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 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 at Hailsham 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.