Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oh another Oak Hill bog

Sorry, I forgot to mention:

Celal Baker - college financial administrator and elder at Enfield Evangelical -

which is well established now.

Another sad statistic on the family

They mentioned on The Today Programme on R4 today that:

More than 3/4s of all married couples in the UK today are known to have lived together for a period of time before marriage.

Perhaps one might expect the figure to be more like 90%? Not sure what counts as "living together for a period of time". Presumably staying over in the same bed a few times doesnt count!?

Good to be bucking a bad trend - if chewing the carpet... 24 days to go, I think.

Revd Ray Porter FRAS


So is he a surgeon?

Or a Fellow of a Royal Society?


Ancient stuff?



Asiatic, it turns out.

The RAS is apparently a proper 19th C learned society.

One of Ray's friends was in charge of it or something.

They have dinners and speaker meetings and so on. They publish the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society - Ray has done some book reviews for it etc.

* * *

What societies would you like to be elected to?

FBA, anyone?

Can non-members propose people? For example, Garry obviously deserves some kind of history / theology greatness award? DD(Oxon) when The Atonement is published in 500 years time, perhaps?

Or can one found a Royal Society? Do we need a minor Royal to join?

Or perhaps a dinning or drinking club is more at our level?

R4 Prayer For The Day today

See previous post on "Revd" Ernest Ray's Radio 4 Prayer For The Day yesterday.

Ernest's prayer for the day was much better today - though it was about Shakespear, not the Bible or the God of the Bible but "god".

Maybe there'll be a steady improvement all week? Or perhaps that is too optomistic and charitable?

Too charitable... Dont think that is one of my besetting sins. Except perhaps with people I have met and like...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Looks like a great project

My friend Lorna Robinson MA(Oxon) PhD (UCL) has just been employed by the University (of Oxford) to launch this fantastic looking project.

And is currently being splashed accross the TES and other papers, I understand.

Her PhD on Magical Realism approaches to Ovid's Metamorphoses and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cien anos de soledad and sounds fascinating. She says she has another book in her about Margaret Atwood and some old poem - the Illiad, was it? And we are eagerly awaiting the publication of the now finished (again!) but unread (!) novel. Great stuff!

A girl to watch!

Her recent wedding (green dress and take-away Pizza) sounds like a one off too!


Well done Lorna. And all the best with it!

P.S. when are you going to become a Christian?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Marc Lloyd

This Marc Lloyd seems to have shot up the Google rankings and I've no idea why.

I guess the "wierd" - to some stange people - spelling really helps?

How to depose the 1st guy and become number 1? Evil genious laugh etc.

Mmm. Its no good being also ran number 2.

Might get eaten by worms, though, if I were too pleased with myself, don't you think? And Google noteriety is a pretty dubious sort of distinction...

Here's an idea, though, at a dinner party, give your guests an amusing print out of a web site that bears their name as a place setting.

For example, did you know you can get Major Matthew Mason action dolls, I believe? And there is a prominent "Matthew Mason" that yields the fist line "I am an athiest". Or another, "I have been playing the drums for 5 years...", or some such. Endless fun.

New "Oak Hill" Blog!

You may remember the delightfully amusing Jenn-ay, a Concordia student from a while back, who did a semester at Oak Hill? She had plans to travel but where in the world is Jenn-ay?

All is revealed at:

But perhaps if we start allowing the Yanks to have "Oak Hill" blog status it'll just go crazy here in Oak Hill Cyber Space? Rather like South Wing in College?

The Great Limited Atoement Debate (updated)

Here are all my comments so far on the great debate raging on Mandy's blog between Oak Hill-ers and Moore College, Sydney-ers over effectual redemption:

Obviously some of this stuff is easier to follow (if you care!) on the blog, but there are over 90 comments no, so do set aside enough time each day to keep up!

* * *

Well, a few thoughts from me, which I hope will be enjoyable, helpful and godly: 9 points of Calvinism:

0. By the way, did you know that in the dinning hall at Oak Hill there is a crest with the motto, "Be Right and Persist!". Wise words, I think we can all agree.

1. Yes, lets be nice. Lets not be rude or silly either - especially about Dr William's excellent arguments and superior mind, morals and practice. Childlike but not childish

2. Shouting texts that you misunderstand and that your opponents know about already and have dealt with perfecly well already is not an argument. DO CAPITAL LETTERS REALLY HELP? Perhaps enclsosing what you want to emphasise in * s like *this* is a better way of indicating emphasis in plain text?

3. Lots of the Moore people seem to need to distinguish: in what sense in this context etc? Avoid the illegitimate totality transfer fallacy. Or indeed, "this word makes me think of this so this is what it must always mean whoever uses it wherever". True, a bit of presupositional (Van Til-esque) perspectivalism, (Frame et al) would always help. Good reccomended reading, Thomo. Maybe I've broken some of Frame's rules here?

4. I dont think there is an Oak Hill line or argument on this or a complete consensus amongst faculty or students so that party spirit is not the greatest help.

5. What is the difference between over-systematising and thinking through the true and necessary consequence of a passage and making sure you dont expound one text such that it is repugnent to another, as the Westminster Confession and 39 Articles would admonish us? Is not God faithfull and consistent and coherent? Do not the revealed things belong to us and is it not our duty and our glory to search them out, rather than making a virtue of the supposed incoherence (to us) of God's revelation, because we cannot know the unsearchable mind of God? What is it with all this Barthian anti-rationality stuff anyway?

6. So is Revd ? Mr ? Dr? Professor? Dave Barrie getting rid of the P petal now too? There are surely many unquestionable perseverence of all true believers to the end texts. I reckon we could easily show that the perseverence of the saints is the Orthodox consensus throughout time. Maybe there arent famous names as everyone thought it?

7. Some of the debate may be confused as some of the American Alburn Avenue Covenantal Objectivists Reformed Is Not Enough chaps use the term Christian to mean Baptised Non-excommunicate included in the objective covenant professing (if adult) and Believer to mean truly regenerate elect to ultimate salvation.

8. Is the "stretched" "natural" "plain sense" reading stuff just a way of saying "natural to me", ie i havent heard your argument before and it seems a bit strange to my excentric and parochial ears?

9. Yes, good point, Ros.Please would someone list the HyperCalvinists at Oak Hill - or indeed pretty much anywhere today AND - oops, *and* - show a necessary or even "natural" link to limited atonemnet? It is interesting that Dr Williams is being so active in Divinci Code evangelism at the moment when he neednt bother and might have better things to do with his time. (Even if perhaps he is being a bit too evidentialist and argumentative for some of our Barthian friensds?) A covenant sucession Covenant Household generational theology style is more likely to lead to less cold contact evangelistic effort, perhaps, but that's hardly the Limited Atonement point.

Ah, that's better.

* * *

Where there are some questions of point of historical fact /information in this discussion, why don't we get some real experts (apologies if you are one and you've said something here and I don't know) to tell us the answers? e.g. Dr Williams? e.g. Professor Trueman on (Mr Jensen's) the John Owen is sold out to Aristotelainism though he thinks he's sticking to the Bible stuff. We could ask them for their take on the whole thing while they're at it!

