(6) Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the Evangelical Alliance 1966 by Geoff Thomas

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Read Part 1 here – a history

Read Part 2 here – 1962 Address by Lloyd-Jones

Read Part 3 here – An accounting from those who attended

Read Part 4 here – What the newspapers reported

Read Part 5 here – Lloyd-Jones on schism

From Affinity.org.uk via Reformation 21 blog

Then and Now: 1966-1996

by Geoff Thomas

Thirty years ago at the. Second National Assembly of Evangelicals organized by the Evangelical Alliance in London on October 19th, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke for the last time for the EA on the theme ofEvangelical Unity in the course of which address he asked his audience: „What reasons have we for not coming together?…My friends, we are not only the guardians and custodians of the faith of the Bible, we are the modern representatives and successors of the glorious men who fought this same fight, the good fight of faith, in centuries past. ..I believe that God is calling upon us to maintain this ancient witness, not occasionally, not haphazardly, but always, and to put it to the people of this country”.1

Have Christians grown closer and more co-operative in these past three decades? What is the social and spiritual situation in the United Kingdom at the end of the 20th century?

Social conditions in the land

There are many improvements in the world which have taken place over the past thirty years which make us glad that we are living at this time. Treatment of cancer and other diseases has vastly improved. Britain has become a more cohesive middle-class nation and the continual strikes and class divisions of the 60s are a bad dream. There is a general political consensus with little messianic hopes in the effectiveness of the Whitehall and Brussels decision-makers. Apartheid has ended in South Africa, Communism has been largely discredited and the West has won the cold war. A world war or even a European conflict seems the most distant of possibilities. Britain has become a more prosperous nation. Chicken and turkey are the cheapest meats: supermarkets the size of aeroplane hangers are filled with the highest quality and range of foods. Communications not controlled by Caesar are accessible to every man. It is cheap to call the USA and. even Australia. Missionaries have access to the Internet. It has never been so inexpensive and convenient to travel internationally.

However, other social factors make us long for thirty years ago. There has taken place an unimaginable moral decline. Family life has taken a battering. One repeated statistic is that Britain has the highest divorce rate in Europe, while crime statistics are at an all time peak: we have more men in prison per head of population than any country in the European Community. There is a widespread fear of and familiarity with violence and burglary. The National Lottery has made 75% of the nation gamblers. Great Britain is awash with drugs. Alcoholism is a cruel widespread problem. Education has become a football kicked about by trendy politicians of both parties of government, and illiteracy has become an all-time high. Never was there such ignorance of the Bible and the Christian religion. Abortion on demand has resulted in the deaths of millions of healthy unborn children. The Northern Ireland situation is as unsolvable as ever. Militant homosexuals are tireless in their demands for the state’s recognition of their so-called marriages. Feminism encourages the gender destruction of male and female roles. Sport is harsher through commercialism, and sportsmen more superficial people. Christians are being persecuted and murdered in Cuba, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Vietnam, China and North Korea.

The strengths of Reformed evangelicalism

Where do true evangelical churches stand today? Consider their strengths: a steadiness in their congregational lives. One knows of some hundreds of churches throughout the British Isles and if one entered their meeting-places on a Sunday morning, one could be at peace and be led in worship by ministers who fear God and have led congregations to honour their Lord. One would hear the Word of God opened up and dealt with responsibly. Most university towns have a free grace pulpit for students to hear the whole Counsel of God. There also has been an extraordinary explosion of publishing so that no Christian bookshop can find room on its shelves to stock all the fine commentaries, biographies, literature on the world and life view, family life, evangelism, and children’s books that are now available. Consider those writers, all of whose books one would love to purchase and read, Sproul, MacArthur, Packer, Boice, Stott, Ferguson, Morris, Adams, Carson, Clowney, Chantry and Lloyd-Jones. Systematic theologies like those written by aBrakel, Turretin, Grudem (and soon the four volumes of Bavinck) have recently appeared. Definitive books like lain Murray’s two volumes of Dr Lloyd-Jones and Revival & Revivalism have filled a hole in the Church’s understanding of men and movements. Soli Deo Gloria are reprinting Puritan works as if there were a competition to print them with a dozen other publishers, and sometimes there is. There is a fascinating range of monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly periodicals. About twenty good conservative magazines and papers are being published in Britain. Cassettes of the best preaching are available from many sources.

