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.

Yes they really do


Sometimes you are told that people say a certain thing and you wonder if they really do. Yesterday in TableTalk Magazine in comments on 1 Corinthians 16:15-18 it actually does say this (italics mine).

We cannot be sure of who made up Stephanas’ household, but there may be here an indirect reference to infant baptism. The infants would have been baptized along with the rest of the household if, in fact, there were infants in the household (see 1 Cor 1:16). In any case, it is worth noting that some commentators believe that Stephanas and his household played a key role in establishing the church in Corinth and that Stephanas may have been an early leader there given the way Paul speaks about them as those who “devoted themselves to the service of the saints” (16:15).

Day Off


If you are wondering what has happened to these - it has been busy with visitors and this week some travelling and so a regular day off has not been possible. I'm not overworking, however, I'm sure. My main reason for writing about days off is to encourage younger men in the ministry to try to have a day off.

Lord's Day July 28 2021


And so at last we were back to two in person services with singing last Lord's Day. It felt a little strange and I must confess I was on edge a little now that the rules are there but not quite. I think I was a little flat anyway. I'm running our of fizz and need a holiday I think. Preaching with freshness each time is not easy. Anyway, it was Luke 8:1-3 in the morning and the final chapter of Joshua in the evening. We were around 12 in the evening and more like 30 in the morning with a few on zoom for both services.

10 Poisons used in Agatha Christie Novels


This was prompted by a question on last Monday's University Challenge
  1. Cyanide (The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, And Then There Were None, A Pocketful of Rye, Sparkling Cyanide). A rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that can exist in various forms. Cyanide can be a colourless gas, such as hydrogen cyanide (HCN) or cyanogen chloride (CNCl), or a crystal form such as sodium cyanide (NaCN) or potassium cyanide (KCN)..
  2. Arsenic (4.50 From Paddington). A chemical element with the symbol As and atomic number 33.
  3. Strychnine (The Mysterious Affair at Styles). A white, odourless, bitter crystalline powder that can be taken by mouth, inhaled (breathed in), or mixed in a solution and given intravenously (injected directly into a vein). It is a strong poison.
  4. Digitalis (Appointment with Death). Poison derived form the foxglove.
  5. Morphine (Sad Cypress). An opiate painkiller that can kill in the right dosage.
  6. Thallium (The Pale Horse). A chemical element with the symbol Tl and atomic number 81.
  7. Coniine (Five Little Pigs) an alkaloid extracted from hemlock, it works peripherally as a neurotoxin, causing death by respiratory paralysis. Less than 200 micrograms is fatal.
  8. Bacillus anthracis (Cards On The Table). Gram-positive and rod-shaped bacterium that causes anthrax, a deadly disease to livestock and, occasionally, to humans.
  9. Phosphorus (Dumb Witness). A chemical element with the symbol P and atomic number 15.
  10. Belladonna also known as Deadly Nightshade (The Caribbean Mystery, The Big Four). Poisonous plant.
(Sleeping tablets feature in Lord Edgware Dies).

Midweek Meeting July 21 2021


For the sake of completeness I note that there was a midweek meeting on zoom last Wednesday. It was better attended than in recent times. We looked at 1 Timothy 6:14-17 and there was a good opportunity for prayer.

Lions win first test in South Africa

 

17-22 and pretty close run with South Africa the better team in the first half.
Weird wanting Farrell to score but I did and he did.