* * *

Thank you Prof Mr Dr (My?) Captain Barrie and (Arch? X2?) Bishop Jensen et. al. for the historical references, the blogging tips etc.I agree we LA boys ought to get to work on the historical consenus examples for L & P, though I imagine Carl Truman and Garry Williams have it all at their finger tips so I'm going to wait and see if they come up with the goods before bothering to attempt any work on it.Yes, sorry for all the typos. I blame them on the gift of dyslexia and laziness etc.Michael, could I buy you a pint in Oxford or London some time?

* * *

Oh the comments by Drs Sach, Jeffrey and Field here are just outstanding.Mr Thomposn deserves to be created DD(Oxon) for his contributions to this blog alone and appoined Ajunct Professor of Reformed Theology at Moore College.By the way, are there any plans for the *Reformed* Theological Review to change its name, does anyone know? Evangelical or Lutheran or Sydney or B. Knox Memorial might be more accurate adjectives?As well as Dr Trueman's work (on Owen and Protestant Scholasticism) hasn't Professor Richard Muller (Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics etc) absolutely killed many of the methodological, hermeneutical, philosophical, historical and even exegetcial errors being mouthed here? At Oak Hill many of the 1st years wrote on "Protestant Scholasticism: Zenith or Nadir of Reformed Thought?". PS was basically a jolly good thing. Would any of the Oak Hill boys be able to link to their essays, please? Dr Williams suggested maybe yours, Sachy or Jeffery, would help us?Even Professor Paul Helm's classic on Calvin againts the Calvinists would help us here, would'nt ut?PS Presumably when the exams are over, some of you will be able to devote your energies full time to this vitally important discussion?

* * *

We at Oak Hill should just say how much we love the Jensens and Moore College and B. Knox and Professor Peterson. We owe so much to John Chapman and friends.But it seems we have been reading different books for the last few years? You are getting more deeply into Barth.We are more in love with Edwards, Owen, Augustine, Acquinas - even!I'm sorry if the rhetoric volume of my posts has been too high at times: I didn't mean to be rude or offensive or cause a brother to stumble.By the way, I understand that Professor Paul Helm's reply to James Torrance in their exchange might especially hlep us.Who are the authors and what are the books you guys are excited about in all this?

* * *

PS - obviously I accept your kind offer of a pint. Will anyone join us from Oxford or fly in from Moore T C for it, I wonder?

* * *

And I'm sure you've all thought of this but "I lay down my life for the sheep" in the context of John 1o seems to teach limited atonment very clearly.On its own the text does not require it. Christ could say that and still die for the sheep and also for unmentioned others.But the context of the drama proves the atonement is limited. It is hard to see a sensible or significant way in which the shepherd can be said to lay down his life for the wolves, hirlings, theives, robbers and not-my-sheep-ones against whom he defends the sheep. Thus the atonment is not universal: it is, as it were, against not for the enemies of Christ.I do not think this presses the parabolic or allagorical sense too far. Christ seems to be speaking in a pretty much more or less this equals that way.This point that the enemies die and are not died for is obvious from all the conflict stuff in the Bible, as David Field's material also suggests.A Christus Victor (Christ defeats his enemies - cosmic and otherwise - by his cross) model of the atonement thus teaches Limited Atonement, much to the surprise of Chalke et. al.

* * *

So on my re-reading-scan of all thses comments, there are no outstanding questions of substance for the real atonement guys, but the proponents of a limited atonemnent have a number of clear and specific questions of importance listed above to get to work on?Does anyone disagree?We LA chaps need some distractions (structured procrastination) from proper work, so, come on, what should be on our "To Do" list?Maybe proving the historical case that Calvin clearly believed LA & Owen was thoroughly Biblical? But it does seem that's all been done in books we all have in our libraries...So what shall we do today? Maybe those pints?

Passing on Impassibility & Graham Cole

Does anyone know exactly what Dr Graham Cole said at the Oak Hill School of Theology on grieving the spirit? Was it just "remeber God is passionate and has emotions and real relationships in which he is "affected" by us - even if they are not like human emotions, relationships or affecations - which I understand to be consistent with Orthodoxy? Or was Dr Cole trying to say something else? When do the tapes come out? Where none of the Doctrine Boys keeping an eye out?

* * *

I enjoyed Rev'd Graham in chapel the other day. Being from Trinty Evangelical Divinty School, I was expecting an American Baptist not a Sydney Anglican who had transformed Ridley College, it seemed. Good on him for getting back to the class room.

I loved the line:

Or to put it in technical Aristotelian terminology: "You'd be nuts, mate!"

Might plagarise that one.

And was it something like:

And if you invited them to a dinner party or a barbie, which in Australia is the same thing...

I believe a "barbie" is a "barbeque", by the way.

I wondered whether what Rev'd Cole was saying about the relationship between evangelism and social action was really consistent if pressed?

* * *

Dr Cole seems to have an egalatarian view of men and women in the church - women can preach to men etc. - but a hierarchical view of men and wonen in marriage, I understand? Some people thought his 7 points in favour of his view didn't work, but I've heard them described more as "considerations / ways into thinking about this / how would the landscape look with these features in place / are these part of a more plausible picture" than arguments - cumulative or otherwise. Does that help? I understand there was some heat, however much light?

The Father Died (revised 1)

I thought all right-thinking would agree with me on the following:

*Original Post*

In the death of God the Son, the Father (who operates inseperably with and mutually indwells said Son) died in the Human Nature of the Person of the Son?

Thus the Father died, but not as God nor as the Son since it was the humanity of the Son (not his divinity) and the Person of the Son (not the Father) who died.

That's the Reformed Orthodox consensus, isn't it? Or rather, the true and necessary consequences of the Bible: what the Protestant Scholastics believe now and would have believed then if they'd thought about it much? Would Dr Weinandy agree with me? What's his email address, I wonder?

Or does the Father only indwell the divine nature of the Son not his human nature? Or is that heresy? There is scope for useful hair-splitting on the mode of perichorisis here, then? Dr Ovey?

It always feels that one is a semi-colon from Anathema in such discussions, don't you think?

* But it seems that my good readers all disagree with me. So I've revised my views: *

Thank you for bothering to address your disagreement, Gentle Commentors.

But the stuff above still seems to me the set of options if you accept the corrolate ideas of:

(1) Inseperable Operation


(2) Mutual Indwelling or Perichorisis

By (1) I mean, in Augustine's phrase, that the Father is not (ever) without the Son and vice versa. The inseperability is of a different order from that merely of friends who always agree. Father and Son always do the same actions together and in every act and every aspect of that act they act together. Yet their modes or manners of action may be distinguished. The Father does not have to act in the same way as the Son though he must do all the actions of the Son with the Son. For example, the Son is begotten and the Father is not but the being begotten of the Son is not an action independent from or seperable from the Father. In this action Father and Son are not merely subject and object as if they are to seperate persons involved in the same stuff. John 5 would be the main text here, I think.

