Tuesday, May 30, 2006

John Prescott (Our Deputy Prime Minister)

Things have not been good for John Prescott (known as 2Jags, because of his alleged ownership of two Jaguar cars) since he cheated on his wife and was humiliated by the newspapers. Tony Blair took away his department, but left him his title, his salary and his perks.

Now he is in even more trouble. He was photographed playing croquet on the lawn of his country home, during work hours, while the prime minister was absent from the country. Of course, playing an upper-class game like croquet did not do much for his Left-wing, working-class image.

A group of Labour members of parliament are calling for the end of Prescott's deputy leadership of the Labour party. Interestingly, the member of parliament for Worcester, Michael Foster is among them. As Michael Foster has always towed the government line on everything, it is safe to assume that Tony Blair is behind the call for Prescott's departure from deputy leadership. Prescott has at times been a nuisance to Blair's leadership and now is a very good time for him to be booted out.

Exam Papers

I had about ten bags of religious studies exam papers to mark delivered today. Just like last year, there was one bag containing the wrong papers. I shall have to send that one back.

I cannot mark them until I have attended the standardisation meeting this weekend. The board has to be sure I am going to mark them to the right standard.

Last years examiner meeting was weird. All these teachers and trainee teachers. I did not meet one examiner who was not an Religious Studies teacher. They tended to talk about schools and teaching quite a lot.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Blessed Quietness Journal

Blessed Quietness Journal

Formerly 'Balaam's Ass'.

Have you ever visited this site? I have been visiting it for years, and have to say I think it is the strangest website there is.

The site editor, Steve Van Nattan is a Fundamentalist who advocates House Church-style meetings.

There is an awful lot of stupidity and silliness in the website. The 'go to hell' language is rather disturbing. I have wondered if the site is a sort of parody or satire. However, generally when people attempt to parody fundamentalism, they show a complete ignorance of it. If this is a satire, it is a remarkably clever one.

What is most strange is that despite the harsh language, the site says a lot of very sensible and reasonable things at time. They advocate KJV-Onlyism, yet they criticise Gail Riplinger (albeit with very harsh language). They condemn Texe Marrs as anti-semitic.

Their main hobby horse seems to be Fundamental Baptist churches. They are very keen to expose legalism and authoritarianism in the Fundamental Baptist movement.

If anybody has any background on this site, please let me know.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

J.N. Darby: Does the Word of God Authorise the Naming Pastors and Presidents?

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"Those who cling so fondly to the practise of making and settling churches, quote the Epistles of Timothy and Titus, with most undoubting confidence, as serving for the guidance to the churches in all ages; whilst they were really never addressed to any church whatever. It may be observed that the quotations from God's word on matters most bearing on those who are engaged in settling churches, such as the choosing of elders, deacons, etc., must be derived from these epistles alone- and most remarkable it is, that those companions of the apostle who posessed his confidence, were left in the churches, or else sent to them when already existing, in order to select such elders, when the apostle had not done it- a clear proof that the apostle could not confer upon the churches the power of choosing their elders, even when churches he had formed were still in existence; and notwithstanding, we hear all this adduced as instructions for the churches in after times. Official nomination is an assumption of apostolic authority, and contrary to the order and principles on which it took place then. Nor has this left the saints without resource when God graciously works. Pastors, and doctors (teachers- D.F.), and evangelists are gifts which have their places in the unity of the body, and have their just exercise wherever God has graciously given them; and in 1 Corinthians 16:15, 16, I find the Holy Ghost directing submission to all who in devotedness of heart have given themselves to true labour in the Lord. So in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and Hebrews 13:17, teach the same godly substance to those who labour, and thus take the lead in the work of the Lord."

Taken from On the Formation of Churches in Collected Writings, vol.1, p.148-149

What Should One Wear to a Beach Mission?

My friend Andrew is a full-time open air preacher. Thus, he is required to go where he is told by the Open-Air Mission. Last year, he was required to attend a beach mission somewhere on the south coast. Andrew was not terribly enthusiastic about this at all, as he has an intense dislike of holidays, beaches and anything that could be described as fun. I tend to share his attitude.

It occurred to me that I would be faced with a dilemma if I was ever asked to preach on a beach. What should one wear when preaching on a beach?

I would feel terribly underdressed if I was preaching in a t-shirt, shorts and barefeet. However, I would feel rather over-dressed if I wore a shirt and tie. I think wearing any kind of shoes on a beach looks silly, though I have certainly done so before.

