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 September 27 2020

How do you assess the success of a sermon? It is difficult. If you preach on giving and someone gives you a gift, is that success? May be may be not. I preached on giving because we are working our way through 2 Corinthians and have come to Chapter 8. We'll be there again next week. This was the morning and we had a good turn out, around 30, but I wish we were more. A few others joined on zoom. We did have some mic problems early on but I think we're there. 
In the evening it was just zoom. We had a good number again and a nice chat afterwards. We are looking at Joshua but the material is so similar to what we are doing midweek from 1 Chronicles that I decided to take a short detour into that wonderful chapter Isaiah 55, just looking at verse 1 this time.

Midweek Meeting September 23 2020

I decided to go back to 1 Chronicles for our midweek meeting. So it was 1 Chronicles 4:24 to the end of Chapter 5 looking at Simeon and the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan. We read a chunk at a time which helps and there was plenty to get our teeth into. Numbers were a little down in number relatively and not many men. The women took up the baton, however and we had a good prayer time. Always plenty to pray about.

Day Off Week 39 2020

I was slightly under the weather yesterday and didn't do any of the things I often do. I ended up spending the day in the 18th century which I enjoyed and hopefully profited from. Another bright sunny day, surprisingly.

The Beaufort Scale

If the wind speed is less than one knot it does not register. It is 0. it is calm, Then comes

1  Light air 1 - 3 knots
2  Light breeze 4 - 6 knots
3  Gentle breeze 7 - 10 knots
4  Moderate breeze 11 - 16 knots
5  Fresh breeze 17 - 21 knots
6  Strong breeze 22 - 27 knots
7  High wind 28 - 33 knots
8  Gale 34 - 40 knots
9  Strong gale 41 - 47 knots
10  Storm 48 - 55 knots
11  Violent storm 56 - 63 knots
12  Hurricane force > 64 knots

The Douglas Sea Scale

The Douglas Sea Scale was devised by the English Admiral H.P. Douglas in 1917, while he was head of the British Meteorological Navy Service. Its purpose is to estimate the sea's roughness for navigation. The Douglas Scale consists of two codes, one for estimating the state of the sea (fresh waves attributable to local wind conditions), the other for describing sea swell (large rolling waves attributable to previous or distant winds).

  1. Degree 0—no measurable wave height, calm sea
  2. Degree 1—waves >10 cm., rippled sea
  3. Degree 2—waves 10–50 cm., smooth sea
  4. Degree 3—waves 0.5–1.25 m., slight sea
  5. Degree 4—waves 1.25–2.5 m., moderate sea
  6. Degree 5—waves 2.5–4 m., rough sea
  7. Degree 6—waves 4–6 m., very rough sea
  8. Degree 7—waves 6–9 m., high sea
  9. Degree 8—waves 9–14 m., very high sea
  10. Degree 9—waves >14 m., phenomenal sea

Lord's Day September 20 2020

We were down to about 25 in the morning at chapel, though several joined on zoom. We were able to play the hymns through the PA this time, which is an improvement. We also had a Sunday School during the sermon. So there are small improvements bit by bit. I preached on repentance from 2 Corinthians 7. When we came out of the chapel several of us saw the hurricane and the three spitfires fly over marking eighty years since the Battle of Britain. The chapel was damaged during the war but it feels a million miles away from life today and our own relatively minor problems. In the evening it was just zoom again - this time from Joshua 12. We are making good progress through Joshua.

Library Lecture


10 Words for Left and their pejorative implications

1. Not right (Eng) Wrong
2. Gauche (Fr) Awkward
3. Sinistra (Lat) Suspicious
4. Maldekstre (Esp) Maldextrous
5. Linkisch (Ger) Unhelpful
6. Mancino  (It) Sneaky or maimed
7. Izquierda (Sp) Stingy or inflexible
8. Stang (Rom) Tired
9. Chwith (We) Sad, strange, unfortunate
10. Kushoto (Swa) Weak

Midweek Meeting September 16 2020

On Wednesday we had our midweek meeting on zoom once again. We looked for the last time at Romans 8:28 with Thomas Watson. This was followed by a good time of prayer. One person prayed who'd not prayed before which is always encouraging. Below a reproduce the two bits I topped and tailed the message with.

