Sunday, April 30, 2006

Finished 'Absolutely Free'

I finished reading 'Absolutely Free' by Zane C Hodges today. It was really excellent.

Hodges argument's were so reasonable, it is incredible that people could disagree with them. However, I had come to this book after months of reading Antonio's and HK Flynn's posts so I was not exactly coming cold to it. I would probably have been far more ready to argue with it a year ago.

I did object to the fish symbol on the cover.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: Shoes still Need to Come Off in Summer

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: Shoes still Need to Come Off in Summer

Moral Question for Readers

Let us suppose an unbelieving unmarried couple have been living together for six years. They live in every way as husband and wife, but had never felt it necessary to marry. They love each other and are deeply happy together.

The woman becomes a Christian and begins attending an Evangelical Church. She shares the Gospel with her partner. He considers, however, that his partner's faith is a delusion. However, he is not hostile to her beliefs. He respects her new conviction that sex outside marriage is sinful and therefore offers to marry her.

Should the woman marry him or leave him?

Would you answer differently if the man was converted but not the woman? Would you answer differently if the couple had two children?

Friday, April 28, 2006


Does anybody else think that Violet is a really cool name for a girl?

Constructive Criticism

Last night I visited my open-air preaching friend who had been saying sensational things in his preaching. I received some surplus copies of 'Echoes of Service' missionary journal, which gave me a good excuse to visit him with a copy.

We had some good theological discussion. His view of faith as being simple trust in Christ is the same mine. He agrees with a good deal of my theology, he is just not Dispensational (though I doubt he has ever taken the trouble to think about the issues clearly).

I explained that I waas really embarassed by his sensational comments. As I expected, he was delighted to have some negative feedback. His reasons for saying what he said were to provoke people and get their attention. He said he would think carefully about what I said and he asked me to shake my head whenever I am unhappy with his preaching.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

My award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary.

Today's Errand

I volunteered to do an errand today. There were no vans available at work to collect the pages for our brochures(they are A4 hole-punched sheets that go in a ring binder) from the printers. So, I set out to get the huge pile of boxes. I was amazed that I managed to fit them in my little car.

Shifting boxes certainly made a change from answering the telephone.

When I got back, after moving them all to the office, I began the process of actually putting the sheets in the ring binders.

Apparently, some children from the Exclusive Brethren school will be drafted to sort out the rest.

Black Wednesday

Yesterday is now being called 'Black Wednesday.' It was the worst day that the Labour government has experienced.

Three of their ministers were in trouble yesterday. John Prescott, the deputy prime minister admitted having an affair, Charles Clarke was facing calls for his resignation over his failure to control the deportation of foreign prisoners after their timely release and the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt was heckled because of her refusal to acknowledge the mess the National Health Serive is in.

Not good for the goverment given that the local elections are taking place in two weeks. Looks like the Conservatives will maintain their hold on Worcester city council.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It Arrived! Praise the Lord!

I finally received the copy of 'Absolutely Free!' by Zane C Hodges that I managed to find on the internet.

I had been amazed to find it at the price of £4, when copies usually sell at about £30 in the UK. Of course, it was a rather battered old hardback edition with a very tatty cover. Still, I will treasure it like my life.

The Lord is good.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: How I became an Offalist

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: How I became an Offalist

The IBEX Scribe's first post on the blog.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sound Doctrine

In today's post I received the latest issue of 'Truth and Testimony' magazine, published by Chapter Two books.

This was a special issue entitled 'Sound Doctrine', which in their view is the Exclusive Brethren dispensationalism of such writers as J.N. Darby, William Kelly and C.H. Mackintosh. The issue dealt with all apsects of Soteriology, justification, the atonement, election and predestiantion, etc.

Heres a question for you, how many websites or publications have you come across that are entitled 'Sound Doctrine' and what proportion did you actually consider to be doctrinally sound?

