseph and Genesis 50:20, the Old Testament Romans 8:28. It was a relief to have a little bit of humour at certain points. The messages are all on the Banner site at YouTube. I enjoyed the music between sessions too, courtesy of YouTube I guess.

Midweek Meeting June 24 2020

We zoomed once again last night. Again there were a gratifying number (including some who are not in Childs Hill at the moment and could not have joined us under normal circumstances) including our new friend from Sunday. A good number prayed too. We looked at 1 Chronicles 1:28-2:17. This is not proving easy but we are getting on with it. Hopefully we will be able to get back together in person soon.

Day Off Week 26 2020

Today I read a large chunk of an excellent new book by Joel Beeke and Bryan Hedges on using the Puritans It is a very helpful book spotlighting the work in general of the Puritans and specific volumes. I have ready many of the works cited but I did notice that there are titles here I know but have still never read. I must put that right. I also did my 10,000 steps and listened to the latest Louis Theroux podcast. I also watched some TV in the evening. Good day.

Blog of the week 15

Conscience  - Quotations

Queen Elizabeth One
She says to everyone:
If your conscience is clear
You'll have nothing to fear.
Elvis says of conscience
When your intelligence
Don’t tell you something's wrong
Don't say to you "Hold on!"
Don't give your arm a shake
You know you are a snake.
(Just two brief quotations
To raise expectations.)

This blog was started in 2015 and contains quotations on the subject of conscience, on which subject I have a published book. There are over 100 entries. There have been more than 2,000 hits. It can be found here. Most popular post on the blog is a quote from Elvis Presley You can find it here.

10 Evidences of the dominion of sin by Owen

There are uncontrollable evidences of the dominion of sin in men, some whereof I shall mention, and only mention, because they need neither proof nor illustration. 

1. It is so where sin hath possessed the will. And it hath possessed the will when there are no restraints from sinning taken from its nature but its consequents only. 

2. When men proclaim their sins and hide them not; when they boast in them and of them, as it is with multitudes 

3. Approve of themselves in any known sin, without renewed repentance; as drunkenness, uncleanness, swearing, and the like 

4. Live in the neglect of religious duties in their closets and families; whence all their public attendance unto them is but hypocrisy 

5. Have an enmity to true holiness, and the power of godliness 

6. Are visible apostates from profession, especially if they add, as is usual, persecution to their apostasy 

7. Are ignorant of the sanctifying principles of the gospel and Christian religion 

8. Are despisers of the means of conversion 

9. Live in security under open providential warnings and calls to repentance 

10. Are enemies in their minds unto the true interest of Christ in the world. 

Where these things and the like are found, there is no question what it is that hath dominion and bears rule in the minds of men, all men may easily know, as the apostle declares, Rom. vi. 16.

(Dominion of sin and grace - see Vol 7 of Works)

Lord's Day June 21 2020

We had a very good day last Sunday. We met to sing first (accordion accompaniment so it had a Beach 
Missions feel) and then listened to the recorded service on 2 Corinthians 4:13-18. We seem to have something different each week. This week I reintroduced consecutive readings (Jonah 1) and we used Abe Conference hymn recordings available from EMW. This took the pressure off our pianists, helped me to edit earlier and was probably nicer to sing with.  In the evening we zoomed, I preached on Joshua 5:1-12 and Andrew Murray, pastor of Hope West End reported. This is a project we have long supported so it was good to catch up. Also had that meeting something happened that we have longed for - we had a visitor. Someone local had tracked us down, emailed us and then joined us for the service. It's quite a little story how they became a ware of us but that will keep. So encouraged.

Midweek Meeting June 17 2020

It was quite a moment for me last Wednesday and nothing like I'd imagined it but as I have now preached on almost all of the Bible, I have come to the point where I think I may be ready to tackle 1 and 2 Chronicles. And so we started off with 1 Chronicles 1:1-27 and it was okay. We are on Zoom still but that is not too much of a problem by this stage I hope. We also had a good time of sharing and praying as ever. Good turn out again.