Which is related to (2). The actions of the Trinity ad extra are undivided since the persons indwell one another.

The economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and so on, as Rahner's dictum has it. They are eternally related: in one another. A kind of dance?! (see Ros's blog, was it, on the Triune Conga? - who leads etc? hierarchy and subordination of dance partners!)

The Father is in the Son not so much in a spacial way as the Father has no physicality. But the Father is always "there", in and with the Son. If you've got the Son you havent just got "God" (some divine essence behind the persons) you've got The Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I imagine the Father indwells the Person of the Son, but perhaps in the divine nature only.

Though the Father is certainly in the Human Son by the Spirit (whom the Father also indwells!). Tricky.

So once again, maybe as I suggest above it is just as simple as saying that the Father only indwells the divine nature of the Son not his human nature? This seems a bit wierd to me, but perhaps that's right. It is corrolate with the correct orthodox view that the Son dies according to his humanity or in his human nature not in his divinity, yet it is truly the Divine Son who really dies...

I'm not at all sure.

So what we are after is a non-heretical articulation of the death of God which upholds the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son and their inseperable operation without seperating the divine persons, please?

And some good historical articulations would be happy too, if you've got them handy. Ta.

To complicate matters, what of the Spirit? Surely the Spirit must indwell the Son (1) as a divine person from all eternity (2) as a man, the architypal believer.

But Dr Ovey must have all this at the tip of his tongue? I'll email him this. As my supervisor, perhaps he'll be alarmed into action if I really am going heterodox here.

Son Forsaken But Not Without Father

How do we hold together the cry of dereliction (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) and perichorisis, mutual indwelling (“I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”) and inseperable operation (Augustine: “The Son is Not Without the Father” etc.)?

Is it just that God the Son was temporarily abandoned according to his human nature? Is that all there is to say? The Son of God was abandoned as a man, just as he died as a man. Was this a unique moment? Unique for the intra-Trinitarian life? A change in God, or merely a change in relations between God and the God-Man?

What are the limits of orthodoxy here / legitimate ways of speaking / The Reformed Consensus / what Garry says in CD4.3?

Is there an original and significant PhD here or is it a tired old question to which all right thinking people already know the one simple and easily explainable answer? Professor Mason?

Oak Hill Ball Independant Report

Mandy's excellent independant report of the Private Oak Hill College May Ball - wot Ros and I did so well - with photographic evidence can be found here.

So far we have covered our costs, given gifts to men and made a massive £10.40 for the Bongo Bongo fund. What could be better?

I would be willing to Chair the Entz committee next year, if it can be a private dictatorship with my friends co-opted at whim. Maybe risky but I reconkon more fun and more efficient and you could always depose me by force of arms if I became a tyrant? We could split the profits: 33% for SCR, Bongo Bongo & Marc's new home fund?

And does the ball count as College Job for me and Ros for ever? And can you transfer College Job credits to Westminster Theological Seminary, Philly? And do they even have the strange compulsary secret-before-you-sign-up college slavery unpaid job system for people paying fees at Westminster? Pay to work: novel. Mind you, I wouldnt swap bing head juniour Librarian for the world. Wendy - our most excellent of librarians - has given me so much more than I could ever repay. Thank you.

Thank you Ros, and everyone who helped and came and actually paid their £2 entry fee and God, not necessarily in that order.

And I'm sorry I didn't dance more enthusiasticly and speedily, sweet heart - Yvonne, that is, in case you were wondering.... Next time. A bit of dancing seems to me little to ask, when compared to the humiliating indignity of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ for his bride-to-be, so next time I pledge myslef to strut my stuff with gay abandon and a big smile on my chubby little face!

Is Faith In Public Life Good For Britain?

I think this is what I would have said if they'd given me 1000 words to read at the Faithworks Public Debate on "Is Faith In Public Life Good For Britain?", after Steve Chalke, Poly Toynbee and National Secular Society man had spoken.

My main points would be:

It all depends what we mean by “faith” in public life

A. “faith” as believing / depending on things is inevitable

B. “faith” as gullibility / certainty is not good for public life in Britain

C. “faith in public life” is good for Britain

C2. good “faith” in public life is good for Britain

C3. I’m for “faith in Jesus” as good for public life in Britain

Sorry if you find it a bit predictable. Its dangerously close to the vital but now boring Oak Hill mantra of "We must distinguish!".

Any feedback welcome.

I'll be handing this in tommorow, d. v.

Not Prayer For The Day


The “Rev’d” Earnest Ray did an awful “Prayer” for the Day on Radio 4 this morning: “I’m grateful for the faith I learned at my mother’s knee in Northern Ireland, but there were down sides: only when I went to University did I realise that there were good Roman Catholics and now I’ve travelled a long way since my childhood faith. I’m profoundly convinced that the Muslim and I are on the same path and seeking to know and serve the same God and we’ve both got part of the truth. Prayer: god help us learn from other religions.”, sort of thing.

You can read the text today at

You couldn’t get more rank liberal pluralism. One mountain many paths. I expected him top start saying something or other about elephants and blind men any minute. Same kind of shape as John Hick’s story.

Go back, Ray. The Old Paths are better. Ulster Protestantism sounds better than Multi-faith mash.

This sort of thing is just so damaging in the light of the Great Final Day when God will judge all men by the Man He has appointed, the Lord Jesus Christ. It will be dreadful on that Day for the Muslim who will find he is on a very different road. And it seems to me that Earnest will be in trouble else he repent too.

* * *

How does one go about getting someone stripped of their “Revd”ness, by the way? Who can I write to?

Is it a waste of my valuable time and energy to write to the BBC about this?

And who picks these guys for Radio 4? I seem to remember Revd Earnest used to be head of religious broadcasting at the BBC? Our national voice in safe hands?

* * *

And isn’t “prayer” for the day a great misnomer? Its actually mini-sermon with rather didactic thought tacked on the end and addressed to “god”.

Grrrr. There, I feel a bit better now.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

My uncle's view of the Oak Hill lot

If it isnt a social faux pas to quote an email one has recieved, on one's blog, I thought those strange wanna-be vicars at Oak Hill who had been chatting to my atheist uncle about God and science etc. yesterday might like to know that he's not yet on the point of "praying the prayer" or signing up for ordination training.

Amidst saying lots of nice things about the day, and picking up on my comment about the strangeness of Oak Hill, he said:

The trainee vicars are indeed a strange lot and never really answer my underlying curiosity about the brain separation that seems to be going on - they invariably simply revert to - "the answer is in the gospels"....
Thanks again both for the ... insite into the weird world vicars.
I think one of the big puzzles for my uncle is, how can obviously clever and otherwise sane people, who in some cases know lots of science, possibly believe in this made-up God and swallow the Bible whole?