Lord's Day July 18 2021


A little while back I noticed some grease stains on my Sunday suit (at present there is only one - important information here) and so I took it to the dry cleaners. I was supposed to pick it up the following Friday but forgot. I spent Saturday July 17 in Legoland with family and so I commissioned my youngest son to collect the suit. Sounds simple but he came back with the wrong one! Thankfully it's been so hot recently that no-one sees your jacket and so an old blue summer one was okay with a pair of smartish blue trousers. I think I got away with it.
I was not in Childs Hill. Reuben Saywell was preaching for me. I was in Bradford-on-Avon, a church I know a little. Our former elder, Robert Strivens, is the present pastor. I arrived there in good time and we began with a couple of hymns in the graveyard. Inside they have just had the central block of pews removed and one or two other changes. The chairs have not arrived yet but a stand in set (should that be sit in set?) passed muster. There must have been about fifty present, mostly older women, but some younger males around too. I preached on John the Baptist from Luke 7. In the evening it was Christ our city of refuge from Joshua 20. It seems to have been appreciated.
I spent the afternoon with my sister-in-law and her family in nearby Trowbridge. They attend Grace Reformed Baptist, Hilperton, as does the former pastor and elders. There were some issues a few years back, mostly now resolved.
Anyway, an enjoyable day, and hopefully a blessing to those who came along.

Midweek Meeting July 14 2021


Not a great turn out for this zoom meeting and I was a little distracted by one or two things, including the arrival of my oldest son and his family partway through. (They came for a week so that explains why we are behind  here). Anyway, we looked at 1 Timothy 6:11-13, mainly about the good fight and we had a good prayer session.

Lord's Day July 11 2021

 

We had a good attendance live in chapel last Lord's Day morning with one or two more members back and a new man who some of us had met giving out tracts the day before. A good sprinkling of Iranians but few other fresh ones. I preached from the next part of Luke on the woman who poured perfume on the Saviour. In the evening it was Zoom only on Joshua 23. A good day.

Midweek Meeting July 7 2021


We had our zoom meeting as usual last Wednesday, looking at 1 Timothy 6:6-10 and focusing on those great and complimentary texts Godliness with contentment is great gain and For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. We also spent time in prayer and many prayed. Prayer is so important. I doubt that we fully realise that.

Day Off Week 27 2021


The main thing today was a trip into town with my fourth son Gwïon and his girlfriend. They are staying here this week. We went down to Bunhill Fields to see the graves of Bunyan, Blake, Defoe, Owen, Goodwin, etc, etc. We also saw Wesley's grave across the road; the house was closed. After that we headed for the flagship Shoreditch branch of the Origin coffee shop, where I did the crossword and Gwïon and Marni played chess. Very nice coffee. En route I spotted Esme Young from Sewing Bee and told her how much my wife enjoyed the show. Back here it was football in the evening, of course. I also found time to read a chunk of Gerald Bray's new The History of the Christianity in Britain and Ireland. I also found time to watch some TV. Oh yes and the latest Private Eye on the right day. Pretty good day all told.

Lord's Day June 4 2021

 


Last Lord's Day, we began with communion. We also welcomed a new member, a young Nigerian man who has been living in the area a little while and who we have got to know. After communion we had our in person morning service. Several of our new Iranians were there but also visiting friends too, one of whom know my son well. Our Filipinos were back too and one or two others returning. I preached on Luke 7:18-35, a potentially difficult passage that I have long studied and feel I had hold of well. In the evening it was zoom only and we were looking at Joshua 22 and the subject of Christian unity. We also had two LCMers talking about reaching people in London today. They were encouraging us to get involved in door to door, which we have done in the past but it was good to be reminded again. Some are sceptical of it but I feel it is one of the least worst methods open to us.

Midweek Meeting June 30 2021


Another zoom meeting on Wednesday. We looked at 1 Timothy 6:2c-5 mainly considering false teachers with references to Rob Bell and William Lane Craig by way of example. We had a good prayer time with several praying. Conscious of the time as we had a members' meeting the next night. That went well too although numbers were a little low.

Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Love this one too

Elvis Burning Love With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Came across this recently

Day Off Week 26 2021


This week's day off, of course included plenty of football - England finally living up to their potential against Germany and Ukraine beating Sweden. That was the evening. Before that I had been out for a good walk and had had a coffee and done the crossword, etc. The rest of the time was mainly reading, making an overdue phone call and some blog and article work. On the reading front I started to tackle Bavinck on a Christian Worldview. It was given me free at the Catalyst conference. It is well translated but I found it hard going beyond the introductory matter. I also went back to my unfinished copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I have mentioned a pile of ten unread or part read novels that I am hoping to get on with at some point. I got quite a way through Gilead last time but got distracted so I have started again and am enjoying. Reading has such a providential element, it is important to read the right book at the right time. I should probably abandon the Bavinck. I am coming to it too late in life - or may be not.

