Monday, January 31, 2011

Shadow Dancing

After last week's wonderful example of pop-music dancing (!) I tried really hard to find a clip of the Shadows doing their famous walk-dance.  But I failed, and there's only so much time you can give to these things.

So here are the Shadows anyway - magnificent in its way!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ryle on baptism

Found this on (Thanks to Dan Phillips on Team Pyro, once more)

11. But does not St. Paul say in his Epistles that Christians are “buried with Christ in baptism;” and
that baptized persons have “put on Christ”? (Gal. iii. 27; Col. ii. 12.)

No doubt St. Paul says so. But the persons of whom he said this, in all human probability, were not
baptized in infancy, but when they were grown up, and in days too when faith and baptism were so
closely connected that the moment a man believed he confessed his faith publicly by baptism. But
there is not a single passage in the New Testament which describes at length the effect of baptism
on an  infant, nor a single text which says that all  infants are born again, or regenerated, or buried
with  Christ in  baptism. As Canon  Mozley says, “Scripture  nowhere  asserts, either  explicitly or
implicitly, the regeneration of infants in baptism.”  (Mozley’s Baptismal Controversy, p. 34.) Beside
this, we are expressly told  that Simon  the sorcerer, after his baptism, had “no part”  in Christ, and
his “heart was not right in the sight of God.” Simon, therefore, could not have been regenerated, or 
born again in baptism. (Acts viii. 21.)

Gentle reader, do you think there may be a reason why 'there is not a single passage in the New Testament which describes at length [or at short, for that matter] the effect of baptism on an infant'?  Just wondering...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Temptations to Discouragement

Where in ministry are you most regularly tempted to discouragement?

Have I failed as a husband and a dad? Have I preached the whole counsel of God? Why do I still struggle with the same sins with which I fought on the day I first believed? Do I really care enough for the people in my church? Is my teaching leading people to Christ or away from him? Am I driven solely by a desire to raise my own profile? These kind of questions periodically strike me down. 

This is Carl Trueman being interviewed by CJ Mahaney; and to which I can only respond 'me too.'

I'm particularly (and perversely) encouraged by his admission that he still struggles with the same old sins.  I remember 'confessing' that to Roger Carswell.  Confession's good for the soul, yes?  No, not always.  Roger expressed such surprise that I came to the serious and long-term conclusion that I obviously wasn't really converted...

Monday, January 24, 2011

When music was fun

Freddie and the Dreamers: 'You were made for me'

Back in these days, music was fun.  And clock out that dancing!  F and TD never took themselves too seriously.  He died in 2006, aged 69.
Oh - and while you're watching - what an early episode of Blue Peter, with Chris Trace and Valerie Singleton.  I can just about remember those days - and is that the famous Petra in the opening seconds?  Surely, it is!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Liz Murray - Breaking Night

I was very impressed with this young lady on this morning's BBC Breakfast News - I've ordered her autobiography, and will let you know if it's as impressive as I think it may be.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wiersbe on Calvinism

This miracle [the new birth] all began with God: we were chosen by the Father (Eph. 1:3-4).  This took place in the deep counsels of eternity, and we knew nothing about it until it was revealed to us in the Word of God.  This election was not based on anything we had done, because we were not even on the scene.  Nor was it based on anything God saw that we would be or do.  God's election was based wholly on His grace and love.  We cannot explain it (Rom. 11:33-36), but we can rejoice in it.

'Foreknowledge' does not suggest that God merely knew ahead of time that we would believe, and therefore He chose us.  This would raise the question.'Who or what made us decide for Christ?'  and would take our salvation completely out of God's hands.  In the Bible, 'to foreknow' means 'to set on's love upon a person pr persons in a personal way.'  It is used this way in Amos 3:2: 'You only have I known of all the families of the earth.'  God set His electing love on the nation of Israel.  Other verses that use 'know' in this special sense are 1 Corinthians 8:3, John 10:14, 27; Matthew 7:23; and Psalm 1:6.

But the plan of salvation includes more than the Father's electing love; it also includes the work of the Spirit in convicting the sinner and bringing him to faith in Christ.  The best commentary on this is 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.  Also, the Son of God had to die on the cross for our sins, or there could be no salvation.  We have been chosen by the Father, purchased by the Son, and set apart by the Spirit.  It takes all three if there is to be a true experience of salvation.

I don't want to put words into his mouth, but I rather suspect that Dr Wiersbe (incidentally one of the most gracious men I have ever met) would not want the label 'Calvinist'.  And there's no reason why he should; we don't contend for labels but for truth.  Nonetheless, this extract from his little commentary on 1 Peter ('Be hopeful') shows his commitment to unconditional election, does more than hint at effectual calling and is consistent with definite redemption.  Good on 'im!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Shirley

Dame Shirley Bassey - like Elvis and David Bowie - celebrates a birthday on January 8th.  Always a powerful performer, she achieved her peak, some would say, with the assistance of two most helpful props men...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Where have all the preachers gone - again (continued)

It's interesting to note that Carl Trueman assumes that those of us who care about the Exodus to the US  - including Paul Levy on the same blog - are thinking uncharitable things about those who go.  Particularly, he thinks we think that they go for the money.  (And, if I read him right, HE thinks they go for the money too, and that's OK!)

Actually, I've said no such thing.  I'm concerned about what's happening in the UK, not about why those who go, do go.  OK?  If I get chance, I'll try and do some blogging on the 'why' question sometime.

And for the record - again! - I've never been a pastor of a church in the North of England and defected to the South, which would be the proper parallel.  Nor have I ever been approached by a church in the North interested in having me as their pastor.  I'm quite happy to assume that this is an indication of the superior discernment of Northern Christians.  It certainly isn't, though, a case of my hunting with the hounds while running with the hares.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Where have all the preachers gone? (Again)

Do you remember this?  And this?  And this?

It's a running sore: so many of our preachers are going to America.  And today, I hear that Liam's probably going, too.  Worse still, it's Philadelphia - again.  One city taking two of our better preachers in two consecutive years.

I'm not going to complain.  But is it OK if I pray that the church will say a resounding 'No!'?

PS Furthermore, see this - put even better than I put it myself.