An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hope in Hope Street by Gervase Charmley

The Hope in Hope Street
200 Years in Hanley
Gervase Charmley
Bethel Evangelical Free Church, 2012

Every church building can tell a story. Unfortunately, not many are told. This book tells the story of one small evangelical congregation through the years. The book was written by the present pastor, Grevase Charmely (who blogs here), to celebrate Bethel Evangelical Church's 200 years of existence.
This local expression of church is currently affiliated to the FIEC. But that wasn't always the case. It started life as a congregational chapel, became associated with Edward Jeffrey's Bethel movement before returning to its congregational roots and then became affiliated to FIEC.
                                                      Now ....

                                                                         ... and then

Founded in October 1812 as Hope Chapel by some who had seceded from the large Congegational Tabernacle, which was formed as a result of the preaching of Revd George Burder and Captain James Scott when they came to the Potteries town of Hanley. Hope's first pastor came two years after it was founded. 

One small criticism is that the story of the church is told through its pastors. Little is provided of how the congregation were engaged in ministry outside of the church. This is probably inevitable as the historical documents relate to the pastors and not the congregation. However, it implicitly leaves the impression that the only ministry is that done by the pastor, the minister.

Revd John Greeves (1791-1846), a Methodist convert from Buxton, was the first to fill the pulpit full-time. On leaving Hope Chapel a few years later he went back to his Methodist roots. The more experienced  Revd William Farmer (1780- ) took up the reigns in 1816. Farmer was embroiled in accusations of sexual infelicitations - he strenuously denied them; but this had an effect on his church ministry. He left Hope Chapel in 1824. When he left he took about 50 of the congregation with him and formed a new local church. 

Being an evangelical church mission was rightly and inevitably high on its agenda and a number of saints were sent from Bethel as overseas missionaries. The first ones sent from the church were contemporaries of the Serampore trio in india. 

1824-1827 was the time of Pastor Samuel Jackson, this was followed by John Edmonds and then in 1842 the Revd Charles Fox Vardy (1806-1889). Vardy's health meant he had to resign in 1847. Other pastors in the nineteenth-century included Robert Macbeth, James Deakin, John Kay and Richard Henry Smith and David Horne (uncle of Charles Silvester Horne, the notable Congregationalist). Smith was a particularly interesting character. Smith had a great interest in art and wrote several books on art, including Expositions of the Cartoons of Raphael (1861). He used this interest to help working class people understand art and to introduce them to the Gospel, in part he was the forerunner of the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon men's fellowship (PSA).  

William Landsell was responsible for leading the congregation out of the long nineteenth-century into the somewhat troubled twentieth. It was during this time that falling church numbers began to hit Hanley and  far wider. The church suffered from the effects of the First World War. During this time there were several attempts at linking congregations, as there was a problem with small congregations supporting full-time pastors.  Respite from decline came in the form of Edward Jeffreys, son and nephew of the Pentecostal pioneers Stephen and George Jeffreys. Edward Jeffreys had set up the Bethel Evangelistic Society He came to the Potteries in 1930. Hope Chapel were enamoured with him and agreed to become part of the Bethel set-up. This involved a name change to bethel temple and Jeffreys provided them with Pastor W. J. Jones and then Pastor Alfred Anderson Brown. Edward Jeffreys originally held a Pentecostal theology, but later came to amend his views. Pastor Ernest John Vernon took over from Brown in 1934. In 1939 the Bethel movement was wound up and this left bethel once more an independent church. Edward Jeffreys went on to be ordained into the Anglican Church. 

The Second World War caused as many issues as the first. Vernon's sudden death in 1953 left the way for Mr Archibald Walter Mead to become the pastor. Under pastor Mead Bethel affiliated to the FIEC.

The next major event of the church involves the new building - here they had to take on the supermarket giants Tesco and won. the result was a modern new building which now stands on the site of the old.  This was under the pastorship of Paul E. Brown, the author of the recent biography of Ernest Kevan.

This is a fascinating story of two centuries of church history. It is well written and well researched. Many primary documents as well as family history documents consulted. It provides ample evidence of God's sovereign grace in a local congregation. 

Africa for Norway - share the heat: Radi-Aid

[HT First Things]

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Odds and sods

Nelson Kloosterman discusses Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms in Dutch Theology

Paul Otto, the reformational blogger, has switched to Wordpress and has posted a list o his top ten reformational books see the discussion on them here.