Day Off Week 25 2020

Thin week the day off was a bit bitty as I was trying to fix my coffee machine and set up a new hub for the wifi. We were fairly successful with the hub but not with the coffee machine which still functions fine for my Americanos but will not do frothy milk. The hub chain was overdue. In the evening I watched the second two of the BBC's dramatisation of the Salisbury poisonings, which was quite well done. I had rather forgotten about this outrage not having been affected by it. Its parallels with the present crisis are obvious. Got one or two other things done too, including my 10,000 steps, although that did include doing circuits in the kitchen at night.

Trace not chase

Recent rainbow in Childs Hill (found here

One new feature of life for us in lock down is seeing hymns written up on screens rather than in books and so we have seen some few typos, one or two American spellings and occasionally different wording. Last Sunday we sang O love that wilt not let me go. I was surprised to see in our version

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I chase the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

I'm not sure when that error crept in but I think it brings in quite a different idea to George Matheson's original. Chasing rainbows is vague and ethereal, whereas tracing them through the rain is an exercise in faith.

Blog of the Week 14

Proverbs and sayings

This blog's about words
Sayings - two thirds
And the rest, words alone.
Forgive me please
And do not tease
As on and on I drone

This blog was started in back in early 2010 and contains various things loosely connected by the idea of words, a lifelong area of interest. There are over 300 entries there. There have been about 23,600 hits. It can be found here. Most popular post on the blog with about 1500 visits is on the phrase You have to eat a peck of dirt in a lifetime. You can find it here. I would like to do a sort of 2 minute podcast on words but I don't know if I'll get round to it.

New In Writing now available

The new edition of in writing from the Evangelical Library is currently going out

William Ellison

I thought this article was interesting and helps show how difficult to weigh up real history can be.
William Ellison Jr., born April Ellison (c. April 1790 – December 5, 1861), was a U.S. cotton gin maker and blacksmith in South Carolina, and former black slave who achieved considerable success in business before the American Civil War. He eventually became a major planter and one of the medium property owners, and the wealthiest black property owner in the state. According to the 1860 census (in which his surname was listed as “Ellerson”), he owned 53 black slaves, making him the largest of the 171 black slaveholders in South Carolina. He held 40 slaves at his death and more than 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land. From 1830-1865 he and his sons were the only free blacks in Sumter County, South Carolina to own slaves. The county was largely devoted to cotton plantations, and the majority population was slaves.
Ellison and his sons were among a number of successful free people of color in the antebellum years, but Ellison was particularly outstanding. His master had passed on social capital by apprenticing him to learn a valuable artisan trade as a cotton-gin maker, at which Ellison made a success. He took a wife at the age of 21. After buying his own freedom when he was 26, a few years later Ellison purchased his wife and their children, to protect them from sales as slaves. The Act of 1820 made it more difficult for slaveholders to make personal manumissions, but Ellison gained freedom for his sons and a quasi-freedom for his surviving daughter. During the American Civil War, Ellison and his sons supported the Confederate States of America and gave the government substantial donations and aid. A grandson fought informally with the regular Confederate Army and survived the war.

365 Albums 151-165

  1. War U2 1983
  2. The Yes Album Yes 1970 (M31)
  3. Saved Bob Dylan 1980
  4. The Chieftains 5 The Chieftains 1975
  5. Tanx T Rex 1973
  6. Peace Eurythmics 1999
  7. Paradise Found Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band 2007 * (J5)
  8. Focus X Focus 2012
  9. Birds Trace 1975
  10. Mind Wave Cyril Havermans 1974
  11. Slow Train Coming Bob Dylan 1979
  12. Let it Be The Beatles 1970
  13. Introspection 3 Thijs van Leer 1977 (J10)
  14. Underwater Sunlight Tangerine Dream 1986
  15. Ekseption 5 Ekseption 1972

