Thursday, July 19, 2007

Admonishing admonition

I’m not sure if I got the meaning and thrust of “admonish one another” exactly spot on in my sermon a couple of weeks ago on Colossians 1:28 c.f. 3:16. I’m sure I had the right doctrine even if I had the wrong text! Admonition: more careful attention the the words and their other biblical usages required! If you’d like to think about what “admonish” means a bit more, you might find Rev’d Dr David Field’s observations and questions help to clarify things.

The Concise OED gives the meaning of the English word “admonish” as “reprove… urge… give earnest advice to… warn.” It is Middle English from Old French amonester and ultimately from the Latin admone_e, warn. “Reprove” means to rebuke and comes from the late Latin reprobare, disapprove.

The underlying Greek word in Colossians is nouthetountes which is variously translated:

Bible Works, Abbott-Smith: admonish / exhort

Pope’s Grammatical Analysis: admonish / advise

Brown and Comfort literal translation: warning / admonishing

American Standard Version, NIB, NIV, NJB: admonishing – NEB: admonish

Young’s Literal Version, Marshall’s literal translation, English Standard Version, King James Version, NKJ, NRS, RSV: warning – NLT, JBP, GND: warn

Its really annoying that the translators cant be consistent here because you want to see both words are the same to realise that you’re meant to do this “admonishing” thing that Paul does, to “one another”. Its especially wicked that Brown and Comfort switch the word in their supposedly scholarly interlinear study Bible, which uses the UBS 4th edition / NA 27th edition Greek text and has the NRSV in parallel columns. They say in the introduction that “very few people learn Greek well enough to read the Greek New Testament unaided”. That all depends what you mean by “unaided”, of course, but I think we should be cautious about retreating to their book. I find it a great effort to even read the Greek if the English is there below it. Its very easy just to shortcut the process but if their going to switch the words around, its vitally important not to depend on their English equivalents, and I even think I could find it more a hindrance than a help if I’m inclined to think that different English words suggest different Greek words.

Its at times like this that one (i.e. I) wants to be a real expert in the languages and own the big authoritative dictionaries. Hum ho.

“Admonishing” kind of feels like the sort of thing a father might do to his (sometimes naughty or prone to stray) kids sometimes? It seems to have a negative kind of warning, correction, rebuke sort of note to it (in distinction from “teaching”, which could just be positive)?

No Marriages due to Marriage Supper

It seems weird to me that the Ecclesiastical Ordinances September & October 1541 of Calvin’s Geneva direct that:

“It is proper that one abstain from this [holding a marriage service] on the day when the Supper is to be celebrated, in honour of the sacrament.” (p67, Calvin, John, Calvin: Theological Treatises Library of Christian Classics Volume XXII, Translated with Introduction and Notes by J. K. S. Reid (London, SCM Press, 1954))

Since the Supper is a wedding feast (at least in foretaste), it seems appropriate to a wedding day, although obviously the Marriage Feast of the Lamb will be infinitely superior to any merely earthly marriage. Perhaps it would be better to say that marriages are appropriate to the day that celebrates Jesus’ marriage to his bride, the church, and on which they renew their betrothal vows. Indeed, Calvin’s Geneva did allow weddings on a Sunday. But presumably if they’d had the Supper every Lord’s Day as Calvin wished then they wouldn’t have had weddings! Obviously Calvin had a bit more thinking to do on this one.

Confirmation: Calvin didn't give a monkey's

I’m inclined to think we don’t really want to bother with Confirmation for the children of believers. Let them be repenting and believing every day, confessing their sins and declaring their faith every Sunday, witnessing moment by moment with their lives and lips. Confirmation sends the strange signal that they weren’t properly in through their baptism.

Apparently in the Eastern Orthodox church, Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion traditionally take place at the same time.