Hopefully, I will never be faced with that dilemma.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Really Killer Question

Let me tell you about a memorable incident that happened when I was out street preaching about three years ago.

Andrew was interrupted in his preaching by a man who gave the impression of being under the influence of alcohol.

The man said to Andrew:

"I have got a question for you, and you won't be able to answer it."

Andrew looked at the man with all the dignity of his usual military bearing.

"Try me" he replied.

The man looked at Andrew, and paused. He seemed to have forgotten his question. Or perhaps he had not yet thought what he was going to say.

The he recovered his wits and said:

"If Jesus was here....today....in Worcester....you would'nt recognise him, would you?"

I cannot remeber what Andrew actually said in reply. Readers, what would you have said to this poor man?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

bluecollar: Matthew and Mark Talk About Dispensationalism

bluecollar: Matthew and Mark Talk About Dispensationalism

Complementary Medicine

A group of emminent doctors have argued that the National Health Service should not be paying for people to have such complementary treatments as Homeopathy, Reflexology and Acupuncture. Currently, such therapies are being paid for at taxpayers' expense.

To my mind it is a crime against commonsense that complementary medicine is provided on the NHS. The NHS is facing major financial cutbacks. It is having to sack nurses and close wards and yet it is paying for treatments that according to some research have no medicinal benefit whatsoever. Personally, I think state healthcare is a bad idea and in the long run is unsustainable. However, it will become unsustainable a lot quicker when they include such things on their budget.

Recently, women have campaigned to be provided with the Breast Cancer drug Herceptin on the NHS. This is not being provided for financial reasons. Where is the logic in funding therapies that may not work, yet denying cancer vicitims a drug that certainly does work?

Of course, complementary medicine has its champion in His Royal Highness prince Charles. That says it all.

Finished 'Bleak House'

I finished reading Bleak House, by Charles Dickens.

I am rather glad to have finished it. It was very long and tedious. However, it did have some fascinating characters. Charles Dickens genius was in creating very interesting characters to populate his stories.

I was surprised that the ending was so happy. I thought it would end rather more miserably. I suppose after sucha long book, one deserves a happy ending.

Japan Christian Link

Japan Christian Link

Japan is one very heathen country. Japan Christian Link is dedicated to promoting the cause of the Gospel amongst the Japanese people.

Their site is very interesting and stocks a range of Japanese language Christian literature.

In July, I will be attending their conference, which I am very much looking forward to.

Monday, May 22, 2006

J.N. Darby on the Lord's Purpose in Gathering the Saints on Earth

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"It is the desire of our hearts, and as we believe God's will under this dispensation, that all the children of God should be gathered together as such, and, consequently, as not of the world. The Lord hath given Himself 'not for that (the Jewish) nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad.' This gathering together in one was then the immediate object of Christ's death. The salvation of the elect was as certain before the His advent, though accomplished by it, as afterwards. The Jewish dispensation which preceded His coming into the world had for its object, not to gather the church upon earth, but to exhibit the government of God by means of an elect nation. At this time the Lord's purpose is to gather as well as to save, to realise unity, not merely in the heavens, where the purposes of God shall surely be accomplished, but here upon earth, by one Spirit sent down from heaven. By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body. This is undeniably the truth concerning the church as it is set before us in the word. Men may go about proving that hypocrites and evil men had crept into the church, but there is no resisting the inference that there was a church into which they had crept. The gathering of all the children of God in one body is plainly according to the mind of God in the word."

Taken from On the Formation of Churches in Collected Writings vol.1

Friday, May 19, 2006

Eric Forth

I was saddened to learn today of the death of Eric Forth, who passed away at the age of 61 on Wednesday. Eric Forth was a right-wing Conservative member of parliament who was higly skilled in the debates and proceedings of the House of Commons. His presence in the Opposition ranks will be greatly missed, no doubt.

Eric Forth had a hatred of unnecessary legislation and seemed to devote his career to using every delaying procedure available to kill off legislation that he objected to.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hilarious

I thought the government's incompetence over immigration could not get any worse.

Well, guess what. It turns out that five illegal immigrants were working for the Home Office's immigration department as cleaners.

This week the Home Office had told us that the reason they were not tracking down illegal immigrants was because they were putting their resources into dealing with companies that employed them. Home is always a good place to start.