I like the story of the American evangelist Rolfe Barnard from an Easter morning back in 1950 when he was taking special services in a church in Ashland, Kentucky. 

To give the background, Barnard was a rather gruff man who started out as a fundamentalist Arminian but in the late 1940s happened to purchase 'for a dime' a second-hand book of sermons, by Southern Baptist B H Carroll. Barnard testified that 'Just one sentence from a sermon on John 5:25 unlocked everything and "ruined" my ministry'! He began to restudy what his teacher at South Western, a Calvinist called D W Conner, had taught him as a student and began to read the Puritans and Reformers and came to the settled conviction that sovereign grace is the message of the Bible. He began to preach this. 

A defining moment came at a Fundamentalist 'Sword of the Lord' Conference at Tocoa Falls, Georgia, in 1949. The conference was dedicated to soul-winning techniques. The speakers were fundamentalists Dr John Rice, Lee Robertson, Bill Rice and E J Daniels and Rolfe Barnard himself. 

Barnard was to speak first. He began by asking the young preachers to open their Bibles to Romans 9 and all the old preachers to keep theirs shut as they wouldn't believe anything he was going to say! Everyone opened their Bibles! He preached for an hour on sovereign grace and by the next morning the conference was in turmoil. Before it was over Dr Rice had asked Barnard to leave! 

In 1950 Don Wells, pastor of Pollard Baptist Church in Ashland, Kentucky, secured Barnard's services as an evangelist for two weeks. And so it was that on that Easter Sunday morning Barnard came to the Ashland church. Nearly a thousand people were there. Barnard stood up to preach and said in a low voice, 'I don 't know why I am here, but I'm sure it has something to do with the foreordaining purposes of God.' Then he asked, 'Can anyone here quote Romans 8:28 for us?' The young assistant pastor, a man called Henry Mahan, stood and quoted the verse like this And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. Now we have been looking at this verse for a while now so you may immediately see what was wrong with that. 

Barnard asked Mahan if that was all he knew of the verse. Mahan said, 'yes'. Then Barnard responded, 'Let me quote the verse for you.' He began quoting the verse slowly, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those called according to his .... Then, when he came to the word purpose, he bellowed it at the top of his voice. Fixing his eyes on Mahan he said, 'Young man, when you understand the meaning of that word purpose you will have the key that unlocks the Book of Romans and the whole Bible.' He then preached on sovereign grace. Many in the congregation were deeply disturbed; others were hungry for more. From that time on Rolfe Barnard was ostracised in Fundamentalist circles as a 'hypercalvinist' but during the 1950s and 1960s God greatly blessed his labours. 

Well that is a good introduction I hope to the last part of Romans 8:28, which is what I want us to consider this evening, once again using this little book by Thomas Watson that we've been using to guide us.


One of those present when Rolfe Barnard preached in Ashland, Kentucky, was a man called John Thornbury. He once wrote

"I was a teenage boy and attended ... with my mother ... sister and brother. ... In those days evangelistic services were conducted annually, sometimes more often. They were known as "revival meetings". Some of the most prominent evangelists ... came to our church. Evangelistic services were extravaganzas. They featured musicians, former boxers, convicts and entertainers as speakers, and all kinds of gimmicks and goodies for the youth. Aeroplane rides were offered for those who brought enough people ... and there were rewards for those who induced others to "walk down the church aisles" after the sermons. After all the excitement died down, people usually went about their sinful ways of living just as before. Like all the guest-evangelists who came, the picture of Barnard was placed on posters ... all over town. Beneath his picture was an interesting slogan ... "The evangelist who is different."

Exactly what was different ... the posters did not say. The man looked to be in his late forties. The only thing noticeably different about his appearance was that he came across as somewhat sombre - there was a slightly menacing look ... Normally, evangelists had broad smiles and shining faces ... After a few sermons ... folk knew just how different ... Barnard was ... There was none of the flashy demeanour, but a grave and dignified bearing, like one who had been sent on a mission. One soon got the impression ... he was not there to whip up religious excitement, but to deliver a message from God.

The message was as startling as it was different. It centred on the character of God. The deity most people believed in was a nice ... fellow who did his best to save people but was often frustrated ... Many times I heard preachers say, "God has done all he can for you, now it is up to you." Barnard, on the other hand, preached a God who was sovereign and omnipotent ... who dispensed his mercy according to his own discretion. He preached that sinners were not to come to God with the idea of helping him out of his dilemma, but ... as guilty sinners, suing for mercy. He exalted the holiness of God and the strictness of his Law. This, you can be sure, was different!