Shoes Off at the Door, Please

Shoes Off at the Door, Please

The IBEX Scribe (Angie) has now become a member of this blog. It is no longer a solo affair.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The List

The IBEX Scribe wrote a list of qualities she was looking for in a potential husband. I was inspired to write a list of qualities I would look for in a potential wife.

This is rather academic as I rarely meet any single females anyway.

Essential Qualities in a Mrs. C

* Is not a Socialist, Environmentalist, Liberal Democrat voter or any other kind of freak.

* Does not read the NIV, the Good News Bible or the Message.

* Agrees with having a shoes-off rule in the home.

* Does not agree with women preaching.

* Non-Charismatic

* Willing to support street evangelism.

* Willing to serve as a missionary anywhere in the world.

* Will not be bothered by my views on modest dress.

Desirable, but not essential Qualities in a Mrs. C

* Favours skirts and dresses.

* Wears her hair long.

* Reads the King James Bible.

* Practises headcovering in worship.

* Not fond of animals.

As with IBEX Scribe, I am not looking for applications.

Visit to the Dentists

I went to visit my dentist in the small town of Droitwich. It is so difficult to get a National Health Service dentist these days, so I have to use one that is outside of Worcester.

He gave me a couple of fillings. Dental technology has evidently moved on since I last had a filling ten years ago. The expereince was not very painful at all this time. I had not even realised that the dentist had put the fillings in until after he had finished and the appointment was over.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

J.N. Darby Blog

J.N. Darby Blog

I decided to post some of the Darby material on a separate blog. However, I will continue to post portions of John Nelson Darby, here and on my Bible prophecy blog.

J.N. Darby on Christian Liberty to Preach

by J.N. Darby

"For the rest, they were all to speak, that all might learn and all be comforted. Not all to speak every day, but all as God led them, according to the order there laid down, and as God was pleased to give them the ability for the edifying of the church. I apply all this simply and exclusively to the question of Christians in general, having God's Spirit, using their respective gifts; and I assert that there was no such principle recognised as that they should not, but the contrary.

It may and will be said by many, that these were times of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. But the Spirit of God does not justify breaking through His own order by systematic rules; it would be most mischevious to say that He did. But the case, let it be observed, was not one of the prerogative of the spiritual gifts, but of order; for women had spiritual gifts, as we read elsewhere, and directions are given for their exercise; but they were not to use them in the church, because it was out of order- not comely. At the same time there was no hint that any or all of the men were not, but the contrary, because it was not out of order. Aptness to teach may be a very important qualification for a bishop, but it cannot be said, from scripture, to be disorderly for any member of the body to speak in the church, if God had given him ability. Besides, though these extraordinary gifts may have ceased, I by no means admit that the ordinary gifts of believers, for the edification of the church, have ceased. On the contrary, I believe they are the instruments, the only real instruments of edification; nor do I see why, on principle, they should not be exercised in the church, or why the church has not a title to the edification derived from them. If the presence of the indwelling Spirit be in the church, it has that which renders it substantially competent to its own edification, and to worship God 'in spirit and in truth.' If it be not there, nothing else can be recognised, and it is a church no longer; fo no makeshift is warranted by Scripture in default of the original constitutive character and endowments of a dispensation.

But in thus upholding the common title of the saints, it may be supposed by some that the arguments will be at once met by referring to the orderly way in which Christ originally gave in His church 'some apostles; and some prophets; and some pastors and teachers,' etc. Now, unless one man centres all these offices in one person, by virtue of ordination, the objection will not apply, but on the contrary, brings its own refutation. For we read, some had one service, some another- the head, Christ, 'from the whole body, fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.' We read also that the members are set in the body, one the eye, the other the foot, the other the ear, that there 'might be no schism in the body.'