I am going Somewhere... Wow!

I have a mild phobia of travel. I really do get anxious about travelling, so I rarely go anywhere. This is partly because I can never think of anywhere to go.

Yesterday, I received an invite to a conference in Hertfordshire about missionary work in Japan. I knew from the moment I read it that I would have to go. I am really interested in the possibility of becoming involved in mission work after my studies and Japan is one place I have a burden for.

So, I posted the booking form today. It was expensive, but they had a discount for students. I am sure it will be very interesting.

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

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

Our award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is the norm.

Vicky Dillen on The Message

Vicky Dillen on The Message

The deadly Gnosticism of this paraphrase.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More on Jehovah's Witnesses' Magazines

The most visible difference between Jehovah's Witnesses' magazines and Evangelical Christian publications is the photography. The vast majority of images in Watchtower and Awake! magazine are of people. The reader is shown lots of pictures of happy people of different nationalities studying the Bible and J.W. publications. Or else they show pictures of smart, but concerned-looking men and women in deep contemplation of life's dilemmas. Their eschatological artwork also shows people; Libbie the English Muffin described the images of the coming kingdom as 'multi-racial barbecues.'

In contrast, while some Evangelical publications have a few pictures of happy people, if they have photographs, the majority of them are of sunsets, landscapes or wildlife.

I think pictures in Evangelical publications tend to be used to illustrate specific points or else just too look nice. The many images of people in J.W. magazines send out a very significant psychological message. That is, that there are many people all around the world who are studying the Watchtower teachings and you can be among them.

While I think it is wrong to use psychological manipulation , the photographs that are used in Jehovah's Witnesses' magazines are very positive and pleasent. They emphasise the internatioanl community of J.W.s, revealing the importance of their fellowship. I suspect that the absence of human imagery in Evangelical publications says something about the emphases of our theology. We focus a good deal on the individual. Evangelicals often neglect the importance of the Christian community, the Church. It is so important to be conscious of the reality and the beauty of that people from every tribe, nation and tongue.

What do you think about this post, Danny Hazard?

Church Buildings or House-Churches?

Church Buildings or House-Churches?

Excellent article advocating church meetings in homes.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Street Preaching Today

There were four of us out street preaching today. A group of teenage girls from Youth for Christ joined us and witnessed to some people. They had a long conversation with a very argumentative old man. The girls offered to sing a song in order to 'draw a crowd.' They did not sing in the end, however. They had not learned that when you draw a crowd using music, the crowd tends to disperse when the preaching starts.

I preached three times, on John 3:36. I spoke to some children who seemed interested.

I was interrupted in my preaching by a drunk who told me he thought he would get into heaven. I warned him that he was lost if he did not believe on Jesus Christ. He left before I could have much of a conversation with him.

Andrew had some good conversations with a homeless man, who might or might not be truly converted, and his friend.

Bill had a short conversation with a Muslim from South East Asia who took a tract.

Andrew had experienced something very unpleasent yesterday. He had talked to a very angry and aggressive Muslim who had punched him twice. This had man refused to talk calmy and had even ranted at him in Arabic. Even in Albania, Andrew had never encountered such an irrational and hateful zeal.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I am a Triple-Onlyist

I am KJV-Only

I am Skirts-Only (on women)

I am Slippers-Only (in homes)


I am so intolerant.

Actually, I am most dogmatic about the last one. I am happy to preach with people who use the NIV (but not The Message) and I would never criticise a woman for wearing trousers. I would not dare.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Home Assemblies and Bible Basics

Home Assemblies and Bible Basics

Very good material in favour of churches meeting in homes. Fundamentalist and KJV-Only.

House Church Central

House Church Central

An interesting site supporting churches meeting in homes.

I do not agree with all of the theology here, but it is certainly worth a visit.

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

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

Our award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary. The IBEX Scribe presents the award for the first time.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Shocking News: Young People are Not Interested in Spirituality

A study carried out on behalf of the Church of England demonstrated that young people are very materialistic and have very almost no interest in spirituality.

Conventional ecclesiastical wisdom had held that young people are 'spiritual seekers'. Evangelism by the mainstream churches and also by some Evangelical denominations had reflected this assumption with a huge emphasis on offering spirituality. The Church of England will now have to seriously re-think its approach to reaching young people.

I think this study confirms my experience as a street evangelist. One meets the odd young person who has New Age ideas and there a lot of religious young people, but on the whole, the young people that I talk to have absolutley no interest in anything that could be called spiritual.

