Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. 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.

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross - Page CXVI

Spurgeon on Psalm 104:17, 18


Again, you shall find spiritual life in every church. I know it is the notion of the bigot, that all the truly godly people belong to the denomination which he adorns. Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is anybody else's doxy who does not agree with me. All the good people go to little Bethel, and nowhere else: they all worship at Zoar, and they sing out of such-and-such a selection, and as for those who cannot say Shibholeth, and lay a pretty good stress on the "h," but who pronounce it "Sibboleth;" let the fords of the Jordan be taken, and let them be put to death. True, it is not fashionable to roast them alive, but we will condemn their souls to everlasting perdition, which is the next best thing, and may not appear to be quite so uncharitable. Many suppose that because there is grievous error in a church, concerning an ordinance or a doctrine, therefore no living children of God are there. Ah, dear brethren, this severe opinion arises from want of knowing better. A mouse had lived in a box all its life, and one day crawled up to the edge of it, and looked round on what it could see. Now the box only stood in a lumber room, but the mouse was surprised at its vastness, and exclaimed: "How big the world is!" If some bigots would get out of their box, and only look a little way round them, they would find the realm of grace to be far wider than they dream. It is true that these pastures are a most proper place for sheep, but yet upon yonder hill-tops wild goats are pastured by the Great Shepherd. It is true that yonder plains covered with verdure are best fitted for cattle, but the Lord of all has his beasts in the forest, and his conies among the rocks. You may have to look a long while before you find these living things, but he sees them when you do not, and it is a deal more important to a cony for God to see it, than it is for a man to see it; and so it is an infinitely more weighty matter for a child of God for his Father to know that he is his child, than for his brother to know it. If my brother will not believe me to be a Christian, he cannot help being my brother; he may do what he will in his unkindness, but if I am one of God's children, and he also is one, the tie of brotherhood cannot be broken between us. I love to think that the Lord has his hidden ones—even in churches that have sadly degenerated from the faith; and, although it is yours and mine to denounce error unsparingly, and with the iconoclastic hammer to go through the land and break the idols of all the churches in pieces as far as God gives us strength, yet there is not a lamb amongst Christ's flock that we would disdain to feed—there is not the least of all his people, however mistaken in judgment, whom our soul would not embrace an ardent love. God, in nature, has placed life in singular spots, and so has he put spiritual life into strange out-of-the-way places, and has his own chosen where least we should look for them.

Luther on justification

The third incomparable grace of faith is this, that it unites the soul to Christ, as the wife to the husband; by which mystery, as the Apostle teaches, Christ and the soul are made one flesh. Now if they are one flesh, and if a true marriage - nay, by far the most perfect of all marriages - is accomplished between them (for human marriages are but feeble types of this one great marriage), then it follows that all they have becomes theirs in common, as well good things as evil things; so that whatsoever Christ possesses, that the believing soul may take to itself and boast of as its own, and whatever belongs to the soul, that Christ claims as his.
If we compare these possessions, we shall see how inestimable is the gain. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation; the soul is full of sin, death, and condemnation. Let faith step in, and then sin, death, and hell will belong to Christ, and grace, life, and salvation to the soul. For, if he is a husband, he must needs take to himself that which is his wife’s, and, at the same time, impart to his wife that which is his. For, in giving her his own body and himself, how can he but give her all that is his? And, in taking to himself the body of his wife, how can he but take to himself all that is hers?
In this is displayed the delightful sight, not only of communion, but of a prosperous warfare, of victory, salvation, and redemption. For since Christ is God and man, and is such a person as neither has sinned, nor dies, nor is condemned - nay, cannot sin, die, or be condemned - and since his righteousness, life, and salvation are invincible, eternal, and almighty; when, I say, such a person, by the wedding-ring of faith, takes a share in the sins, death, and hell of his wife, nay, makes them his own, and deals with them no otherwise than as if they were his, and as if he himself had sinned; and when he suffers, dies, and descends to hell, that he may overcome all things, since sin, death, and hell cannot swallow him up, they must needs be swallowed up by him in stupendous conflict. For his righteousness rises above the sins of all men; his life is more powerful than all death; his salvation is more unconquerable than all hell.
Thus the believing soul, by the pledge of its faith in Christ, becomes free from all sin, fearless of death, safe from hell, and endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of its Husband Christ. Thus He presents to Himself a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word; that is, by faith in the word of life, righteousness, and salvation. Thus He betrothes her unto Himself "in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies" (Hosea ii. 19, 20).
Who then can value highly enough these royal nuptials? Who can comprehend the riches of the glory of this grace?
Martin Luther, On the Freedom of a Christian Man