Anyway, John Calvin had rather less time for confirmation than I do. He said:

“… the devil, miserably rending the Church of God and bringing upon it his fearful destruction (of which the marks are all to evident in most parts of the world), subverting this sacred policy [of Catechism and education of the young]; nor did he leave surviving anything more than certain trivialities, which give rise only to superstitions, without any edifying fruit. Of this kind is that Confirmation, as they call it, made up of gesticulations which are more than ridiculous and suited rather to monkeys, and rest on no foundation.” (p88)

“For they [the Papists] deck out that spurious Confirmation, which they have substituted in its [the Catechism’s] place, like a harlot, with great splendour of ceremonies and splendid pomps without measure. They even, in wanting to adorn it, ornament it with execrable blasphemies, giving out that it is a sacrament of greater dignity than Baptism, and calling only half-Christians those that have not been besmeared with their rank oil. In fact the whole business consists in nothing but theatrical gesticulations, or rather the wanton sporting of monkeys, without even imitative skill.” (pp90-91)

The Catechism of the Church of Geneva that is a Plan for Instructing Children in the Doctrine of Christ (1545), Calvin, John, Calvin: Theological Treatises Library of Christian Classics Volume XXII, Translated with Introduction and Notes by J. K. S. Reid (London, SCM Press, 1954).

Calvin on Child Communion

The Draft Ecclesiastical Ordinances September & October 1541 of Calvin’s Geneva state:

“The Sunday before the celebration [of the Lord’s Supper], intimation is to be made, in order that no child come before it has made profession [footnote 60: the profession] of its faith as proved by examination by the Catechism….”

(p67 cited from Calvin, John, Calvin: Theological Treatises Library of Christian Classics Volume XXII, Translated with Introduction and Notes by J. K. S. Reid (London, SCM Press, 1954))

Does anyone happen to know at what age children in Calvin’s Geneva typically passed their catechism examination or the age of the youngest child admitted to the Supper there?

If The Catechism of the Church of Geneva that is a Plan for Instructing Children in the Doctrine of Christ (1545) (Reid, p83ff) is any thing to go by, it would require pretty serious learning. The Catechism is divided up into material for 55 Sundays and runs to about 50 pages in Reid.

I think I’m in favour of giving the Supper to covenant children as soon as they can eat solids and manage the cup, but I guess perhaps the case for this is even stronger in a church which has had Evangelical teaching for a generation, when all those who have been baptised will be the children of professing believers and covenant members, rather than in a first generation Reformation situation?

In any case, Calvin’s standard of profession is clearly far too high. Not that we shouldn’t aim high, but not as an entry requirement. There is no theological exam or a scary interview panel for admittance to either the Lord’s Supper or the Wedding Feast of the Lamb! If the child is baptised, his parents are professing believers in good standing, and he says “Jesus is Lord!” with all appearance of sincerity and wants to eat, I cannot see that we can dare to forbid him the Lord’s Supper when Jesus himself accepts him and says suffer the little children to come to me. Like another excluded person, the child might very well say: “Look, here is bread and wine. Why shouldn’t I be fed?” (c.f. Acts 8:36 and note that even if v37 is original, its hardly a catechetical examination like Calvin’s!).

Catechism Questions

According to Reid, Luther reintroduced the question and answer form to catechisms that had fallen into desuetude.

He argues that Calvin’s catechism reads like a dialogue between minister and child where the minister asks unashamedly leading questions and supplies as much doctrine as the interviewee. At one point, the roles even seem to be reversed where the child says to the minister, Verum, “Quite Right!” (p109).

In the Westminster Catechism the form is much more crisp and direct, more like an interrogation or examination.

See Calvin, John, Calvin: Theological Treatises Library of Christian Classics Volume XXII, Translated with Introduction and Notes by J. K. S. Reid (London, SCM Press, 1954) p84.

I wonder if perhaps catechisms loomed rather too large for Calvin. He called them “the solemn symbol of Christian communion” (Catechism, Reid, p90), though we must make sure we give that place to the Word of God, Baptism and the Supper.

Job Descriptions

My training incumbent and I are meant to come up with some sort of working agreement so its useful to be reminded of some sort of job descriptions by Calvin:

“As to the pastors, whom Scripture sometimes calls elders and ministers, their office is to proclaim the Word of God, to instruct, admonish, exhort and censure, both in public and private, to administer the sacraments and to enjoin brotherly corrections along with other elders and colleagues.”

(Articles concerning the Organization of the Church and of Worship at Geneva proposed by the Ministers at the Council January 16, 1537 Calvin, John, Calvin: Theological Treatises Library of Christian Classics Volume XXII, Translated with Introduction and Notes by J. K. S. Reid (London, SCM Press, 1954))p58)

“The office proper to doctors is the instruction of the faithful in true doctrine, in order that the purity of the Gospel be not corrupted either by ignorance or by evil opinions. As things are disposed today, we always include under this title aids and instructions for maintaining the doctrine of God and defending the Church from injury by the fault of pastors and ministers. So to use a more intelligible word, we will call this the order of the schools.