The big problem that confronts churches is that young people have been indoctrinated into believing in Evolution. They learn at school that Evolution is a fact and that religions are just opinions. Thus, why should they want any kind of spituality? They have never been confronted with a convincing case for God's existence and are blinded from seeing the daily reality of God's creation.

Why should I give money to a bank if I have no idea what investment is? Why should young people want a spirituality if they do not know that God exists or that He is a personal being that one can relate to?

The mainstream churches and even many conservative denominations have given up doing any kind of apologetics. They have just grown accustomed to the idea that young people will seek God out of a hunger for some spiritual reality. Well, money, sex and fun are a far bigger reality than anything they will get from a god whose existence to them is uncertain.

Part of the problem is bad cultural analysis. Christians have too quckly assumed that there has been a major paradigm shift from Modernity to Postmodernity. I think it is more helpful to talk about Advanced Modernity. Much of the thinking and ideas of Modernity are still very much with us.

A lot of Christians are under the impression that young people do not believe in absolute truth. This is absolute rubbish. Most non-Christian young people that I have talked to show very little sign of believing in philosophcial relativism. They are in fact very dogmatic about what they see is absolute truth. They believe with absolute conviction that Evolution is true and that Jesus is dead and buried. So why should they take any interest whatsoever in a Christian spirituality, even if it is presented with disco lights and dreadlocked dancers?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

J.N. Darby on the Apostleship of Paul

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"The dispensation was born out of due time; it must prove itself by its energy from on high; so it had proved both in preaching Christ and teaching the church. But now Barnabas and Paul were to be sent out on a definite mission, and of course, they had derived authority now. Whence? Everything was still made to depend on the energy and calling of God. 'As certain prophets and teachers were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have called them; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.' Did the apostle derive his authority, his apostolic authority, from his ordination? That would be a strange assertion; and he says he had it neither of nor by man. If this had been his first going forth to preach, it would have been almost impossible to have hindered the conclusion that it had its source in this, and the apostolate would merely have been from the church at Antioch.

Thereefore the Lord, to maintain the character of the dispensation, makes the apostle not confer with flesh and blood, but immediately preach on his calling, and afterwards separates him merely to the particular work to which he was called, thus securing its underivative character, and that by the direct action of the Spirit. Its value was the energy of the Spirit of God, because of the glory to be revealed, and the heavenly character of the dispensation which had its place in the glory, not here at all, and so ordered of God; otherwise apostolic authority is derived from laymen (in modern theory, self-ordained men), and the apostle's assertion of his apostolate falsified. But it was not; it was the Holy Ghost's separation of him to Himself for the work to which the Lord had called him, not the conferring a gift, as if his apostolate depended on that mission; for this the apostle denies at large in the Epistle to the Galatians, and passes by this going forth from Antioch entirely in the account of his mission which he gives to them, and it was not the derivation of authority; for this he is equally earnest to deny.

In Paul, then, we have the founding of the service of this dispensation, resting on the fully recognised apostleship, but caused, in the way it is founded, to be entirely of a heavenly character, springing from the Lord known then in the glory, having its working and energy in the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and breaking in upon the derivative character of the apostolate in the Jews by every careful arrangement of God; and the laying on of hands made little of as regards the apostolate, and coming not from supeirior dervative authority, but entirely collaterally, that every link of this sort should be broken; and, we may add, failing as to its earthly position, the moment the energy of the Spirit failed, the moment the unstained godliness which kept out evil, and left the operations of the given Spirit free, failed.Because the witness of the glory among the Gentiles was not to take the place of the glory, any more than the witness of the resurrection among the Jews was to take the place of resurrection-glory. And it was only a witness, and therefore shewn only to the apostles and teachers among the Jews, and Paul for the Gentiles, and having been witnessed to, fails as regards holding any place here, though effectual by the Spirit to them that believe, that abounding in hope through it, they might have an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, when He shall be manifested as the risen and glorified One, and sorrow and trial pass away. And through the filling up, as it were, was in the ascended glory, of which Paul was the special witness (and therefore he laboured more abundantly than they all, as the full testimony was to be given to the world in him, the continuous Gentile dispensation), yet though he sustained it by the energy of the Spirit during his life, he knew well that it would end then, that is, as thus corporately held together: 'I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.'"