There is a choice of Reformed theological seminaries in which to study. For example, theEvangelical Theological College of Wales in Bryntirion has more students than the sum of all the „theologs” in every other seminary in Wales. The single Roman Catholic Seminary in Wales in Aberystwyth has closed down from lack of vocations. America, especially, displays such vigorous growth of conservative seminaries. There is also a network of conferences, stable and well attended – The Carey Ministers’ Conference (January), The Banner of Truth Conference (March), The Caister FIEC (April), The Grace Assembly (May), The Bala Conference of the EMW Ministers (June), The Metropolitan School ofTheology (June), The Aberystwyth EMW Conferences (August), and the Westminster Conference for Historical Studies (December). Ministers especially know one another, and with some of them on an international conference circuit the work of God world-wide is better known today than at any period.

About all the above there is a proper modesty and unassumedness. These churches all realise that (apart from some congregations in the Hebrides) a commitment to the Reformed Faith does not generate large numbers. Deciding whether they would have many members and much money and read about themselves in the newspaper those churches have decided to promote a growing love for the preaching and application of the whole Counsel of God. They know they could not have both, and faithfulness is valued as more important than influence. Calvinistic piety is not flashy or obvious.

 The weaknesses of Reformed evangelicalism

One obvious difference between 1966 and 1996 is the figure of Dr Lloyd-Jones, or some equivalent preacher ofpreachers. Our greatest weakness is a lack of an awakening ministry in the nation. Where we deam ourselves strongest there, as ever, our impotence lies. This shows itselfin the narrow choice ofinspirational speakers for the big occasions, in the enterprise of church-planters here and abroad. The whole missionary enterprise has been hi-jacked by missionary societies so that men who go overseas never do what they do in this country, that is, preach in one local congregation in the language of the people and build up a church in loving the whole Counsel of God. Rather, virtually every missionary today administers or teaches local men how to pastor and preach. One consequence is the absence ofexpository preachers from the entire continent ofAfrica. They have been given no r<>le models.

Then there has been in the British Isles in our circles the bringing low of congregations, Christian institutions and leaders. Churches have split, notable men have fallen into flagrant sin, congregations which once loved the whole Counsel of God have collapsed under false teaching.

The charismaticization of churches

There are three types of churches men can make choice of today – if one dares to set aside the vigour of many Roman Catholic congregations. There are the charismatic congregations with their fascination with supposedly spontaneous and body-led ministries. Then, secondly, there is the Willow Creek model of focusing worship on unchurched Harry and Sally as so using singing groups and drama spots to make the man in the street feel unthreatened. Thirdly, there is unadorned and faithful Reformed worship.

Both the charismatic and the Willow Creek models have influenced Reformed congregations. David Tomlinson writes, „There is little doubt that Spring Harvest is one of the most influential factors in the charismaticization of evangelicalism.. .it would be difficult to overstate its significance in the present positive climate”.2 He adds that the March of Jesus „contributes to the overall sense of growing self-confidence among Evangelicals”.3 The umbrella under which all such things happen is the Evangelical Alliance. Clive Calver’s appointment to its leadership in 1983 „symbolized powerfully the way that the centre ground of evangelicalism was moving, for Calver is an unashamed Charismatic with New Church connections”.4

