Martyn Lloyd Jones – Preacher (Biography and Online book by John Peters)

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY (source)

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981)

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 – 1 March 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years,  he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations, regarding it as aberrant. He disagreed with the broad church approach and encouraged evangelical Christians (particularly Anglicans) to leave their existing denominations, taking the view that true Christian fellowship was only possible amongst those who shared common convictions regarding the nature of the faith.

Lloyd-Jones was born in Cardiff and raised in Llangeitho, Ceredigion. Llangeitho is associated with the Welsh Methodist revival, as it was the location of Daniel Rowland’s ministry. Attending a London grammar school between 1914 and 1917 and then St Bartholomew’s Hospital as a medical student, in 1921 he started work as assistant to the Royal Physician, Sir Thomas Horder. After struggling for two years over what he sensed was a calling to preach, in 1927 Lloyd-Jones returned to Wales, having married Bethan Phillips (with whom he later had two children, Elizabeth and Ann), accepting an invitation to minister at a church in Aberavon (Port Talbot).

After a decade ministering in Aberavon, in 1939 he went back to London, where he had been appointed as associate pastor of Westminster Chapel, London, working alongside G. Campbell Morgan. In 1943 Morgan retired, leaving Jones as the sole Pastor of Westminster Chapel.

Lloyd-Jones was well-known for his style of expository preaching, and the Sunday morning and evening meetings at which he officiated drew crowds of several thousand, as did the Friday evening Bible studies – which were, in effect, sermons in the same style. He would take many months – even years – to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. His sermons would often be around fifty minutes to an hour in length, attracting many students from universities and colleges in London. His sermons were also transcribed and printed (virtually verbatim) in the weekly Westminster Record, which was read avidly by those who enjoyed his preaching.

Lloyd-Jones provoked a major dispute in 1966 when, at the National Assembly of Evangelicals organised by the Evangelical Alliance, he called on all clergy of evangelical conviction to leave denominations which contained both liberal and evangelical congregations. This was interpreted as referring primarily to evangelicals within the Church of England, although there is disagreement over whether this was his intention. As a significant figure to many in the free churches, Lloyd-Jones had hoped to encourage those Christians who held evangelical beliefs to withdraw from any churches where alternative views were present.

However, Lloyd-Jones was criticised by the leading Anglican evangelical John Stott. Although Stott was not scheduled to speak, he used his position as chairman of the meeting to publicly rebuke Lloyd-Jones, stating that his opinion was against history and the Bible (though John Stott greatly admired Lloyd-Jones’s work, and would often quote him in Stott’s own books). This open clash between the two elder statesmen of British evangelicalism was widely reported in the Christian press and caused considerable controversy. Although there is an ongoing debate as to the exact nature of Lloyd-Jones’s views, they undoubtedly caused the two groupings to adopt diametrically opposed positions. These positions, and the resulting split, continue largely unchanged to this day.

Lloyd-Jones retired from his ministry at Westminster Chapel in 1968, following a major operation. He spoke of a belief that God had stopped him from continuing to preach through the New Testament book of the Letter to the Romans in his Friday evening Bible study exposition because he did not personally know enough about „joy in the Holy Spirit” which was to be his next sermon (based on Romans 14:17). For the rest of his life he concentrated on editing his sermons to be published, counselling other ministers, answering letters and attending conferences. Perhaps his most famous publication is a 14 volume series of commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, the first volume of which was published in 1970.

Despite spending most of his life living and ministering in England, Lloyd-Jones was proud of his roots in Wales. He best expressed his concern for his home country through his support of the Evangelical Movement of Wales: he was a regular speaker at their conferences, preaching in both English and Welsh. Since his death, the movement has published various books, in English and Welsh, bringing together selections of his sermons and articles.

Lloyd-Jones preached for the last time on 8 June 1980 at Barcombe Baptist Chapel. After a lifetime of work, he died peacefully in his sleep at Ealing on 1 March 1981, St David’s Day. He was buried at Newcastle Emlyn, near Cardigan, west Wales. A well-attended thanksgiving service was held at Westminster Chapel on 6 April.

Since his death there have been various publications regarding Lloyd-Jones and his work, most popularly a biography in two volumes by Iain Murray.