Rumours began to spread ... that a Calvinist had come to Ashland. Some reacted with amazement, some with confusion, others with downright anger. But a small group rejoiced and said, "We have been wanting to hear this for years" ... The pastor, Don Wells, after much heart-searching and Bible study, came to believe in the doctrines of grace as a result of this meeting, and invited Barnard back in August 1951 to hold a tent meeting ... I had been baptised at the age of 12, but was utterly without any vital relationship with God ... Still, I did not even want to consider that I was not a Christian ... We were all fascinated with his style, though he seemed awfully stern and rough. Plain truths of the Word of God were set forth, even the harshest, in their naked reality. One of his favourite texts was God will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy (Romans 9:15). Shortly after the meetings started, there began to be a "breaking up". Many, mostly adults, began to go forward after the messages and state publicly that they were lost and wanted prayer. These, and others who sat trembling in the audience, were under conviction of sin.

The amazing thing is that most ... were church members. I remember one night the piano stopped ... and the pianist went to the front ... and sat down sobbing. We all knew she meant that she wanted to be saved. Prominent church leaders ... deacons, Sunday School teachers ... youth workers began to acknowledge that they had been false professors or deceived about their state before God. Our male quartet was singing each night ... it turned out ... not one of us was converted at that time. One night Don, one ... of the quartet, went to the front ... and asked for prayer. It was announced that he was lost and needed Christ. It was at this point that I became involved ...

I went to the front ... where Barnard and the pastor were talking to Don. Butting in like the immature, upstart youth I was, I said ... "Don, you do not need to worry. You are seeking God. The lost man does not seek God ... you have the life of God in you ..." or words to that effect.

Never, till the day I die, will I forget what ... Barnard said ... Looking straight at me with his piercing eyes, he said, "Young man, a believer is not seeking Christ, he has found Christ!" ... With this statement, through the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, he stripped aside the shroud of pseudo-religion in which I had been hiding, and left me standing exposed to my true condition. I did not know Christ ... The next morning, somewhat humbled, I told the pastor and the evangelist ... I was lost. I recall ... the pastor's words ... "John, this is not surprising, since most of our best young people are coming to realise that they have never had a real experience of grace." There were no words of counsel given me except ... "God saves sinners" ... But before the day was over, God used the words of the song, "Jesus paid it all" to bring peace to my heart ... The tent was packed every night for three weeks. Barnard preached on ... God's Electing Grace, Particular Redemption and How God Saves Sinners. Many were converted, especially ... members. Others were disturbed and rebelled against the message. There was a division over the message in the church.

10 Things about climate change

Just before lockdown I read a little booklet on climate change. At least ten things come out of it. Here they are.
  1. The climate is changing
  2. The climate has changed in the past
  3. There is no universal agreement on what is causing climate change
  4. There is no universal agreement on what to do about climate change
  5. There is a difference between observable science and historical science. Your view of historical science will affect how you interpret observable science
  6. Calculating an average global temperature is very difficult
  7. No global temperature figures are available from before 1880
  8. In the 1970s the media was concerned about global cooling rather than global warming!
  9. Some 31,000 scientists agree that there is no convincing scientific evidence greenhouse gases are causing or will cause catastrophic heating of earth's atmosphere or disruption of earth's climate
  10. It cannot be proved that the and the rise in temperature are related

Day Off Week 38 2020

It's been very warm this week. I didn't really take advantage of it on my day off but was in most of the time and it was only after being out later that I changed into shorts ( a rare thing with me). I'd been to Brent Cross to get a few pressies for Eleri whose birthday was this week. Otherwise I finished that little painting I was working on, watched TV (including the second in the drama series Des). There were one or two things I had to get done pastorally and there was a meeting in the evening with the other church officers on zoom. Technically I suppose I shouldn't on my day off but seeing as they are doing it in their spare time it is more like that for me if I spare some of day off for that. I did get a little reading done too but not much. (Note to self - Are you watching too much TV at the moment?).

