Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sura 30 The Roman Empire, 31 - the wise, 32 - adoration

60 VERSES. Roman empire defeated by a land close by but will soon be victorious. Signs from God are mates, love and mercy, heavens, earth, languages, colours, sleep, lightning, rain, winds, apostles,.
31- 34 verses. Luqman given wisdom
32 - 30 verses. God created in six days, rules all affairs, made man from clay and breathed into him something of God's spirit. Book of moses a guide to the children of Israel. as

Friday, April 28, 2017

Sura 29 The spider

69 verses. Noah sent for 950 years but the deluge overwhelmed those persisting in sin. Saved Noah and companions. Saved Abraham from idolaters. Lot had faith in God. Reproved lewdness and homosexuality. Messengers to Abraham said they would destroy those where Lot lived. Went to Lotto save him and to punish the township. Midian rejected Jethro. Mighty blast sized gem. Thamud reject and Ad. Korah, Pharaoh and Hasan rejected Moses' clear signs. Each seized for their crimes. Those seeking protectors other than God are like the spider with a flimsy house.Dispute not with the People of the Book. We believe in our revelation and yours. Our God and your God is one.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 27: The Jerusalem Chamber

by archivist
This Most Venerable But Perishing Pile of Stones
For whatever reason, the 200th anniversary of the Westminster Assembly, in 1843, did not garner all that much attention. The 250th anniversary, by comparison, was a much bigger event, widely observed by Presbyterians around the globe. So it was that on this day, April 27th in 1897 that Dr. William Wirt Henry [1831-1900] brought before the Presbytery of East Hanover, as it convened in the First Presbyterian church of Richmond, VA, a message titled “The Westminster Assembly: The Events Leading Up to It, Personnel of the Body, and Its Method of Work.” [Dr. Henry is noted as the grandson and biographer of that great American patriot, Patrick Henry]
From this address, we excerpt here an interesting bit of background on the historic room where the Westminster Assembly convened for most of its meetings:—
Dr. William Twisse was named as prolocutor, or moderator, and he opened the Assembly on the day appointed with a sermon on the text of John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless.” This sermon was delivered in the Abbey church in Westminster before a great congregation, in which sat the members of the two houses of Parliament and many of the divines named as members of the Assembly. The Assembly then went into the chapel of Henry VII., where the roll was called. The body continued to meet in this chapel until the approach of winter, when, finding it too cold a place, it adjourned to the Jerusalem Chamber, where the sessions were afterward held.
It was most appropriate to connect the history of this memorable Assembly with the venerable Abbey, which is such a depository of all that is great in English history. The first church built upon the spot now occupied by the Abbey was the pious work of Sebert, king of the East Saxons, upon his conversion to Christianity in the sixth century, and is believed to have been intended as a memorial of the visit of Saint Augustine to England when he attacked and overthrew the Pelagian heresy in the native country of its author. The beautiful chapel of Henry VII. was built in 1502, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary by this last of the medieval kings of England. It has been the burial place of nearly every king since its erection, as the Abbey has been the place of their coronation. This has been beautifully expressed by the poet Waller in the lines,
“That antique pile behold,
Where royal heads receive the sacred gold;
It gives them crowns, and does their ashes keep;
These made like gods, there like mortals sleep,
Making the circle of their reign complete,
These suns of empire, where they rise they set.”
JerusalemChamber_exterior_CRodriguezThe Jerusalem Chamber was built by Abbot Littlington in the later part of the fourteenth century as a guest chamber for his house,and took its name from the tapestry pictures of the history of the seige of Jerusalem with which it was hung. It had been made memorable by the death of Henry IV. from apoplexy, March 20, 1413, while he was preparing for a visit to the holy land. Shakespeare thus describes the scene:
King Henry: “Doth any name particular belong
Unto the lodging where I first did swoon?”
Warwick:     “Tis called Jerusalem, my noble Lord.”
King Henry:  “Laud be to God! even there my life must end.
It hath been prophesied to me many years,
I should not die but in Jerusalem;
Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land;
But bear me to that chamber; there I’ll lie;
In that Jerusalem shall Henry die.”
Now a body of the most pious and learned men of English history were to occupy these venerable chambers, to restore the pure theology of Augustine; to teach a wicked king that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God; over the ashes of the greatest and the noblest of the English race, to proclaim the precious doctrines of the resurrection of the dead through a risen Saviour; to point from this most venerable but perishing pile to the new Jerusalem, not built with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Words to Live By:We find ourselves now at a troubling point in history, where, because of long-standing unbelief and the subsequent advances of idolatry, that many of the great markers and memorials of the Reformed faith throughout England and Europe stand in danger of being overrun and may someday even be threatened with destruction. Should that day come, what will be our response? Nothing in this life is forever, even those things carved in granite. But praise God that we have a greater place to stand. The true Ebenezer of our faith—the very Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation—can never be taken from us. Our faith rests not upon hallowed stones and hallways, but upon the living Lord of Glory who rose again from the dead to live and reign forever.
Image sources:
Rev. Charlie Rodriguez, pastor of Mount Carmel Presbyterian church, Clinton, MS, and owner of Fortress Book Service, has been gracious in granting permission to use these two photographs which he personally took, the first showing the inside the Jerusalem Chamber and the second that of the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, which also shows the outside window of the Jerusalem Chamber. The Great West Door would most likely have been the primary entry point for the Westminster Divines as they gathered for each day’s work. Our thanks to Pastor Rodriguez.
In March 2003 I was the moderator of our church's presbytery at an historic meeting in the birthplace of Presbyterianism's Westminster Confession. In this room of Westminster Abbey our Presbyterian confessionai standard's were formulated in the 1640's. On the left is Ranald Macaulay, son in law of the late Francis Schaeffer and one of the first two elders in our congregation from 1969. In the centre is Joe Martin who also served our Ealing church as an elder. The room is now the dining room of the Dean of Westminster, by whose kind permission we met there.