Nick Needham on Luther

Nick Needham answering questions with Edward Malcolm seated
It was great to be at the Protestant Truth Society Conference today with about 50 or 60 others at the college and seminary in Finchley. I wanted to go to something on Luther this month and this was a good choice I'm sure. In the chair was Edward Malcolm of the PTS and the speaker was Nick Needham, pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church in Inverness and lecturer in church history at HTC in Dingwall. Nick is always worth hearing and he was very good today on the material and the formal principle of the Reformation, that is justification by faith and Scripture alone. Perhaps the first message on the formal principle was superior but both were excellent papers. We also had good question sessions following the two papers.
That first message included two excellent quotations that I will include in separate blogs.

Tyndale, Cranmer, Foxe


I was pleasantly surprised to see this programme recently. See here. Marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Janina Ramirez tells the story of three books that defined this radical religious revolution in England. Tyndale's New Testament, Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer and Foxe's Book of Martyrs are sadly no longer commonly recognised titles, yet for nearly 400 years these works formed the backbone of British life. Their words shaped the English language, fuelled religious division and sparked revolt.
Tyndale's Bible made the word of God accessible to the common man for the first time; The Book of Common Prayer established a Protestant liturgy; and Foxe's Book of Martyrs (they say) enshrined an intolerance of Catholicism, although it did a lot more thna that. Woth catching.
I haven't seen the other three programmes in the series but this was okay. See here.

Oxbridge


One of the news items today has been about how few students from the north or from lower income families or ethnic minorities go to Oxford or Cambridge. Apparently if you take five elite schools - Eton, Westminster, St Paul's Boys and Girls and state-funded Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, together they sent 946 pupils to Oxford and Cambridge 2007-2009. By contrast, 2,000 lower-performing schools combined sent a total of 927 students to the two universities, getting less than 6% of available places (this is according to the Sutton Trust). Many of these schools sent no pupils at all, or on average fewer than one per year.
One can understand the frustration. One of my regrets in life is not having gone to Oxford. I did try, with no encouragement from my school. My parents were keen but clueless. I sat an entrance exam and was then interviewed for Lincoln College. They liked the idea of having a boy from a Welsh comp there but in the end it was too much of a risk and they said no. (There were 19 of us trying for 11 places I recall). And they were right. In almost every way I would have been totally out of my depth and it would have been a wretched three years on the whole. Coping with Aber and all that brought was bad enough.
It is all very well talking about outsiders going to Oxbridge but it really is no simple matter. It is not enough to simply tell the universties to be more open to diversity. A public schoolboy in this country today is a million miles away from the average kid in parts of South Wales or certain parts of the North of England and it is foolish to try and pretend that is not the case. It is not something we need to lose too much sleep over either. Us plebs do okay, thank you.

10 Rocked up takes on Cantata 147 by Bach


1. Ekseption 'Jesu, Joy' cantata from choral BWV 147
2. Herb Alpert 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'
3. Wendy Carlos 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'
4. Apollo 100 Joy
5. Jigsaw 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'
6. Moody Blues The quiet of Christmas morning (Bach 147)
7. The Byrds She don't care about time
8. Margo Guryan Someone I Know
9. The Beach Boys Lady Lynda
10. Bob Dylan Sad eyed lady of the lowlands

Midweek Meeting October 19 2017

We were in double figures last night to look at Leviticus 17. Leviticus 17 is all about blood and it is easy to forget what a central theme this is in Scripture and what a central place it ought to have in the thinking of Christian people. It was good to be reminded. We spent a good time in prayer too. At the beginning we sang the Lewis Hartsough hymn

I hear Thy welcome voice
That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
For cleansing in Thy precious blood
That flowed on Calvary.

I am coming, Lord, Coming now to Thee! Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary. 

Though coming weak and vile,
Thou dost my strength assure;
Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse,
Till spotless all, and pure.

’Tis Jesus calls me on
To perfect faith and love,
To perfect hope and peace and trust,
For earth and heav’n above.