The degree nearest to the minister and most closely joined to the government of the Church is the lecturer in theology, of (p62) which it will be good to have one in Old Testament and one in New Testament.

But because it is only possible to profit from such lectures if first one is instructed in languages and humanities, and also because it is necessary to raise offspring for time to come, in order not to leave the Church deserted to our children, a college should be instituted for instructing children to prepare them for ministry as well as for civil government.” (p63)

I think it’s a bit tricky to find “doctors” in the New Testament. It helps if one takes “pastor-teacher” in Eph 4 as two separate offices. Perhaps its better to think that all ministers of the gospel will have a pastor-teacher ministry, but some may be further over on the scholar / theologian side while some may be more the shepherd / leader sort?

Its interesting to note Calvin’s emphasis when it comes to the purpose of education too: not so much so that you can get a good job but “in order not to leave the Church deserted to our children” and “for instructing children to prepare them for ministry as well as for civil government.”

“There were always two kinds [of deacons] in the ancient Church, the one deputed to receive, dispense and hold goods for the poor, not only daily alms, but also possessions, rents and pensions; the other to tend and care for the sick and administer allowances to the poor. This custom we follow again now for we have procurators and hospitallers.” (p64)

Interestingly, there are also two kinds of deacons in the Church of England: transitional and permanent. And then there’s the whole question of deaconesses too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Carry on Camping

Mrs Lloyd and I off on “camp” (Romsey 1) on Friday to indoctrinate 11-14 year olds. We’d very much value your prayers. Camp has “planted” this year, so a lot of the team is new and we’re at a site which is largely new to us (we weren’t there last year and major building work has been done, so we’re expecting it to be transformed!). We’re also without our intended adjutant, so we’re going to be rather stretched. The theme is the Wild Wild West, so we’ll both be wearing silly costumes that Mrs Lloyd picked up from a shop on the seafront and saying “yee-ha” at every opportunity, or something.

Mrs Lloyd and I are both leading dorms and have some Bible studies to do. The main talks and Bible Studies come from Mark’s gospel. Mrs Lloyd is co-ordinating the music (with a large and gifted team!) and is acting as Treasurer. I’m giving the first talk and leading the final evening meeting. We’re both also leading Buzz Groups – kind of inter-active Bible learning fun seminars – following the Two Ways To Live gospel outline. I’m doing box 3, “Punished”, on Tuesday and Mrs Lloyd is doing box 4, “Forgiven”, on Wednesday.

Maybe some 11-14 year olds, and indeed some leaders, from Holy Trinity, Eastbourne, would like to come with us next year?

Exciting Book Launch on Saturday

Here are some jottings for the talk I’m giving on camp on Saturday. Obviously the 11-14 year olds will be fascinated by my observations on Blair and Brown and need to know that Caesar is not Lord!

Mark 1:1-8

Listen to Mark’s Good News about King Jesus

[Why is today an extremely exciting day?]

Harry Potter book launch today

An even more exciting

Massively more important book

A True Story

An opportunity to explore this book of Mark

Look back at our reading

V1 is like a title

It’s the kind of thing that should be in 2 inch high gold letters on the front of the book.

Or, maybe better, v1 is like a heading, or a headline from a newspaper:


“Gospel” means Good News.

In fact, Mark tells us the best good news in the world ever.

“Gospel” is the kind of word you’d use for some great announcement.

“Gospel” is a word that you could use to describe the birth of a great new king.

Olden days – proclamation going throughout the land – man on a horse and a trumpeter – “The King is Dead – Long Live the King! There’s a New King! Everything’s changed!”

Gordon Brown – a new ruler - how much it really affects us? – will anything really change?

Tony Blair’s government – a new era – going to change the world – a false hope

Jesus is a new king – he’s one who doesn’t disappoint.

Mark’s gospel shows us that Jesus can deliver what he promises.

Jesus is not just another human king.

He’s the ultimate king: God’s chosen king.

As we look at Mark’s gospel together this week, we’ll see that Jesus is the king of creation – clams the storm – cures diseases.