Taken from The Character of Office in the Present Dispensation in Collected Writings vol.1, p.103-105

bluecollar: A Discussion Between Two Friends

bluecollar: A Discussion Between Two Friends

My discussion with Mark on the subject of the Church and Dispensationalism.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Unashamed of Grace: How Much Information is Really Needed?

Unashamed of Grace: How Much Information is Really Needed?

Excellent post by Antonio (remember him?).

Street Preaching Today

There were three of us out today. However, we were joined by an unemployed man who goes to my church. He is a Christian, but not always all that consistent in his walk. I was much enouraged by his attendance. He gave out some tracts. The two of us did have a discussion about whether he ought to watch the film adaptation of the Da Vinci Code. I suggested that he would not be showing much love and honour to Christ by watching such a film, but he did not seem to understand this.

I stayed out for about an hour and a half and preached once. It was noisy today and I ended up raising my voice; a very bad practice. I started preaching about creation and then moved on to hell and judgment.

A group of teenage boys stopped while one of the team was preaching and stood around for a while. I did not approach them with tracts, as conversations with groups of young men are usually fruitless, but it was encouraging to see them stop.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dispensationalism and Satan: Is Satan a Cosmic Tony Blair?

I am reading a recent book on Dispensationalism entitled 'The World is Not my Home:The Origins and Developement of Dispensationalism' (2003 Christian Focus) by Michael Williams. The author is Reformed and from Covenant Theological Seminary. It is quite harsh in its critique of the Dispensational theological system.

What has particularly interested me so far is a chapter entitled 'Satan and the Satanic System.' Williams argues that C.I. Scofield and L.S. Chafer present a picture of Satan that is radically different from the conventional idea of Satan. Rather than taking delight in destruction and chaos, the Dispensational Satan is concerned with establishing order, increasing goodness and progress in order to establish his own counterfeit kingdom in place of God's rule. Williams writes:

"Again, Chafer did not view Satan as an unrelentingly evil being. Satan is to be thought of more as an incompetent bungler than a powerful malevolent force. As an imperfect imitator, Satan is ultimately incapable of realizing his cultural ideal or a moral society under his kingship." (p.50)


Hence, rather than attempting to cause maximum destruction for its own sake, the Dispensational Devil seeks to restrain evil in order to further his willful ends.

As I have not read Chafer's work on Satan, I cannot asses the accuracy of Williams' claims. However, I am quite intrigued by the thought. Although Williams does not agree with this view of Satan, I find it very challenging and feel the urge to asses whether it fits the Biblical portrait of Satan.

Charles Clarke has been Sacked

The home secretary, Charles Clarke has been sacked. His failure to ensure the deportation of foreign prisoners is evidently going to take the blame for Labour's disastrous results in the local elections yesterday. He was offered a lesser minsterial job, but he refused it.

He is being replaced by John Reid, who is getting round to occupying every ministerial job there is.

Election Results

In Worcester, the Conservatives maintained their hold on Worcester City Council.

Nationally, the Labour party suffered many defeats.

The Conservatives had their best results since 1992.

The Liberal Democrats lost quite a lot of votes and lost control of two councils.

The fascist British National Party made some small gains.

The results of the Cosnervative party are encouraging. Clearly, David Cameron has an appeal. The problem is that the Conservatives have made no gains in northern cities. This reflects the last general election, where the Conservatives managed to increase their vote in the South and especially in London, but failed to make much difference in the north.

The problem is that David Cameron's liberal environmentalist image is effective in winning the London liberal, middle-class types, but it has little appeal in the more rugged north.

It may be that Cameron will switch the emphasis from the environment to more traditional Conservative issues, most notably crime. Now that he has established his credentials as a liberal, the middle classes will be less embarassed about voting Conservative giving him more room to manouvere.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Cake for Health Freaks

I tried a cake that my company sells today, one that I had bought in Newent. It was a wheat-free, egg-free, low-fat Dutch Apple Loaf. It had a nice cinammon and apple taste, but its texture was appalling. It was very dense and rather dry. A cake for health freaks only.

Shorts On

Today is extremely hot.

When I got back from voting, I put my short trousers on for the first time this year. Much more comfortable.