10 Countries where exterior doors tend to open outwards

In the UK and many other places doors tend to open inwards but not everuwhere.
  1. Sweden
  2. Norway
  3. Denmark
  4. Finland
  5. Lithuania
  6. Russia
  7. Japan
  8. South Korea
  9. North Korea
  10. Taiwan

Lord's Day September 13 2020

On Sunday we followed what is now a fairly well defined pattern of live in the chapel from 11 am (with a zoom option) and on zoom in the evening at 6.30 pm. In the morning we were in 2 Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 and the principle of separation. In the evening we took a big chunk from Joshua (Joshua 10:29-11:23) and considered more on spiritual warfare. Numbers actually at the chapel took a little dip from last week's high, as expected. We continue to have one or two [problems getting the sound right. We continue to have a rather limited range of hymns which we listen to rather than singing. We are hanging on in there.

365 Albums 241-255

  1. Enya Enya (The Celts) 1987
  2. Bayou Country Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969
  3. Musical Melody Thijs van Leer 1994 *
  4. Bookends Simon & Garfunkel 1968
  5. Puccini's Cafe Jan Akkerman 1993
  6. Goblin's Club Tangerine Dream 1996
  7. Booster Tangerine Dream 2008
  8. Crossroads Tracy Chapman 1989
  9. Focus 8 Focus 2004
  10. Heartware Original Jan Akkerman 1987
  11. Heartware remastered Jan Akkerman 1998
  12. Focus 9 Focus 2006
  13. Ekseption '78 Ekseption 1978
  14. Ship of Memories Focus 1976
  15. Close Beauty Jan Akkerman

10 Biblical Backsliders

By backslider is meant a true believer who yet for some time appears to have slid back into old ways before being restored. These are all from the Old Testament. There is room for some argument here.
  1. Noah
  2. Abraham
  3. Lot
  4. Samson
  5. David
  6. Solomon
  7. Asa
  8. Hezekiah
  9. Elijah
  10. Jonah

Midweek Meeting September 9 2020

We had another good prayer meeting on Zoom last Wednesday. We are used to the format now and so the format is not a real hindrance. I do wonder if this might become the preferred format for midweek meetings or at least a strong option. We looked again at Romans 8:28 with Thomas Watson. Just one more session of that I expect. It has been good.

Day Off Week 37 2020

We haven't been having organised days off over the holiday period but as part of getting back into some sort of routine I tried this week to have an organised one. My thinking I remind any readers is as I am convinced it is best for me and hopefully sets a good example to others. It was not easy to to get into this week so I dabbled rather with some reading (Moby Dick and church history) some TV (a Scandi-drama on catch up) some telephoning (including a nice Facetime with my youngest grandson missing his brothers at school and not quite getting it). I also started on a miniature oil painting for my own amusement. It was warm out and I went for a coffee and did the crossword, etc.

Lord's Day September 6 2020

We had a bumper turn out on Sunday morning with nearly 40 present. We began with communion beforehand and then at the service I preached from 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, having taken a few weeks break. It was good to be there. In the evening we zoomed again and this time I was back to Joshua to Joshua 10:1-26. A good day. We also enjoyed having people across for lunch and tea.

Midweek Meeting September 2 2020


We had a great prayer meeting the other Wednesday. I prayed a little long to begin and I thought I'd messed it up but no first the men prayed then the women. One more prayer was a little long but I really felt we had got through. Before that we looked once again at Romans 8:28 with Thomas Watson and the subject of loving God. (Apologies for being way behind; we're getting back into stride slowly).

Lord's Day August 30 2020

The last Sunday in August is never an easy Sunday and in the morning numbers were down from the previous week with several away and a number listening in on zoom again. We had difficulty in getting the sound right for the zoomers and we need a more permanent set up organised. We had a visit from a Bolivian man - I don't recall anyone of Bolivian background being with us before (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador I think but not Bolivia). I preached I think as clearly as I have ever preached the gospel - from Matthew 11:28-10. In the evening ti was just zoom and only a reading adn sermon as usual - Lamentations 3:22, 23, which I don't recall looking at ever before.

Midweek Meeting August 26 2020

As stated it has been a bit holidayish around here but we are slowly getting back to it. We have a midweek meeting on zoom tonight. Last week we had a similar meeting, looking at the next part of Thomas Watson on Romans 8:28. We had a good prayer time and we were a decent number. It is not quite the same but there are some advantages in meeting by zoom.