Bishop Watching

Not to put it too strongly, I think we could probably say:

Chelmsford: boo! - Isn’t that a funny version of purple, by the way? Perhaps he needs some of that not-just-choosing-colours but the importance subtle shades and getting-it-exactly-right consultancy you were offering, Ros?

Kenya: Good on y’u, Brother.

According to the BBC News website, Bishop Gladwin was forced to cancel a Caribbean trip in 2005 because of his views on homosexual clerics. So we discover that being a Bishop is great for foreign jollies. Being pro-gay less good. Unless you’ve a vocation to vacation with the Episcopal Chruch of the U. S. A., I suppose? But I hear Sydney’s nice this time of year, Bishop?

Rochester: Horray!

Being a Bishop also seems to be great for getting on the radio. In a way I’m surprised that we’re surprised that a Bishop says “we were / are / let’s be a Christian country”, rather than going for multi-faith mash. But then, with the likes of Chelmsford, maybe it is surprising?

Hope I’m not being unnecessarily rude or nasty about Chelmsford? And that I’ll never want him to give me a job?!

Please evangelise me better!

My friend Chris said to me in the pub last night, “Marc, you never really made a sincere effort to convert me when we shared a flat” – whereas I thought I was always banging on about Jesus and that, trying to persuade him.

Pretty damning, eh?

So I’ve decided to pull my finger out and try harder all round!

I guess part of Chris not feeling too got at was my not really having a seeker-friendly church (!) to drag Chris along to, where we were living in Southend-on-Sea, but perhaps we’re rather over dependent on events and invites for our evangelism?

* * *

Chris was being terribly modernistic in argument (if what you're saying is true then all other views are wrong etc.) whereas Jeffers seemed to be explaining that some people believe that everyone has part of the truth and all roads lead to God. I hoped this wasnt the way of the future for Bishop Neil? Sorry, Archbishop.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Oak Hill Blog Log (updated)

(This post was last updated: 3/9/06)

Keeping up with the blogs has become a full-time occupation. Maybe there’s scope for a new module – “Church And World” category, perhaps – on internet theology? Dr Strange? But make it 6. Masters -level only. And it probably ought to be compulsary to do the module every year, or something.

There’re the old favourites, of course:

Revd Dr David Field -

Ros Clark – I have a question -

Ros’ blog might be very pretty – with its pink flowers – but I notice blogspot seems to be the Oak Hill provider of choice.

Although he has moved on to bigger and better things (diaconal ministry), perhaps we could include:

Revd Matthew Mason – Mother Kirk -

as a product of the nation’s foremost theological college.

Revd James Oakley has also been blogging since April at:

And there's Celal Baker, the self-styled Oak Hill "bean-counter" and an elder at Enfield Evangelical church:

And Liam Beadle is a regular visitor to college, and d.v. a future student?

Liam Beadle -

But had you spotted the exciting new sites? Or have I just been slow on the uptake?

Mandy Curley’s valiant defence of the gospel (a.k.a. limited atonement) and gluten-free chocolate cake recipe are not to be missed and can surely be included, even though she is soon to revert to Moore College.

Mandy Curley – Safety Girl -

One can keep up with Chris Thomson (Mandy’s substitute at Moore)’s exploits at:

Chris Thomson -

The boys have been getting in on the act:

Tim Gough -

Paul Kerry – Freedom is Coming -

Amusement (oh, and theological depth, of course) can be hoped for from:

Pete Matthew – Big Pete -

Perhaps he could confine his inappropriate comments to cyber-space rather than chapel, where he seems to think it is pastorally helpful to pat those to whom he thinks particular sermon applications especially apply?

The latest addition I know of is Mr T:

Andrew Towner - Towner's Thoughts -

Would anyone else care to declare themselves, or shall we get on with some proper academic work? Good old revision week, eh?

The much loved and very young looking Dawn Evans has joined the ranks of the esteemed bloggers. For all your children's and youth work solutions, for insights into all manner of subjects from Scripture to shopping, for Northern wisdom and a lo a lo a laffs, may I suggest:

Dawn explains that you need to imagine hand gestures to accomponay words such as phone, piano, typing, up north, camera etc.

Happy blogging.

Pete Jackson’s been blogging away at:

Dan Green, a recent Oak Hill student, now youth worker at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne, has a blog at:

Great things can be expected from Nick Cornell at:

Miss Ruth Field (whose excellent cleaning services I’d be very happy to recommend):

Revd Chris Green, the vice-principal of Oak Hill, has a new blog at:

Helen Morrow has been blogging away at:

Rachel Warwick, a former member of staff at Oak Hill, has a blog entitled Not "where next?" but "where now?" at:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mix 'n' Match Spheres

I don’t think I’d ever really thought about the land “sphere” as corresponding to the family before reading Deacon Matthew’s comment:

garden/sanctuary; land/family; world

Ros would of course have told me off for not remembering the importance of the land to family continuity.

And if land naturally suggests nation, if the nation is the (extended) family writ large, then the family link ought to have been obvious.

So is there the further correspondence of spheres:

(1) church / sanctuary / garden

(2) family / home / land

(3) state / palace? / world

Does the civil state fit more properly in (2) or (3)? Maybe the construction above is a bit too suggestive of the rather worrying idea of a world-empire other than that of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Big Bits of Audible Bread

I’ve just started reading N. T. Wright’s Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship (London, SPCK, 1994)

Part One, “Looking to Jesus”, gives “a kind of aerial photograph or bird’s-eye view” of six different New Testament books. Wright says: “To change the image, I have supplied a kind of programme note for each book, so that, as with a symphony, one can listen out for the main themes.”

The chapters are:

(1) The Final Sacrifice: Hebrews

(2) The Battle Won: Colossians

(3) The Kingdom of the Son of Man: Matthew

(4) The Glory of God: John

(5) The Servant King: Mark

(6) A World Reborn: Revelation

These invitations to whole books of the Bible may well prove helpful. Given the way we often push reading notes or daily Bible reading schemes, its worth thinking about Wright’s comment that:

People do not always, perhaps, realize how natural and easy reading whole books
of the Bible can be, You can read through Colossians quite slowly in about
twelve minutes; you can get through Hebrews in under and hour…. I am convinced
that using a lectionary - reading the Bible in little snippets - is a second
order activity; the primary activity ought to be reading the Bible in large
chunks, to get its full flavour and thrust
. (p. x)

He adds,

Many of the sermons – all those in the first Part, and chapters 9 and 10 in the second – were preached in the context of the Eucharist, and some of the eucharistic references remain. This, I am again persuaded, is no bad thing. The visible word and the written word – or if you like, the edible bread and the audible bread – go closely together, as they did for the two on the Emmaus Road in Luke 24. Following Jesus, after all, involves heart, mind, soul and strength. A church without sermons will soon have a shrivelled mind, then a wayward heart, next an unquiet soul, and finally a misdirected strength. A church without the sacraments will find its strength cut off, its soul undernourished, its heart prey to conflicting emotions, and its mind engaged in increasingly irrelevant intellectual games…. if these pieces suggest ways in which word and sacrament can be held firmly together, supplying together the context and energy to enable us to follow Jesus, I shall be delighted. (p. xf)

For the record: “The second half of the book ranges more widely over various topics which together inform, and set the context of, the biblical model of discipleship.”:

Part II: A Living Sacrifice

(7) The God Who Raises the Dead

(8) The Mind Renewed

(9) Temptation

(10) Hell

(11) Heaven and Power

(12) New Life – New World

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Regular Coffee

I tried to buy a coffee today. When I was handed the coffee, the assistant asked for £1.59.