And it is a thought which might well commend itself to our minds, that if we have indeed lost many and ornamental members, it is no reason why we should summarily cut off the rest- the word of wisdom or the word of knowledge, and the like, of which there is assuredly some measure yet remaining in the church. But if the attempt should be made to close the enquiry, by silencing all discussion with the startling assertion that it is useless, for the Spirit of God is utterly and altogether gone out of the Church; it at once brings on the question, If so, what are we, and where are we? The church of God without the Spirit? Verily, if He be not there, all union between Christ and His members is cut off, and the promise, 'I am with you always, even unto the end of the world' is made of none effect. But the word of God shall stand. 'The world indeed cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him,' but let the disciples of Jesus know that He is with them; and that 'wheresoever two or three are gathered together in his name,' He is there in their midst, His Spirit is with them for instruction and blessing. Is this correct?"

Taken from Chrsitian Liberty to Preach and Teach the Lord Jesus Christ in Collected Writings vol.1, p.70-72

Saturday, April 22, 2006

CH Mackintosh on the Woman's Headcovering

CH Mackintosh wrote:

"We believe that woman's covering, in 1 Corinthians xi., is manifestly distinct from her hair. Verses 5 and 6 place this beyond all question. As to the question when or where, we must remember that the apostle does not speak of "coming together" until the seventeenth verse. The whole passage teaches us that the covering on the woman's head is the expression of her subjection to authority. The woman is to be subject to the man, as the Church is subject to Christ."

Answers to Correspondents, p.50

Street Preaching Today

There were four of us out preaching today on Worcester High Street. We could not preach in our usual spot, because there were some Morris Dancers out in force.

I stayed out from 2.00 until 4.15. I spoke to a New Ager and his friend. I also spoke to a very sceptical and rather indifferent young man.

One thing that keeps bothering me, is the preaching of one member of the team. He keeps going on with this environmental stuff about how mankind is destroying the planet. He mentions it in order to prove the depravity of man. He means well, but it is sensational and not terribly scientifically accurate. I find it rather embarassing. After hearing it again today, I am determined to mention it to him. He never objects to constructive criticism and actually encourages it.

DebateBlog: Ask the Calvinist

DebateBlog: Ask the Calvinist

The Centurion is having a debate with some guy who questions the existence of Jesus.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I was given a Cake that I really Wanted.

Today I was given a free cake at work. The marketing consultant had photographed this cake from out of our stock. As she broke the wrapper, she could not put it back, so she gave it to me.

I had really wanted to try this particular kind of cake, but had never seen it in the shops.

It was a 'Wild Blueberry and Apple Cake'. It tasted like a big Blueberry muffin, with a hint of vanilla. It is awfully nice.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Really Good News

I had some really good news the other day. My sister has been able to transfer to a position in a branch of the government department near where her partner has foudn his new job. They seem to have found an apartment and their move is being paid for by my sister's boyfriend's new employers.

My father said to Heather on the phone "Looks like somebody is looking after you." She agreed that this seemed to be the case.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

My award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary.

My Day Out

I drove my car west today, first to Newent, a village in Gloucestershire and then to Ross-on-Wye, a small town in the Forest of Dean.

I drove along the M50. This is a rather cute road. It is called a motorway, but it has only two lanes and is not terribly busy.

It is very nice in the areas I visited.

Driving through Newent was diffcult; it has very narrow streets. A huge coach barely got past me as I drove through.

The village of Newent has an excellent Christian bookshop. I know a preacher at the Open Brethren assembly that runs it.

It has a cafe attached, where I enjoyed some tea and shortbread.

I bought a recent book on Dispensationalism (critical of it), an Evangelical newspaper and the Bible Knowledge New Testament commentary, edited by Walvoord and Zuck. I already had their Old Testament commentary. I was keen to get the New Testament commentary, because Zane Hodges was a contributor. It is so hard to find anything by Zane Hodges.

The bookshop did not seem as exciting as it had years ago, when I had been an undergraduate student. Perhaps this is because I am better read now and far narrower in my theology.

