07 July 2005

A London Journal—Day Seven

Posted at 8:45 AM—Yo Adrian!

Waterloo Station
Adrian Warnock and the PyrofiendI had breakfast this morning with British überblogger Adrian Warnock at the Starbucks on the lower level of Waterloo Station. I have corresponded with Adrian via the Internet for more than a decade now, but we had never met. My mental image of him was a mustachioed, bespectacled, English gentleman with a sweater and umbrella. He's a medical doctor, you know. Turns out he is a young guy, very engaging. We talked about the blogosphere, theology, preachers and authors we both appreciate, the iMonk, and Jollyblogger. Had a great time. It was too dark in there for Darlene's camera to get a good image, but there it is.

[Note: Moments after I made the above post, a series of terrorist attacks brought all London to a standstill at the height of the morning rush hour. At 8:51 AM, A bomb rocked a London Underground train just leaving Liverpool Street station toward Aldgate. Seven people are confirmed dead in that blast. (In a remarkable twist of irony, former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani was in London, having breakfast very close to Liverpool Street when the attacks began.) Five minutes later, a second bomb halted an Underground train between the Russell Square and King's Cross stations. Twenty-one people are confirmed dead in that blast. Twenty-one minutes later, at 9:17, a third bomb exploded on another Underground train at Edgeware Station. Seven were confirmed dead in that blast. At 9:47, exactly half an hour later, in Tavistock Place (adjacent to Russell Square, close by the British Museum) a fourth blast opened a double-decker bus like a can of sardines, killing at least two. All transportation systems in central London were immediately shut down. The death toll is expected to rise. As the day wore on and news leaked out, I made the following posts:]

1:00 PM—EMERGENCY UPDATE

Bombed bus at Russell Square (near the British Museum)The coordinated terrorist attack (news reports are reporting seven major explosions) hit central London just minutes after Darlene and I left Adrian Warnock at the train station this morning. Adrian has e-mailed me to say he and his family are safe, though his brother narrowly missed one of the explosions.

Demolished busDarlene and I are also safe. We were not in the immediate vicinity of any of the attacks (all of them were north of the Thames; we're south); but cell-phone systems have been shut down for emergency use only, so we've been unable to call friends and relatives. Authorities have also closed Central London so that the Underground trains and buses cannot go in or out. In fact, all London Transport is currently closed. Buses are queuing at Elephant & Castle. Here is a picture taken through the upper-story window of the Metropolitan Tabernacle:

Buses queuing at Elephant & Castle
The Scene at Elephant & Castle


Sirens have been blaring nonstop all morning. The School of Theology continues, though attendance seems a little low this morning. We're getting periodic updates on the news between sessions. I most likely won't be able to post a further update until late evening, but we wanted friends and family to know we're OK.

6:30 PM—update on the disaster in London

Good advice.Injuries from the bombings are reported to be widespread and severe. Ambulances have been coming and going all day. A friend of ours who is a physician was called in to work a special 12-hour shift in the emergency room. There have also been nonstop police sirens (as well as the ambulances) traveling every conceivable direction all day, and the streets this evening were so full of pedestrians it reminded me of India.

Demolished busOther than that, we are basically insulated from the confusion and tragedy, watching, as you are, only on television. But London officials seem to have things well in hand. I've been amazed at the number of train stations and bus lines that are already reopened. We're hoping things will return to near normal before we have to travel to Heathrow tomorrow morning. If we get through security in time, perhaps I'll blog from the airport lounge. Other than that, this is probably the last you'll see of me before I get back to Los Angeles.

7:00—PM Recapping the School of Theology

Today, of course, was the last day of the School of Theology. Believe it or not, the London bombings barely disrupted the conference. Announcements were made about travel conditions at every break throughout tre day. Other than that, all sessions went on as planned, and all speakers stuck to their planned messages. (I briefly considered doing a special message in the final hour on the goodness of divine providence even in disaster, but on second thought decided to go ahead with my message on as planned, on justification by faith from Philippians 3:9.)