Lord's Day June 14 2020

Yesterday was different in that I "preached in two churches". That is to say, I prepared a recorded service last Friday, as usual, for the morning service here in Childs Hill (which I did get to see eventually). This was on 2 Corinthians 4:1-12, the next in the series. At 10 am I joined the singers (alright sinners who sing). The at 11 I preached on zoom to Gordon Road Evangelical Church, Hailsham. I only know one person in that congregation so it was a little strange, especially as I was still in my bedroom. Anyway it was okay. I spoke on James 1:4-6. We had four hymns (YouTube recordings of different congregations).
In the evening we had Reuben Saywell preach here on zoom, while I was upstairs preaching again to the Hailsham folk by zoom, this time on Acts 11:24 (Barnabas). We went into breakout rooms after so I at least got to chat with a few of the folk. It is mostly a more elderly congregation, not as diverse as in Childs Hill I guess. They don't have a pastor at present. (Hailsham is well off for Reformed ministry as there is also the Baptist Church and the Free church, if I have that right). When I came down, some of the Childs Hill folk were still chatting with Reuben so it was nice to catch up there.
So a lovely Lord's Day, despite the Lockdown.

10 Leaders with their country in their name

1. Jomo Kenyatta, first president of Kenya. He took the surname (“Light of Kenya”) when in London in the 1930s.
2. Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, or any of his predecessors back to Muhammad bin Saud, who ruled 1726–1765.
3. ‏Pierre Mendès France, prime minister of France, June 1954 to February 1955.
4. Solomon Mamaloni, prime minister of the Solomon Islands three times between 1981 and 1997. 
5. Alexander Dubček. First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, 1968-69. Although he was actually a Slovak.
6. Ulysses S Grant, President of the United States, 1869-77.
7. Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India, 1980-84.
8. ‏Giorgi Margvelashvili, president of Georgia.
9. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, president of El Salvador.
10. King Mswati III, and his predescessors, King of eswatini (Swaziland).

Midweek Meeting June 10 2020

So Zoom it was once again last Wednesday and again numbers were good and lots of people prayed. I gave the final address on adoption, looking finally at freedom and discipline. It's been a good series to do. It was good to share and to pray after that too. Not sure what we will do next, although I have ideas.

Day Off Week 24 2020

The main thing I like to do on my day off is some reading. Today I read a big chunk of For whom the bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway. My edition is the one in the Great Writers part series I collected years back. (This is one of a number of unread novels that I feel I should have got round to by now. Earlier in the year I finally read Catcher in the Rye and am part way through Catch 22). I was prompted to read Hemingway as The New Yorker has just published a lost story of his. See here. Once into it, it is a fairly easy read though a strange one in that the dialogue purports to be translated from Spanish and he deals with bad language in an odd way (which I am happy with). I managed to get my 10,000 steps in too and one or two other things as well as watching some Netflix. We are watching a dubbed Italian crime drama.

10 People with a middle initial that does not stand for a name

1. Ulysses S Grant. Union Army general and 18th President of the US. Originally called Hiram Ulysses Grant but an error when he went to West Point military academy left him with this name.

2. Harry S Truman. Thirty-third President of the US. Given the S on his birth certificate by his parents as a compromise between two grandparents, Shipp and Solomon. 

3. J K Rowling. Born Joanne Rowling, when Bloomsbury first published her they wanted two initials on her book rather than her first name, so as not to put off boy readers. She chose K for Kathleen, from her grandmother, the name she now uses for formal purposes. 

4. Iain M Banks. Published The Wasp Factory and two more books without the initial, then used the M for his science fiction titles. His parents intended Menzies to be his middle name but made a mistake registering him.

5. Booker T Jones of the band Booker T and the MGs. Named for Booker T Washington but in his case the T stands for no name.

6. David O Selznick. Producer Gone with the Wind. Born with no middle initial he added one because he fancied it.

7. Benoit B Mandelbrot. The B is a maths joke. Mandelbrot invented the word fractal to describe patterns that repeat themselves infinitely. 

8. ‏Michael J Fox. There was already a Michael Fox registered with the Screen Actors Guild and Fox didn’t like his real middle initial, A for Andrew.

9. Russell T Davies. The re-inventor of Doctor Who was born Stephen Russell Davies. The T was chosen at random to distinguish him from the Radio 4 presenter. 