"But it says £1.39 on the menu", I protested.

"But that's for a regular coffee. You didn't ask for a regular coffee. This is a large one".

"But I didn't say I wanted a large one. Surely you should have given me a standard regular one?"

Assistant: "We've only got large ones."

Apart from the fact that a regular coffee ought to fit perfectly well into a large cup, what is the point of "regular" unless its "standard, normal, usual, didn't ask for anything else coffee." Why was I served an extraordinary one without warning and against my will?

Needless to say I obediently paid £1.59 and have not been resenting the loss of that much needed and hard-gotten 20p ever since.

What's the matter with small, medium and large, anyway, if we're going to have hyper choice? I suppose it could have been worse: she could have insisted on giving me a grande Americano.

Ah, grumpy old man voice and modern life.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Mutual Back-Patting with Mr T.

I’m grateful to Andrew Towner for citing this “Marc Lloyd’s blogspot, fount of Reformed Orthodoxy and gags” in his meditation in chapel.

(Stu Dean also kindly cited my blog entry of Sad Statistics on the Family in his Evangelical Public Theology handout the other day – which I thought was very generous as he’d held the book I cited in his own hands, and was therefore entitled to cite it directly, cutting out the rather unacademic looking middle man, in my view.)

Despite the meditation paradigm suggested on my previous blog entry, Mr T’s meditation (on Psalm 68:19) was far from sloppy. It appeared finely crafted. There were some nice distinctions, but Towner managed to avoid the vital but now tiresome Oak Hill mantra, “we must distinguish! In what sense….”

Though the gaps (pauses for personal application) were still present it was great to use Mr T’s text as an acclamation of praise after each time for reflection.

Mr T was insightfully psychological, pastoral and applied, without being toooo sickly heart-on-sleeve autobiographical, I thought.

Its pleasant how often one feels after an Oak Hill student has preached in chapel, “well, I’d be happy to have him as my vicar”.

And, on another related subject, did I notice some unauthorised changes to the BCP order for Morning Prayer in chapel today? “… accompany me with an impure heart…” seemed a particularly bizarre militant exhortation which didn't take the rest of the words of the context into account. Cranmer obviously knew that in a sense our hearts remain impure and we come as we are with all our guilt and baggage, but also that in Christ we are already clean. We might as well tell people to come with a haughty unbelieving heart. I am clean before I confess. Its not works.

And wasnt the absolution played about with so that we didnt pray for repentant hearts but thanked God for them or something?

On whose authority were these unhelpful and illegal changes made?

Yeah, okay, maybe that's a bit strong, and there are other legitimate points of view, and where can we experiment if not in a theological college chapel, but you know what I mean...

The Arts: not an optional extra

The arts are useful – even essential and unavoidable. Culture, which is promoted by the Arts, is what creates a civilisation. Art, culture and civilisation are symbiotic. It is not possible to sort out education, housing, unemployment, health care and so on and then bother about the icing-on-the-cake arts. Culture and civilisation depend on and grow out of the arts, which are all essentially religious in their ideology.

Creativity is integral to human beings as creature in the image of God. They are to rule and glorify creation, making is better and more productive, beautifying it.

God's project is to build a City, a great new glorious city, The City of God, a civilisation. The new creation will be outstandingly beautiful so to love good art is to cultivate appreciation for what God is going to do.

These thoughts were stimulated by (which means stolen from, misunderstood and twisted) Linda Elliot (in her excellent seminar for Evangelical Public Theology on The Arts). She did her dissertation on Jonathan Edwards’ aesthetic and how we should ethically evaluate an image. If you can, you should talk to Lynda: she knows her onions and says interesting, surprising things. And I understand a gallery tour with art talk explanations might not be out of the question.

Lynda argued (with Edwards, I think) that harmony (the supreme of all, everything in ideal agreement and relation, total communication, no barriers and rightness) and consent (a recognition of and love for harmony) are the underlying principles of beauty, which are perfectly exemplified in the perichorisis of the Trinity.

Because of the appeal to the full orbed Christian doctrine of the Trinity, this isn’t just some Natural Law One God of the philosophers stuff.

Even unbelieving art can participate in consent and harmony and thus bring glory to God, though the artist does not intend to do so.

Augustine might also be a model for us in this all.

Saying the creed

Francis Schaeffer apparently describes a Princeton Theologian who said “I can say the creed as long as its sung.” This is the illegitimate idea that once something becomes art it no longer has to be true – or not really actually historically propositionally true. You can lie if its elevated poetry and a great tune, so they think.

How much better to sing the truth.

Art For Art's Sake

There cannot be art for art's sake above all ethical and theological analysis. Art must be brought under the Lordship of Christ.

Great works of art are very powerful and therefore they easily become powerful idols. All idols are art. But not all art is idolatry.

(More good stuff from Linda Elliott's Evangelical Public Theology presentation today).

Conservation obsessed

Because we don’t know who we are or what our roots are, we feel the need to preserve everything and can’t lighten up and throw away rubbish and not worry too much about our stuff.

Better rather to trust God and store up treasure in heaven and not worry too much about our things.

High Low Folk

Culture (music, art, literature etc.) can be classified as high, low and folk.

High art is that which has lasted and stood the test of time.

Low art or music is popular and ephemeral.

Folk art is a third kind of being: its popular and lives on in folk memory, being sung in pubs.

Or something like that.

Let’s start a Christian Institute Art Campaign

Linda Elliott mentioned some disgusting blasphemous publicly displayed art (not in detail!) that we have not bothered to campaign against, though we are very hot and bothered about Jerry Springer the Opera.

Maybe evangelicals have given up on and retreated from the visual arts? People in the art world don’t often understand what we are trying to say about the glory of God reflected in human creatures who are in the image of God. Perhaps we need to give the art world a little more attention. It might even enrich our drab little lives. We could even have beautiful churches and nice things in them – rather than ugliness, lest we be distracted from the invisible beauty of God by the beauty of his handiwork.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Listen Online to my sermon on Ps 110

You can listen online to my exactly 22 mins long (plus prayers and reading) sermon on Psalm 110 - I think for a limited time only via:

(with an open Bible and the handout on the previous post, idealy)


I think you can even do whizzy things like subscribe to a weekly pod-cast, mainly of Revd Charles Dobbie's excellent sermon series: clear, Bible believing, applied, pastoral, listen-to-able. I'd reccomend giving them a go!