’Tis Jesus who confirms
The blessed work within,
By adding grace to welcomed grace,
Where reigned the pow’r of sin.

And He the witness gives
To loyal hearts and free
That every promise is fulfilled,
If faith but brings the plea

All hail, atoning blood!
All hail, redeeming grace!
All hail, the gift of Christ our Lord,
Our Strength and Righteousness.

I left the place thinking of that hymn Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

10 Songs that reference Bob Dylan by T Rex and others

Bob Dylan with Neil Young
1. Ballrooms of Mars T Rex
the monsters call out The names of men Bob Dylan knows And I bet Alan Freed did There are things in night That are better not to behold
2. Mystic Lady T Rex Oh bobby you're a hobby With the learned ones Like a setting sun
3. Telegram Sam T rex
Bobby's alright Bobby's alright He's a natural born poet He's just outta sight
(Some say Bolan is from BOb dyLAN)
4. Fizzy Jesus and Mary Chain
Elvis lives and Bob Dylan is dead And OJ's wife's crawling back from the dead
5. Chinese Bakery The Auteurs
just somebodys past Don't blink, pinch me twice Just seen Bob Dylan on a motorbike I don't think this relationship will last
6. Flags of freedom Neil Young
Sister has her headphones on She hears the music blasting She sees her brother marchin' by Their bond is everlasting Listening to Bob Dylan singin' in 1963 Watching the flags of freedom flyin'
7. God Plastic Ono Band
I don't believe in Zimmerman I don't believe in Beatles I just believe in me Yoko and me And that's reality
8. Song for a small circle of friends Larry Norman
Dear Bobby watch your fears all hide And disappear while love inside starts growing You're older but less colder Than the jokes and folks you spent your childhood snowing
9. A Simple Desultory Phillipic Simon & Garfunkel 
I knew a man, his brain so small  He couldn't think of nothing at all  He's not the same as you and me  He doesn't dig poetry. He's so unhip that  When you say Dylan, he thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas  Whoever he was  The man ain't got no culture  But it's alright, ma  Everybody must get stoned
10. Folk City Jan &Dean
I'm gonna sing all the words like Bob Dylan does 'bout where it's at and where it was

10 Songs that reference T Rex or Bolan

Marc Bolan with The Ramones 1976
1. Mott the Hoople/All the young dudes
The television man is crazy Saying we're juvenile delinquent wrecks Man I need a TV when I've got T. Rex Hey brother you guessed I'm a dude
2. The Who/You better you bet
I love to hear you say my name especially when you say yes I got your body right now on my mind and I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T.Rex To the sound of old T.Rex - who's next?
3. The Ramones/Rock'n'roll radio
Will you remember Jerry Lee, John Lennon, T. Rex and Ol' Moulty? It's the end, the end of the 70's It's the end, the end of the century
4. Dada/Posters
She locked the door behind me she lit a candle Then blew it out said the moon would do just fine The lizard king and T. Rex for wall paper Above her bed hung a No-Parking sign
5. Zodiac Mindwarp/Prime Mover
Yeah yeah yeah yeah Well I love TV and I love T. Rex I can see through your skirt I've got x-ray spex
6. R.E.M./The Wake Up Bomb
Practice my T. Rex moves and make the scene get drunk and sing along to Queen
7. B A Robertson/Kool in the Kaftan
Do yourself a favour Don't you savour All that hippy thing find what's next Hey man don't you stop and pray man Go out and buy T Rex
8. Smog/Floating
Floating Hear a name From which planet Do you beckon I don't reckon It could be too far from here I'll bet you look like Marc Bolan's girlfriend
9. Kate Bush/Blow away (For Bill)
Put out the light, then, put out the light Vibes in the sky invite you to dine Dust to dust Blow to blow Bolan and Moony are heading the show tonight
10. Devendra Benhart/The Beatles Yo sí oigo a (I have listened to) Donovan. Yo sí oigo a Marc Bolan. Yo sí oigo a Ben Chasny. A Six Organs me gusta a mí.