Jim Skillen's paper on The Bible and the State. From the Churches and the Rule of Law
John Knox Center, Geneva, Switzerland, 28-31 October 2012.
Jason Goroncy's brief report on the conference and his response to Skillen is here.

Reformed academic's Jitse van der Meer on Bavinck and evolution:
Finally, I referred to Bavinck not because I think he should have the last word on the relationship of Scripture and scholarship. I referred to him because I believe no one in the Reformed tradition has improved on his views in this respect. If we want to improve on his views we should start with Herman Bavinck.
My short piece on William Carey, statistics and the modern missionary movement

Lawrence Osborn on theology as stamp collecting.

Anthony Smith on Creation care

The Evangelical Times interactive Church History Timeline

Saturday, 17 November 2012

E. J. Poole-Connor on English evangelicalism in the nineteenth century

After having dealt with the tail end of the eighteenth-century Poole-Connor now turns to the nineteenth. He spends most pages discussing C. H. Spurgeon, for whom he obviously has the highest regard.

Here is a scapple of pages 199-238.
"... the history of religion in England during the nineteenth century was, from the Evangelical stand-point, one of bright hope and ultimate disappointment. The flood-tide was followed by a rapidly-running ebb." p. 201.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

E J Poole-Connor Evangelicalism in England

Here is a scrapple summary of Poole-Connor's section on 18th Century dissenters from his chapter on the 19th century.

Monday, 12 November 2012

E. J. Poole-Connor on Evangelicalism in England

I've been dipping into E. J. Poole-Connor's Evangelicalism in Britain, FIEC, 1951.

Poole-Connor was a friend of Martyn Lloyd-Jones - who wrote the forward to this book - and was the founder of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) in 1922 (though at the time it was called 'The Fellowship of Undenominational and Unattached Churches and Missions'). Poole-Connor's biography is called Contender for the Faith.

Here's a scapple of the first part of chapter 7 of Evangelicalism in England on the nineteenth century. In it, he begins by looking at the eighteenth century. He makes two interesting points: the eighteenth-century revival wasn't restricted to the Wesley-Whitfield circle; and there was a strong attachment by the major players to the Church of England.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Music for a Sunday - Mozdzer, Danielsson & Fresco

Herman Bavinck's Christian Family newly translated

Herman Bavinck's Het Christelijk Huisgezin. Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1908, has now been translated by Nelson Klosterman and is available from Christian's Library Press. (ISBN 978-1-938948-14-5).

It is a 'study of the different aspects of the family from a Christian perspective.' In the original Bavinck looked at:
(1) the origin of the family
(2) the disruption of the family
(3) the family among the nations
(4) the family in Israel
(5) the family in the New Testament
(6) dangers to the family
(7) marriage and the family
(8) the family and education
(9) the family and modern society
(10) the future of the family.
There is an introduction from James Eglinton.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Snippets from Kuyper's Pro Rege by Nelson Kloosterman

In his excellent piece Peering Into a Lawyer’s Brief: An Extended Examination of David VanDrunen’s Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms Nelson Kloosterman quotes Abraham Kuyper:
Christ does not undo the work of creation, but joins himself to that creation and builds upon it. This same truth applies to Christian society. If the foundation of society is provided in creation, and if sin has deformed the edifice of that society, then Christ comes not to establish an entirely new kind of society alongside it, but his kingly authority rather extends in order to restore the original, to correct what had become deformed, to perfect the unfinished construction. The church is an entirely new establishment, one that is added to the work of creation, but family and society were present at the origin of humanity’s life. Christ recovers both of them, and does not establish them anew, and where his authority governs both, this authority proceeds according to the laws of life ordained for both of them from Paradise onward. . . . At the moment we can suffice by letting the general rule guide us: ‘Christian’ does not mean a new invention and a new creation, but a return to the original creation, and a further building upon that ancient foundation, always involving the struggle with and the atonement for the sin that incessantly seeks its ruin (Pro Rege, 3.23).
And provides an excellent summary of Pro Rege the soon to be translated work of Kuyper:

In order to show the reader what is “out there” in those pockets of Kuyper-land accessible only in the Dutch language, permit this embarrassingly brief summary of these volumes. Volume 1 of Pro Rege treats the kingship or rule of Christ in his exaltation, discussing in turn the darkening of Christ’s kingship, the undermining of Christ’s kingship, and the kingship of Christ according to Scripture. Interestingly, chapter 22 explores “De twee Rijken” or “The Two Kingdoms,” where Kuyper analyzes the kingdom of Satan in opposition to the kingdom of Christ. Volume 2 examines the kingship of Christ in its operation, paying attention to the subjects of Christ’s rule, to Christ’s rule in his church, together with the relation of Christ’s kingship to the Christian (!) family, including a discussion of headship, of feminism, of authority, of family worship, and of childrearing. This examination continues in volume 3, where Kuyper devotes entire sections with multiple chapters to explaining the relationship of Christ’s kingship to society, to the state, to science, and to art. In these magisterial volumes, Kuyper wrestled with the relationship between creation and redemption. Precisely in that context, he explained extensively the nature of Christian activity within the creation and within culture. He spoke frequently of a Christian society, with Christian institutions, Christian policies, and Christian practices. If the life of society is indeed grounded in creation, then the kingship of Jesus Christ over society is exercised according to creational ordinances. A Christian society is not a novel invention that came into existence with the incarnation of Christ, but rather a Christian society consists in the perfecting of what had been established at creation (which clearly resembles the “grace restores nature” motif championed by Kuyper’s contemporary, Herman Bavinck!).

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Michael B Thompson on the New Perspective

The New Perspective on Paul
Michael B. Thompson
Grove Books, revised edn 2010
Biblical Series B26
ISBN 9781851745180
28pp, pbk, £3.95

This short accessible book examines the controversial issue of the New Perspective on Paul. Often this debate has generated more heat than light, but Thompson has produced an excellent eirenical introduction that will help illuminate the debate.

He examines the problems with the Lutheran view that shaped the 'old perspective' and looks at how Sanders, Dunn  and Wright have responded to that. He then looks at the benefits and the threats of the New Perspective in an even-handed way.

If you wondered what the New perspective is all about, then there is perhaps no better first place to look at than this booklet. A page of further reading is provided for those who want to take the issues further.

A scrapple summary of the book is available here.

Michael B. Thompson on the New Perspective

I've recently been using the beta scrapple - it's very good!

Here's a scrapple of Michael Thompson's Grove booklet on the New Perspective.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Three major events at Kuyper Center, Princeton

The Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology
In April 2013, The Kuyper Center at Princeton Seminary is hosting three major events

April 17th–18th “Neo-Calvinism and World Christianity”
A symposium with Daniel Bourdanné, Mark Gornik, Darrell Guder, and Stefaan Paas

Thursday April 18
2013 Kuyper Prize Lecture
with Dr Russell Botman, Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, South Africa

April 18th–20th Kuyper Center Annual Conference
“Church and Academy”
with William Carl III, Kris Culp, Gordon Graham, Jeroen de Ridder, and David Sanchez
PAPER PROPOSALS are invited on all aspects of the general theme. Papers selected for inclusion will run concurrently. In addition, each block of concurrent sessions will include a session reserved for a graduate student paper. Graduate Student Awards are available for student presenters to assist with the cost of travel and lodging. Proposals should take the form of an abstract of not more than 300 words and be submitted as an email attachment to December 15th, 2012. Decisions will be announced by mid January 2013. All accepted papers will be considered for publication in the Kuyper Center Review Volume 5, to be published in 2015.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Resources for a Christian approach to art and aesthetics

  See Artway's list of suggested readings here

Craig Bartholomew 1994. “'Dominion’ as a Key to Understanding Art,” in Venster op Die Kunste: Christelike Perspektiewe/ A Window on the Arts: Christian Perspectives (Potchefstroom: IRS, 1994), 41-57.

Graham Birtwistle
  • 'Art and the arts' In Tim Dean and David Porter (editors) Art in Question, Marshall Pickering, 1987. 
Hilary Brand and Adrienne Dengerink Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts Piquant, 2001.

Adrienne [Dengerink] Chaplin , 'Past the Post: Post-modernist Art and Beyond,' Third Way (March 1988) 14-16

Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin 'What's the point?' Summer reading and the arts Comment 2007.

William Dryness Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue. Baker Academic, 2001.

Geoff Hall [website]
  •     The Artists Autobiography
  •     Translating the Invisible Wind

     All published by Upptacka Press and available here.

Nigel Halliday [website] 'Christians and the arts' Affinity Bulletin (March)

Abraham Kuyper 'Calvinism and art' in Lectures on Calvinism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Nancy Pearcey Saving Leonardo. B&H, 2010.

James Romaine (editor) Art as Spiritual Perception: Essays in Honor of E. John Walford Crossway, 2012.