Even those churches which have not adopted pentecostal theology in the past thirty years have been affected liturgically. Nowhere more than in hymnody and conduct in worship is the gulf between Evangelicals of 1966 and 1996 displayed. In 1966 we were longing for some new hymn-books, and we had to wait a further ten years for Grace & Christian Hymns to appear. There was an indadequacy in the smaller evangelical collections such as Christian Praise and Hymns ofFaith. There was a conviction that the treasures of hymnody found in past writers ofdeeply experiential piety would have an abiding pastoral, theological and doxological contribution to the Church ofour age, and pervasive liberalism alone had been responsible for expunging them from denominational hymnbooks. So Grace Hymns appeared saying in its Preface: „The book contains many hymns which have fallen out of use but are worthy of a restored place in the Church’s praise”. And in the Preface of Christian Hymns the editors wrote: „There is the need for the rediscovery and restoration of a considerable number of hymns from times of revival and evangelical awakening…From this treasure-house it has been our privilege to draw extensively, for many of the greatest hymns of the Church come from this period”. The motivation in the choice of the hymns in these books was pervasive God-centredness. These two fine hymn books had barely appeared when a totally new mood entered evangelicalism, claiming that what was needed was not such hymns at all but rather contemporary hymns, necessarily wed to upbeat tunes, which the man in the street could identify with. And as almost every church seems to have more hymn-writers than preachers there was no stemming the flood of new hymns, tunes, and collections that swamped us. Spring Harvest became the proselytising agency for the new style of songs. If Grace & Christian Hymns had not appeared when they did what greater liturgical chaos would world-wide evangelicalism have been in, all in the name of „creativity” and contemporaneity in worship.

The new Christian

Ian Cotton has a new book entitled The Hallelujah Revolution: The Rise ofthe New Christians.5 He characterises the new Christian of 1996 as religiously Evangelical, instinctively irrational, politically liberal, economically socialist, theologically feminine (preferring a „gentle feminine Jesus over a macho, stern Jehovah”), vocationally „post- industrial”, experientially „relational”, and socially egalitarian (the new Christian is into mutual accountability groups).

Cotton describes this charismatic mindset thus: „We have the go-with-the flow attitude which De Bono characterized as ‘water logic’. Instead of reason and order, we have instinct, vision, the Holy Ghost. Instead of step-by-step linear progression, we have the all-at- once, the miraculous. Instead o f the verbal architecture o f the sermon, we have the preverbal instinctiveness of ‘tongues’. This is the distinctively modern end of the movement, where change, fluidity, uncertainty, and flexible boundaries are paramount”.6

Most such „new Christian” churches are outside of the WCC and official ecumenical structures, despising that movement for its political agenda and cerebral ethos. Certainly something more than opposition to schemes of unity dominated by modernists is needed to unite Evangelicals in contending for the faith. Perhaps that was one weakness of evangelical beliefs in 1966 – they gave more credence to the power of the Ecumenical Movement than it merited. For true unity there must be a passionate love for the whole Counsel of God, not just a fear of the counterfeit.

The British Evangelical Council grew with a desire to strengthen its culturally and theologically marginalised member denominations, to take conservative churches out of their isolation and absorption with their own problems and perspectives and give them an opportunity to contemplate the nation-wide mission of the Church of Jesus Christ. Its member churches are separatists but not isolationists.

Men most sympathetic with the BEC feel that the Evangelical Alliance is inconsistent on modernism. How could a body that is opposed to liberalism allow its officers and member churches to retain their membership in denominations dominated by modernism? How can preachers remain in a unity of fellowship in the EA? Do they not realise that such equivocation creates deep problems of friendship and trust to other preachers? That issue has not gone away in the past thirty years. It is not likely to do so in the next millenium.

John Stott famously opposed Dr Lloyd-Jones’ exhortation for churches to come together on the basis of historic Christianity, telling that EA conference, „Scripture is against him, the remnant was within the Church not outside it”. As he walked out of the meeting with Dr Lloyd-Jones he murmured apologetically that he was afraid that some of the Anglican clergy might have left their churches the next morning had he said nothing more. Stott spoke on behalfofthe vast majority ofAnglicans. They were staying in the Church of England. Yet when the issue of the ordination of women arose the Evangelicals were mute, even though that would mean 300 ministers would resign over the issue.7 The greatest difference in the Church of England in 1996 as compared to 1966 is the presence of 1,400 women priests, and a huge irretrievable lurch to liberalism.