I am disappointed at the lack of Dispensational material that is generally on sale in Christian bookshops. I was pleased to see the Bible Knowledge Commentary, the AMG one-volume commentary and Henry Thiessen's 'Lectures in Systematic Theology, but otherwise this sytem was underrepresented. For every book of the Bible, there was a popular commentary from the Evangelical Press (Firmly Reformed) and commentaries by Inter-Varsity Press (generally compromising Reformed or wishy-washy Evangelical).

I visited a Costcutter groccers and bought some cakes that my company sells. As I shop at the supermarket giant, Tescos, I rarely get to try the products we sell.

Ross-on-Wye was a very beautiful town, but not very interesing. It was pleasent to be there. I had lunch at a fish and chip cafe. I had battered sausage and chips with tea. I am not very good at sight-seeing, I get too bored. Maybe I have been too enough provincial English towns.

I saw a young man in Ross put his hand down his trousers. I was shocked and amazed. Was he not embarassed to put his hand in his trousers in public? He even had a friend with him. Maybe young people in rural areas have no manners and no self-consciousness.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Suzanne's Bookshelf and some Introspective Reflections

Suzanne's Bookshelf

The majority of those who regularly read here probably take a pretty conservative view of women's ministries. For those of you who want to challenge your perspective,I recommend this blog.

Suzanne McCarthy has argued extensively in favour of an Egalitarian approach to women's leadership in the Church.

This is an issue I have not really given much thought in the last few years as most of my friends are firmly in the Complementarian/ Ultraconservative camp on this issue. I got into plenty of arguments about it at university, six years ago.

I must confess to regarding women preachers with the same disgust that I (or the average Oriental person) regard wearing shoes in homes. I am very grateful to Suzanne for reminding me that those taking the Egalitarian position are not all shape-changing aliens.

Suzanne's blog is sort of dedicated to Lady Theodosia Powerscourt, an aristocratic Irish lady who hosted many Brethren conferences in her home. She had a close relationship with John Nelson Darby, and according to some, they were engaged for a time.
It is wonderful that Suzanne has brought attention to this godly and deeply spiritual lady.

Suzanne is from a Darbyite Exclusive Brethren background. People from such backgrounds are always very interesting people and tend to have a very good knowledge of the Scriptures.

I know quite a few people who are ex-Brethren or who are within the Open Brethren, but moving away from its traditions. I must seem a little odd to those in that category, given that I have no family background in the Brethren, yet I am keen to adopt and promote practises and theologythat much of the Open Brethren have abandoned. For many in the Open Brethren, it is 'progressive' to move towards a Baptist ecclesiology.

Have I naievely adopted a theology that I do not really appreciate, having not experienced Brethren life firsthand?

Of course, some of the tendencies of the Brethren can be found in my own radical Charismatic Restorationist background. I suppose in some sense,I am moving in the direction of my thelogical roots.

What I am Reading this very Minute

This very minute, I am reading 'Circle of Intrigue' by Texe Marrs.

Please do not fall off your chair laughing at me.

I do have a soft spot for people outside the mainstream, especially if they advocate conspiracy theories. I like to listen to those folks.

Texe Marrs argues in this book that the world's politics is completely under the control of secret societies, including the Illuminati, who apprarently wield an all-powerful control over the world's events.

Do I believe in the Illumunati and a big conspiracy to establish a New World Order? Yes, but not in the way that conspiracy theorists like Texe Marrs do.

What puzzles me about these grand conspiracy guys is that if these secret societies really have all this power; if they really did arrange every major event in the twentieth century; how come they have not already established a New World Order? Why are we not already living under a visible one-world dictatorship? If they want to plant microchips in everybody, why do they not just get on with it if they control the world anyway?

The fact that these secret societies are taking such a long time to get their act together suggests that they are not really all-powerful. No doubt, those conpsiracy theorists who are Christian would say that the Sovereignty of God keeps the Illuminati et al from doing it until His appointed time. However, by what instrument or earthly clay does God keep them out?