Meeting God's Right Hand Man - Ps 110

This morning, d.v., I hope to preach Psalm 110 for 22 mins at Holy Trinity, Lyonsdown.

I plan to say its all about Jesus. I'll put my outline bellow.

I've been greatly helped by talk with the great Dr Thomas Renz (tutor in Old Testament and Hebrew, Oak Hill College) and by his fresh translation of the Psalm and his 52 Theses towards an understanding of Psalm 110. I urge you to beg or borrow these documents: don't steal them. In my view they are worthy of publication, or at least sticking up on the web, and would be a great service to the Church of God. Thomas told me he was once tempted to write a short book on the Psalm, which is the most quoted OT text in the NT. Thomas has dropped it from the Psalms course, more or less, I think, because he decided he could not do it justice in less than two hours: students weren't getting it, and he didn't want to give more than two hours to any one Psalm. And I have 20 mins. Mmmm.

If something's worth doing, its worth doing adequately, as Richard Coekin says.

Ros Clarke also helped me with some of the Hebrew poetry, I think. We shall see what she makes of the final product!

Here is my handout:

Meeting God’s Right Hand Man - Psalm 110


Most used OT text in NT; so this is important; so Listen!

“Of David” = written by (Mt 22:43), about, for David

Levels of meaning in the Psalms: Psalmist - (David / King) - Ideal Believer / God’s (Ideal) People - Jesus - Us

Truly fulfilled in Jesus, Great David’s Greater Son and Lord

A walk through the Psalm: what’s going on in this Psalm?

Vv1-4 addressed to God; vv5-end addressed to King Jesus

2 commands of God to Jesus of what Jesus must do:

sit (v1) and rule (v2)

What God has done / will do: vv1-2, v4

V3 what God’s people are

What Jesus is like v3, v4

What has happened / will happen to God’s enemies: v5-6

What will happen to Jesus: v7

Main points of message:

(1) King Jesus is in control of the whole world now

God’s right hand man – seated (finished work)

(2) Jesus is going to win rule of the whole world

by his priestly victory

Central verse: v4 - God has made Jesus the Perfect Priest-Warrior-Champion-King For Ever

So what for us?

Believers (God’s people): willingly confidently trust in and honour Jesus, devoted to him, obeying him

Take over the world! (Mt 28:19)

Unbelievers (God’s enemies): Be terrified and turn to Jesus and get blessings or God will execute and shatter you

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gold Card

On Tuesday I collected my first ever Gold Card – a Bodleian Oxford University Readers’ Card with shiny new photo, taken there and then by the nice woman in the Clarendon building. (Reader admissions moved and had just moved back on Monday!). She was very nice, though she did make me will in the whole form. I don’t remember every having to fill in any paperwork there before.

The librarian asked me about Oak Hill. She had never heard about it but when I explained that it was an Anglican vicar factory in London and the nation’s leading theological college, she said she ought to have heard of it. Many people are in the same position. We have over 40 000 books here, don’t you know?!

The Gold Card has slightly enhanced reading rights over the old brown readers’ cards: lets you look at some manuscripts etc. without special permission.

Unfortunately my bankers’ card and credit card are far from Gold. A kind of sludgy grey / green and somewhat faded. Think I prefer having a nice Bod. Card though. In fact, a very easy way to have people offer you super platinum cards seems to be to run up some nasty debt. Borrow lots of money for a long time an buy lots of depreciating items and the credit card people will make lots of money out of you and laud you with (bad) credit offers.

Bring Your Own Private Oak Hill College May Ball

If you know me or Ros Clark or are linked to Oak Hill College,

you are warmly invited to

the inaugural and in a noble tradition
Private Please-Bring-Your-Own

Oak Hill College

May Ball Summer Fun Extravaganza

Drinks Reception
Live Music
Delicious Canapes
Dancing Permitted
(No compulsary fun or forced involvement)

The Namagongo Room and patio

Oak Hill College

Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PS
multimap is your friend

Friday 26th May
8pm - late

Please let us know what you can bring.
We will need:
Wine - red and while
Chocolate Fondoue
Delicious canapes
Other nibbles
Live music - intruments - score - music stands - bands
Other stuff

Quality not quantity, please.

Dress: Black Tie / Cocktail dresses

Tickets by invite only - £2 on the door
Guests from outside college most welcome
if we are informed in advance
Sorry, no under 16s (American students welcome)

stating what you will bring and numbers of guests
comments welcome here

Let's Revise Together

I've no exams and very few deadlines etc. for the next few weeks so there is a risk of me being very bored. Let's get togther and revise!

It would help me with my research project to talk to you about the Reformed Evangelical doctrine of the Lord's Supper (or baptism or sacraments) or the doctrine of Scripture and anything to do with contemporary Anglican practice to do with them.

And / or any of my current modules: evangelical public theology (esp. economics and Is Faith Good For Britian?); Christians in the Modern World (words and images in contemporary discourse; TV).

And I'm always up for talking about Reformed Theology, Doctrine of God, Salvation, Church History, New Perspective on Paul, The Federal Vision.

It would be good to make Greek Club live again.

Alternatively, I suppose I could make some money or do some academic work but...

Hebrew is a closed book which is beyond my wit and inclination.

My beloved

For those of you who have not yet met my beloved, you can now see a rather fetching photo which captures only a fraction of her beauty at my new photos blog:

As well as one of the bridesmaids, a snap of us out for a walk with Yvonne's family (me looking rather silly) and me in a fine old-looking arm chair I was covetting at John Lewis, we didn't feel we could justify putting it on the wedding gift list, but if you're feeling generous...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Science, Evolution & God, Bible & Dawkins, McGrath & my Uncle

(revised 15/6/05 - just to say that I didn't mean to give the impression below that my uncle had thrown the McGrath book against the wall and not read every word.)

What books would you give to a clever militant atheist top astro-physicist Marxist early retired guy with no background in philosophy or formal logic but a good grasp of practical maths and theoretical physics, the gift of the gab, an enjoyment of good books, a passion for truth and understanding and time on his hands? What is the best single book on (1) God and Science (2) Introducing what Christianity really is? Dr Jeffery, Rev’d Dr Field, Dr Ovey, Dr Birkett – any suggestions?

My uncle went and bought Rev’d Dr Alistair Mc Grath, (PhD in molecular biophysics, Oxford University personal chair Professor of Church History, sometime Principle of Wycliffe Hall evangelical Anglican vicar factory) Dawkin’s God: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life (Blackwells Publishing, Oxford, 2005) on this own initiative from Blackwells, without any leads, that he might understand how clever people can be fundamentalists when science has solved every question in the world. He was excited that this was the book that should solve the puzzle. McGrath seemed uniquely placed to do so. He was probably right, on paper? But he was badly disappointed. He saw the book as silly and sloppy and probably stupid and trying to pull a fast one. He said it was rubbish and he wouldn’t particularly reccomend that I bother reading it.