Other evangelical Anglicans such as those centred on St Helen’s Bishopsgate, considered that „only human traditions were holding brothers and sisters [i.e. Anglicans and Free Churchmen] at arm’s length”.8 So Dick Lucas’s answer was to start yet another conference, the Evangelical Ministry Assembly „to repair some bridges of fellowship”. So, Anglicans who never met in fellowship with their non-conformist brethren (except when they were invited to speak) at any of the well-established conferences at Leicester, Bala, BEC, Carey, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Aberystwyth, Westminster, etc. (even when they live in close proximity to those places), began yet another conference „to tackle the sad division between Anglican and Free Church Ministers”.9 In other words, non- attendance at that conference indicated one was promoting division, and the extravagant claims were made: „God’s hand was on Dick’s brainchild and the conference has proved a major part of the evangelical year”.10

The British Evangelical Council

The critics of the BEC will point to its alleged diminished influence in 1996 compared to the late 60s. They may grumble that it has assumed the position of an „isolationist porcupine”, small, circumscribed and obscure instead of a vigorous and militant group calling Britain back to the old paths. Surely its pervasively Reformed identity has meant it has become marginal to what some might envy as the mold-breakers and trend-setters of ecclesiastical life in Britain. But the Word teaches us that God does not use the magnificent and mighty to achieve its ends, rather, as the apostle Paul wrote, God uses „jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power” is from Him only. In 1996 the evidence weakness of our human efforts and the all-sufficiency of God’s grace means that the Reformed churches have a precious message and a unique task testifying to everything God has revealed. We may not judge the next thirty years in the light of our present experience.

(4) Martyn Lloyd-Jones – The Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches at New Delhi – What the Newspapers and Books Reported 18th October 1966

Foundations a journal of Evangelical theology for the British Evangelical Council (18th October 1966 edition)
What some papers and books have said Eryl Davies

Evangelicals -Leave your denominations” was the startling headline on the front page of The Christian weekly newspaper on the 21st October 1966. While quoting extensively from the address ofDr Lloyd-Jones, the article was not strictly accurate in places. For example, part of the opening sentence of the article was: „An impassioned appeal to Evangelicals in Britain to leave the major denominations and to form a united Church was made by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones…”.As we have seen in earlier articles, Lloyd-Jones did not suggest or desire „a united Church”; his appeal was for Evangelicals to come together in a loose fellowship or association of churches. The article states that „many people to whom our reporter spoke after the meeting thought that Dr Lloyd-Jones was right in his arguments, but that nothing would happen unless men like the Rev. JRW Stott took the lead”.

David Winter, reporting the Assembly also in The Life of Faith of 27th October emphasised how the public rally „in dramatic fashion, dragged into the open a subject normally avoided in evangelical debate- secession. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones made an eloquent plea to Evangelicals to leave their denominations and join a United Evangelical Church and the Chairman, the Rev. John Stott, publicly (firmly but politely) disagreed with him…”. The Baptist Times (27th October) was more forthright, reporting „A sharp clash of views…with Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeming to be encouraging Evangelicals to secede from their denominations and the Rev. John Stott challenging his address by claiming that division was not the way forward.. .it was clear that Evangelicals are divided theologically…”.

A more supportive and accurate report was given in the English Churchman (28th October). Lloyd-Jones, the article emphasised, „was not putting forward some negative scheme into which we are to be reluctantly forced, but rather was pointing us to the glorious opportunity of taking positive action because we realise we ought to if we are to be true to our evangelical convictions…Anglican Evangelicals would appear, on the evidence of the Assembly to be the most intransigent on this matter…But is it not a misunderstanding to look at this problem only as one of secession? Does entry into a Scriptural union with other Christians deserve that name?…Who is really giving a definite lead in the Church of England at this time? Who will define the line beyond which we will not go? We have already surrendered on a number of issues which in earlier days would never have been accepted…”. This is well said and even more true of the situation in more recent years. It was the Evangelical Times from its launch in 1967 which championed the principles which Lloyd-Jones had identified and argued.

Christianity Today! in 1990 devoted twelve full pages to the subject of The Remaking of English Evangelicalism but only four sentences to what it calls the „major public showdown” in 1966 when, after Lloyd-Jones’s address, a „surprised” John Stott „rose and rebuked Lloyd-Jones and rallied Anglican Evangelicals to their churchly duty’? Once again, the authors misunderstood the message ofLloyd-Jones by claiming that instead of addressing the subject of unity he „called instead for Evangelicals to leave the historic churches”. This is grossly misleading and inaccurate.