I would suggest that international politics are not really stage managed. That not all rulers are puppets, that elections can sometimes go the opposite way to how those secret societies would want them to go.

I think there probably are a lot of secret societies who plan to introduce a one-world government. However, I very much doubt that they can guarantee that the next general election is going to turn out exactly how they want it. I do hope they are planning on helping the British Conservative party out, however. I am sure David Cameron has been to the odd Bilderberger meeting.

Texe Marrs has an irritating habit of never really making it very clear where he stands on prophetic issues.

'Circle of Intrigue was published in 2004. He comes across in it as being, despite his anti-Zionism, a fairly conventional Futurist Premillennialist, holding that God has a plan of deliverance for the Jews.

However, in his writings on his website, he appears to have adopted the view that is commonly called Replacement Theology, denying that God has a plan for the Jews that is distinct from the Church. Some of his comments come pretty close to Anti-Semitism. He also promotes a number of books that take the Historicist view of end-times prophecy. Has he changed his mind?

Maybe Texe Marrs just does not think things out very carefully. Like a lot of Christians, sadly.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Street Preaching Today

I knew Andrew would not be preaching today. I was alone for a while when I arrived. I thought I would be on my own. As I prepared myself to preach on my own, I felt rather dismayed at the thought. However, I was joined by lloyd, a man who does not join us that often these days. He used to preach regularly with us, but has suffered some mental problems in recent years. He is a lot better now.

I preached several times. I had a few conversations. Lloyd preached. As with his preaching a couple of years ago, it was not very polished or consistently logical, but it was very earnest and full of grace.

We were joined by Rory, the Calvinist in the team (I posted about him this week). He is not usually late, but today he was. His communication was excellent. We had a brief discussion about Darby's eschatology.

It was a blessed afternoon.

For My Sake and the Gospel's Go

“For My sake, and the Gospel’s, go
And tell redemption’s story”;
His heralds answer, “Be it so,
And Thine, Lord, all the glory!”
They preach His birth, His life, His cross,
The love of His atonement,
For Whom they count the world but loss,
His Easter, His enthronement.

Hark, hark, the trump of jubilee
Proclaims to every nation,
From pole to pole, by land and sea,
Glad tidings of salvation;
As nearer draws the day of doom,
While still the battle rages,
The heav’nly Dayspring through the gloom
Breaks on the night of ages.

Still on and on the anthems spread
Of alleluia voices,
In concert with the holy dead
The warrior church rejoices;
Their snow white robes are washed in blood,
Their golden harps are ringing;
Earth and the paradise of God
One triumph song are singing.

He comes, Whose advent trumpet drowns
The last of time’s evangels,
Emmanuel crowned with many crowns,
The Lord of saints and angels;
O Life, Light, Love, the great I AM,
Triune, Who changest never,
The throne of God and of the Lamb
Is Thine, and Thine forever.

This is great rousing Victorian hymn with a missionary theme. The words are by Edmund Bickersteth and the tune is by Arthur Sullivan, who wrote the music to the Gilbert and Sullivan musicals.

My only complaint is that it mentions Easter, which is not a Christian festival, but Pagan in origin.

An Anglican bishop once said to a boy that "You must sing as though you were thanking God for giving us such a wonderful Queen as Victoria." I have my doubts that Queen Victoria was all that sound in theology, but a hymn like this definitely brings out my Victorian streak.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Taking the Name

Taking the Name

Article by Vicky Dillen

What is the name of our Saviour?

The Lord is Good

I was very worried I would have very little work to do at the office today. Being idle in an office is mentally painful.

In answer to prayer, I had plenty to do in the shape of the kind of mindless jobs I love- stamping, labelling and stuffing envelopes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Home Assemblies

The early church for the most part met in homes, rather than special church buildings. We do not know whether this was the universal practise of the New Testament church or the reasons why they met in homes.