This word “Good News” could also be used to describe a decisive victory in a battle.

Satan can’t stand against him – like a strong man, tied up, Jesus can come in and take away all Satan’s stuff!

Jesus’ cross looks like a dreadful defeat, but in fact its an amazing victory

The resurrection proves that Jesus is enthroned as the King of the Universe

Jesus brings a change of government that changes everything!

Not Ceaser is Lord, but Jesus is Lord.

Ceaser claiming to be The Son of God – Jesus is the Son of God

Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, whoever, are not Lord!

The hope for our world is not a new human government, but King Jesus – and the new “age” he’s brought in.

“Christ” – promised Messiah – God’s chosen one – rescuer / king

Promised in Isaiah

About 800 years before Jesus


John the Baptist comes before Jesus to tell us that “Jesus is the One!” (v7_

All this waiting – at last he’s come!

V3 – Jesus is in fact “the Lord” God himself

Not only the Son of God but God the Son.

God has come to his people and he’s going to sort everything out.

It calls for a response.

John was saying, “get ready! Look out! He’s coming”

V4 - “repent”

Important – really matters

Listen to Mark’s Good News

We leaders just want to do what John the Baptist was doing in v7 – we want to point you to Jesus and tell you how marvellous he is.

If you’re already trusting in Jesus, that’s fantastic.

We hope this week will be a great encouragement to you.

Grow in confidence as we think about Jesus greatness.

Enjoy learning more with you about who Jesus is and what he came to do.

You know how it is when you’ve got really good news? – You’re just bursting to tell people!

We’ve got the best good news in the world ever to tell people.

If you’re not yet trusting in Jesus…

This could be the best week of your life!

You could look back on this week when you’re as old as the leaders as the time when your sins were forgiven (v4)

When the Holy Spirit renewed your heart and made you clean on the inside (v8)

We’re going to think a lot more about these things this week.

You probably have lots of questions about what I’ve said.

But we hope that as you listen to these talks and in our Bible studies, you’ll weigh up these things for yourself.

Ask yourself: Who is Jesus? Why did he come? What difference should it make to me?

We want you to listen to Mark’s Good News about Jesus.


Here are some jottings for the Buzz group we’re thinking of doing on camp on Tuesday (advance planning, or wot?!:

Main teaching point:

Because of our rebellion against God, we rightly deserve the punishment of death and judgement

Bible verse:

Hebrews 9v27

Introductory Game:


(In groups, leaders to check for “appropriateness” of what members read out!)

X met Y at Z. X said A, Y said B and the consequence was C.

Teaching point:

All sorts of things in life have consequences.

We were thinking in this Buzz group yesterday about our rebellion against God.

We’re going to think today about some of the consequences of that rebellion.

Group Discussion:

What punishment fits the crime?

Sheet of scenarios to discuss in groups (e.g. a pupil swears at a teacher, a man murders his parents etc.)– what would the appropriate punishment be.

(Its not actually for us to decide – we’re not the judges!)

Teaching point:

The Bible tells us that our rebellion against God is terrible. He made us, we belong tohim, so we ought to serve him. He loves us and gives us everything yet we reject him. Our rebellion is worse than treason against the greatest king or murder of the most loving parent.

The Bible tells us that death and judgement are the right punishment for our rebellion against God.

Hebrews 9v27.

The Bible tells us that God’s judgement is awful. It is very bad news for rebels like us.

But that’s not the whole story. The Bible has great good news for rebels: that God loves us despite our rebellion and that he’s sorted it out so that we don’t have to face his judgement if we trust in Jesus. We’re going to think about that good news more tomorrow in this Buzz Group, so make sure you come back for that!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How To Pray For The New Curate

Here is an outline of the sermon I preached at Holy Trinity last Sunday from Colossians 1:28-29 entitled "How To Pray For The New Curate" or "Authentic Apostolic Ministry". There are some more jottings in a Word document here.

Paul’s mission statement – and ours? Colossians 1vv28-29 (page 1183)

(1) Who has this ministry?

“we” – see 1v1 and 3v16

(2) What is this ministry?



“ admonishing and teaching”

(3) To whom?


(4) How?

“with all wisdom”

(5) Why?

“so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”

(6) What is this ministry like?