10. Harry H Corbett. Played the son in Steptoe and Son, and added the H, which he said stood for “Hennyfink”, to avoid confusion with the other one, creator of the glove puppet Sooty.

PS Johnny Cash was christened John R Cash but the R was dropped when he served in the military.

10 popular nuts

Nothing political here, just what's on the heading.
It was prompted by a lovely birthday gift of a nut assortment.

  1. Cashews
  2. Pecans
  3. Macadamia nuts
  4. Almonds
  5. Walnuts
  6. Peanuts
  7. Hazelnuts
  8. Pistacios
  9. Brazils
  10. Pine nuts

Lord's Day June 7 2020

We began again with a singing (not sinning as I originally wrote!) session and then watched the recording I had made on Friday. I decided to preach from 1 Peter 1:18, 19 as it would have been a communion Sunday. (See here). This was the first time I had preached from home and I found it a little unsatisfactory and will probably return to the chapel next time. In the evening it was zoom again, this time from Joshua 4. We also had Robin Asgher and his family present and it was good to be reminded of the work in West London. Some people I know had trouble getting online and we are all pretty fed up with this while being thankful we can at least do something. Hopefully it will not be too long now before we can meet again in the old way.

Book Reviews in Foundations and Banner

My reviews of Dominion and a book on Fuller's ordination sermons can be found here and here. This review also occurs in the current Banner (Do get your copy of the magazine).

Glory to the Three Eternal: Tercentennial Essays on the Life and Writings of Benjamin Beddome (1718-1795) (Monographs in Baptist History, Volume 13)
Michael A. G. Haykin, Roy M. Paul and Jeongmo Yoo (eds.)
Pickwick Publications, 2019
182pp., paperback, £21.00 / $25.00

In the eighteenth century several hundred people were attracted to the Cotswold village of Bourton from the surrounding countryside to hear the faithful preaching of Benjamin Beddome. He was the Baptist pastor in the village for fifty-five years until his death in 1795. Early on in his ministry in 1741 there was a spiritual awakening. By 1766 over two hundred had been baptised and added to
the church.
Beddome was a faithful man who stood firmly in the Puritan and Particular Baptist tradition established by his forefathers. Gary Brady says of him, ‘while never a giant of Particular Baptist history he was certainly a shining light.’ This slim volume containing six essays by six different authors will go a long way toward remedying his relative obscurity. They form the first critical study of Beddome’s writings.
Following a biographical sketch, we have three essays that deal with his convictions regarding the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. the remaining two essays focus on his hymns and his answers to ‘the Modern Question’ (concerning the free offer of the gospel and whether it is the duty of sinners to repent and believe). It is clear that Beddome was no hyper-Calvinist. There is some repetition in these essays, mostly of a biographical nature - almost inevitable when there are six different authors. Beddome is best remembered today for his hymns, used widely by contemporaries, but not published in their entirety until over twenty years after his death. One of his best known hymns runs:

God in the gospel of his Son,
Makes his eternal counsels known;
’Tis here his richest mercy shines,
And truth is drawn in fairest lines.

Another of his legacies is A Scriptural Catechism (reprinted in 2006). Beddome had been a student in Bristol Baptist Academy, and the use of his catechism there helped the Academy to maintain its Calvinistic theology during the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth century.
This volume has been a long time coming, but I hope that readers will conclude that it was worth the wait. It deserves a wide readership and is warmly commended.
(See link here)

Westminster Conference 2019 Now in print

Last year's papers have now been published


Midweek Meeting June 3 2020

We had our midweek meeting on Zoom once again this week and although not like being together it was again very much worthwhile. I spoke once again on adoption and made what I thought were some helpful points. We then shared info and prayed for a good while. Again numbers were good - about 12 screens, nearly 20 people.

Day Off Week 23 2020

I had a nice day off this week. I managed to get my 10,000 steps in again and I finished Gimson's book on the presidents and read most of Dale Ralph Davis's latest book on the psalms, which lives up well to its usual standards. I also listened to Louis Theroux interviewing KSI, which was interesting, enlightening and in the end quite disturbing in some ways. (KSI is a YouTuber with a massive audience mostly of young people). Let me repeat that I try to report on the day off because I think it might encourage others in ministry to try and keep some pattern in their lives. Therefore, I should add that I began the day making a to do list and some of those things just had to be done on that day so I did them.