Sura 28 The narration

88 verses. Pharaoh slew sons of a small group. Told mother of Moses to cast him in the river. Wife of Pharaoh rescued and adopted him. Sent Moses sister to get the baby suckled by his mother. Full age Moses found one of his religion and a foe fighting. The one of Moses' religion appealed for help. Moses hit the other with his fist making an end of him. Asked God's forgiveness but next morning, same man had anther fight and when Moses would intervene the enemy asked if Moses would kill him like the man yesterday, would he become a powerful violent man. A man came and told Moses that the chiefs would slay him so Moses went to Midian.  Watered women's flocks  One woman's father offered employment and his daughter for a wife if Moses served eight years. Leaving with his family, Moses saw a burning firebrand. God spoke as Lord of the Worlds telling Moses to throw down his rod. Snake not to be feared says God. Moses hand white. Two signs to Pharoah. Feared he would be punished for murder and asked for Aaron as spokesman. Pharaoh called one Haman to build him a palace to mount up to the God of Moses who Pharaoh considered a liar. But God threw Pharaoh and his hosts into the sea. Revealed a book to Moses. Korah, proud in the life of this world, was swallowed up by the earth, his family too.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

IPC Building Project FAQ and News

We are reasonably confident that work will start very soon. This coming Sunday evening will we hope be our last on site for a year.

Why are we doing this?!  Couldn't the money be better used?
I think we need to keep in mind why we're doing the project so that IPC in future generations long after we're gone will be able to proclaim Christ in West Ealing. We need to be thinking beyond ourselvesBut for us, in this generation, a new building would be used for various ministries and ways to reach out to this community for the gospel. Think of how our current building has served the gospel, and how thankful we are for those in the early 80s who sacrificed and gave to buy 53 Drayton Green! Buildings can serve the gospel.

Why are we considering a new building?
We did consider in the early stages of the project whether as a church we should move — there was nothing that jumped out at us. In the providence of God, English Heritage listed the Chapel part of our building and, although at the time, this was incredibly infuriating it means that we are now locked into this area. 

The church has been at its current location since 1981 and has had good links with the community; there's real strength to that. I also think in a transient area like West Ealing, which will increasingly become more so with Crossrail, it is a great thing for a church to be saying that we want to be in this community proclaiming Christ in the long-term. We also are committed to being a local church — this is quite a rare thing in London and yet it is wonderful so many of us live within a bus ride or a short walk from the church.

Could we move to two services?
Lots of churches do this and there are good arguments for it....after all, if 200 people were converted in the next month, we'd need to think about how to fit them in.....but fundamentally the church is the gathering of God's people. The church is a community of people redeemed by Christ who know each other and are actively involved in each others' lives; when you move to two congregations on a Sunday morning the body life of the church is split, the gathering is divided, and relationships are weakened. That's not to say it is always wrong when God gives remarkable growth, but for the moment we see ourselves staying with one service. The needs of West London mean that church planting should be our priority rather than going to two services.

How about planting again?
We are in total agreement that we need to keep planting. West London is so needy that we need to keep focused on planting out from Ealing.  However, to do that, you do need a church to be a training church and strong enough to send people out. We trust that by having a building in which we can grow, we can continue to send out church plants like we've done with Immanuel, Brentford. We also mustn't be na├»ve in that sending people out is not easy — we miss those relationships and there's a real financial cost to doing it. To be more established as a church and slightly bigger allows you do more of it.

Can the new building be used for the wider community?
The building is a mixture of very flexible space which can be used by all the ministries of IPC and in various ways. The main auditorium has been designed primarily as a space for the worship of God. We hope that it will be a beautiful home for us as a church to worship God. One of the things we've discovered I think in this process is that architecture matters and actually buildings communicate what they are used for:  we trust that, as people enter our building, they will understand something of our theology. We will be able to use the rooms in other ways for games and clubs, but it is deliberate in its design as a place of worship rather than a sports hall.

Could we stay at Drayton Manor?
Drayton Manor has been an amazing provision and is a really good venue for us. However, each week we are paying considerable rent which will only increase. The other more serious consideration is that, in renting you are vulnerable to the whims of a premises manager or a headteacher. At the moment, another church in Ealing is looking for a venue and really struggling to find somewhere. How long will public venues like Drayton Manor be open to faith groups is also a realistic concern — our culture is quite hostile in parts to the gospel. To be able to run ministries during the week, and to be a permanent witness in a communityordinarily means that you need a building that people can identify as being connected with the church. 

Will there be accommodation as part of the new build?
We are hoping to build a flat which we would be able to rent out and would bring in some income. Our desire was to have two properties on the site but, in looking at the cost of the project and the planning restrictions placed upon us, we've needed to sacrifice one dwelling. This is disappointing but we didn't want to overstretch ourselves. Longer term the church does need to look at housing needs for future workers in West Ealing, but that's for another day.

We don't want to be a bigger church?
At the moment the planned building will seat under 300.  As Elders we don't envisage growing beyond 200/250 and our desire and our plan is to keep planting. I do want to challenge, though, the assumption behind this question — surely we want more people to come under the sound of the Gospel, we want more people to be discipled, we want to see more people growing in their likeness to Jesus?  On the other hand, we don't want relationships to be weak and for there to be a consumer approach that there sometimes can be in larger churches.  We need to see God desires his church to grow in Christ-likeness, but also in number. We need to see sometimes our desire to not be a big church isn't always right.