10 Random Bible Reading Tips


  1. When you come across the term "God of Jacob" as opposed say to "God of Israel" notice that the emphasis is on the weakness of God's people. See Pslam 20:1 for example.
  2. When God is referred to as "Most High" it is most often in a Gentile context. Generally speaking, those who believe in many gods still accept that there is a Most High God. Melcihizedek is introduced for example as priest of God Most High.
  3. Look out for parallel phrases. These often occur in poetry and in proverbs but not just there. For example 1 Timothy 1:5 speaks of a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith - not three different things but one thing described three different ways.
  4. When the Bible refers to the Last Days or uses similar phrases (last hour, last times) t is referring to the whole period from the first coming to the second coming of Christ
  5. Look out for Scriptures where God is said to be with a person. Great blessing comes to such a person. See Joseph in Genesis 39 for an outstanding example.
  6. If you read about a good king or priest or prophet it will point you to what Jesus is like in some way or another and if you read about a bad king or priest or false prophet it will point you to what Jesus is not like in some way or another
  7. When reading proverbs, remember that these are proverbial truths not absolute truth. They need to be applied wisely and won't always apply in any and every situation.
  8. Look out for repetition. It is an important element in Scripture.
  9. Bear in mind the importance of numbers. Seven is often God's number, six is man's, especially man's weakness and four is a number that speaks of the whole world, in every direction. So in Revelation 5:12 the creatures of heaven say loudly Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise! They use seven words pointing to God and to perfection. In the following verse they use only four, indicative of his worldwide greatness
  10. Different writers will use different phrases to describe the same thing. Paul and Peter speak of Christ being now at God's right hand. In Revelation 7:17 John says rather that the Lamb is at the centre of the throne. There is no contradiction, only the same thing said in a different way.

Lord's Day June 27 2021


As one might have expected numbers were down on last week, this week - no newcomers, no visitors and not all the newcomers returning. Nevertheless there were a good number present, including the return of a Filpina and her grown up children and four Iranians all told. I carried on in Luke 7 with the story of the raising of the son of the widow of Nain. In the evening we were only on zoom. We looked at Joshua 21 and the allotment for the Levites. I could have done better with that with more work I fear. Our Brazilian friend joined us which was good.

London Seminary Annual Thanksgiving 2021



It was a great pity not to be able to be at the seminary today for the end of year meeting. At least we were able to tune into YouTube for a live feed. About 70 were watching. (I have no idea of how many were present at the Kensit Church). The meeting was chaired by Hugh Collier and after Bill James's upbeat report on what has been a difficult year some 13 leaving students spoke. This included a Frenchman who will be working in Paris and two Dutchmen already back in the Netherlands. Benjamin Saunders has been based with us (not that there has been much opportunity for interaction, sadly) and will be going on to work with Robert Strivens in Bradford on Avon, where Dan Jarvis is originally from. James Tredgett is an LCM evangelist. One man was leaving to be a music minister in an Anglican church. Such a statement bemuses me as do one or two other things about the seminary. Garry Williams preached a fine sermon from Isaiah 6.

The recording is available. Click here.

EMA 2021 Day 3


A decent third and final day at EMA. We began again in Luke 19, looking at verses 28-48 with former Proc Trust leader Willie Philip. The rest of the morning was spent with Nigel Styles, Director of the Cornhill Training Course, looking at Exodus, especially Chapter 15. All very informative and helpful if a little frustrating because on zoom. Thank you.

Midweek Meeting June 23 2021


We just looked at two verses last night, the first two verses of 1 Timothy 6. Some discussion followed about slavery rather than the workaday world. About twelve screens, some with one person, several with two. A good time of prayer again.