Blog of the Week 13

Anne Steele 1717-1738

There once was a woman, Anne Steele.
To nominative determinism I appeal
Anne is a girl's name, it speaks of femininity
And Steele points to strength, to backbone, rigidity.
In Anne Steele's hymns both of these things you'll see -
A zeal that can feel and a steel that is real.

This blog was started in 2016 as we were approaching the anniversary of Steele's birth. There are only about 70 articles there. There have been about 1300 hits. It can be found here. Most popular post on the blog with about 30 visits is The Cottle connection. You can find it here. Anne Steele was a contemporary of Benjamin Beddome so there is a little bit of cross over. As with Beddome, there is no portrait which is a shame.

10 Miracles in the Book of Jonah

1. 1:4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 
2. 1:7 Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 
3. 1:15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 
4. 1:17a Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, 
5. 1:17b and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 
6. 2:10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. 
7. 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. 
8. 4:6  Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 
9. 4:7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 
10: 4:8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." 

10 Songs that appear to be about Heroin

Not sure how I got on to this but I think it is correct. I think they are all anti- but not sure.

1. Bad U2
2. There she goes The La's
3. Golden Brown The Stranglers
4. Lust for life Iggy Pop
5. Perfect Day Lou Reed
6. Under the Bridge Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. Happiness is a warm gun The Beatles
8. Comfortably numb Pink Floyd
9. Running to stand still U2
10. Cold Turkey John Lennon**

**Rumour has it that this is actually about food poisoning after Christmas (seriously)

365 Albums 136-150

  1. Ekseption 3 Ekseption 1970
  2. Come away with me Norah Jones 2002
  3. Live at the Priory Jan Akkerman 1997*
  4. The Celtic Harp Tribute to Bunting The Chieftains (& Belfast Harp Orchestra) 1993
  5. Thunder from the Blue Sky The Vlatko Stefanovski Trio 2008
  6. Beatles for Sale The Beatles 1964 (M20)
  7. Every Valley Public Service Broadcasting 2017
  8. After the Break Planxty 1979
  9. Green River Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969
  10. Pilgrim Days Indelible Grace 2 2008*
  11. Platinum Mike Oldfield 1979
  12. Willy and the Poorboys Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969
  13. Sounds of Silence Simon & Garfunkel 1966
  14. Chariots of Fire Soundtrack Vangelis 1981
  15. Spiral Vangelis 1977

Lord's Day May 31 2020

Again this last Sunday we had a "visiting preacher" in the morning from the seminary, pre-recorded with me leading. This was Eduardo Lemos. See here. He was able to record audio visually at the seminary although the vision froze towards the end, which was a shame. He preached well on Genesis 1. We preceded that with our usual singing together from 10 am (with "Sunday School" the day before). In the evening we zoomed again and I preached on Joshua 3. We are also trying to hear from the workers we support elsewhere. This last week it was Andrzej Kempczyński who is church planting in Legionowo near Warsaw. They are already gathering again and it was good to hear of an upcoming baptism and other encouragements. We hope to hear from Robin Asgher in West London next Sunday, when I hope to look at Joshua 4. Links are on our website here.

Midweek Meeting May 27 2020

Behind with this again. We zoomed for the second part of the short series on adoption last Wednesday. I focused on Luke 15. We were  a decent number again and we were able to have a fairly good time of prayer.

Day Off Week 22 2020

It was half term last week and so I shouldn't have really had a day off as such but I did. I did some walking, which has been conspicuous by its absence until last Friday when Eleri and I did some walking in Regents Park and I got over the 10,000 mark. I managed it again on my day off. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Caffe Nero is now open in Golders Green and so I got a takeaway cuppa when I went to the Post Office. Reading wise it was Private Eye, the paper and a book on American presidents I had for my birthday. I have enjoyed Gimson on OPMs and sovereigns adn he seems to have this sewn up too. I think there was a bit of TV later in the day.