“I labour, struggling”

“with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me”

Paul’s prayer requests – and ours? 4vv2-4

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Homegroup and preaching plans

We’re thinking of doing some studies in Jonah in homegroups in the new autumn term followed by some material appropriate to advent.

I’m thinking of preaching a long series on John’s gospel on Sunday evenings and on what might be called some classic “Anglican” texts in the mornings, starting with the first of the 39 Articles and then some Biblical texts that are prominent in the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship.

A pattern of daily prayer

Here is a pattern of daily prayer for an Anglican minister with a family:

7:30-7:45am personal private prayer with a reading from Scripture (marking off what has been read to ensure a balanced diet over time)

7:45-8am A Psalm and prayer with the wife using a prayer list

8-8:20am Parish Morning Prayer according to Common Worship (perhaps praying through the activities of the church)

6-6:20pm Parish Evening Prayer according to Common Worship (perhaps praying through the electoral roll)

At the main meal of the day: Family devotions: a bit of Old Testament, a bit of New Testament and a Psalm (marking off what’s been read) and prayers. Singing a Psalm.

A short prayer at bed time with each of the children and the wife.

You'll notice this out-does the Muslims!

We’re managing a bit of personal prayer and Bible reading, the wife and I are praying and reading together and we are having parish prayers at 9:15am every morning in the church, but its good to have something to aim at!

Psalm Singing

Calvin says: “On the other hand, there are the psalms which we desire to be sung in the Church, as we have it exemplified in the ancient Church and in the evidence of Paul himself, who says it is good to sing in the congregation with mouth and heart. We are unable to compute the profit and edification which will arise from this, except after having experimented. Certainly as things are, the prayers of the faithful are so cold, that we ought to be ashamed and dismayed. The psalms can incite us to lift up our hearts to God and move us to an ardour in invoking and exalting with praises the glory of his Name.”

(Articles concerning the Organization of the Church and of Worship at Geneva proposed by the Ministers at the Council January 16, 1537, Reid, Calvin: Theological Treatises, LCC, p53)

Hell of a question

We had a useful discussion yesterday in the Discipleship Explored homegroup about heaven and hell, but I don't think I answered this one very well. Someone asked, what is the point of the bodies of the damned being raised and reunited to their souls just so that they can be tortured even more / in a new way?

I mumbled something about the Bible said it happens this way and maybe its connected to this physical creation being redeemed and God achieving his purposes for his world, not being beaten by sin. What should I have said?

Heavenly Abuse

Doumergue apparently has a list of abusive terms employed by Calvin! (Reid, Calvin’s Theological Treatises, p16) Sadly some of his contemporaries commented that they would rather be in hell with Beza than in heaven with Calvin (Reid, p18). Its obvious they didn’t know what they were talking about and they will, of course, have changed their tunes. Although, perhaps they will ever say, better to “rule” in hell than serve in heaven.

How Do They Do It?

A. Mictchell Hunter said of Calvin: “Like Augustine, he wrote more than another can well read.” (The Teaching of Calvin, p3, cited in Reid).

And one could add others: Tom Wright, perhaps.

What is more remarkable is that its good stuff that people wanted to publish and keep in print.

The Spurgeon (and in part, of course, Augustine, Calvin and Wright) way, preaching it and then publishing it, is certainly one way to do it.

Blogging obviously doesn’t count!


Reid comments that Calvin’s consistency is “based not on poverty of ideas but on remarkable systematization of thought.”

Calvin: Theological Treatises Library of Christian Classics Volume XXII, Translated with Introduction and Notes by J. K. S. Reid (London, SCM Press, 1954) p13

Despite all the revisions and expansions of the Institutes, there were few significant changes of substance.

The variety in Calvin’s great output comes because of the different forms and the responses and applications to different needs and situations. Calvin was always a theologian, but by turns he was also Reformer, pastor, letter-writer, preacher, administrator, controversialist, and more.

Reid says: “… Calvin, … the theologian becomes occupied, though never preoccupied, with the diverse work of the administrator.” (p15)

Doumergue says:

Calvin was the great systematic thinker of the Reformation, and … in no system has practice been so closely and intimately united with theory…. his theological thought predetermined his views in civil as well as ecclesiastical government.

(p476, quoted in Reid, p14)

Calvin & Rahner on Supper & Scripture

Calvin is well known for insisting that we really receive the true, whole Christ, body and soul, as we receive the bread and wine in the Supper, though spiritually not physically.

