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.

Wales are champions!


Lights in Darkest England

This is a story I picked up from the Tony Robinson book.
A mother and two children under nine years old, were found to be working 16 hours a day, with out lunch or tea breaks, making matches in appalling conditions for only two shillings.
The matches, which sold at 1d for 12 boxes, were made from yellow phosphorus, a poisonous substance which often brought about necrosis or 'phossy jaw' in the match-makers. Phossy jaw was a disease which ate into the bone of the jaw causing severe pain and eventually death.
In 1891, The Salvation Army opened a clean, airy, well-lit factory where harmless red phosphorus was used in the match making process. William Booth called the matches 'Lights in Darkest England'. Tea making facilities were made available and the 100 workers received decent wages - more than one third above the rate in other factories.
At the same time the army launched a nationwide 'British Match Consumers League' whose members were urged to 'worry their grocer, oilmen or other shopkeeper, who does not at present stock or sell these matches, at least twice a week, until such time as he does do so'
When grocers and other shopkeepers began to stock only safety matches, commercial match factories were forced to not only improve working conditions, but also to use only the safe red phosphorous in their factories.
Ten years after the opening of his match factory, Booth closed it having achieved his original purpose 'to raise the wages of the matchmakers, to fight against sweating, and to help the poor to help themselves by labour'. He turned instead to finding other ways to help the underprivileged.

Midweek Meeting March 24 2021


Midweek on zoo I went once again for a cross theme - the crown of thorns. I could have spoken a little longer perhaps. We had another good time of prayer with better numbers than last week but still some missing for some reason. Still trying ton work out leaving zoom etiquette.

Day Off Week 12 2021

The main thing today, apart from some TV in the evening, was reading my copy of Tony Robinson's The Worst Jobs in History. It is one of those books that I bought some time (between 2007 and 2018) and have never got round to reading. It is based on a TV series but works out independently of that. It consists of six chapters covering the familiar eras in British history and highlighting some of the wort jobs people have done Among the more repulsive or dangerous jobs are fuller, chimney sweep, executioner, leech collector, Plague burier, rat-catcher, leather and tanner. I really enjoyed it, including the etymological elements thrown in for free. There is something wonderful about history.

Monday's Evangelical Library Lunch Time Lecture


It was good to see a pretty decent number online for the lunchtime lecture last Monday, looking at Robert "Troublechurch" Browne the separatist pioneer. This Evangelical Library lecture was based on the chapter I prepared for the Mayflower book last year. It was good to go through the material again. Audio and audiovisual recordings are available from the Library. That is the third and final lecture of the current series. I hope we will be able to do something similar in the Autumn. On June 7 David McKay will be giving our annual lecture on The Diet of Worms.

Lord's Day March 21 2021

By this stage one feels quite familiar with the in person am, zoom only pm pattern, despite its frustrations. We must have been around 16 or so there in the morning. I did a one off on one of the seven sayings of the cross - the words It is finished. With the kids we took a break from the catechism and I read the title story from my father-in-law's new book The Legendary Casey Jones and other American folktales in the evening we carried on in Luke, looking at Luke 6:12-19. We also linked up with our friends Eduardo and Anna Marzia in Brazil working with UFM. The wonders of modern technology.

Affinity Study Conference 2021

I'd meant to write up something about the recent Affinity Study Conference, which had to be online this year. It was on March 17 and 18 and featured five papers on the last things and a final round up session with all five speakers, chaired by Tom Brand. The speakers were Paul Mallard, Paul Yeulett, Rupert Bentley-Taylor, Gareth Burke and Michael Horton. Rupert Bentley-Taylor kicked us off with a nice broad paper and then Paul Yeulett navigated us helpfully through the tricky waters of the intermediate state. We ended the first day with a demanding but helpful paper from Michael Horton in California. Gareth Burke then spoke from Northern Ireland on the Jewish question and Paul Mallard on heaven. The format to the conference is that speakers briefly present their papers and we then discuss them in groups. It isa  good format and we covered a lot of worthwhile ground. It was good too to have a little banter with Alan Davey, Mark Thomas and others at one point. The papers will appear in print at some point no doubt. Well done Affinity for getting this organised.

No Grand Slam for Wales


Somehow France beat Wales 32-30 in a great game. Wales unusually a little ill disciplined. Did not help. May be we'll still be champions.