10 Sp words



Makes you wonder if there is some sort of onomatopoeia going on.
  1. Spit
  2. Spume
  3. Spew
  4. Splodge
  5. Splash
  6. Spatter
  7. Spray
  8. Spritz
  9. Splurge
  10. Spigot

Article in July Evangelical Times


 I have an article on meditation in the July 2021 Etc. See here.

EMA 2021 Day 1 and 2

Stephen Boon

So I have been enjoying the online EMA Conference. Yesterday began with an excellent exposition of Luke 19:1-10 from Rico Tice. Phil Allcock, on Luke 19:11-27 was perhaps not so impressive but it is  a harder passage to work with. The exegesis and exposition sessions with Andrew Sach on Ezekiel and Stephen Boon on Ephesians were okay but a little laboured but useful on the whole. The conference persists in using its least able participants to read Scripture, which seems to me a mistake. I'm not sure that autocue helps either. I enjoyed seeing the cherry red Gretsch Catalina drumkit that the band use. Various other bits come in between sessions. Interesting to know what is going on. Proclamation Trust are to be thanked for putting this on despite the drawbacks.

Day Off Week 25 2021


This week's day off was made up of watching the EMA Conference on YouTube. I didn't watch it live as I had arranged to meet a former missionary for coffee in the morning. It was good to see the EMA getting back to its roots - exposition, exposition, exposition. We had Rico Tice on Zaccheus first then Andrew Sach on Ezekiel. I remember Ezekiel being tackled at one of the earliest EMAs. I think it was John Woodhouse who did it. I watched the football in the evening, of course, and did some blogging. I also got me required walking in and did the crosswords, etc.

Lord's Day June 20 2021


It was very good to be back in Childs Hill last Lord's Day. Most of our newcomers are still coming and one or two others. It was nice to meet a Brazilian man looking for a church on the area and two new Iranians, supplementing the three from previous weeks. Our Afghani friend was there again. There were also 4 or 5 old friends visiting, including one of my sons and his girl friend. We were around 40 altogether. I decided to go back to Luke which we had been looking at in the evenings but had broken off from. I think that is okay to do sometimes. I looked at Luke 7:1-10 and it went well. In the evening it was zoom only and we were in Joshua again, the cities of refuge in Joshua 20. That was a more difficult passage but hopefully we got somewhere.

Midweek Meeting June 16 2021

 


Another good session last week with the good folk of Childs Hill. Lots to pray about. All on zoom as ever

Anecdote Noah's Ark


I was with my oldest son recently and he told me this story which I thought was interesting but am finding hard to draw a moral from. I have only been to Felixstowe once. It must have been some time in the nineties and I was there to preach at Bethesda Baptist Church. In the afternoon I went for a walk with a man whose name I do not recall. As we walked near the beach he picked up a brown pebble that had a grain and he told me that it was fossilised wood.

Well, I took the pebble home and showed it to my son and carefully explained how it had been formed (taking a creationist viewpoint). Anyway, he told me that in school the next day he showed it to his teacher and announced to her that it was an original part of Noah's ark! His teacher was very good about it and suggested that may be he had got something wrong, which he clearly had. Perhaps the moral is how easy it is to miscommunicate. I certainly managed to that time and put two people in a rather awkward situation.

Wales in the Last 16


Wales have been doing pretty well at the Euros with a draw and a win so far against Switzerland and Turkey. They play Italy tomorrow but I won't be watching. Thankfully the score is not so important. As I understand it, Wales are definitely through to the last 16 again and will probably face Russia or Finland. A win at that point and the quarter finals beckon once again but let's be patient and see what happens. It's been great to see so far though far from perfect. Bale and Ramsey have shone but goals have come from Moore, Roberts and Ramsey.

Catalyst Conference 2021


It was brilliant to be at a live conference this last week. Yes, we still had to wear masks and socially distance and there was no bookstall but there were live speakers and coffee and lollipops and people to talk to. Brilliant! I love being with Presbyterians as despite the few differences we pretty much agree and they have some excellent men who can be so helpful. One can feel an outsider a little but I am well used to that in all the circles I inhabit. The Catalyst conference is organised by IPC (International Presbyterian Church not to be confused with EPCUW or any other bunch) and was at their church in Ealing. Ealing is on our doorstop and my wife works in nearby Hanwell so I was able to get a lift in and out with a little walk between. Perfect. It was also a joy to be there with both my father-in-law and one of my sons. Three generations!

