Theologian Thursdays: Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Every thursday I hope to highlight a different person from church history, alive or dead, and point out the impact they made on the Kingdom of God.
This is to introduce people to new ideas, thoughts, and to give us a glimpse into the many who have gone before us who have made a difference in their time for God.
I'm going to start with those that have made a big impact on me personally, and then branch out from there.
First up is Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
Lloyd-Jones, or just the Doctor, as he was called by many, was a pastor in London for many years. He served at Westminster Chapel from 1943-1968. Trained as a medical doctor and coming to ministry later in life, he brought a unique perspective to the pastorate, and soon became known for his in-depth expository and teaching.
His many books and sermons published over the years have benefited many people. He was known for taking a careful approach to scripture, often spending sermons one one verse or a few words of a verse. He spend the better part of a decade preaching through the book of Romans. His volumes on 1,2, and 3 John that sit on my shelf contain over 70 sermons on 12 or so chapters. But to listen to the Doctor was far from boring. Being born in Wales he spoke with a heavy accent, but his passion and love for God was clear.
One of his most famous and influential volumes is "Preaching and Preachers". This was series of lectures given to theological students in which he puts forth his doctrine of homiletics, or preaching. He defines preaching as "logic on fire." He believed preaching should always be expository, explaining the text, and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. To stand in the pulpit was a serious thing for Lloyd-Jones, a task he never took lightly.
A famous quote on the effects of Lloyd-Jones' preaching is given by theologian and preacher J.I. Packer, who wrote that he had "never heard such preaching." It came to him "with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man"
On a personal level, the first book I picked up by the Doctor was Joy Unspeakable. The honesty and passion with which he spoke drove me to the Lord. I began to devour anything I could find by him, and there is a lot to be had! I read all or part of Preaching and Preachers, Spiritual Depression, Life in Christ, Living Water, Setting our Affections on Glory Faith on Trial, and countless articles and sermons by him. There have been over 50 books published bearing his name, almost all of them collections of his sermons.
Even though he died in 1981, he was and is a great influence on my ministry, and view of preaching. He spoke with clarity and conviction, knowing that the Lord alone is who saves.
He pastored in London during World War II, and had to move his family out so they would be safe during air raids. He was always present in London when church was to be had, even during bombings. His daughter recounts one memory of him praying when bombs struck all around them. No one dared look up during a prayer, and he did not hurry his prayer. When finally over, everyone looked up to see everyone covered by fine dust from the ceiling. She thought they had all died and gone to heaven, the way everyone looked like angels.
Shortly after his death, a charitable trust was established to continue Lloyd-Jones's ministry by making recordings of his sermons available. The organisation currently has 1600 talks available and also produces a weekly radio program using this material, and a podcast you can subscribe to at One Place.
A few quotes from the Doctor.
It is to the extent that we grasp the truth of the doctrine that the desire to be holy is created within us. If I really believe that while I was 'dead in trespasses and sins' God quickened me, sent His Son into the world to die for me and for my sins that I might be saved form hell, and might be saved for heaven - if I really believe that, I must say 'Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all'. It is logic, and it demands my soul, my life, my all. I cannot resist such logic - I must!
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Christian Unity p22
By the way, this was a whole sermon from Lloyd-Jones on Ephesians 4:1, just on the very first word. "Therefore" Only the Doctor could do that.
So it is quite inevitable in the matter of fellowship like this that though in a logical sense we persist in dividing up the aspect of fellowship into the two sides--Godward and manward--they are constantly intermixed and intermingled, because it is a sharing together, it is an intersection of the one upon the other. In other words, fellowship is never mechanical, but always something organic and vital.
Quite the statement, one echoed in many books and blogs today. Except that this was preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones over 60 years ago. You should read every book you can find by him.