We have no command to meet in homes, however, we ought not to be hasty to depart from their practise to ideas of our own. The idea of a church building is so common that many Christians never consider the alternative option of home assemblies.

My opinion is that there are advantages and disadvantages to both public buildings and home assemblies, however, I would tend to come down more in favour of home assemblies.

The advantage of a public building foremost is that it is public. People can see it and decide to attend the congregation that meets there. Secondly, if the building is big enougth, it can host large meetings of Christians. In principle, an assembly consists of all who are in Christ in a city. Therefore, an assembly of a larger group of Christians is a blessing. Thirdly, if a building has an office, smaller rooms and a kitchen, it can be used for all manner of mid-week activities.

However, there are disadvantages to public buildings. In the sacramental churches, Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican, buildings have become temples, idolatrous places that are objects of reverance in themselves. Thanks to the guidance of God's word, Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches have avoided this trap to a great extent. However, there is always a danger of identifying the church with the building, a tendency that often connects with denominationalism and narrowness.

Secondly, public buildings have a huge financial cost. The congregation I attend is in a highly modern all-purpose building which cost several million pounds. It is true that God gives generously to meet His people's needs, however we are accountable to God as stewards of His gifts. Many churches end up taking out huge mortgages to pay for their buildings. Is it right for God's people to be in debt to the world?

Another great danger of public buildings is the mentality they create. Buildings can be useful for hosting many evangelistic activities. However, in my experience, the better a congregation's building and facilities, the more their evangelistic activities become centred on their building and the less street or home outreach they do. Mother and toddler groups and men's take-away food meetings are no substitute for preaching the word of God in the open-air.

Meeting in homes removes these disadvantages. There are also advantages to meeting in homes.

The greatest advantage to the home assembly is in creating a greater sense of church community. The Church is a family. Having meetings in homes, the sphere of family life reflects this. One of the biggest problems in churches is the lack of community and family spirit and the heavy institutionalisation of congregations. Most churches seem to follow an academic model, with congregations divided up according to age. A buidling with several classrooms for different sunday school groups reflects this. Meeting in homes reduces the extent to which age groups can be segregated in meetings. The church thus has to behave like the meeting of a large extended family.

A home assembly will by its nature be far less institutional and hierarchical than an assembly meeting in a public building. This increased flexibility ought to give the Holy Spirit His due right to take the lead in meetings.

Home assemblies create a greater sense of intimacy. The brethren are there in peoples homes, in the midst of their concerns and troubles. The life of the church is brought into the real world, the world of everyday life. In assemblies which use public buildings, there is a strong tendency for people to put on a disguise on the Lord's Day. They put on their best clothes, ensure their children's best behaviour (by whatever means necessary), couples agree to a truce in their arguments and they pretend that they have been living a life of Evangelical bliss all week. Once the service is over and they have got back in their car, the domestic riots begin again. Meeting in homes leaves less room for such falseness.

A home assembly must be very outwardly focused if it is to grow. A church in a public building can rely on people to spot their church and swell their numbers without too much effort. A home assembly cannot grow without being active in evangelism outside the meetings.

There are disadvantages to home assemblies. Firstly, they can not be very large. There are limits to how many can meet in the average living room. Home meetings must work hard to maintain connections with other home assemblies.

Secondly, there are dangers inherent in the domestic setting. The decoration and contents of a room may be distracting. Also there is the danger of jelousy and envy over better and more beautiful homes. This must be handled with sensitivity and care.

Thirdly, home assemblies have a tendency to narrowness and introversion. This is often because of the way they start. A few individuals in a congregation will have some grievance and leave. They begin meeting in homes and become focused on their own concerns. Of course, this is simply a similar problem to that of sectarianism, just on a smaller scale.

In many countries, there is a sense of unease about the idea of religious meetings in homes. The idea seems alien to many in some cultures. Even in Britain and the USA, there are people who may be suspcicous of a church that has no building.