Novels by Cynan Jones

Over the summer I came across the novels of Cynan Jones. Because he was born near Aberaeron I thought he might have been in the Aber Waterstone's as a local author but when I returned to London I found his works there. There are five or six things altogether. I read the 2006 novella The long dry first adn tht is something quite special. The action all takes place on the same day, although there is a back story that extends back from that day. It is very well written. I then read Everything I found on the beach which, while being a good read, is not such an unusual piece. The first novel is about a couple on a farm, the second about a local man and a Polish immigrant but takes place in a more wide ranging landscape, still within Wales but at various locations. I should probably try The dig next (2014). His latest novel is Cove (2016).

Martin Luther Renegade and Prophet

Back in July last year, I bought a copy of Lyndal Roper's biography of the great Reformer. I really got into it early on but then put it down but I picked it up again more recently when we decided to do it at The Pastors' Academy Reading Group.
For various reasons numbers were down and only four of us gathered to discuss the book at our meeting yesterday. It's always good to talk over a book, however, and it was interesting to see what others thought. We agreed that it was a very readable and thorough book that gives a rounded picture of Luther - the good, the bad and the ugly. We were in agreement that no-one could really read this book and come away thinking Luther was some sort of plaster saint.
Be warned that some of the imagery, content and language in this book is outside the usual remit of evangelical publishing.
We were most dismayed at his advocacy of secret bigamy and some of his other advice on marriage and divorce and his manic insistence on the real presence, not to mention his magisterialism and his attitude to the Jews.
One thing we could not agree on is how well Dr Roper understands Luther.
Do get hold of the book if you want a very thorough treatment of the man that we're all talking about this month.
We will meet again in the new year, God willing and look at a book from the past. The exact tome is to be decided.

Lord's Day October 15 2017


It was good to be back in Childs Hill again yesterday. We had a bumper turn out in the morning and the usual small crowd in the evening. It was good to see so many there in the morning, though there were  afew missing fo known and unknown reasons. There were extras in the morning as my son and his wife were there plus two visitors - a Czech man who liked the words over our door (Jesus lives) and a Nigerian lady. I preached from Acts again - on Philip and the Ethiopian. I have often preached it for a baptismal service but for the first time as part of a series. I did the last bt on Martin Luther for the kids (his death). In the evening we had communion and then I preached on the feeding of the five thousand from Matthew 14.

Spelling mistakes, etc

I know the idea of correct spelling and such like strikes some people as a rather pedantic. Perhaps it is but my fear is that inattention to such minutiae is symptomatic of a deeper malaise. Here is an example from my recent reading.

The Story of Everything by Jared C Wilson published by Crossway, page 13. Just over halfway down there is a reference to a "stunning climatic scene" in a film. A "stunning climactic scene" surely. See here.

More controversially I was surprised to see in Grace Alone Salvation as a gift of God by Carl Trueman published by Zondervan, page 128, that Luther strived for many years to gain assurance. I would have thought the strong form strove the obvious word to prefer there but I may just be out of sync there.

PS We have plenty of typos on this blog, which I try to correct but these are mistakes (or not mistakes in the case of the second example) not typos.

(I was going to include here Martin Luther Renegade and Prophet by Lyndal Roper published by Bodley Head, page 346 . At the beginning of the section on Anabaptists comes a reference to "ideas of millenarian violence". I thought it should be millennarian (as in Millennialism) but apparently not.

My dad December 2007

Stumbled across this shot of my dad, 78, speaking to Rhodri and Sibyl in December 2007. I miss him.

Midweek Meeting Wednesday October 12 2017


It was encouraging to see 13 gathered together yesterday night as we began again our studies in Leviticus, looking at Leviticus 16, where the Day of Atonement is described. This crucial chapter leads straight to Christ and his cross and so it was not difficult to preach, thugh I continue to benefit from Philip Eveson's excellent Welwyn Commentary. I should have left a little longer for prayer but many prayed and we closed with this appropriate hymn by James Deck (we began with Not all the blood of beasts).

The veil is rent. Lo! Jesus stands before the throne of grace,
while clouds of incense from his hands fill all that glorious place:

His precious blood he sprinkles there, before, and on the throne;
and his own wounds in heaven declare his work on earth is done.

"'Tis finished!" on the cross he said, in agonies and blood;
"'Tis finished!" Now he lives to plead before the face of God.

"'Tis finished!" here our souls can rest; his work can never fail:
by him, our sacrifice and priest, we enter through the veil.