If anybody wants to have a crack at making a Biblical case for shorts being indecent dress for men, you are quite welcome to do so in the comments.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Charles Clarke Cannot Last Long

Charles Clarke cannot remain in his position of home secretary for very long now. He is in big trouble over the failure of the Home Office to deport a large number of released foreign prisoners, some of whom have gone on to commit serious offences. He now admitted that the Home Office was unable to track down the whereabouts of many of these ex-prisoners. This is yet another embarassment for the Labour government.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Got it all Figured Out?

A few years ago, on a Bible prophecy discussion group, somebody posted a detailed scheme of the chronology of end-time events in relation to the AntiChrist. Somebody replied by saying:

'Great. I will put you on my list of people who have got it all figured out.'


Readers, do you share the same irritation as this person at those who have detailed and comprehensive views of Bible prophecy or theology in general? Have you put me on your list of 'people who have got it all figured out'?

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 shoes-off in homes is the norm.

Monday, May 01, 2006

J.N. Darby on the Heavenly Character of the Church

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"But there is another state of things far worse than this, when Babylon has carried the body of the people away, that is, the reluctance of the residue to stay in dependence of faith, and their determination to go down into Egypt for help, where judgment would surely overtake them. Such is the continual testimony of the human heart; such help is the church therefore continually seeking. But the church is not of this world, even as Christ is not of this world. And how is Christ not of this world? Surely in spirit and in character He is not of it, as it is an evil world, unholy, opposite to God. When His spotless excellency passed through, it was unscathed, though passing trough every scene that wearies and bows down our frail and feeble hearts. But it was with other thoughts also that Jesus was not of this world, and so said He of His disciples. He was not of it, but of heaven- the Lord from heaven; and we are not of it, but from thence, associated with Him who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and who is now separate from sinners, made higher than the heavens, now in manifested association (that is, to faith, as the object of it there), in the accomplishment of what forms the dispensation in the heavens. The founding of the dispensation upon the accomplishment of the exaltation of its Head is of the greatest importance, because it is the ground of ascertained rigteousness and its extent,and the seal and character of the whole dispensation. It belongs as being rejected in its Head from the world, to the heavenlies. But it is not merely as the result of the treatment of the Lord and His being glorified, that the dispensation had such a character, and held such a place. It was the secret of God hidden from ages and generations, and formed an extraordinary break in the dispensations, to the rejection, for their unbelief , of the proper earthly people of God; a forming out of the earth, but not for it, a body of Christ- a heavenly people associated with Him in glory in which He should be and should reign, when the full time was come, over the earth, in those times of restitution which should come from the presence of the Lord; a system forming no part of the earthly system, though carried on through the death of Christ in the forming of its members in it, but that, when all things are gathered together in one in Christ, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, these should be associates of His glory, in whom it and the riches of His grace should be shewn, given them in Christ Jesus before the world began, according to the gift of the Father; a purpose formed for Christ's especial and personal glory before the worlds, and kept secret till the time of His sending down the Spirit after the actual glory was accomplished, after He had entered, in risen manhood, into the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.

The church has sought to settle itself here; but it has no place on the earth. It may shew forth heavenly glory here according to that given to it; but it has no place here, but in glory with Christ in heavenly places at His appearing. We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

The subject, as to the special distinctness of the dispensation, has been treated of elsewhere, and therefore I do not enter into it at large here. I believe it to ne the most important point for the church to consider now. Looked at as an earthly dispensation, it merely fills up, in detailed exercise of grace, the gap in the regular earthly order of God's counsels, made by the rejection of the Jews on the covenant of legal prescribed righteousness, in the refusal of the Messiah, till their reception again under the New Covenant in the way of grace on their repentance; but through making a most instructive parenthesis, it forms no part of the regular order of God's earthly plans, but is merely an interruption of them to give fuller character and meaning to them. As to the thing introduced, we are called to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the place or the time of His glory; our calling therefore is not here at all; but when Christ who is our life shall appear, we also shall be in glory. Ministration upon earth is merely to this purpose. The moment there is a minding of eartly things, there is enmity to the cross of Christ; for 'our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.' The Jewish system was a system of derived earthly authority; and while the church was simply among them, it never lost its earthly character entirely; it was open at any time for the return of the Lord, and was formed upon the order of derivative authority from Him when He had not yet ascended into glory, though it was accomplished by the Spirit, which enabled them to testify to His ascended glory. But they were Jews; and they maintained the character of the earthly system so far as it was associated with the resurrection of Christ was the 'sure mercies of David.'"

Taken from The Character of Office in the Present Dispensation in Collected Writings vol.1, p.93-95