Overall, I think home assemblies are a better approach to meeting. However, I would not dismiss the arguments in favour of churches meeting in public buildings.

In the post on communal living I said that part of why I favoured the idea was because I thought I would not like it. I think that this is an issue. Being very introverted I like the anonynimity of large meetings in public buildings. I can just disappear. Meeting in a home would force me to be on a more intimate level with others in the congregation.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Question: Do all Christians have a Duty to Evangelize?

Taking inspiration from Jim, I decided to ask my gracious readers a question.

Do all Christians have a duty to evangelize? Please show Scriptural support for your position.

A Friend who will be Leaving Soon

A friend of mine, who I preach with on the streets has obtained visas for himself, his wife and his baby son to go the the United States. He will study there at a Presbyterian seminary with a view to becoming a pastor.

He is a good man who loves the Lord, but he always makes me very nervous. He is a Calvinist and an Amillennialist. I am always terrified that he will argue with my theology. I also tend to get uncomfortable in the company of people who are very serious, confident and focused; they remind me how wishy-washy I can be.

I would decribe my friend as 'Reactionary Reformed.' He is heavily into unreconstructed Covenant theology. He holds to Exclusive Psalmody (that Christians should only sing Psalms when in church). Like me he favours the King James Bible, though when he preaches at our NIV-Onlyist congregation, he uses the NIV. I am told by a mutual friend that he has become a Paedobaptist and has had his baby son baptized.

He once wrote this short paper, in which he attacked Premillennialism, accusing them of a 'defeatism' that was damaging the church. I wrote a length reply. When I gave him this, he told me that the paper he wrote was meant to 'encourage' me. I am afraid I am never encouraged by having my beliefs attacked and being accused of being a 'defeatist'.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Weel's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Weel's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

My award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary.

A Simple Explanation of who the Exclusive Brethren are

Charles A Wallace asked who the Exclusive Brethren are and how I came to be working for some of them.

The Exclusive Brethren are the more rigid wing of the Plymouth Brethren movement, which emphasises the unity of all Christians and the the role of the Holy Spirit in leading worship (that is not to say that the other wing, the Open Brethren are not sometimes just as rigid).

The split between the Open Brethren and the Exclusive Brethren took place in 1849. J.N. Darby, the most prominent man in the early Brethren and the founder of the Dispensational system, was concerned that B.W. Newton was behaving in an authoritarian manner in the Plymouth assembly of Brethren. After a period of tension, he separated from fellowship with that assembly. It was later discovered that Newton was teaching suspect things about the person of Christ. He had taught that Christ took on the guilt of both Adam and Israel as a result of the Incarnation.

Several members of the Plymouth assembly were received into fellowship at the Bristol assembly. This assembly was under the eldership of George Muller, the famous founder of Bristol orphanage. When Darby challenged this, the elders at Bristol issued a statement known as the Letter of the Ten. This explained the principles on which they had judged the reception of those individuals from Plymouth. It denied the need to judge the teaching of the Plymouth assembly. Darby encouraged other assemblies to condemn this position. Muller declared in response that nobody who held Newton's errors would be accepted into fellowship. However, the majority of assemblies agreed with Darby that this was not good enougth, because there was no withdrawal of the principles of the 'Letter of the Ten' or any admission that the original judgment had been wrong.

Those assemblies that sided with Darby became known as Exclusive Brethren, while those who sided with Muller became known as Open Brethren.

The schism is made a little complicated by Muller's claim that he was visited by Darby after he condemned Newton's errors. Darby allegedly offered reconciliation to Muller. However, Muller claimed that he lost his temper and said that Darby had 'behaved very wickedly' and that he had no further time to spend dealing with the issue. Darby allegedly left in anger. While Darby does not appear to have denied that he met Muller on this occasion (as some Exclusive historians claim), he denied that this conversation took place as reported by Muller.