I wonder if we could make a similar claim about receiving Christ as we read the Scriptures. Such a claim would be strengthened by Rahner’s dictum that the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity: it is the true Son, God and Man, who is presented to us in the Scriptures, not Christ only according to his human nature or as some lesser manifestation of God. The incarnate Christ offered us in the Bible does not merely represent, symbolise or signify God to us. The incarnation is not a metaphor and nor is the Supper. In both the true Christ is truly offered.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"This is the Lamb of God"

Mrs Lloyd and I attended an Anglican mass (or, celebration of the Lord’s Supper) in which the celebrant held up a wafer and said, “This is the Lamb of God”. I was tempted to shout out, “Oh, no it isn’t!”, but I didn’t. We remained in our seats but did not participate in the Supper. This was especially embarrassing as I’d gone to be supportive and encouraging and interested in my Anglo-Catholic brethren and was wearing a clerical collar.

Does everyone agree those words imply that the wafer is Jesus? If that is meant, it must be the most appauling idolatry, mustn’t it: calling the created the Creator?

I guess one might defend such language by appeal to Jesus’ own words, “This is my body”. In this case, “this is” might be taken to mean this represents or signifies or something. Of course, when Jesus spoke these words, he was literally present so it was very unlikely that anyone would think that the bread literally was his physical body. There is no hint that Jesus rang a bell or knelt down to the bread or anything like that. To say of the wafer, “this is the Lamb of God” seems to me at best grossly misleading.

What do others think? Any light from John Bradford’s The Hurt of Hearing The Mass or from Dr Williams’ lectures thereon? What should our response to such an acclamation be?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Take This Bible"

I wassometimes laughed at at Oak Hill for using an interlinear New Testament, but would you believe it, they were given out at our ordiantion to the diaconate. Admittedly it is a rather better interlinear than I had (it has the Revised Standard version, a new literal translation and the latest United Bible Society text and is attractively presented) but we still would have seen this as dumbing down. Shame they don't dole out whole Bibles.

Jesus Changes Lives!

Yesterday Mrs Lloyd and I went to the SAMS (South American Mission Society) meeting at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne, where Rev'd Ronnie and his wife from Bolivia were speaking.

Mrs Ronnie is the daughter of Archbishop Greg Venables (of the Southern Cone).

There was lots of interesting stuff, but the thing that struck me was how Jesus changes lives. Ronnie had never known his father and had got mixed up in drugs and alcohol abuse, but Jesus transformed everything for him. Of course, the most important thing is the rescue from hell that Jesus offers, but it is amazing to compare the life-chances of Ronnie's three children with how he might well have ended up, but for the grace of God.

HT Club

I had a really good time at HT Club today - the group for babies, toddlers and their grown-ups at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne.

Its held on Tuesdays from 10am. There's free parking available. We kicked off with some action songs using musical instruments, that the kids very much enjoyed. Then we sang the HT song to wake up HT the mouse, who hides around the church. We had to go and find him, and then he (a squeeking glove puppet) hosted the rest of the event.

There was good Bible teaching - a short talk from the Psalms: God made music for us to enjoy. And Katie played her sax expertly!

After that we went off to the church hall for coffee.

For those interested in finding out more about Jesus, there's a Mothers and Others Bible Study Group.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Godly and Learned Ministry

My ordination retreat felt wierd and wonderful in almost equal measure. I can tell you all about it sometime if you like.

The highlight, however, was much de-briefing with John, Stu & Kev and getting to know David. We have much to thank God for in the Godly and Learned ministers that Oak Hill is churning out.

The Best Boss in the World Ever

Apart from all The Rev'd John A. Cheeseman's many admirable qualities, in our first staff meeting today he gave me a free set of John Owen's Works, which I have coveted for some time. What more could one ask? John assured me, too, that he wasn't giving them away 'cos he was going unsound 'cos he isn't, in case you were worried!

Owen was a Puritan and perhaps the greatest ever English theologian - though some might give that title to Jonathan Edwards, though he lived in the States.

You can look our for John's new book on the Life of Elijah from The Banner of Truth, soon, I believe. As well as an increased knowledge of cricket in Barbados, it is part of the fruit of his recent sabbatical.