The conference was organised so that all three days replicated themselves which has advantages and disadvantages. The overall title was Apolgetics and there was plenty on that. Mostly I loved it but being out of practice I got rather tired. The heatwave added to that. Each day we began with James Torrans from Inverness gave us Bible readings from John 11, Mark 2, etc. He was followed by James Eglinton, seniot lecturer at Edinburgh University. He introduced us to Gisbertiurs Voetius, Herman Bavinck and J H Bavinck in order to explore our subject. The first paper on categorising sin was most interesting but all good and stimulating stuff.

After lunch Dan Strange, until recently at Oak Hill and now moving to the north east, is a good speaker for the graveyard slot and he kept us awake with his extrapolations from. J H Bavinck on magnetic points. Each day ended with wonderful expositions from Romans by Sinclair Ferguson. Good days.

The conference is planned for the same time next year. Meanwhile look out for this year's conference on video. See here.

Videos now available here 

Lord's Day June 13 2021


I had a call on Monday saying that they were looking forward to hearing me at Gordon Road, Hailsham. That took me slightly by surprise but thankfully it was Monday not Thursday. I struggled a little as our seminary student was already booked. Anyway, we then remembered that my son was due home and although he has only preached formally once before he is quite capable and so he preached on adoption from Romans 8. In the evening they piggy backed with Reuben Saywell down in Folkestone. There were some problems but I think we got there. meanwhile I had a very pleasant drive in the sunshine and enjoyed preaching on Hebrews 13:6 and on Hope, as featured recently. Numbers were down a little but it was good to see the generally more elderly congregations am and pm. I had a lovely afternoon with a couple from the church in between services in their lovely cottage. I somehow had us sing my evening hymns in the morning and vice versa but it didn't make too much difference. Lovely drive back too and home not long after 10 pm. I did preach on zoom for Gordon Road once but this was my first actual visit. immaculate building.

Midweek Meeting June 9 2021

 

On the Wednesday before last we went back to some unfinished business. I had begun to preach from 1 Timothy but had left the last two chapters untouched. So we went back to it and got on alright. Numbers are definitely down on what they were when the crisis began. There are still a good number, however, and it was good to tackle the topics in the first half of 1 Timothy 5 and to spend further time in prayer.

Day Off Week 23 2021


The main thing the Tuesday before last (8th) was trying to catch up on my Bible readings. I know they recommend leaving things if you get behind but I would like to catchup. There was also some TV.

Evangelical Library Annual Lecture 2021



Yesterday we had about sixty there for the Annual Lecture of the Evangelical Library. This is the second time we have had the annual lecture in this format and although there are some disadvantages there are also some advantages to this form.

This year is the five hundredth anniversary of Luther's famous appearance before the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms. We were taken very ably through the events that led up to and followed the Diet by David McKay, Professor of Systematic Theology, etc at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast and pastor of Shaftesbury Square Reformed Presbyterian church in the city.

We had


1. The Road to Worms - the debates at Augsburg and Leipzig and Luther's writings in that period.
2. The Confrontation at Worms - burning the papal bull, heeding the summons, answering the charges,  affirming the truth of the authority of Scripture alone
3. The Aftermath - the Wartburg, further fruitful work and subsequent controversy

There was a brief time for questions then our time came to an end. A very good evening.

Lord's Day June 6 2021


So back in Childs Hill last Lord's Day. We began with just a small number at communion. It was one of those days that we sometimes get here, however, when by the time we finished, there were not only many visitors but they were from all sorts of places too. We had one lady, one man and a mother and daughter not normally there and about seven people who I had never met. These were from the Philippines, South Korea, Chile, South Africa, Portugal, Iran, Afghanistan and England. I do hope people return. I preached on a text, Hebrews 13:6, which I thought I was preaching on for the first time but  when I check I find that I preached it midweek at the very end of last year. The sermons are similar but quite distinct. In the evening we were just on Zoom and we went back to Joshua, to Joshua 19. Hard work but worth doing.