Why is it so expensive?
Great question!  There have been numerous complications from us having to buy out the Coach House and land at the back of the property, to designing a building that is both suitable for both our current and future use, to being acceptable to Council planning and English Heritage, and to tree preservation orders. It's not  been straightforward and God-willing we will have a building that is both accessible and useful, but also has a beauty to it that gives us more prominence on the street. Building a church in West London is hugely comparison with other churches building similar size buildings our costings are probably about average.

Why is it taking so long?
Partly we've not had someone full-time working on the project to drive things forward, but also it's been a complex situation from the start. None of us envisaged this taking as long as it has when we started out, and yet it's been a good thing for us as a church — we've seen God answer many prayers. What I think we should be particularly grateful for is that during this time the church has not been distracted by the building project, and we've known great unity throughout this. We are hopefully at a stage where work will begin in the early summer, and so we should be back in the new building by early summer 2018. However, we've learnt that dates are flexible in this process!

Sura 27 The ants

93 verses. Moses saw a fire and heard voice telling him to throw his rod. Told not to fear snake for he was an apostle. Then white hand. Nine signs to show Pharaoh and his people. Signs rejected. Gave knowledge to David and Solomon. Jinns , men and birds kept in order before Solomon. Ants told by one to get in their habitations lest Solomon tread on them. Mustered birds and asked why no hoopoe. It said it had come from Saba, where a queen rules the Sabeans. Sun worshippers. Solomon sent her a letter. She sent a gift.  Solomon asked his men to bring the queen's throne before she visited. She saw the throne and submitted to God. Thought the palace like a lake of water then paved with glass. Sent Salih (Jethro?) to Thamud. They became two quarrelling factions. Nine men plotted to destroy him but God destroyed them. Lot, apostle, reproached his people for homosexuality. They would drive out Lot and family. God saved them except for Lot's wife who lagged behind. Rained down brimstone.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sura 26 The poets

227 VERSES. The Lord is exalted in might, most merciful. Called Moses to go the people of Pharaoh. Go with Aaron. You will not be killed for your previous crime. Send Israel out. Pharaoh accused Moses of his crime. Fled for he feared judgement Now the Lord has made him an apostle Pharaoh says he is mad and if he denies Pharoah's divinity he will be imprisoned.  Moses showed miracle of the rod and white hand. All sorcerers called but Moses'  rod ate up theirs. The said they now believed in the Lord of the Worlds, Lord of Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh threaten them with cross amputation and crucifixion but they stood firm. Moses led Israel out by night and Pharoah's army pursued. Moses parted the sea and drowned the Egyptians. Abraham spoke against his father's lifeless idols. People of Noah rejected the apostles. Delivered him and all creatures in the ark. Unbelievers drowned. Thamud people rejected Salih the apostle, perhaps  Shelakh the descendant of Noah. They were judged for ham-stringing a forbidden she camel. Lot delivered and brimstone rained down. The Companions of the Wood rejected Shuayb who is considered by many to be synonymous with the Biblical figure of Jethro.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sura 25 The Criterion

77 verses. Unbelievers question why an angel was not sent with the message and why the Quran was given in stages. Moses sent a book and given Aaron as his minister. Drowned those who rejected Noah. Sent to Ad, Thamud (in Arabia) Companions of the Rass (Azerbaijan?).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sura 24 Light

64 verses. Adulterers or fornicators to be flogged with 100 stripes. They are only to marry like sinners. A false charge against a chaste woman without four witnesses merits 80 stripes. Charge against spouse with no corroborating evidence needs an oath four times and a fifth for a curse on them if they lie. A wife may respond with similar oaths thatcher husband lies. Women to guard modesty with veils over bosoms. Show beauty only to close male relatives. God the light of heavens and earth.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ealing IPC building update

We thought it was about time we gave you an update about the Building Project.  There have been some real encouragements:
Natalie’s hard work with the Solicitors on the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) means that legally we are in a right position to go ahead.  For the observant, you will notice that we have a new charity number CIO 1171604.
Mark and Coaston have done excellent work with Methodist Chapel Aid in securing a loan for £950,000 over 30 years.  We obviously would like to not have to draw down that amount, but it’s great to be able to have access to that when we need it.
The Deacons and Adrian in particular have done lots of work behind the scenes in preparing our move to Dean Hall once the building work begins. It is a remarkable provision that we will be able to use Dean Hall for Sunday nights and mid-week ministries.
What is not so encouraging is that, having been working with the Building Contractors for the past six months, our Project Manager whom we appointed in November, feels that we need to re-look at our Building Contractors.  David Watson, who has been working closely with them (and has been involved with us right through this process), reports that at a meeting last week it was decided that we would go back out to tender.  The good side to this is it’s better that we know this now rather than if we were three months down the line having started the actual building.  There’s a good relationship with the Project Manager and we need to trust the professional advice we’ve been given. 
The rough timeline is as follows:

1. Documents would be ready to be sent out to tender at the end of April. The Building Contractors would have two weeks to get a quote back in.  One encouragement is that it appears builders are more eager for work than they were this time last year, and so we hope we will have four bids.
2. By mid-May a decision should be able to be reached on a successful tender and, if there is no negotiation to be had on price (we need the bids to come in under £2.2 million and so do pray that we would have a number of bids under this price), we should be able to sign a contract and builders should be on site demolishing by the end of June.
At this point, if you’re still with me, you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking this could take a lot longer – and it could.  But, God-willing, if the tenders come back at the right price, we should be starting the building work before the summer holidays.
Where does this leave us?  Having looked at the figures there is a shortfall of around £200,000 (although the  building is £2.2m we still need to fit it out) and we are approaching a number of donors about this, but we are also asking whether you as a congregation can give again.  We had hoped not to have to come back to you until the building had actually started, but that has not been possible.  So we have called for a day of prayer, fasting and giving on Wednesday 26th April.  We’ll get together that evening to break the fast, eat together, celebrate the Lord’s Supper and pray. 
If we are able to raise the remaining shortfall then this will also put us in a better position when we go out to tender.  
This has been a long project and we are grateful for all the work that the Building Committee and various people have done on this — and also the patience of the church family in the process.  The Building Project has never been a source of division – long may that continue!
We also need to remember how far the Lord has brought us –  we have raised almost £2.1 million (with the help of pledges, the loans and donations and also after having bought out the Coach House and the land at the back of the church for £400,000) — it is remarkable where the Lord has brought us to.  It feels like we’ve been saying this for quite a long while, but we’re not far away from being able to start.
Do keep praying and consider how you might be able to give.

Why reading the Quran?

I have been asked why my daily Quran posts. Someone must have missed this which I posted at the start of my readings.
 'I was given a copy of the Quran by a Muslim leader at the Regent's Park Mosque back in 1983. I did read through it then and thought I would try again now. After the short introductory chapter (sura) I persevered through the 286 verses of sura 2. (The Heifer) Impressions. A disjointed text with no real narrative linking. There are portions relating to some early Bible stories but nothing detailed. There is creation but no fall. Satan, Iblis falls because he will not bow down to Adam. There are several references to covenant but no definition nor description of covenant making. Stories of patriarchs are minimal and of Moses and Exodus too. More is omitted than included. There is much instruction as to how Muslims are to live, piety to observe and practical instructions like divorce. Bur it is a cold hodge podge, an incoherent ranmbing. How it could be described as the greatest literature beggars belief. I shall try another sura each day.'
Now about half way through my opinion has not changed. It is an incoherent rambling text. Bible references lack any context or detail. There is really no narrative , mere moralistic instructions. It lacks any real spirituality, only a cold judgmental morality. It has no literary variety of style and IMO no literary merit. Most Muslims learn it by rote as their exposure to it. It remains a closed book to them as most Muslims do not understand the Arabic text.

Then I was asked why I do not comment on the Bible chapters I read each day. My answer is one is forbidden to parade one's piety.

Sura 23 The Believers

1118 verses. Believers humble themselves in prayers, avoid vain talk, charitable only have sex within marriage or with captives. Man from clay and sperm. Then clot of blood, foetus, bees and flesh. Long line of prophets. Noah to make ark. Moses and Aaron sent to Pharaoh . Made son of Mary and his mother a sign. No son did God beget.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sura 22 The Pilgrimage

78 verses.  There will be a day of judgement and resurrection. Gave Abraham site of sacred house for pilgrimage. to circumambulate it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sura 21 Prophets

112 verses.  Granted to Moses and Aaron the criterion for judgement. Abraham broke father's idols. Delivered Abraham and Lot. Gave him Isaac and Jacob. Saved Lot from the town of abominations. Delivered Noah in flood. Gave David and Solomon right judgement. Removed distress from Job. Remember Ishmael, Enoch,  Zulkifl (Ezekiel), and Zunnun (Jonah). Listened to Zakariys and gave him John. Remember her who guarded her charity, We breathed into her our Spirit and made her and her son a sign for all peoples. God and Magog people will bring great terror.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sura 20 Mystic Letters

 135 verses. Moss saw a fire. Voice told him to take off shoes. Rod became a snake. Hand became white. Asked for Aaron to be his speaker. Mother told to put child into a chest then into the river with it. Sister showed mother would nurse the child. Killed a man. Went to Midian. Pharaoh rejected the signs. Magicians' rods became snakes. Moses rod ate them up so the magicians believed in the Lord of Moses.  Moses to travel by night through the sea. Water overwhelmed Pharoah and his forces. Made covenant with Israel at Sinai. Sent manna and quails. Golden calf made while Moses on mountain. Samiri not Aaron made the calf.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sura 19 Mary

98 verses. Zechariya prayed concerning his barren wife. John to be born. Unique name. Father old but given asked for sign of being unable to speak for three days. Mary withdrew from he family and received an angel to announce gift of a holy son. Miracle from God. She retired to a remote place. In pain she cried out beneath a palm. God told her to shake the tree and get ripe dates. Mary called sister of Aaron.The baby spoke from the cradle. Peace is on me the day I was born, the day I die and the day I shall be raised up again. Does not befit the majesty of God that he beget a son. Abraham told his father not to serve satan. Chased Abraham away for hating his gods. Threatened stoning. Gave Abraham the prophets Isaac and Jacob. Moses, apostle and prophet, given brother Aaron as prophet. Ishmael apostle and prophet. Idris (Enoch) a prophet.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Emir of Kano denounces radical Islam

His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Lamido Sanusi, has denounced radical Islamic teachings that breed poverty in Northern Nigeria.
The Emir, who stated this via his Instagram page, noted that the Southern Christians had set the pace of development in the country, and apparently left the North behind.
He urged Governors such as Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State, to pay attention to his opinions, and teach his people to be productive, instead of being beggars.
He wrote: “It’s my duty to speak the truth about the ill-effects of conservative Muslims who are harming Islam, rather than helping it.
“I condemned their refusal to expand their knowledge outside their own religion, and failure to realise that knowledge is power.
“I also correctly concluded denying the right to pursue scientific and technological knowledge and restricting people to Islamic knowledge, is the best means of ensuring that Muslims in Northern Nigeria will be remain economically backward. 