I’ve tried to encourage my uncle to write a review of the book for publication and I hope to correspond with him on the subject. We could use a really tight therefore 6.4.1(a) not 7.5 nor 1.3.4(b) etc. type argument on the subject not circular heat after a few glasses of red wine and good food when my aunt and sister would rather have a nice chat about something relaxing.

My uncle’s basic view is the same as Dawkins’ (evolutionary biologist, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford). Dawkins is so so similar to McGrath its weird: a serious scientist popularising and campaigning. An evangelist.

Dawkins has a real bee in his bonnet about Bible Christianity for some reason.

In Dawkins’ view Christianity is a virus that must be stamped out. The virus (evangelical Christianity) is spreading fast in China and Africa. It is influential in the world Hyper-Power, the US. It is marginal but stable in much of the UK – growing in London, assumed in the countryside. 70% of the UK population describe themselves as Christian in the census but have little understanding of what that means.

For Dawkins Religion (inc. Christ’s) has made the world immeasurably worse not better and is a bad thing. Dawkins is clearly demonstrably wrong here: family, charity, economic progress, work, hospitals, schools, education, learning, maths, science are all beyond question historical products of the Biblical world view in the West. But that’s not the point here – nor does Dawkins seem to care about that.

My uncle’s assessment of McGrath is a bit unfair. McGrath is able and clever. He knows some science and some theology. He is an expert on Reformation Church history. He wrote a good introduction level guide to it (Reformation Thought (Blackwells Academic). His PhD, Iustitia Dei on the history of the doctrine of justification in magisterial. McGrath probably tries to do too much. He is prolific. He is notorious for giving short lectures and tutorials and leaving early. He travels much. He depends too much on secondary sources and probably on research students who don’t know their stuff that deeply. I think he uses his own self-publishing set up software, so his books are ready for publication fast.

(N. T. Wright might be a better model of prolific quality production – 20 years solid preparation seems to be needed – then 20 years of fruitful maturity – then you can die gloriously and full of years with a grey haired crown of a righteous life).

I imagine McGrath is mainly responding to lay misunderstandings of Dawkins. Mac Garth knows that Dawkins doesn’t think “Science” has “disproved God”. They both agree that the scientific project is useful, meaningful hypothesis (explanations / theories), repeatable experimental tests to try to falsify (not prove) the hypothesis. Refine hypothesis. Repeat till understanding complete (and we know the mind of God even as we are fully known!). Dawkins knows science can’t prove a thing and he admits it. But it is still worth saying as Dawkins doesn’t say it loudly, often or proactively enough. We are after all dealing with the public (mis-)understanding of Science.

Dawkins and my uncle are agreed that God is an unnecessary hypothesis. We do not need him. He has no explanatory power. The universe is simpler and more elegant without him. Ockham’s razor has cut out God. You can believe in God if you like, but you might as well believe that the world is held in space by millions of invisible pixies. You can’t disprove it but its not true and you’d be stupid to believe it or live your life on that basis.

On the other hand, the Biblical Christian says that if God didn’t exist, we’d need to invent him. There can be no existence, rationality, discourse or morality without Him.

He might suggest Pascal’s Wager: bet on God – if you are right, you win all; if you are wrong, you lose nothing good; the stakes are so high (eternal death and agony or eternal bliss) you’d be a fool not to plight your all on the remote forlorn hope of Christ.

But in fact there is the most convincing evidence for Christianity. The ordinary historical real life legal type beyond all reasonable doubt evidences of eyewitnesses of the Resurrection and an overall case. Anyone who really wants to know the truth should read the gospels in his modern mother tongue or the original languages and ask God, if he be there, to convince him of the truth and promise with God’s help (if he be) to humbly follow where the truth leads, whatever the cost.

By definition you cannot prove Jesus by experiment. My uncle said the government is bound to fund an experiment that could prove God, if I could design one. Of course no such experiment is possible because of the limitations of the scientific method and the greatness of God. That’s fine and not a problem. We believe all sorts of things on the basis of this kind of evidence.

For example, I believe that my future wife loves me. I have no absolute reason for doing so. It is possible I am wrong. In one way in the cosmic scheme of things it is trivial – we are but star dust on a tiny planet in the corner of an insignificant galaxy. But boy does it matter! I am going to give my all to that belief till I die for better or for worse, no opt outs, whatever. Same with me and Jesus: I’m committed to him, I know I’m right, I can’t prove it to you. You know I’m right.

Yes, deep down at some level in some way we all know the God of the Bible exists. He has to. We live like it: like we and others matter. We know there is an infinite Creator God of Power and Love. Yet we don’t want God to be our God. We want to be our own deciders – our own Gods – gods - whatever. It’s my life. You are not the boss of me. I’ll do it my way!

Atheist evolutionists have not explained to me to my complete understanding and satisfaction:

(1) the origins of existence / the universe / something not nothing OR the eternality / necessity of the same

(2) human consciousness and if humans are anything more than higher apes / chemical machines – which we know intuitively / foundationally / ineradicably

(3) why logic and reason work – how they know anything – how they understand this sentence – why it all works by chance

(4) the anthropic / anthropocentric principle of life adapted to precisely this human world – or is this circular

(4) why they care and why I should?

(5) how shall we then live? Why shouldn’t I rape and murder babies if I want to and it will please me in the long term and nothing bad will happen to me? If that is me, maybe I am a malfunctioning machine – a sociopath – but still, what is the basis of morality? Should we put down malfunctioning machines? What is the meaning of any “should” / “ought” sentence over and against any “will” / “is” sentence?

And no doubt more if we thought about it some more.

Hope those points make sense.

What I am saying is that: atheistic science is useful foundation-less incoherent nonsense and does not correspond with reality. What we need is Biblical Christianity and science thinking God’s thought after him, studying the Book of Creation and working to rule the world. Jesus, who is on offer, perfectly knows, governs and made all things. All things are from him and by him and for him and his Kingdom and name shall ever reign.

On the great final day God will judge the secret thoughts and all the actions of men with justice by the man he has appointed, the Lord Jesus Christ. His enemies will be ruined and put to shame and held is scorn. And Jesus will be vindicated and blessing will overpower the whole universe and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. Don’t miss out. Don’t leave it too late.

If there is even the remotest possibility that Jesus is Lord you must drop everything immediately and find out the truth with all your might until you know that Jesus Christ cannot be Lord or he is your Saviour, Master, Friend, Brother, King. But if Jesus is not Lord then you might as well kill yourself or eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die, fiddle while Rome burns or do whatever. Whatever. Just carry on any old how and make believe, make the best of a hopeless, pointless job. Nothing matters anyway. Or does it? What do you really think? Will you act on it?

Right to reply - comments - questions - crits most welcome

Liam Beadle's Blog Reccomended

For interesting observations on life in modern Britain, Reformed theology, poetry, music and song, little reflection on McChyne readings and general goodness I would highly reccomend the blog (web log) of Mr Liam Beadle (BA hons Oxon, theology, St Peter's College, 2000?), Associate of Holy Trinity Church, Lyonsdown. And of course my excellent comments which put right or take further all he has said. :)

Watch out for a dangerous appreciation of Karl Barth and Roman Papish trumpery, new arguments, substantial evidence, the danger of learning and having to change your mind. Better stay in the box: its safer in that dark corner.