Within the holiest of all, cleansed by his precious blood,
before thy throne thy children fall, and worship thee, our God.

Boldly our heart and voice we raise, his name, his blood, our plea;
assured our prayers and songs of praise ascend by him to thee.

Dr Lloyd-Jones Memorial Lecture 2017

Monument Palma, Mallorca
For some years now the London Seminary has put on an annual lecture in memory of Dr Lloyd-Jones the seminary's founder. This year Hicham from France spoke on the forgotten pioneer missionary to Muslims, the Franciscan Ramon Llull (c1232-1325). He is also remembered as the first writer in Catalan. His writings before conversion are apparently on the bawdy side. Born in Mallorca, he is also buried there. Between times he learned Arabic and travelled to Tunisia seeking to win Muslims to Christ. Hicham, who was very positive about Llull despite his Romanist background, has been able to consult some of his Arabic writings in Barcelona, which added to his knowledge of the man, though many mysteries remain. The only biography is Samuel Zwemer's 1902 work. It was a refreshing privilege to hear this paper, which will hopefully stir many to such pioneer work also. About 40 were present.

Focus in Milton Keynes October 2017


 

It was fun to be at a Focus Concert once again. I have seen them in The Stables. Milton Keynes before. It is a little sterile but it was good to see nearly 400 present. I ended up with a front side row seat just a few feet from Thijs van Leer himself. It was not a great spot in some ways but it gave certain advantages. We had the usual run - Focus 1, Anonymous, House of the King to begin; Eruption, Sylvia and La Cathedrale with Harem Scarem elsewhere; Hocus Pocus to close and Focus 3 with Answers Questions, Questions Answers as an encore. We also had All Hands on Deck, which I have heard before and, for the first time for me, P's March.
Being as close to van Leer as I was I observed how he mostly only used one hand to play the battered old Hammond organ he sat at most of the night. He also played the flute with one hand at times (sometimes combining flute and organ). He also played the haunting alto flute at the beginning, the simple melodica on Le Tango and did various things voice wise - scat, singing, whistling, yodelling, throat singing and oohs and aahs, usually with the vocoder. The high note on Hocus Pocuss are no longer possible but Thijs still has a very good singing voice.
I enjoyed all the solos from the band in the main, including new man Udo's six string bass. Still not sure about all of Menno's.
The evening began with an elderly heavy metal outfit called Burnt Out Wreck who were alright for what they were. After the main event the band happily signed autographs and chatted. I bought the latest offering (already purchased on itunes) and had it autographed. I also persuaded Pierre van der Linden to give me a signed drumstick.

Saturday Night and Lord's Day, October 7/8 2017

It was my privilege over the weekend in the Railway Mission in Norwich. On the Saturday night I preached for the East Anglia Bible Rally on the first part of Galatians 3. Simon Gay chaired. The place was pretty full and it was good to meet some old friends such as Hugh and Lois Collier and others. The rally is arranged among seven or so evangelical churches in the Norwich area and has been going for over twenty years. I was last there in November 2008.
The next day I preached morning and afternoon in the same place at the regular services of the Evangelical Church. Again there was a good though smaller attendance. It was encouraging to see such a varied congregation and goodlistening. I tackled Matthew 11:29 in the morning and Stephen - a hero for our times in the afternoon, from Acts 6.
It was nice to chat over lunch with Luther Chaplin and with other folk at the church on the Sunday and to be looked after otherwise by Mr and Mrs Gilbert in their new location.
It all served to confirm my conviction that if we stay calm and faithfully preach the Word progress can be made in God's goodness.
I made my way up to Norwich via Peasenhall and Denton. I wanted to see those places because they are the villages where the preacher John Hurrion (d 1735) served.

Midweek Meeting October 4 2017

We had our last session on Unseen Realities last night. Eleven of us gathered and we looked again at Satan and the fact he is bound. I think people were happy with the line I took, beginning with Matthew 12:29. We had a full prayer time with mostpeople praying before the close. Four of us present are preaching in various places on the coming Lord's Day.