From this sample ofChristian newspapers which reported the 1966 meeting, I want to turn to a sample of more recent books and note how these authors regarded the significance and nature of the Doctor’s message on that occasion.

In his readable Five Evangelical Leaders, 3 Christopher Catherwood devotes nearly four pages to this event which he calls 1966: Crossing the Rubicon.4 He refers to „a change of emphasis” in his grandfather’s thinking concerning the doctrine of the Church, but, as we have documented in earlier articles, this new emphasis was not sudden or unexpected but had been apparent for some time prior to 1966. One wonders how well the author understood the background to the 1966 address. For example, he claims that the Evangelical Alliance „had no idea how explosive the Doctor intended to be…”5 and refers to Lloyd-Jones’s „vision of a United Evangelical Church”.6 Later, Catherwood sees the „tragedy ofthe split” as being divided over what was „essentially an ecclesiastical issue”.7 But the prior and major issue for Lloyd-Jones was the Gospel itself; it was from the Gospel that he insisted on the importance ofthe nature and unity ofthe Church. Soteriology and ecclesiology were inextricably bound up, not only in the thinking of Lloyd-Jones but also in the New Testament itself. Kenneth Hylson-Smith’s useful book Evangelicals in the Church of England 1734-1984 is disappointing in its treatment of 18th October 1966. Barely two pages are devoted to the subject9 and, unfortunately, it is based on secondary sources, primarily Christopher Catherwood’s Five Evangelical Leaders. 10 The author is correct in claiming that the effect of the disagreement between Stott and Lloyd-Jones „was immediate and long-standing”.11

Even less space is given to the subject by DW Bebbington in his Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s. 12 For Bebbington, this incident was „to dramatise a fracture in the evangelical world”,13 but the call for Evangelicals to leave their mixed denominational churches „was dismissed by nearly all those in the Church of England as being… ‘nothing short of hare-brained’ and in other mixed denominations Lloyd-Jones was little heeded”.

As expected, Hywel R Jones provides a detailed account of the „Doctor’s relationship with the British Evangelical Council” in Unity in Truth14 which is a collection of addresses given by Lloyd-Jones in BEC sponsored meetings between 1967-1979. This is a valuable introduction which throws light on the „Doctor’s thinking on the subject of unity as well as his decision to involve himself in the work and witness of the BEC”. One paragraph is reproduced here because of its helpful reference to the now famous 1966 address:

It is worth pointing out that not once in this address did the Doctor use the terms „separate/secede”. His call was to associate or unite. While it is granted that this necessarily involved secession, the basis of the call was the Gospel, the scope of the call was to those who professed to believe the Gospel and the purpose in view was the spread of the Gospel. It was therefore neither schismatic nor exclusivist, but truly Christian and evangelical. In addition, as the Doctor pointed out, it was timely because in the wider setting denominational attachments were being questioned and new alignments were being considered. Should not Evangelicals, of all people, take up the challenge, notwithstanding the difficulties, and seize the opportunity to stand together for God’s truth?

This address, as well known, met with an immediate negative reaction. The positive response surfaced later, most noticeably in the Luther meeting. On 1st November 1967 over 2,500 people gathered in Westminster Chapel to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Luther’s promulgation of his Ninety-Five Theses. 15

Hywel Jones concludes that „It is still the case that the BEC is the only body of churches in the United Kingdom which ‘cannot, on grounds of conscience, identify with that ecumenicity which lacks an evangelical basis’ .It takes this position because it stands for the unity of all those churches which believe the one and only Gospel which saves”.16

Who Are the Evangelicals?17 is an interesting account by Derek Tidball „tracing the roots of today’s movements” in which he also shows the varied spectrum of contemporary evangelical belief and practice. Regrettably, Tidball only devotes three brief sentences to the 1966 incident.18 He does remind us, however, that „Evangelicals in other mainline denominations have trodden a path similar to Anglican Evangelicals. Among the Baptists, Mainstream was formed; among Methodists, Headway and among the United Reformed Church, Gear. In each, Evangelicals have become more committed to their denominations”. 19

In his autobiography entitled A Man Under Authority,20 Leith Samuel provides some interesting background and insights regarding the 1966 address together with the response. 21 He describes it as „that tragic night for British evangelicalism” and „a tragic parting of the ways…We needed unity at Church level but it was torn from our grasp”.22 Leith Samuel insists that Lloyd-Jones „was not concerned primarily about changing structures. It was the purity of the Gospel that was of paramount importance to him”. What Lloyd-Jones longed to see was „an umbrella” large enough to cover Anglican and Free Church Evangelicals.