Legacy

Charismatic Movement

Martyn Lloyd-Jones has admirers from many different denominations in the Christian Church today. One much-discussed aspect of his legacy is his relationship to the Charismatic Movement. Respected by leaders of many churches associated with this movement, although not directly associated with them, he did teach the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as a distinct experience rather than conversion and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.[5] Indeed, towards the end of his life he urged his listeners to actively seek an experience of the Holy Spirit. For instance, in his exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13, published in 1976, he says, „Do you know anything of this fire? If you do not, confess it to God and acknowledge it. Repent, and ask Him to send the Spirit and His love into you until you are melted and moved, until you are filled with his love divine, and know His love to you, and rejoice in it as his child, and look forward to the hope of the coming glory. ‘Quench not the Spirit’, but rather ‘be filled with the Spirit’ and ‘rejoice in Christ Jesus'”.[6]

Part of Lloyd-Jones’ stress of the Christian’s need of the baptism with the Holy Spirit was due to his belief that this provides an overwhelming assurance of God’s love to the Christian, and thereby enables him to boldly witness for Christ to an unbelieving world.[5]

Aside from his insistence that the baptism with the Spirit is a work of Jesus Christ distinct from regeneration, rather than the filling of the Holy Spirit, Lloyd-Jones also opposed cessationism, claiming that the doctrine is not founded upon Scripture. In fact, he requested that Banner of Truth Trust, the publishing company which he co-founded, only publish his works on the subject after his death.[5] He claimed that those who took a position such as B.B. Warfield’s on cessationism were ‘quenching the Spirit.’[5] He continued to proclaim the necessity of the active working of God in the world and the need for him to miraculously demonstrate his power so that Christian preachers (and all those who witness for Christ) might gain a hearing in a contemporary world that is hostile to the true God and to Christianity in general.[4]

Preaching

Lloyd-Jones seldom agreed to preach live on television, (the exact number of occasions is not known, but it was most likely only once or twice).[7] His reasoning behind this decision was that this type of „controlled” preaching, that is, preaching that is constrained by time-limits, „militates against the freedom of the Spirit.”In other words, he believed that the preacher should be free to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit concerning the length of time in which he is allowed to preach. He recorded that he once asked a television executive who wanted him to preach on television, „What would happen to your programmes if the Holy Spirit suddenly descended upon the preacher and possessed him; what would happen to your programmes?”

Perhaps the greatest aspect of Lloyd-Jones’ legacy has to do with his preaching. Lloyd-Jones was one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century. Many volumes of his sermons have been published by Banner of Truth, as well as other publishing companies. In his book, Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan, 1971), Lloyd-Jones describes his views on preaching, or what might be called his doctrine of homiletics. In this book, he defines preaching as „Logic on fire.” The meaning of this definition is demonstrated throughout the book, in which he describes his own preaching style which had developed over his many years of ministry.

His preaching style may be summarized as ‘logic on fire’ for several reasons. First, he believed that the use of logic was vital for the preacher. But his view of logic was not the same as that of the Enlightenment. This is why he called it logic „on fire.” The fire has to do with the activity and power of the Holy Spirit. He therefore believed that preaching was the logical demonstration of the truth of a given passage of Scripture with the aid, or unction, of the Holy Spirit.[9] This view manifested itself in the form of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons. Lloyd-Jones believed that true preaching was always expository. This means he believed that the primary purpose of the sermon was to reveal and expand the primary teaching of the passage under consideration. Once the primary teaching was revealed, he would then logically expand this theme, demonstrating that it was a biblical doctrine by showing that it was taught in other passages in the Bible, and using logic in order to demonstrate its practical use and necessity for the hearer. With this being the case, he labored in his book Preaching and Preachers to caution young preachers against what he deemed as „commentary-style” preaching as well as „topical” preaching.

Lloyd-Jones’ preaching style was therefore set apart by his sound exposition of biblical doctrine and his fire and passion in its delivery. He is thereby known as a preacher who continued on in the Puritan tradition of experimental preaching. 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”.

Lloyd-Jones was also an avid supporter of the Evangelical Library in London.

Martyn Lloyd Jones – Preacher by John Peters (via)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was possibly the greatest British preacher of the twentieth century. His ministry at Westminster Chapel and his writings earned him respect and affection throughout the world. He had a decisive influence on many individuals and on evangelicalism as a whole.

Now John Peters who (like the Doctor) is a Welsh- speaking Welshman, has written the first complete account of The Doctor’s life and achievement. It includes personal reminiscences by men and women whose lives were changed by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.


John Peters is a native of Aberdare, South Wales. He teaches English language and literature at Charterhouse School and lives in Godalming with his wife and three children.

This excellent little book is now out of print, but the text is exclusively presented here for you to freely download by kind permission of the author, John Peters. Copyright © 1986 John Peters

Links to access download of 75 page book:

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Microsoft Word Format.

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