“I’m upset at the legion of beggars on the streets, and is trying to bridge the gap between the backward North and the Southern parts of the nation.
“I still believe that conservative Muslims are still stuck in the 13th Century, and their claim that children need no other knowledge than Islamic studies, flies in the face of reality.
“All the poverty, under-development, and immense suffering in the North, are a result of uneducated masses, refusing to learn work or a trade.
“The majority of Technicians in Kano are from the South, while untrained indigenes beg. How does that make sense?
“Why is it that conservative Muslims who claim to be against scientific progress, enter aeroplanes and fly to perform the Hajj in Mecca, rather than using camels to cross the desert! Why do they watch sermons beamed by TV live from Mecca, and read the Holy Quaran on their laptops, yet profess to abhor modern technology?
“I’d like to point out that there is no harm in copying from the West, if it brings succour to the masses of poverty stricken Muslims in Northern Nigeria.
“After all, Saudi Arabia, the “home” of Islam, is known for its highly-rated airline, modern hospitals, indigenous oil industry, and space program, all of which make it a world leader.
“In our backward nation, we insist on denying the truth. Unless Northern political leaders like Governor Yari, pay attention to me, there will never be a day when anywhere in the North will be like the modern Muslim cities of Kuala Lumpar, Istanbul, Jakarta, Lahore, Greater Cairo, Dacca, Karachi, Dubai, Riyadh, or Faisalabad.”

This is from but I refuse to advertise its pornograhic ads.

Sura 18 The cave

110 verses. Young man went and stayed in a cave for over 300 years. Wealth and sons are allurements of the world but good deeds are best. A book of deeds will be opened for judgement. Moses went in a boat with a companion who scuttled it.  He also killed a young man and came to a town where hospitality was refused but the companion built up a falling wall. Parting he explained his actions. Zulquarnain made a powerful king. Ruled various peoples.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sura 17 The Children of Israel

111 verses. God took his servant on a night journey from the sacred mosque to the farthest one. Gave Moses a book and as guide to Children of Israel. Allowed enemies to enter the temple. No infanticide, nor adultery. No murder. Protect the orphan. Just measures. Gave David psalms. Moses given nine clear signs . Pharaoh accused him of sorcery.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Calvin's doctrine of the Lord's Supper

This is from

For Calvin, the institution of the Supper was Christ’s ‘seal’ of his sermon in John 6, and he termed it a ‘mystical union’. Calvin believed that there is a real ‘spiritual’ reception of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper. The sacrament is a real means of grace – a channel by which Christ communicates himself. Luther and Calvin agreed that communion with a present Christ who actually feeds believers with his body and blood is what makes the sacrament. The question between them was the manner in which Christ’s body exists and is given to believers. Calvin held that, while Christ is bodily in heaven, distance is overcome by the Holy Spirit, who vivifies believers with Christ’s flesh. Thus the Supper is a true communion with Christ, who feeds believers with his body and blood. Calvin’s view of the Lord’s Supper appears to be a median position between the views of Luther and Zwingli, but it is in fact an independent position. Rejecting both Zwingli’s ‘memorialism’ and Luther’s ‘monstrous notion of ubiquity’, he held that there is a real reception of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, but in a spiritual manner. With Zwingli, Calvin held that after the ascension Christ retained a real body which is located in heaven:
Nothing should be taken from Christ’s ‘heavenly glory’, as happens when he is brought under the corruptible elements of this world, or bound to any earthly creatures… Nothing inappropriate to human nature (should) be ascribed to his body, as happens when it is said either to be infinite or to be put in a number of places at once.
Calvin rejected the doctrine of the absorption of Christ’s humanity by his divinity, and any weakening of the idea of a local presence of the flesh of Christ in heaven. The Supper is a true communion with Christ, who feeds believers with his body and blood.
…in the sacred Supper, we acknowledge a miracle which surpasses both the limits of nature and the measure of our sense… But we must have done with all inventions inconsistent with the explanation lately given, such as the ubiquity of the body, the secret inclosing under the symbol of bread, and the substantial presence on earth.
Calvin held that the essence of Christ’s body was its power. In itself it is of little value since it ‘had its origin from earth, and underwent death’, but the Holy Spirit, who gave Christ a body, communicates his power to believers so that they receive the whole Christ in communion. The difference from Luther here is not great, for he held that the ‘right hand of God’ to which Christ ascended meant God’s power, and that power is everywhere. The real difference lay in the present existence of Christ’s body. Both agreed that there is deep mystery which can be accepted though not understood:
If anyone should ask me how this (partaking of the whole Christ) takes place, I shall not be ashamed to confess that it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare… I rather experience than understand it.