I'd love to give a summary of every message from the conference, but that would take too long, and I couldn't do justice to any of the messages in such a short space. Here are just a few highlights:

  • On Wednesday morning, Pastor Chris Buss gave a brilliant message from 2 Corinthians 5:20 on the need to persuade unbelievers with the gospel. He fired a few well-aimed missiles at hyper-Calvinism. Chris has a wonderful accent, and an informal, easy-to-listen-to style. His message was one of the true highlights of the week.

  • Vernon Higham was the next speaker. He has spoken at the School of Theology every year I have been here, and he is always one of my favorites. He has a sweet disposition and a very gentlemanly style—but ironclad convictions. He is a poet, too. (A book of his hymns has been published in a hardcover edition.) He was a pastor in Cardiff, Wales, for many years, but now is busier than ever in itinerant ministry. He's a delightful person, and always interesting to hear.

  • Today, in the earliest afternoon session, Dr. Peter Masters gave a message on evangelistic preaching that made a perfect complement to Chris Buss's Wednesday morning message. He gave a wonderful defense of the gospel's free offer. To say that Dr. Masters is not a fan of John Murray's book Redemption: Accomplished and Applied would be putting it mildly. He objects to Murray's treatment of regeneration as an instantaneous, almost unconscious event. Dr. Masters sees regeneration as a process that subsumes various aspects of God's converting work—effectual calling, conviction, spiritual awakening, conversion, and the genesis of faith. These, he said, usually aren't simultaneous; they occur over time and are the work of God's Word on the mind. That's why evangelistic preaching ought to be persuasive. When an elect person comes to faith, his mind ought to be fully convinced in the process. Dr. Masters said that John Murray, by contrast, seems to regard conversion as so much the work of God that the believer's mind is, in effect, totally passive and may even remain unconscious of the change that has occurred.

    Dr. Masters at one point said of Redemption: Accomplished and Applied that in his assessment, "about 25 percent of it is hyper-Calvinistic." He made a very direct appeal for a return to passionate, persuasive, evangelistic preaching. It was a great message, very thought-proroking and well worth listening to. Dr. Masters' opinion on Calvinism and evangelism would seem to have a special credibility in light of the amazing fruits of the evangelistic ministry here at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

I've met at least a dozen people at the conference who are here from Northern Ireland. One particularly interesting guy was converted from Roman Catholicism at age 28. He is now doing evangelism among Roman Catholics. He talked about the difficulty of ministering in a society where the gospel has been politicized. He believes the close linkage between evangelicalism in Northern Ireland and Iain Paisley's political stance has seriously hurt the cause of the gospel in that nation. It reaffirmed my conviction that the church ought to avoid becoming a political lobby.

Anyway, we have a busy last night planned, fellowshipping with some friends, so I must get going. See you later.

11:30 PM—One final update

The BBC are currently reporting the confirmed death toll at 38. At least one of London's morning newspapers already has an early edition that reports 53 dead. Our doctor friend, who works in a hospital in central London but not in the immediate neighborhoods of any of the bombings, reports that multiple victims with amputated limbs have been admitted to that hospital. Television news programmes tonight have shown disturbing pictures of horrible carnage. A massive hunt is underway for the bombers. The death toll will almost certainly rise, and many lives will be deeply impacted by this atrocity.

We have not ventured north of the Thames tonight. Even on the South Bank, however, emergency vehicles are still very active and sirens of all kinds are constantly blaring. After listening to several horror stories about commuter delays, Darlene and I have decided to allow an extra three hours for our trip to Heathrow tomorrow morning. If everything goes well, we should be back in California by this time tomorrow.


38 comments:

Peter O said...

If you fancy popping upto Oxford during your stay I'd be happy to show you round.

Douglas said...

Hope you guys are all safe and sound after the explosions there in London.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4659093.stm

Cindy said...

Hey Phil...here's hoping and praying you and your wife are safe right now. Please check in as soon as possible!

Renee said...

Hi Phil,
I am praying that you, you wife and Adrian and many others are safe. With Cindy on this, please check in when you can.

Renee said...

Very thankful to hear you and Darlene are safe Phil. I have been praying.