I have had occasion to quote Liam a few times and even to plagarise him; and he has been a great help with music and citations. So now justice is done.

And watch this space because he's going to tell me where the Reformed Conservative Evangelical hero Benjamin Brekenridge Warfield (of Westminster Seminary fame, and sometime editor of Cattle Breader Monthly, Carl Trueman tells me) agrees with calling The Lord's Supper a Sacrifice in print!

And I should have said, the format is the same as mine:

What could be better?

Church Notice Boards

So many church notice boards do more harm than good and some do no good.

What would the ideal future notice board outside the church of which you were the incumbent say? How about:

The Reformed, Evangelical, Protestant and Established by Law



Church of the is Realm

of England.

(founded In The Year of Our Lord, 1882 [- or as early as possible])


There is no salvation in any other name (Acts 4:12)

Proclaiming God’s Word

Praying for God’s Help

Praising God’s Glory

Knowing Christ and Making Him Known

Main Service: Sunday 10am

You Will Be Very Welcome

Come and See!

Pastor: Rev’d Joe Bloggs ([Academic qualifications?])

The pastor is available on Saturdays from 10am – 11am in the church study
or by appointment at other times to see any parishoner.

Baptisms, Church School, Weddings, Funerals, Counselling by arrangement.

07812 054820 (24 hrs)

It should be made of fine old wood, red with gold and black letters. Other notice boards should preach the gospel in modern engaging and chaging ways, tell of all the church does and flag up special events of interest to the outsider that should be changed frequently.

Contentious Swan Song

Rev’d Dr John Piper has once again been a great servant of the church with his Contending For All (IVP, 2005) – talks from the Bethlehem Baptist Church Pastor’s Conference. As readable as ever. Inspiring. Elevating. Sound. Popularising but well footnoted. Risking superficiality and ignorance in places. Great.

Lessons from the lives of:

Athanasius (Patristic defender of the Incarnation of our Lord against Arian heresy)

John Owen (17th C English Puritan theologian, pastor and statesman)

Gresham Machem (b. late 19th C - American Evangelical opponent of theological liberalism, defender of Biblical Truth for Today's Church - see Latimer Trust strap line)

C. S. Lewis – quotable stuff on the necessity of reading old books that have stood the test of time to be given insight into our blind spots and perspective on our times.

Get and read and lend this book. Ideal for Sabbath reading with the wife (and kids, maybe).

Barriers to Biblical Faith in Britain today

The big intellectual or world view barriers or alternatives to Christian faith in the UK are:

(1) fundamentalist Islam. We can forget about any so called "moderates" ie "liberals". Their views are incoherent and compromised and will not take over the world, just like Christian liberalism is dying, dying, dead. People are apostatising from Islam

(2) scientific rationalism / materialistic reductionism. No one really believes that.

Anything else?

(3) Principled pluralism, liberalism, human rights, democracy, the centre ground, moderation. Or perhaps that's not a real long term threat? But then I suppose nothing is, for Jesus Shall Reigh Where'er The Sun Doth His Successive Journey's Run (Isaac Watts).

The main barriers to Christianity are not intellectual. Christians are right, you know they are.

Apathy is a big barrier.

So is ignorance.

And sin. People love their sin because their deeds are evil.

They don’t know and they don’t want to know.

The Church is a major barrier. People think they know what the Church is and what Christians believe but they know they don’t want to know. They don’t need God. They have written Him and His people off.

They want the church to be there but they don’t want to be there. They may be church senders but they are not church goers.

We do not need to be more accessible. They have rejected what they've accessed. We need to be more mysterious. People want mystery, greatness, colour, passion, The Other, They Beyond, the one who is Higher than I, whimsicality, questions, answers, certain doubts, known unknowns, defined mystery, revealed mystery. We must call people to know the ineffable God, to comprehend the incomprehensible, grasp the illusive. Paradox is involved.

So is dressing up, singing, music, candles, great chiors and creating an atmosphere of beauty. Thick GOLD LETTER CHURCH. The Moabite must come to Israel. Canna must crumble. As we sing songs, the walls of unbelief will come down and civilisations will be built and the Lord’s Mountain will be the highest mountain and will grow and fill all the earth then God will be all in all.

And there must be lovely great big feasts. Better than the Pagan feasts.

And we must have lots of kids and love them while they have few kids and kill them (abortion they call it). we must nurture our kids, they neglect them (send them to secular state schools).

There should be an optional special evangelistic incubators for some in a nice coffee shop, pub or on a great skate park. Pre-church Light. Evangelism. The church must own stuff and be the best. Warm, welcoming, non-threatening, easy going, food.

Lots of people will be in big trouble on the great final day.

If there is a chance that Jesus Christ is Lord and the Bible is true, drop everything until you know.

What Musical Notation Means and How To Use It in Church

Musical notation combines a time signiture, metrical information for singing, a key and instructions.

The time signiture is in the form x/y e.g. 4/4 or 3/4. This tells you the number of beats to the bar and where the major emphases fall and hence the duration of each musical unit (standard note in the piece).

The first number (top) tells you the number of beats or notes to a bar. The number gives you the combined total length. 1 would mean one long beat. 4 means 4 shorter ones.

The bottom (second) tells you which notes are stressed or where the divisions or major emphases in the piece come or something like that. Notes are grouped into bars for convenience but also because of patterns in the music. Can someone help me with this and remind me?

Perhaps Revd Matthew Mason, Neil Jeffers, Liam Beadle, Andrew Towner and the musician who loves me or other competent persons would care to correct any errors or mistaken emphasies in this post. How would you have explained it to a clever ignorant thorough thinking non musician impatient bore?

The meter e.g. 12 12 12 12 tells you how many sylables or beats to a line and how many lines. E.g. 11 10 11 10 means 11 notes / sylables / beats in the first line, 10 in the second and so on.

So this allows you to tap out the sylabbles, count them, count the lines and observe their pattern and know what tunes could be used for those words. One should then think about whether or not the music fits the mood and ocasion of the words.

Though tunes often dont seem to work with this metrical ruke that: e.g. Praise no. 917, Christopher Idle's Rain On The Earth By Heaven's Blessing says Ludham 98 98

The letter which is often included tells you what key the piece is in. I don't really know what this means.

Some hymns say "Unison" and I don't know what that means, except that perhaps something or other could be done together?

Very few hymns seem to come with instructions. Wouldn't that help? Keep to English: "Joyfully", "Hopefully", "With Feeling", "Solemnly", "Slowly", "Jauntily", "Freely", "Exactly" etc.

And why don't we put up the metrical info for the musos and have the score provided for all. Then we'd all pick up the jist of how to read music and sing much better. Doing new songs would be so much easier. Hymn practice would impinge less on Divine Service.