Sura 16 The Bee

128 verses. God who has no partners created man from a sperm drop. Cattle for meat. God sends rain. Apostles sent with signs and books. Lord taught the bee to build its cells. Fullfill your covenant with God and keep your oaths. Satan has no authority over those who trust in Lord. God substitutes one revelation for another. Holy Spirit brings a revelation to strengthen believers. God forgives those who out of necessity beak food laws. Abraham a model of devout obedience. Joined not gods with God. God made a strict Sabbath for Jews.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sura 15 The Rocky Tract

99 verses. All apostles were mocked. Man made from clay, jinn from fire. Satan refused to bow to man. Cast out with respite to day of resurrection. Guests of Abraham brought glad tidings of a son. Messengers sent to people of Lot to save them except for his wife who will lag behind. Lot offered his daughters to the city men. Brimstone sent.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sura 14 Abraham

52 verses. Moses sent to deliver the people from Pharaoh. Noah an apostle and others to Ad and Thamud. Unbelievers doubted. Abraham wanted a city to preserve him and his sons from idols. Praised God for having Ishmael and Isaac in his old age.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Quran sura 13 Thunder

43 verses. Thunder repeats God's praises.God creator, supreme, irresistible. Gardens of perpetual bliss prepared. Gives to whoever he pleases.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Diary 2 to 8 April 17

Sun 2nd
Sunday, my computer Sabbath. Adult Sunday School, Matt on Stuart Church history. He surprised me with an address for John Owen's Ealing house. He wrote latter words there and died there too. Paul preached Is 57. I was too dopey from poor sleep pattenrs. Asleep in front of TV later too but managed the boat race and Antiques Road Show.

Mon 3rd
Fire Brigade from Wembley came on a home safety visit and installed free smoke detectors.This is a service free to all in London.

Tues 4th
Went to see Leeds s United at Brentford.I was astonished how poor the ground is with next to no hand rails when climbing to your seat. Nor is it all seater it seems. I left half time and missed nothing. Leeds were losing 2-0. The other reason for me leaving was I am still not 100% after my surgery.The ladies had told me not to come. 
Debbie declined a free ticket so I was on my own against advice.
Wed 5th
Excellent International Presbyteriani Church Ealing monthly prayer meeting last night. Or tendered builders have led us down so we are going out to tender again. For this, on 26th we will have a day of prayer, fasting and giving. Previous times of prayer and fasting have been a real blessing.
Thur 6th
U3A current affairs on Korea this morning. afternoon appointment ar Northwick Park urology OPD. Nearly an hour's wait. Then prescribed tests on the bladder at Central Middlesex followed by injections into the badder at Northwick Park.
Free at the point of need does not apply to parking. We estimate that in my 13 days at Northwick Park Katy paid well over £100 for parking. Even employees pay. 

Fri 7th
One of the most stupidly frustrating things on the web is completing a form then being told you have missed an answer so you must go back. Back you go and all you have filled in has dissappeared. So, Ship of Fools, your site is aptly named and I refuse to waste time filling in a lot of seemingly irrelevant questions once again.

Sat 8th
My INR measure of blood clotting on target so tomorrow will be the last day Katy has to inject me. Tablets now on. This afternoon we have two properties to visit. Our present 0% commission offer form Foxtons finishes within two weeks so we will contact three local firms for valuation and the best deal. So far no builders have visited and the council still have to approve our plans.

Reading one chapter a day in the Quran it has taken until sura 12 to get anything like a biblical narrative. Joseph.

Quran sura 12 Joseph

111 verses. Joseph saw vision of eleven stars, sun and moon bowing down to him. Father said not to tell brothers lest they plot.  God would teach Joseph interpretations of stories and events as he did to Jacob, Abraham and Isaac. Brothers envious. Wanted to kill Joseph but one said to put him in a well to be picked up by a caravan. Took Joseph from Jacob saying they would protect him when the plan was to be rid of him. Then came to Jacob weeping. Said wolf took him. Sold him to a caravan. Bought in Egypt by a master who would adopt him as son. Wife sought to seduce Joseph who fled. The fact his shirt was torn at the back witnessed he had fled from her but master recognising this said it was a snare from women and she should ask Joseph's forgiveness. Potiphar called Aziz. Wife called a feast of female friends and brought out Joseph. She said Joseph resisted her. She was guilty but if he would not be seduced he would be imprisoned. He preferred prison to fornication. In prison one man dreamed of pressing wine, another of carrying bread which birds took. Joseph told the meanings of the dreams. Satan made the one who was saved to forget and not speak up for Joseph. Pharaoh has dream of seven lean and fat cattle and fat and dry corn. Joseph was remembered by his companion and called to interpret. Seven years abundance, seven of famine to come. Pharaoh called the women who tried to seduce Joseph. Aziz's wife confessed. Joseph said he would supervise the storehouses. Brothers came not recognising Joseph. He said they must bring their half brother to him in order to receive corn. Found their money returned. Jacob required an oath that they bring their brother back. Joseph made himself known to his brother but not to the rest. Hid cup in Benjamin's sack and said he must stay in Egypt. Sends brothers back. Jacob tells them to go again and ask about Joseph. He reveals himself. Called family to Egypt.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Quran sura 11 Hud (Eber)

123 verses. Ridiculed Noah. Sent with a warning. Ark. Two by two. Flood. One son fled to mountains. Hud sent and rejected by Ad people. Salih sent to Thamud people. Abraham pleaded for Lot's people. Lot gave his daughters to the abominable people.Messengers sent brimstone. Shuaib sent to Midianites. Moses sent to Pharaoh.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Quran sura 10. Jonah

109 verses. God who created in six days regulates and governs all things. He cherishes and sustains you. No suras like Quran. Moses spoke to Pharaoh who called his sorcerers. Few  believed Moses for fear of Pharaoh. Pharaoh and host overwhelmed by flood when following Israel. Sustained then in desert. Spared the people who repented when Jonah preached.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Quran sura 9 repentance

129 verses. Pagans unrepentant after four months face war. People of the Book must submit and pay the Jizya. Jews call Ezra a son of God, Christians Christ is the Son.They have priests and anchorites as lords. No exemption from fighting. Only that God has decreed will happen. He protects believers. Sent to Noah, Hebrews, Thamud in Arabia, Abraham, Midian and cities overthrown.. Hypocrites made a covenant with God for bounty and they would be charitable and righteous. But turned back. Desert Arabs failed to help Mohammed. Medina too.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Quran sura 8 The spoils of war