Midweek Meeting June 2 2021


For our Wednesday zoom we looked again at one of these psalms that have never preached or at least have no record of preaching and so cannot have touched in over twenty years of ever. This time it was the very simple Psalm 113. Praise the LORD for he is great and he is good. Numbers continue to be below par but still not bad (about 12) and we had a good time of prayer with many leading in prayer.

Lord's Day at Hilperton May 30 2021


It was good to be back at Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Hilperton in Wiltshire in person one again. The sermons can be found here. I preached on Hope and Love and hopefully made a better stab than in Childs Hill. I preached the sermon from 1 Corinthians 13 "backwards" which worked better. Eleri's sister Catrin is in the church and so we had a lovely time with them and with other family members too the next day as well. We were also able to visit our friends the Strivens in Bradford on Avon. Good times. Reuben Saywell was preaching here and they had a few visitors and a good day.

Lovely Nigerian Wedding


I seem to have got very far behind with things here but I am going to try to catch up. So back on May 27 we were in Hertfordshire for a wedding. Restricted to thirty as weddings are these days we were honoured to be invited. The pic shows the Bride and Groom with her parents. We have known the family for years and years. It was a lovely wedding in a very nice place. I was marrying them and also preached. Great to be involved.

Means of Transport Zipwire

 


Means of Transport Yacht

 


Midweek Meeting May 26 2021


I am slow again with this report on our midweek meeting. This is probably because a certain sameness has crept in and so there seems little to write. Sameness is not necessarily a bad thing. 
Familiarity can breed contempt - something to avoid. Once again, we were  a decent number and able to meet on Zoom though not in person. We looked at another psalm - Psalm 115. It was a privilege to be there.

Day Off Week 21 2021


Last Tuesday there was time for some TV and a coffee out but most of the time went on reading. I had several books for my birthday and made a big dent in several of them. I have now finished the book onf Focus which is full of interest for fans. As so often with this sort of book the proof reading (if any was done at all) is appalling. Mr Lambe if there is going to be a second edition, please please let me proof read it. I'm happy to do it for free. I enjoyed the Gavin Peacock in the main. It is a football book really but with a few twists. As I read, I realised I had seen Gavin play for QPR back in 2001. I'd taken the older boys there on some sort of cheap tickets deal in connection with the local school. The Richard Osman is lovely and undemanding. So that is

Decades – Focus in the 1970s Stephen Lambe
A Greater Glory: My Journey from the Pitch to the Pulpit Gavin Peacock h/b
The Thursday Murder Club Richard Osman
John and Betty Stam: Missionary Martyrs Vance Christie
Captive to the Word of God: A Particular Baptist Perspective Stuart Brogden

Means of Transport Wheelbarrow

 


Lord's Day May 23 2021


I preached last Lord's Day on texts again. In the morning, in person, it was Romans 4:4, 5 and justification by faith and then in the evening we went to Isaiah 57:15. In the morning our Korean friends did not return but our missing Eritrean lady was back. She had been ill and will be being moved on to East Ham. Just on Zoom in the evening. We had a video about the CCM work in Manila.

Midweek Meeting May 19 2021

 

We looked at another psalm last Wednesday. Psalm 111. My main points were
1. Wholeheartedly praise God for his great and glorious works and his righteousness
2. Praise him for his unforgettable wonders
3. Praise him for his just works and his trustworthy precepts
4. Eternally praise and fear the holy and awesome God for redemption and for his covenant
The turn out was fine and several prayed, though I think we must be a little less than we were at one time.

Means of Transport Van

 


Means of Transport Unicycle

 


10 People who died at the age of 62


No shortage of these

1. Martin Luther
2. D L Moody
3. Aristotle
4. Ludwig Wittgenstein
5. G K Chesterton
6. Peter Paul Rubens
7. Aneurin Bevan
8. Evelyn Waugh
9. Adam Faith
10. Henry Havelock