(whiping sweat off brow)

SoccerReformer said...

As soon as I heard the news I thought about you guys. I remember you mentioning Liverpool Street Station in your post about going to that graveyard. Thanks for posting. The world needs Grace - as always.

Leo said...

I immediately thought of you all in London when I heard of the explosions - glad to read that you and your wife are all right. Robert Spencer http://www.jihadwatch.org/ is reporting that this may be the work of Al-Qaeda. Michelle Malkin has pictures http://michellemalkin.com/archives/002940.htm

Cindy said...

Thanks for checking in, Phil! Great to know that you and your wife and Adrian W are OK. We need to keep London in our prayers today.

Fred Butler said...

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, terriorist attacks. Maybe you should begin alerting any country you plan to visit a head of time. That way they can take precautions upon your arrival and stay.

If no one knows what I am talking about, you have to tell the stories, Phil.

Fred

Fred's Bible Talk

Hip and Thigh

Carla said...

Glad to hear you're okay - I read Adrian's update before I read yours (and of course thought of both of you as soon as I heard the news).

Crazy world we live in. Thoughts and prayers with the folks in London today.

Steve Weaver said...

I'm glad you're ok! I thought about you as soon as I heard the news about the terror attacks. Be safe, I'm praying for you.

Paul Schafer said...

Phil,
I am glad you and Adrian are safe.
Can you enlarge the size of the picture of you and Adrian, it's blurry? Please...

Sincereyly,
Paul Schafer

AuthenticTruth said...

I will certainly be praying for your continued safety over there.

Joe Fleener said...

Praise the Lord, Phil! Glad to hear you two are safe.

Caddiechaplain said...

I arrive in London next Tuesday on my way to The Open at St. Andrews. Please have the mess cleared up for me please?

Jeri said...

Thank you for the update Phil. So glad to know you and Darlene are safe. Thank you for the update on Adrian as well. You're in my prayers.--Jeri

Brian McCrorie said...

As soon as my Inbox received news of the attacks, I was on my knees for you guys. What a tragedy to hit London! Glad you are safe.

Terry Lange said...

Glad to hear that you and Darlene are safe... Hope that these events do not dampen the spirit at the School of Theology!

Rob Wilkerson said...

Isn't it strange! The first person I thought of when I heard of the explosions were you guys, Phil! But, I told my wife and kids that knowing "Mr. Johnson" I was 99.9% certain that we'd hear about it at Pyromaniac. This is one of the best ways to use the net! So glad you guys were protected in God's providence, as well as the men in school this week.

John Haller said...

Having become a fan of this blog, the first thing that came to my mind was the bus with your logo on it. Might want to rethink that next time you travel. Glad you are OK.

Kevin Jones said...

Glad to hear that you are OK. I will be praying for you.

Aircraftdaft said...

So much for fleeing to London. Relieved to hear you're safe.

BlackCalvinist said...

Man, I'm glad you're okay. It took me a minute to really consider it and I was like 'OH MY GOODNESS, PHIL'S OVER THERE!' I'm glad you and everyone related are okay.

I'll keep you and everyone in prayer over there. Sounds like it's a good opportunity to present the gospel to some of the folk whose hearts will be afraid and wondering what hope there is when stuff keeps blowing up everywhere....

MTG said...

My first thought this morning was of you when I heard the news. I am thankful you are safe.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Good to hear your safe! I was worried I might not get blogspotted anymore. Just kidding!
We're praying for you.

Douglas said...

So Mr. Phil, you and Peter Masters would disagree with R. C. Sproul then?

Regeneration

"Regeneration is the theological term used to describe rebirth. It refers to a new generating, a new genesis, a new beginning. It is more than "turning over a new leaf"; it marks the beginning of a new life in a radically renewed person. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit upon those who are spiritually dead (see Ephesians 2:1-10). The Spirit recreates the human heart, quickening it from spiritual death to spiritual life. Regenerate people are new creations.