75 verses. Spolis at the disposal of God and his apostle. Smite the unbelievers. From booty, one fifth to God, nd the apostle, hear relatives, orphans the needy and the wayfarer. We drowned people of Pharaoh.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Quran sura 7 The Heights

206 verses,. Satan lies in wait for those on the Straight Path. Adam in the garden, forbidden one tree, tempted by Satan. Deceived them. Covered their shame. Ask forgiveness. Resist temptation. God gave raiment of righteousness. Those who reject the Signs will not enter heaven until a camel can pass through the eye of a needle.  Creation was six days. Noah sent, rejected, ark, flood. Prophet Hud is possibly Eber, great grandson of Shem who refused to help build Babel so whose language was not confused but remained as before, Hebrew,  according to Abu Isa a 8th century Jewish prophet. Hud rejected. Salih sent. Means pious. Rejected. Lot sent and saved from destruction, except his wife. She-aib sent, means who shows right path. Midianate. Jethro? Pharaoh demanded a sign. Moses' rod became a snake and his hand leprous. Egyptian sorcerers' rods became snakes but swallowed up by Moses snake. Sorcerers believed in God of Moses and Aaron but Pharaoh did not. He said to kill Israelite male babies. Drought, famine, death, locusts, lice, frogs, and blood. Took Israel across the sea. Asked for idols. Moses, forty nights on the mountain could not see God, only some of his glory. Tablets of law. Found idols in camp. Seized Aaron by the hair. Moses asks forgiveness and chooses 70 elders. By sea, fish came to them only on Sabbath.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Books read April 2017

1. With Mercy and with Judgement: Strict Baptists and the First World War by Matthew J. Hyde 

First hand accounts, memoirs, diaries, letters and poems from those in the First World War. There are Strict Baptists, in fact the Gospel Standard denomination which is hypercalvinist though it is calvinism not a failure to freely offer the gospel which is to the fore. One couplet is quoted by many of the writers. From a  Ryland's hymn, Not a single shaft can hit, Till the God of love sees fit. Many Scriptures and hymns gave comfort but this couplet stood out. The Strict Baptists were not a denomination recognised by the Crown so they had no chaplains of their own. Men might go the Church of England parade services but often complained of little spiritual nourishment except for the hymns. Another peculiarity was the Strict Baptists refusal to heed the King's call for natonal days of prayer. They regarded that as Caesar stepping into the role of God. They also did not have any formal training for pastoral ministry. First we have memoirs and diaries, some accounts being written much later. The horrors of war are exposed, the seeming randomness of killing - unless you believed in the sovereignty of God. Many men went out to fight with no faith but found it in the war. Many complained of the difficulty of finding other Christians and of the profanity of the soldiers. The letter contain less of the fighting for they were censored and more of the spiritual conflict as. However it is in the letters we fid the most horrific account of four brothers, eldest sons of one family, all killed in one month.  It is a moving book and well illustrated with photographs of the soldiers.

2. The Original Highway Code Edited Rod Green

The first, second and fourth editions of the Highway Code in facsimile original prices, 1d, 1d and 6d.1935 is sparse. 1946 more modern and 1954 though more modern is still not in the motorway era. Good historical insights into the development of road usage.

3. London Street Atlas - Historical Edition (A-Z Street Maps & Atlases) by Geographers A-Z Map Company 

The original, published in 1939, reproduced in facsimile. Good to see one's are and how it has changed.

Great City Maps by DK 

A fascinating selection of city maps from ancient to modern. Some cities have more than one map so you see their development. One also sees the development the art of cartography. Quite a lot of history here too, the most graphic being theOttoman siege of Vienna. 1529.

5. 365 Reasons to be Proud to be British: Magical Moments in Our Great History by: Richard Happer

It does what the title says. Each day of the year an invention or achievement is listed. Some well known, some obscure and as eccentric as our country.

6. Andrew Gillon: A Tale of Scottish Covenanters by John Strathesh

This is a Victorian account of a Scottish father telling his children the history of the covenanters. The first part is an historical novel of a fictitious youth, Andrew Gillon who witnesses the murder of Archbishop Sharp. He becomes a fugitive with many adventures but eventually pays the ultimate price of a cruel martyrdom. The final part of the book is a brief history of the Scottish reformation, struggles under the Stuarts, covenants, killing times and eventual freedom under law in the glorious revolution of 1688.

7. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events by Bernard Grun Eva Simpson 

Whenever I research an historical period, this book is my first port of call. It gives the politics, events, religion, art, literature etc of any given period. As time goes on towards the modern, entries become more detailed. But for putting events in context, this is the best of books.

8. Music to Move the Stars: A Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking 

Jane Hawking gave up any hope of a career for the love of a man she knew to be suffering from an incurable disease. Stephen Hawking is a genius scientist but he is not an attractive man as portrayed here. He is shown to be self-centred and demanding, coming from a family that could be insensitive in the extreme. What sort of a mother in law asks if a child is her son's or someone els's? Jane is a woman who devotes 25 years of marriage to care for her eccentric, demanding husband. For many years he insists only his wife nurse him. When eventually nurses become necessary, one of them manages to seduce him away from his wife, estranging them and breaking up the marriage. Jane had a selfless commitment. She writes well and comes across as a faithful, long suffering patient wife despite the temptation to have a sexual relationship with Jonathan Jones, an extraordinary helper to the family, a man with the full respect and confidence of Stephen Hawking. After the hawking divorce, Stephen marries his nurse, Have her Jonathan. One recurrent theme of the book is the male chauvinist, uncaring Cambridge academic society. Also the lack of NHS care for the disabled and the provision of facilities for them.  Jane draws comfort from Christian faith but it is more centred on help received from Christin friends than a strong orthodox belief. But she stands out against her husband's atheism.The one point where I part company from her is her left wing politics and her criticisms of all things Thatcher. However in her marital love and her love for her children she comes across as a great woman worthy of admiration.

