‘The City of God’ – Augustine

I thought it might be a good idea to read Augustine’s ‘The City of God’. A good idea until it arrived! It is a massive great thick tome. I decided to get help ‘if’ and it’s a big ‘if’ I decide to read the thing. There were some old Westminster Conference papers going cheap and in 2005 a paper was given by Dr Michael A. G. Haykin on Augustine’s work with the title ‘”The most Glorious City of God”: Augustine of Hippo and The City of God.’ I don’t know if the paper is available online.

Reading Michael’s paper it was a surprise to find that Christians had attached themselves to The Roman Empire to such an extent they were at such a loss over its fall.

‘Many Christians were equally stunned and shocked by the horrors that had overtaken the city of Rome. Jerome, for instance, was absolutely overwhelmed by reports that he heard and for a while could do little else but weep.’ Later Jerome lamented “The whole world is sinking into ruin” (Haykin, Page 39, Westminster Papers, 2005).’ On page 40 we read ‘… many other Christians of his (Jerome) day, seems to have been utterly unable to conceive of a Romeless world.’

Not so Augustine. Eusebius, sometimes called the father of Church History, viewed history through the lens of The Roman Empire. So that in ‘Eusebius’ hands the Roman state has become a sacred realm. (page 42).’ This is the beauty of Augustine’s work, it doesn’t rely on particular Empires but is a Biblical view of history that works for all ages. It was great to discover this because it is exactly what I was hoping for. Many Empires have come and gone.

I was left asking if the European Union is an Empire? Is it? I believe it is. It has a President and a Parliament with Vassal States just like any other Empire. And it will come to an end just like the rest. I find it astonishing some are so Anti-Western Colonialism or Imperialism. Don’t they realise there were a great many Eastern Empires? Western Colonialism will go just like the rest. The British Empire has gone. The Ottoman Empire has gone. The Egyptian Empire has gone. The Persian Empire has gone and so forth.

It seems to me that (some) Christians are unable to conceive of a world where The UK is not part of The European Union. So, one reason for reading Augustine’s weighty tome is to come to a better understanding, not only of history, but the flow of history, and of the European Union as an Empire. And, as an Empire that will not last.

Dr Haykin sets the context and then very helpfully gives an overview of the book which I won’t detail here. When I do finally get round to reading the book it will be good to have an overview to hand. Maybe I’ll write some more at another time.

Dr Haykin’s last quote (Westminster, page 54) from Augustine is powerful and relevant. Augustine writes:

‘Look, my brothers and sisters, do you wish that unto you should belong that peace which God utters? Turn your heart unto him: not unto me, or unto any man. For whatever man would turn unto himself the hearts of men, he falls with them. … Our joy, our peace, our rest, the end of all troubles, is none but God: blessed are they that turn their hearts unto him.’

If your hope is in the State (The City of Man) you are going to be hugely disappointed and will ultimately fall with it like ancient Babylon. But if you are looking for another city, namely, The City of God, then you will also share in its final triumph when the King in all His Glory comes to take residence.

 

Dr Nick Needham Lecturing on ‘The Synod of Dort’ at Aberystwyth

Dr Nick Needham will be coming to Aberystwyth Saturday 23rd June to give two lectures on The Synod of Dort.

If you are in Aberystwyth do come along. The lectures will take place at Alfred Place Baptist Church. Coffee at 10:30.

Lecture 1 (11:00). What on Earth was The Synod of Dort?

Lecture 2 (14:30). Why Should I Care?

Dr Needham is the author of ‘2000 Years of Christ’s Power‘ currently in Four Volumes.

Volume 1. The Age of the Early Church Fathers

Volume 2. The Middle Ages

Volume 3. Renaissance and Reformation

Volume 4. The Age of Religious Conflict

(Nick has an overview of the Synod of Dort in Volume 4 of ‘2000 Years of Christ’s Power’ Chapter 2, Section 2, p 127 – 142.)

 

 

Andrew Davies – George Whitefield & the Evangelical Revival

The next lecture in our Church History Lectures will be Andrew Davies on

George Whitefield & the Evangelical Revival

Date: 23rd Mar 2015
Time: 7.30
Place: Bulkington Congregational Church, Bulkington.

If you can make it, it would be great to see you. Andrew lectured for many years on Church History at London Theological Seminary. He has Pastored several Churches here in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Though retired, he now has a much appreciated itinerant ministry.