The Exclusive Brethren differ from the Open Brethren in that they reject the notion of assemblies being independent and uphold the necessity of assemblies acting in unity. They also reject the appointment of elders today. They have varying postions on the reception of Christians to the Lord's Supper. In theory, at least they accept that all Christians have the right to participate in the Lord's Supper, but they will not accept Open Brethren, as they consider them to be upholding evil because of the events of 1849.

There have been many splits in the Exclusive Brethren. Most divisions accept the baptism of infants.

The main party of Exclusives, the Raven/ Taylor group has moved in a remarkable direction. It departed from the teaching of Darby in denying the Eternal Sonship of Christ and adopting the Apollinarain heresy, that Christ did not have a human soul.

The Raven/ Taylor division turned into a cult in the sixties. Its leaders began to wield enormous power over members, enforcing silly rules, such as the bans on pets and facial hair. Those who do not comply are excommunicated and are forbidden any contact with family members who remain in the fellowship.

The Raven/ Taylor Exclusives are very secretive. They do not sell their publications to the public and non-members are not allowed to attend their services without prior appointment. Female members are recognisable by their headscarves and members of both sexes are recognisable by their glum faces and grim expressions. When you get to know them, you find that they do have a sense of humour. They enjoy alcohol.

I work in the office of a company owned by Raven/ Taylor Exclusives. I found the job at the same time that I started researching Darby, which is incredible.

The company is officially against computers, because of the sect's rules, however, they make heavy use of computers through the intermediary of self-employed non-members, just like Jews paying Gentiles to light their fires on the Sabbath.

Finally, I am strapped up to the Internet again.

Despite last week's atrocious customer service, our naff internt provider sent a couple of engineers who solved the connection problem.

I have missed you all so terribly.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Free Grace Theology: Jesus is the Guarantor of Eternal Life to the Believer in Him for It

Free Grace Theology: Jesus is the Guarantor of Eternal Life to the Believer in Him for It

Antonio is posting again. We are blessed.

David Cameron says something Wild

Smooth-talking Conservative leader David Cameron managed to say something wild the other day.

He described the right-wing UK Independence party as a bucn of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.' This UK Independence Party is a fringe party that is opposed to Britain's membership of the European Union. There main role in the political process is in taking votes from the Conservative party

The UK Independence party is now talking aobut legal action.

I think the comment was a little harsh. I actually voted for the UK Independence party in the last European Parliamentary election, despite being a card-carrying COnservative member of the Conservative party. I agree with their Euroscepticism, even if I do not think this is the main issue.

However, the UK Independence people do contain a lot of fruitckaes and loonies, if not that many genuine racists. They are an odd lot who are unlikely to ever get a single member of parliament. I do not think it is very politically dangerous for Cameron to laugh at those people.

Life without the Internet

I am afraid I am still disconnected from the worldwide web. My Exclsuive Brethren employers would no doubt see this as a good thing (my boss told me WWW represents 666), unless I was using the internet to assist their company, that is.

I hope to be back on-line soon, but the service provider is messing me about a bit.
I am currently on a college computer. I will not be able to do this much, as petrol and parking are not cheap.

I have suffered from withdrawal symptoms including lack of concentration, irritability and mood swings. This is not good. Maybe being deprived of the web is good for me after all.

One good thing was that my spare time lead me to visit my friend Andrew, a full-time street preacher. We had a good time talking.

I talked about how much I wanted to do full-time mission work, to go and serve elsewhere. Of course, I cannot do this now. I need to finsih my studies. Even when I do, I have no definite calling into that field of ministry.

I decided last week to take a strong interest in mission work. Cultivating a desire to serve is always helpful.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Yulia Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko

The website of the most beautiful woman in international politics.

Bombay Duck

I was wondering what Bombay Duck is, so I just looked it up in Wikipedia.

I had thought it was an Anglo-Indian recipe containing duck. In actual fact, Bombay Duck is a kind of fish; a delicacy that is eaten dried and salted.