Alister McGrath also refers to the 1966 event, albeit briefly, in his Evangelicalism & the Future ofChristianity.23 McGrath claims that it „was widely seen to centre on the issue of separatism”.24 Again, McGrath is another writer who partly misunderstands the call of Lloyd-Jones in his 1966 address; for McGrath, it was a „passionate call” for Evangelicals in mixed denominations to „form a denomination of their own”.25 McGrath is correct in viewing the National Evangelical Anglican Congress at Keele in April 1967 as having „endorsed and consolidated”26 Stott’s opposition to Lloyd-Jones. He continues: „It sealed this development and marks the beginning of the positive role of evangelicalism within the Church of England”. Keele was determinative and is „widely regarded as marking the end of a numerically significant ‘separatist’ party within Anglican evangelicalism…”.

Over the past couple o f years, I have been interested to meet Christians, even academics, who have spoken disparagingly oflain Murray’s two-volumed biography ofMartyn Lloyd- Jones.27 To me, their response is a superficial and prejudiced one. Allow me to reply to their criticism. Murray’s biography is an official one, based largely on primary sources, and written by a man who knew Lloyd-Jones extremely well. He had served under and alongside the Doctor and then remained in close contact with him over the years. A competent historian and possessing an excellent grasp of the contemporary evangelical situation in the United Kingdom, Murray is eminently suited to write the biography of Lloyd-Jones. The second volume especially is „a primary text on evangelicalism in the twentieth century”.28 And this

can be easily substantiated. No other serious book, for example, examines the background, context, significance and consequences of Lloyd-Jones’s 1966 address in such detail or depth as Murray does in this second volume. Earlier chapters such as Unity: Ecumenical or Evangelical (pp. 427-450), Conversations and Journeys (pp. 453-471), Cross-Winds (pp. 472-492) and 1965:The Approaching Crisis (pp. 495-511) are well researched and they are invaluable in providing a meaningful background to the three crucial chapters dealing with 1966 and the assessment of the controversy.29

In his assessment, Murray counters the criticism that Lloyd-Jones was responsible for „dividing Evangelicals” by referring to the latter’s view that the main denominations were in an extremely serious theological and religious condition not „seen in England before”30 and that Anglican Evangelicals had „deliberately introduced a new policy on ecumenism”Y He shows how Stott had changed his position by referring to his former view expressed in his 1958 publication What Christ Thinks ofthe Church:32 „We cannot have Christian fellowship with those who deny the divinity of Christ’s person or the satisfactoriness of His work on the cross for our salvation…to preach any other gospel than the Gospel of Christ’s saving grace is to deserve Paul’s anathema…”.33 Another criticism of Lloyd-Jones’s 1966 address that Murray considers is that he was creating a „new sectarianism”34 and an exclusive form of unity. However; Murray shows effectively that Lloyd-Jones wanted „a third altemative”,35 „a way forward…more honouring to God than an acceptance of the existing conditions”. The Doctor, we are reminded, „frankly accepted the limitations of his own understanding”;36 he opted finally for a wider unity through the BEC „largely because, when he urged others to take on a more active role, none came forward with any alternative”. He himself did not want to assume the role of leader in the new wider association of churches. Was it a lack of interest in this aspect? Possibly, but „in part, also”, insists Murray, „it was because he knew that the essential need at this stage…was for on-going reformation and a true revival in all churches. Secession, as such, was no solution”_37

In Murray’s view, Lloyd-Jones was „open to some criticism”38 in this controversy. First o f all, Murray thinks that the argument in places depended over-much on the Doctor’s interpretation of the contempary situation so that it „looked more like a matter ofjudgement than ofBiblical principle”. This, however, is open to debate but Lloyd-Jones put no pressure at all on individuals to secede. In my own experience, he discouraged me initially from seceding and wanted to know precisely which Biblical principles I was seeking to honour. It is also a fact that Lloyd-Jones left it to individual ministers and churches to decide the correct and wisest time for secession.