Hans Rookmaaker

Art Needs no Justification (IVP, 1978) on-line version

Modern Art and the Death of a Culture (IVP, 1970)

Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker (editor) The Complete Works of Hans R. Rookmaaker (Piquant, 2002/3) vols 1-6:
1. Art, Artists and Gauguin
2. New Orleans Jazz, Mahalia Jackson and the Philosophy of Art
3. The Creative Gift, Dürer, Dada and Desolation Row
4. Western Art and the Meanderings of a Culture
5. Modern Art and the Death of a Culture
6. Our Calling and God’s Hand in History
       On Rookmaakker Transpositions series

Anne Roberts Outside the frame: Postmodern art Cambridge Papers 20 (2) June 2011.

Duncan Roper
'The gospel, art and aesthetic theory'. Issues Number 6, November 1990.

'Aesthetics, art and education: a Christian look at art' (1980) [pdf] No Icing on the Cake: Christian Foundations for Education (ed. Jack Mechielsen) (Brookes-Hall Publishing Foundation, 1980)

'Aesthetics, art and education: consequences for curriculum' (1980) [pdf] No Icing on the Cake: Christian Foundations for Education (ed. Jack Mechielsen) (Brookes-Hall Publishing Foundation, 1980)

'A Christian Look at Educating Art & Aesthetics' (Sept 1978) [pdf]

Richard and Janice Russell 'The darkening West: a study in contemporary art and philosophy' (available from CSU here.)

Philip Graham Ryken Art for God's Sake, A Call to Recover the Arts. Presbyterian and Reformed, 2012.

Francis Schaeffer Art and the Bible. IVP, 1973.

Calvin Seerveld

Seerveld's books are available from Tuppence Press (in North America) and the Christian Studies Unit (in the UK) and Piquant (in the UK)

Rainbows for a Fallen World. Toronto: Tuppence Press, 2005

Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves: Alternative Steps in Understanding Art Piquant 2000.
The gift of artistry - God's clothing for human life

    Creativity [pdf] Big Picture 1 (3) (Trinity 1999): 5-6, 31-32.
    'Two Writers Engage in Rainbow Action: Nick Looks at Cal; Cal Looks at Nick' in Vanguard 10.6 1980 4, 5 and 18.

On Seerveld:
Gregory Baus Seerveld’s Hineinlebenshaltung
Lambert Zuidervaart and Hernry Luttikhuizen eds., Pledges of Jubilee. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995
Daniel Sidell God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.

Peter Smith 'Making paintings'. In Tim Dean and David Porter (editors) Art in Question, Marshall Pickering, 1987.

David Thislethwaite The Art of God and the Religions of Art
[available at the link from the author]

E. John Walford

  • Great Themes in Art. Pearson, 2001.
  • 'Learning to perceive through visual art'. In Jeffry Davis and Philip Ryken (editors)  Liberal Arts for the Christian Life. Crossway, 2012.

John Wilson One of the Richest Gifts. Handsell Press, 1981.

Margaret Wilson ‘A Window upon the world: Engaging with painting’ Cambridge Papers 11(3) September 2002.

Margaret Wilson ‘The window is closed: Engaging with early to mid-twentieth-century painting’ Cambridge Papers 16 (3) September 2007.

Lambert Zuidervaart, Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democratic Culture. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Lambert Zuidervaart, Artistic Truth: Aesthetics, Discourse, and Imaginative Disclosure. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Lambert Zuidervaart and Henry Luttikhuizen, eds., The Arts, Community and Cultural Democracy (St. Martin's, 2000).

Many of these books if they are in print are available from Byron Borger's Hearts & Minds Bookstore in the USA. See also his list of books for the creative arts.
Or Richard Russell's CSU in the UK.

Other bibliographies for a Christian approach to ...

... mathematics
... technology
... geography
... psychology
... language and linguistics
... worldview books
... biology
... sport
... politics
... economics
... biblical view of what it means to be human
... sphere sovereignty
... education
... law
... history
... vocational discipleship
... music

odds and sods

Bob Collins has a review of Al Wolters's Creation Regained

Willem J. de Wit "Who Wrote Bayna al-ʿaql wa-al-īmān? An Invitation to Read Herman Bavinck in the Middle East"

Mike Wittmer on the recent publishing phenomenon: The Year of Living ...

Anthony Thiselton on hermeneutics:

[HT Anthony Billington]