Regeneration is not to be confused with the full experience of conversion. Just as birth is our initiation, our first entrance into life outside the womb, so our spiritual rebirth is the starting point of our spiritual life. It occurs by God's divine initiative and is an act that is sovereign, immediate, and instantaneous. An awareness of our conversion may be gradual. Yet rebirth itself is instantaneous. No one can be partially reborn any more than a woman can be partially pregnant.

Regeneration is not the fruit or result of faith. Rather, regeneration precedes faith as the necessary condition for faith. We also do not in any way dispose ourselves toward regeneration or cooperate as co-workers with the Holy Spirit to bring it to pass. We do not decide or choose to be regenerated. God chooses to regenerate us before we will ever choose to embrace Him. To be sure, after we have been regenerated by the sovereign grace of God, we do choose, act, cooperate, and believe in Christ."
From his book, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, by R. C. Sproul

Joe L. said...

Phil, I am so thankful to hear you are ok. When I heard the news, you were literally the first person I thought of. It sounds like a very productive time there in London with the School of Theology. God’s speed to you in your travels back to the States.

John said...

Phil, Glad to hear you and the wife are ok! Our prayers are with you for a safe return!

GBYAY

Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

Glad to hear all is well, Phil. Prayers here.

Brian said...

We are glad to hear that you and your wife are okay during all the that is going on there. Thanks for keeping everyone posted.

jc said...

Would the messages from the School of Theology be available for listening on the INternet? I'd love to hear them!

jc

James Spurgeon said...

I, too, would like to hear more about this progressive regeneration. I'm skeptical. Conversion and the drawing of the Holy Spirit may be a process, but new birth/spiritual resurrection is instantaneous.

Could you blog some more on it? Perhaps provide a transcript of the message?

Ron Pierre said...

Thanks for keeping Barb updated through your blog . . I was "computerless" so this was her sole source of the information needed to keep the rest of the family up to date.
We just returned from London a few minutes ago and are mining through the email, voicemail and mail mail.
Had a great time with Peter and Jill on Friday night. We thank the Lord for your part in making this year's School of Theology a blessing to all.

YME said...

Has anyone considered the possibility that the terrorists were set up by their handlers to fail? Perhaps the higher ups wanted them to fail without the bombers knowing that they were set up. These would-be bombers may have been fed bogus information about plans and weapons by their handlers. Then, when they were to be caught and interrogated, they would, unbeknownst to them, feed the authorities misinformation. Since they would not themselves know that the information was bogus, they could be very convincing.

YME said...

Has anyone considered the possibility that the terrorists were set up by their handlers to fail? Perhaps the higher ups wanted them to fail without the bombers knowing that they were set up. These would-be bombers may have been fed bogus information about plans and weapons by their handlers. Then, when they were to be caught and interrogated, they would, unbeknownst to them, feed the authorities misinformation. Since they would not themselves know that the information was bogus, they could be very convincing.

Tim said...

Ello Mate,

I am a londener myself, i lost my firend in them bombings. Was an amazing day though it really showed how people of london stuck together. And Blair did somthing right for once the emergance services where there in secounds
!!!Thank God!!!
I will tell you more about my friend, i guess i have time to undersrtand what has happened so i do not look at it as a sad time, me being only 14 had a lot to cope with in that week, my firend 'Luke' was rtunning late for school he normally get on the train and if you are anything later then 9am then you are gonna be a long time because it takes a while to get on them bloddy trains. Well he was on the train that blew up and he is dead know.

Tim said...

Ello Mate,

I am a londener myself, i lost my firend in them bombings. Was an amazing day though it really showed how people of london stuck together. And Blair did somthing right for once the emergance services where there in secounds
!!!Thank God!!!
I will tell you more about my friend, i guess i have time to undersrtand what has happened so i do not look at it as a sad time, me being only 14 had a lot to cope with in that week, my firend 'Luke' was rtunning late for school he normally get on the train and if you are anything later then 9am then you are gonna be a long time because it takes a while to get on them bloddy trains. Well he was on the train that blew up and he is dead know.

Save-Money! said...

I did a websearch for "Chris Buss" - because he is my uncle, and found your blog.
I didn't realise that he is now at Met Tab.