A second criticism in Murray’s opinion is that the lack of a clear plan in which to express this wider unity of churches post-1966 „had regrettable consequences”.39 In this context, Murray sees that the question of „schism” was complex and somewhat difficult to relate to for Lloyd-Jones challenged „the adequacy”40 of an inter-denominational evangelical unity expressed through an organisation like the Evangelical Alliance. This, however, served to focus „attention upon the alternative…” envisaged with the ability to exclude or discipline those who were in error. Furthermore, Murray suggests that on the Doctor’s view of schism, those who stayed outside the BEC were thereby guilty of the charge. „Some damage might have been averted”, Murray thinks, „if the alternative unity presented…in 1967hadbeenunderstoodtobemorefluidandopen…”41 andiftheDoctor had been less „hurried than he would otherwise have been”.42

Murray’s assessment, ofcourse, is itselfopen to criticism but I want to confine myself to two observations. One, it was notthe Doctor’s Welshness orinterpretation of the situation or his understanding of the sin of schism which were at fault, but possibly his and our failure to appreciate the stranglehold of Anglican sub-culture on its leaders thus making it difficult for them to contemplate the possibility of working outside their denomination. As Alan Gibson rightly points out: „With hindsight, most of us did not fully understand how strong was the grip of the ecclesiastical sub-cultures in which we had been brought


up. The 1967 Keele Conference showed how hard it was for Gospel men in the Church of England to contemplate working in any other context. Subsequent attempts to reduce the height of denominational walls, even between wholly evangelical free church groups, were not conspicuously successful. Some who agreed that the Doctor’s appeal was based on Scripture principles found reasons not to act upon it”.43

My second observation is that the Doctor’s 1966 appeal was rejected by Stott and other leaders, including EA officers, because they disagreed with its message. To blame Lloyd-Jones, and him alone, is to fly in the face of the facts. Again, I quote Alan Gibson who was present on the occasion and who attempted to submit a motion the following morning proposing discussion of the practical implications arising from the first meeting. „To our huge disappointment”, Gibson writes, „the organising committee had decided that no such motions would be accepted. Responsibility for closing down any real consideration of steps towards evangelical church unity does not belong to John Stott alone. It lies also with the 1966 officers of the Evangelical Alliance who changed the advertised programme and denied the Assembly, set up for that very purpose, any opportunity for practical consideration of the issues the Doctor had raised”.44

A reference to two other recent publications conclude this article. Clive Calver and Rob Warner in their Together We Stand, 45 a volume marking the 150th anniversary of the Evangelical Alliance, deal with the 1966 division in a disappointing way. Once again some of the facts are wrong: for example, the 1966 address ofLloyd-Jones is supposed to have argued for „a single united evangelical church”.46 Butthat is clearly wrong. Nor is it helpful or accurate to speak ofLloyd-Jones’s „impassioned eloquence … in the heat of the moment”.47 I am afraid that even in this book Lloyd-Jones is pictured as the culprit who shattered evangelical unity in Britain in 1966. When will those writing on this incident be at least fair to the facts? Please, please give us history and not fiction.

The second and final publication I refer to is For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present & Future48 which commemorates the founding of the Evangelical Alliance in 1846 and also serves as a tribute to Gilbert Kirby on his 80th birthday. Two chapters are immediately relevant to our theme. Peter Lewis writes on Renewal, Recovery & Growth: 1966 onwards and reports accurately the thrust of the Doctor’s message. A useful outline is provided of later developments, namely, NEAC 1967, emergence of Tear Fund in 1968, Berlin 1966 and Lausanne 1974, the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, UCCF, Spring Harvest- Keswick, Evangelical Leaders Conference, evangelical unity and co-operative evangelism. Another relevant chapter is AIan Gibson’s The Role ofSeparation. The title is misleading for it is a consideration of „principles of separation and cooperation among today’s churches”.49 The chapter deserves careful study.