Midweek Meeting March 17 2021

Numbers seemed to be down at our midweek zoom meeting last Wednesday. Not sure why. Anyway we looked at Psalm 22, which is as clearly about the cross as Isaiah 53. We had a good sess ion of prayer too.

Lord's Day March 14 2021

It was disappointing last Sunday morning as after two or three weeks of steadily rising numbers we slumped back. I preached on Mark 15:38 in light if the Easter season. At least our East African lady was there again. We largely ignore Mother's Day but I was slightly embarrassed that our consecutive reading was Isaiah 3. This is the chapter where Isaiah goes to town against the women of his day (“The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.” etc). The one comfort was that at that moment I was probably the only person on the planet reading that chapter in public. In the evening it was zoom only and a look at Luke 6:1-11 and the matter of the Sabbath Day.

Italy 7 Wales 48

One of two tries for Ken Owens

Excellent win over Italy by the Welshmen as we come closer and closer to a Grand Slam. One would have liked to see fifty clocked up but you can't complain when there's a 41 point gap between teams. France next week.

Midweek Meeting March 10 2021


We were in 1 Chronicles again last Wednesday - Chapter 22 this time and David's preparations for the building of the temple. Wonderful to be with the Childs Hill folk again even though it is only on zoom. Good time of prayer as well adn enjoyable conversation afterwards.

Day Off Week 10 2021

I had various ideas of what I might do on this week's day off but in the end just did some blog work and watched TV. I did get out for a coffee and did some puzzles in the newspaper, of course. It's a reminder that even days off need planning.

Lord's Day March 7 2021

We began with a very small number, small enough to sing aloud. Numbers improved, however, and we were more than we have been in weeks. These included an old friend from South America who we've not seen in ages, the East African lady who came last week and a young African man who was very keen to talk. It was good to see everyone there and to have others listening in on zoom. I did another in this series on meditation, this time on the sinfulness of sin, which seems like a depressing subject but was quite encouraging I thought. In the evening we looked at the last section in Luke 5 on fasting and then the wider i
ssue of New Testament religion. We also heard from my son Gwïon on his Relay work with UCCF in Aberystwyth.

No Banner Conference Again

The Banner of Truth Trust have announced that there will be no ministers conference this Spring, as previously intended. Restrictions are being lifted but not in time for this much loved conference to go ahead. Whether something will be organised online, I do not know.

Midweek Meeting March 3 2021

Way behind as ever but we did meet on zoom last Wednesday and we looked at 1 Chronicles 21 and David numbering the people. We then had a good time of prayer. Our meetings seem to be getting shorter. I hope it is efficiency rather than a lack of prayerfulness. I think it is the former. We seem to know a lot of people outside our immediate circle who are ill. I discovered this week that only one person is said to have died of the virus in our area. We are fairly affluent but that is remarkable. (Since March 1 2020 some 22 people have died altogether. Borough wide the covid death figure is over 900),.

Day Off Week 9 2021

On my day off last week I made a start on reading the papers for the Affinity Study Conference on March 17, 18. I have been to most of these over the years and have always found them a great benefit.  I am sorry we are online and I did think twice about shelling out £30 for such a thing but it will still be worthwhile. Simply reading these different papers on eschatology has been a benefit. (I managed to read two and a half of the five papers on my day off - they vary in length and the third one by Michael Horton I found quite demanding). I also popped out for a take away coffee and did the crossword, etc. A bit of TV in the evening.

PS It could be argued that I shouldn't be reading theology on my day off but knowing it was my day off made a difference somehow. Anyway, how else am I going to get them read?

A Grand daughter!

After five sons and four grandsons, we have at last been blessed with a grand daughter. Betsan Iola-Jean was born to Dewi and Esther in Cardiff on February 22 last. All are doing well, I hear.

Lord's Day February 28 2021

We were around 20 in the chapel on the Lord's Day morning and that included three visitors so that felt more like old times. One was a lady from the subcontinent who has been to us in the past with her Bulgarian fiance. The other was an asylum seeker from East Africa. I preached on Christ's three fold office in the morning  - part of the series on things to meditate on. It was a longer sermon but people listened well. Not sure of the numbers on Zoom. In the evening it was only on Zoom - looking at the call of Levi Matthew from Luke 5. Quite evangelistic We also had Andrew Murray speaking in the evening about the work of Hope West End.