9. Solid Joys and Lasting Treasure: Historical Companion to Many Favourite Hymns by Tyler Whittle 

I am afraid this book shows too much of the prejudices of the author. He dislikes calvinism and Puritans. He puts Unitarians among Christian hymn writers. He has a great liking for the Victorian anglo-catholics. He majors with biographical detain on minot hymn writers who are perhaps remembered for only one hymn. He gives no mention of some well remembered and sung writers, in particular Horatius Bonar, perhaps the greatest of Scottish hymn writers and Ira Sankey, now out of fashion but the most sung writer of his age. This book is informative but unbalanced.

10. Eccentric Preachers by Charles H. Spurgeon 

It takes one to know one. Spurgeon was the Victorian prince of preachers. He could be eccentric too. Stories about of his wit and repartee. He said that those who criticised him for pulpit humour had no idea how mush he suppressed. Here he collects anecdotes of preachers classed as eccentric. One might merely label them as striking in approach and delivery. They all like CHS loved the Lord, preached the gospel and showed love to sinners. The message to the preacher is to be passionate about the gospel and be yourself in communication. 

11. The Jewel In The Crown (The Raj Quartet) by Paul Scott 

I read this with anticipation of a very good book but it did not reach my expectations and so I will not continue onto the other three books in the series. I think it paints a very good picture of India in WW II prior to independence. Nationalist sentiments are rising and the British reaction is severe. How the British view Indians and vice-versa is well portrayed as is the diversity of sentiments among the British. But the racism and segregation is everywhere much to the discomfort of one of the main characters, Hari Kumar, ex English public school so neither fish nor fowl when he has o return penniless to India where he cannot feel at home. One weakness of the book is that we never find out what happens to him in the end. Perhaps he reappears in a subsequent volume. The book does not have a happy ending. Rather like the Raj itself.

12.  Extreme Anglicanism: A Liturgical Guide to the Sporting Year by Catherine Fox 

You do not need to be Anglican to enjoy this book. All you need is a little knowledge of matters Christian and a sense of humour. There are not many really funny Christian books but this is a great one.

13. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes 

What a debut thriller! It is long but kept me turning the pages. I am not qualified to comment on how true to reality this story might be, how credible, but of the facts I do know, there is only one minor error. There are no Christian missionaries in Afghanistan and expatriate NGO workers have to undertake not to prosiletise Afghans. That is a minor quibble in a great book right up in the Forsyth and Seymour premier league. Strangely this is one of the few books I have read twice and the only one where I have done so inadvertently. My son loaned it to me and I started reading without knowing I had been here before. Then odd sections seemed familiar. But I could not anticipate where the story was going and certainly I had forgotten the climactic ending. I think the story better than my memory.

14. Prison Service in Britain (Images of England) by Beverly Baker Laura Butler 

A pictorial account of the history of prisons for medieval times to the modern. The development from punishment to rehabilitation is chronicled  and present conditions described.This book is a 2006 publication. Revision with up to date statistics would be helpful.

15. Tales of Mulla Nasruddin: For Children of All Ages (New World Literature Series) by P. Raja 

Who said there is no humour in Islam? Nasruddin proves there is wit and humour in the Islamic world.  Various countries claim him as their own. He belongs to the world of short stories with a humorous twist. Some are even laugh out lod ones.

16. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Dover Thrift Editions) by Frederick Douglass 

This is an horrific account of the early life of a man born in slavery in Maryland. In his twenties he escapes to freedom in the north but to protect others he gives no details of his escape. What is detailed is the monstrous cruelty of the slave owners, their brutality and dehumanising of the slaves who had no rights whatsoever. They could not even give legal testimony as to any offences committed by whites. Worst of all, Douglass reckons the cruelest slavers to be those loudly professing their religion. An eloquent testimony from a self educated man who rose against all the odds. He had been forbidden to learn to read, part of the subjection he suffered. A first rate, first hand account of southern slavery. 

17. Hus the Heretic by Poggius the Papist (Author), Paul Tice (Author)

Little is known today of Jan Hus the Bohemian martyred in 1415. He was rector of the University of Prague and a follower of the doctrines of Wycliffe. Summoned by the Roman Catholic church to a council in Constance, Switzerland he was tried for heresy and burned at the stake despite the emperor having previously given him a safe conduct. Before execution he was incarcerated in terrible conditions for several months. Like Luther, later, he refused to recant unless his views were refuted by scripture. But a majority of the church leaders voted for his death. This book is in two parts. The first is by Fra Poggius who was sent to examine Hus but who became his friend He relates the trip and execution in detail. The second part is by a modern historian who also tells of Jerome, Hus's disciple who was also martyred. A moving book of the price paid for reformation.

18. The Christian and modern business enterprise by B Goudzwaard (Author)

The author was formerly a member of the Dutch parliament and he writes particularly in the context of labour relations in Canada where Christians have found difficulty in having their own trades unions. This book starts with a fine statement how there is no neutrality in life, no common sense shared approach for all. In all of life the Christian seeks a Christian approach not a humanistic one. This is a brief but excellent treatment of how the workers, not only the providers of capita,l should have a part in the running of business enterprises. It is a good example of the application of sphere sovereignty.