University Challenge Ignorance


We have complained previously of ignorance displayed on University Challenge. The usual problem is biblical knowledge, although one team did quite well recently (thanks to the American in the team). It is not just Bible knowledge that is the problem. In a recent programme (a first round match between Imperial and Strathclyde) the Imperial team (all scientists) were asked questions about early human remains. No less than twice the answer was proffered, "Piltdown man". Not only is this the wrong answer but the team captain (a biologist from the Netherlands) seemed unaware that Piltdown man is a hoax, discovered to be so back in 1953. Jeremy Paxman famous for his abrasiveness did not correct him either. Perhaps he doesn't know either.

10 Interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln


1. He was the only President not to belong to an organised church. Lincoln read the Bible daily but never joined an organised church.
2. He was the only President to take out a patent. He invented a device to free steamboats that ran aground.
3. He was the first President born outside of the 13 original states.
4. He was the first President to use the telegraph.
5. He was the first President with a beard.
6. He was the first President to be assassinated.
7. His life was saved from death twice when he was young.
8. He was a successfil wrestler as a young man being defeated only once in approximately 300 matches. His exploits earned him an “Outstanding American” honour in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
9. He had no middle name.
10. He hated being called Abe. Apparently, he preferred being called Lincoln.

Goodbye Christopher Robin


The three of us (as we are now) went off to the cinema this week to see Goodbye Christopher Robin. I thought it was very good, with no objectionable scenes (the PG certificate is because the footage includes war scenes). Having a soft spot, like so many others, for Winnie the Pooh (the books rather than the Disney film not that I dislike that at all) it was good to get the background story, which I presume is accurate.
Not wanting to spoil it for others, I particularly enjoyed a scene where Christopher Robin's parent send him a special musical present. (I'd like to do the same for my grandsons but could never afford such an extravagance). I also thought the scenes near the end gave a real insight into the English way of doing things - very buttoned up. The Milnes were at the same time, I guess, quite eccentric yet very ordinary. I thought the piece of information about Christopher Robin supplied at the end was absolutely fascinating.
So, a really good film, well worth seeing.

10 Longest Books in the Bible


This is hotly disputed but some say
1. Psalms—150 chapters, 2461 verses, 43,743 words
2. Jeremiah—52 chapters, 1364 verses, 42,659 words
3. Ezekiel—48 chapters, 1273 verses, 39,407 words
4. Genesis—50 chapters, 1533 verses, 38,267 words
5. Isaiah 66 chapters, 1292 verses, 37,044 words
6. Numbers—36 chapters, 1288 verses, 32,902 words
7. Exodus—40 chapters, 1213 verses, 32,602 words
8. Deuteronomy—34 chapters, 959 verses, 28,461 words
9. 2 Chronicles—36 chapters, 822 verses, 26,074 words
10. Luke—24 chapters, 1151 verses, 25,944 words

Melvyn Bragg: children should read the Bible

(BBC)

Melvyn Bragg: children should read the Bible - Premier: Presenter of Radio 4's 'In Our time', Melvyn Bragg has encouraged schools to reintroduce Bible readings so that children aren't 'deprived' of 'the depth of language' in the words
Melvyn Bragg said he thinks it's a disgrace that children don't get to read the Bible in school. The broadcaster and author is an atheist but said: "They say it's too complicated, what are they talking about?" He called those who were daunted by the book "Wimps, terrible people".
Regarding the difficulty in reading the Bible, he said: "We have to work a bit harder and that's also good". He added that Shakespeare is getting more and more popular and that it is nearly always heard in the original language. Bragg described the Bible as "equally powerful".
He continued: "I think it is a great deprivation. What have we thrown away? One of the greatest pieces of art, work, whatever way you want to put it. It's awful. As for being too difficult, really? Honestly. We should be too good for that".
Speaking at the Henley Literary Festival, Melvyn Bragg was giving a talk on William Tyndale, the man who lost his life in 1536 for translating the Bible into English so people could read it without having to learn Latin.