Andrew Davies – Sermons
Evangelical Movement of Wales
Sermon Audio

Geoff Thomas – The Legacy of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones

I’ve been a bit slow in posting this but Geoff’s lecture is available from the website at Bulkington Congregational website and eventually at my own website.

The lecture was given by Geoff in his own unique way – warm and homely, yet packed full with lessons and exhortations to the church of our own day. There were a number of people at the lecture that attended Westminster Chapel and went to the Friday bible studies. And one friend that did attend Westminster testifies ‘that God was in that place’. And by that he means in a way that is not apparent today.

A service of worship isn’t like anywhere else and it shouldn’t be like anything else. There should be a sobriety when gathering to meet with God yet with deep thankfulness at the privilege of being able to worship this awesome God. This is the God, the true and living God, that sent into this world of sin His only Son to die and rise for sinners.

Listen to the lecture. Go HERE. You know what to do.

Free ITunes University Lecture: The Reformation by Carl Trueman | The Domain for Truth

luther posting his 95 theses in 1517
luther posting his 95 theses in 1517 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Reformation Day

Here’s a great Reformation Gift via Jim over at Domain for Truth. Enjoy!

Free ITunes University Lecture: The Reformation by Carl Trueman | The Domain for Truth.

History Lectures for 2015

We have three excellent lectures lined up for 2015. To whet your appetites here are the details.

16th February 2015
Geoff Thomas
‘The Legacy of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’

23rd March 2015
Andrew Davies
‘George Whitfield and the Evangelical Revival’

20th April 2015
Austin Walker
‘How Pure is the Church? – Augustine and the Donatists’

Geoff Thomas is Pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth.

Andrew Davies is a retired Pastor  with an itinerant ministry and was also a Lecturer in Church History at London Theological Seminary.

Austin Walker is Pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, Sussex.

All lectures are on a Monday evening at Bulkington Congregational Church and start at 7.30.

Lecture on Arthur Hildersham

I’ve been a bit remiss and neglected to post a link to the last lecture of 2014. Austin Walker was unable to give his lecture (see next post) but Dr Lesley Rowe ably stepped into the breach with her excellent lecture on Arthur Hildersham & the Plague Summer of 1625.

The parallels between then and our own day shouldn’t be lost on the hearer. Here’s the link – enjoy!

Dr Lesley Rowe – Arthur Hildersham

New April History Lecture

There’s been a change to our lecture for 28th April 2014. Austin Walker will now be bringing his lecture on the Donatists next year. We have three lectures for next year and full details will follow shortly.

Our last lecture then for this year will now be given by Dr Lesley Rowe on the topic “Arthur Hildersham and the Plague Summer of 1625”.

Some may have previously heard Dr Rowe on this subject, but I’m reliably informed that this is a new lecture with new material. Dr Rowe’s PhD thesis was on ‘The worlds of Arthur Hildersham (1563-1632)’ and there’s a favourable review of her book ‘The Life and Times of Arthur Hildersham‘ in Evangelicals Now by Dr Robert Oliver.

My appetite is now wetted and I’m really looking forward to the lecture. If you can make it to Bulkington Congregational Church on Monday 28th April, 7.30 it would be great to see you.

Audio as usual will follow when available.

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Thomas Boston Lecture MP3 Available

The MP3 Audio of the  History Lecture Thomas Boston (1676-1732) anticipates the death of Queen Anne’ is now available.

The more I think about it, the lecture was not only a great encouragement, but also very challenging. This is a major purpose of the lectures. It’s not just an opportunity to stuff our heads full of facts – as useful as that might be. But we do see through the lives of Christian men & woman of the past how God has kept them and how in the case of this lecture stepped in providentially to preserve the Church. To have some knowledge of history is really important. I remember a few years ago inviting Iain Murray to come and lecture – he replied ‘are Christians interested in history?’. Quite an indictment, one wonders sometimes.

The lecture spoke powerfully, I thought, into the present situation of the Church. Powerful people die, sometimes unexpectedly. The death of Queen Anne was hugely significant as you will hear. I commend this and the other lectures to you.

The lecture can be downloaded HERE.

Visit my Website for many other history lectures HERE

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History Lecture on Thomas Boston

Our next History Lecture will be:

Thomas Boston (1676-1732) anticipates the death of Queen Anne’

Bulkington Congregational Church

7:30 pm Monday 31st March 2014

Speaker: John Kilpatrick

Be great to see you if you can make it.

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