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.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Ernest Kevan by Paul E. Brown

Ernest Kevan
Leader in the Twentieth Century British Evangelicalism

Paul E, Brown
Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2012
294+xvii; pbk; £8.00
ISBN 978 1 84871 156 3

In his introduction Paul Brown, former pastor of Bethel Chapel, Stoke-on-Trent, comments that if you look up Dr Ernest F. Kevan on the internet you are likely to think that he is only known for writing book entitled The Grace of Law. But, no longer, Brown has changed that - a search for Ernest Kevan now leads to several reviews of Brown's book. Brown knew Kevan while he was a student at London Bible College (1957-1960) when Kevan was principal.

Kevan was perhaps best-known as the principal of London Bible College (now called the London School of Theology) (1946-1965) and for his joint editorship of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship's one volume commentary of the Bible. Several chapters are devoted to Kevan's role as principal of the LBC, but only a few paragraphs on the influential commentary.

Kevan's upbringing was Strict Baptist, but of the more open kind. He pastored three Strict Baptist congregations. The first, at Church Hill Baptist, Walthamstow, when he was only 21. Here he found his wife, Jennie several years his senior, engaged in church planting and wrote his first book: London's Oldest Baptist Church. In 1934 he became the pastor of Zion, New Cross. From there he took up the pastorate for a short time at Trinity Road Chapel, Tooting (1944), while being involved with the establishing of the interdenominational London Bible College.

A good third of the book deals with his time at LBC. Two chapters deal with his 'wider ministry'. Unusually for a Strict Baptist (SB) Kevan had been involved with the Keswick movement. He had even encouraged other SB's to attend. It was in 1953 that he was asked to deliver the Bible readings. He chose to preach on Romans 7-8, key Keswick verses. Graham Scroggie had the previous year preached on the same passages, expounding the traditional Keswick view of holiness and sanctification. It could not have been a coincidence that Kevan took up the same verses to expound a traditional Calvinistic view of sanctification. Obviously Kevan was able to go where no other SB had gone before!

This biography is very readable and Brown has made good use of his sources notably Kirby's short biography - Kirby was Kevan's successor as principal of LBC - and the two histories of LBC by Harold Rowden and Ian Randall. He has also made good use of Kevan's written works and this book has numerous extracts from them at key points, allowing Kevan to 'speak for himself'.

One appendix provides a helpful summary of Kevan's doctorate published as The Grace of Law, which is still available; another appendix provides extracts from his other works; and yet another copies of some important documents including letters to Dr Martryn Lloyd-Jones. Several photographs serve to add value to the book.

This book is a worthy tribute to an unassuming, often overlooked, but highly influential Calvinist evangelical of the twentieth century.

Available from ICM Books Direct

High-Lights of Strict Baptist History by C. Breed

High-lights of Strict Baptist History
Charles Breed
16 pages; paperback.
Reprinted for the Strict and Particular Baptist Minister's fellowship, no date c. 1949.

This short, 16 page, pamphlet was written by the first student, and later principal, of the Strict Baptist Bible Institute. The pamphlet is a printed version of a lecture given in 1948 at the Strict Baptist Open Air Mission.

Strict and Particular Baptists were so-called because they were Strict in who they allowed to take communion, held to particular grace and believed in believers' baptism by full immersion. They were strongly calvinistic. 

Breed notes in his opening statement that 'Strict Baptist history have never been written'; this was the case in 1948, but now Kenneth Dix has at least partly remedied that. This pamphlet provides, as the title suggests, a few highlights. Breed recounts vignettes of displays of 'amazing courage and glorious heroism'.The Strict Baptists were born  out of persecution and many of them paid for their beliefs with imprisonment and even death. It was at a time when any meeting together for worship had to be according to the forms of the Established church: non-conformism was illegal in the seventeenth century. 

Although brief this pamphlet provides an insight into the courage, faith and tenacity of the early Strict Baptists in the scriptures and the God of the scriptures. They were also involved in the cause of religious liberty, at the forefront of the abolition of slavery and held a strong commitment to the advancement of education. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Best books of 2012

In no particular order:

Andree Troost What is Reformational Philosophy? Paideia Press

Craig Bartholomew and David Beldman (editors) Hearing the Old Testament Eerdmans

Ian J. Shaw Churches, Revolutions and Empires 1789-1914 Christian Focus

Albert Weideman A Framework for the Study of Linguistics Paideia Press

James Eglinton Trinity and Organism: Towards a New Reading of Herman Bavinck's Organic Motif T&T Clark

George Harinck (editor) Kuyper in America Dordt College Press 

Lydia Jaeger What the Heavens Declare: Science in the Light of Creation Cascade

Amy Sherman Kingdom Calling IVP (my reviews Intro  Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 )

Best books of 2011
Best books of 2009
Best books of 2008

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Terry Eagleton and Roger Scruton debate 'culture'

A great debate between Terry Eagleton and Roger Scruton on culture. Is is it a tradition to be imparted or a context to be critiqued?


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Odds and sods

Byron Borger on the re-release of Dooyeweerd's Roots of Western culture
Mark Roques reports on his recent visit to Cumbria
Willem de Witt on Bristley's Guide to Bavinck
Nelson Kloosterman on H. Henry Meeter on the Bible and politics in the Calvinist worldview (1) and (2)

A helpful critique of Twilight and expose of how Christians have engaged with it.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The idolisation of being extrovert

This fascinating TouTube is based on Susan Cain's book Quiet - a look at the the quiet introverts. This is an interview with Susan Cain.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Church parties according to W J Conybeare (1855)


PRTJ issue on Herman Bavinck

The November 2012 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal is a special issue on Herman Bavinck.

There articles on Bavinck the man and his theology, his covenant theology, and his view of common grace. There is also a review of Ron Gleason's biography of Bavinck.