10 Rock Album Covers Inspired by Classical Paintings

Click for enlarged view 
1. Turbulent Indigo (1994) by Joni Mitchell. Painting: Self Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh
2. Viva La Vida (2008) by Cold Play. Painting: Liberty leading the people by Eugene De La Croix
3. A Night on the Town (1976) by Rod Stewart. Painting: Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre August Renoir
4. Fleet Foxes (2008) by the Fleet Foxes. Painting: Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Brueghel the Elder
5. Greatest Hits (1977) by Black Sabbath. Painting: The Triumph of Death by Pieter Brueghel the Elder
6. Last of the Mohicans (1982) by Bow Wow Wow. Painting: Le déjeuner sur l'herbe by Edward Manet
7. Grave New World (1972) by The Strawbs. Painting: Glad Day by William Blake
8. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (1985) by the Pogues. Painting: The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault
9. Beck-Ola (1969) by The Jeff Beck Group. Painting: The Listening Room by Rene Magritte
10. Dutch Masters (1973) by Focus. Painting: The Staalmeesters by Rembrandt van Rijn
Click for enlarged view

Ministers Fraternals


I've ended up attending two ministers fraternals this week. On Monday it was the very traditional Westminster Fellowship down in Wesminster Baptist. There Philip Eveson preached to us and spoke on very interestingly on Psalms, especially the structure of the book, followe dby discussion. We also prayed. There were about twenty of us adn it was all very helpful. Then on Wednesday I joined the North London Baptist pastors walking across Hampstead Heath. Quite postmodern, we simply walk, stop for a cuppa and then walk a little more before dispersing. There were about ten of us. Again, very enjoyable. I guess there is a place for both sorts of fraternal. I am certainly thankful for both.

Lord's Day October 1 2017

We're rather late reporting on the last Lord's Day for some reason. Being the first day of the new month we began with communion. I was a little under prepared as I needed to take Eleri to A & E as she appears to have broken her toe, tripping over the day before. The Lord helpe me, though. It was harvest in Childs Hill. That is to say we ssang some harvest hymns and I preached on a harvest theme - this time three Proverbs that speak about harvest. I also spoke to the children on that theme. In the evening we began on Matthew 14. We were roun 40 in the morning and 17 in the evening. There were many missing (including some for yet another week) and no visitors. The sermons were of what we may call a beans on toast variety I guess (nutritious but not exciting).

Lecture at the Seminary

Bradford Induction

It was good to be in Bradford on Avon last Saturday for the induction of the new minister, Robert Strivens, formerly elder here in Childs Hill and Principal at the London Seminary. The chapel was packed as was the tea later in a nearby school. The last seven years have been difficult ones for the Bradfordchurch, following the deparure of their previous minister Paul Oliver and the loss of all the elders by death, retirement or resignation. A new church has been formed based in nearby Hilperton and members of that church were present.Basil Howlett chaired and Bill James preached. The service can be viewed here on Youtube.

How things work in Britain

Three news items this week sent me in the same (leftward) direction. One item was the news that Radio 1 is fifty. It is well known that the first record on Radio 1 was Flowers in the Rain by The Move written by a then 18 year old Roy Wood. Did you also know that in a promotional stunt, for the record - typical of the band's manager Tony Secunda, apparently - postcard was released with a cartoon of a naked Harold Wilson, linking him to his secretary Marcia Williams. Wilson sued, and the High Court ordered that all royalties from the song were donated to a charity of Wilson's choice. This legal arrangement remains in force to this day and is thought to have cost the group millions of pounds in royalties over the years. During the single's chart success, most of the money went to the Spastics Society and Stoke Mandeville Hospital. In the 1990s, The Observer newspaper reported the royalties had exceeded £200,000 and found that The Harold Wilson Charitable Trust had extended the range of beneficiaries to include, among others, the Oxford Operatic Society, Bolton Lads Club and the Jewish National Fund for Israel. Wood has tried to get them to give the money to the Birmingham Children's Hospital but without success,
Then there was the death of Tony Booth, father-in-law to Tony Blair. Booth's father was, like Booth himself for a while, a merchant seaman and one day while working in the hold of a ship, a derrick swung and smashed his pelvis and back, along with a leg and an arm. For three weeks everyone assumed that he would die. During this period the shipping company stopped his wages. The only source of income that the family had was from the young Tony’s paper round and what his mother earned as a charwoman. It was apparently a defining moment for Booth. He became a believer in the trade union movement and joined the Labour Party at the age of 15.
The more obvious third one is the story of "Alexa Clarke" who when her daughter turned five in November, couldn’t afford to celebrate. Nor could she afford to heat her house, put healthy food on the table or buy her daughter new shoes for school. Why? Because her benefits had been halted and she was being transitioned to universal credit (UC), the government’s flagship welfare reform that rolls six benefit payments, currently paid weekly or fortnightly, into one monthly lump sum. It took seven weeks (!!!) for Clarke’s first UC to arrive, and she had only an advance of £447, which she had requested as an emergency interest-free loan to live on, as the bills piled up.
 “I was scared to even pick my daughter up from school sometimes because I felt like I was failing her,” says Clarke (not her real name).. “Everyone else was carrying Christmas shopping and I couldn’t even keep my house warm.” Tameside, in Greater Manchester, was the first local authority to initiate the welfare reform programme in 2013. Clarke, 24, had been living on weekly and fortnightly benefit payments since her daughter was born before being moved on to UC last year. She had never missed a rent payment, and had mastered the art of budgeting her benefits. But just as her daughter started school and she began applying for restaurant jobs, everything fell apart. In the wait for initial payment, the heating shut off, then the electricity failed, Clarke’s phone credit ran out, and she had no choice but to approach a nearby foodbank.
At the same time, an adviser at Tameside’s Jobcentre Plus insisted she spend 25 hours each week looking for work, or risk sanctions, a condition of the new UC. Clarke couldn’t even afford the bus fare she needed to hand out her CV to local restaurants.

Midweek Meeting September 27 2017

Nine of us gathered last night and most led us in prayer, the men taking the lead. We are still looking at unseen realities and this time we turned to the subject of Satan. I made seven piints from elsewhere and seven from Job 1 and 2. My kindle played up so that made for difficulties. I think we're due a reset. I don't think it was a Satanic ploy but it was one of various hindrances that we meet. Good to know that Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.

10 National flags showing weapons


1 Angola (machete)







2 Swaziland (spears)







3 Mozambique (AK47)





4 Saudi Arabia (sword)







5 Sri Lanka (sword)
6 Kenya (spears)






7 Oman (swords)





8 Barbados (trident)
9 British Honduras (axe)
10 Guatemala (rifles)

Childhood Memories

This video alludes to four childhood memories growing up in the sixties - the revolving ashtray (my dad smoked and we had one - great fun unless full of ash) the toy woodpecker (we didn't have one but my friend did and it endlessly fascinated me) Betta Bilda (made by Airfix - the inferior version of Lego) Minibrix an even earlier building kit from the thirties passed on to me by an uncle.

Lakeland Apple Master

I saw one of these at my son's last week. I've seen one before (when Stephen Fry did a gadget count down he put it as high as No 9) but this time I felt I had to have one. There is a Lakeland shop nearby in Brent Cross. Great fun!

10 Seaside words

1. Port
2. Harbour
3. Haven
4. Dock
5. Wharf
6. Quay
7. Mooring
8. Anchorage
9. Waterfront
10. Slipway

Lord's Day September 24 2017


We were back up to fifty on Sunday, although some were away. Numbers were boosted by the return of a large family of Hungarians, as many as nine from the Seminary and three visitors from Aberystwyth, among others. I preached the next section in Acts on Philip and the Samaritans. In the evening we were down to something nearer 15 with two Filipinas along, who we had not seen for a while. I preached on the closing verses of Matthew 13. There were around 9 in Sunday School.
I have been trying to analyse the numbers over the past month or so. Since August 27 almost a hundred of all ages have attended, ie about 20 members, 30 regulars, about 25 others and around 25 visitors. In some ways that is very encouraging but we have never had a hundred there or even 75. On a good Sunday we should be getting somewhere near 60 plus any visitors, whereas it is more likely to be 40 to 50. My interest is not numbers as such but the individuals.

Aberystwyth again

Nice to be in Aber on Saturday taking Gwion to his new home and university

Midweek Meeting September 20 2017

Another look at angels last night in the midweek meeting, looking at Hebrews 1 and 2. Good session with ten present, mostly men, including three seminary students. At least two not well enough to come out. Nearly everyone prayed. Plenty to cover as ever. I was especially encouraged by one man's prayer for the Lord's Day.

10 National Flags Depicting the Sun

 
1. Argentina
Bangladesh flag
2. Bangladesh

3. Greenland
Flag of Japan
4. Japan
Flag of Laos
5. Laos
macedonia flag
6. FYR Macedonia
Malawi flag
7. Malawi

8. Philippines
Rwanda flag
9. Rwanda
Taiwan flag
10. Taiwan

Flags courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.