This sampling of papers and books which refer to the 1966 address by Lloyd-Jones is now complete. Other books like Chosen Vessels could have been referred to but, hopefully, the sample has been adequate to stimulate you to think and read some of the primary sources. But, please, get the facts right and then wrestle prayerfully as well as Biblically with the matters raised. We all still have much to learn from the Doctor’s 1966 message.


  1. 1  Christianity Today, February 5, 1990, volume 34, no. 2, pp. 25-36
  2. 2  Idem, p. 33
  3. 3  Christopher Catherwood, Five Evangelical Leaders, Hodder & Stoughton, 1987 ·
  4. 4  Idem, p 83


(2) Addresses by Dr Lloyd-Jones on Christian Unity at The Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches at New Delhi, December 1962

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

by Eryl Davies – Principal of the Evangelical Theological College of Wales and Editor for  Foundations a journal of Evangelical theology for the British Evangelical Council (18th October 1966 edition) (Note: due to length, and so it can be easier on the eyes, all emphasis -dark shading- is mine)

18th October 1966: Its context, message and significance

Eryl Davies

It is important to understand what actually happened on the 18th October 1966. Facts are my concern here, not fiction however imaginative or prejudiced. Sadly, some have misunderstood and even misrepresented the message and motives of Lloyd-Jones on this occasion. A later article briefly illustrates what religious papers at the time reported and also how more recent books view the significance of the occasion. Facts · are important and one major purpose of this article is to establish what Lloyd-Jones said and the context in which he said it. I also intend to pinpoint some areas of challenge, too, for the contemporary scene. We must continue to learn from 1966 and grapple with the questions and issues raised by Lloyd-Jones. These issues are relevant not because Lloyd-Jones articulated them, but because they involve Biblical and abiding principles which we ignore only at our peril.

I will employ a question and answer approach in this article. One reason for adopting this approach is that annually my students ask me many ofthese questions as we examine the subject of ecumenism in class. We ponder long on the subject and perhaps these questions are also your own questions. Another reason for adopting this style is that the information may be more digestible and interesting.

c> Why should we bother to mark the 30th anniversary of this date?

Well, it was, as we will see, an historic occasion which has had major implications for the nature, unity and future of evangelicalism in the United Kingdom. A major division occurred amongst British Evangelicals, especially between Anglican Evangelicals and their non-conformist brethren. It would be tragic if no-one marked this anniversary or failed to reflect seriously on its abiding significance.

c> Who arranged the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) at which Lloyd-jones spoke in 1966?

The NAE was arranged by the Evangelical Alliance (EA). When the EA arranged the first NAE in 1965, its General Secretary at the time, Rev. Gilbert Kirby, acknowledged „we had considerable doubts as to the degree to which it would be supported”. However, they were reassured of the rightness in calling that initial NAB and the EA leadership also recognised the need for a second NAB in 1966.

c> Why hold a second NAE? Was there a need?

It is appropriate to allow Gilbert Kirby to answer these two related questi()ns. In extending a welcome in the Conference Delegates’ Handbook to delegates to the second NAE, Kirby explains: „It soon became clear at the last Assembly that the question of Christian unity was uppermost in many minds. Acting on the wishes clearly expressed at the Assembly, the Alliance brought into being a Church Unity Commission, which has met on many occasions over the past months, and which is due to present a report at the forthcoming Assembly. Clearly we must give adequate time to the consideration of this vital subject…”.1

o Did the 1966 NAE spend all or most of its time discussing unity?

No, not at all. Again, Kirby writes: „…indeed the first full day of the Assembly will be very largely devoted to it. On the Tuesday evening at the opening rally .. .it is expected that Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones will also speak to this theme. We feel it would be wrong, however, to devote the whole of our time together to one particular theme, important as that may be. On the second full day of Conference, therefore, we propose to devote our attention, first of all to certain current issues relating to moral and spiritual matters, and then to the Unfinished Task of Evangelism at home and abroad”.2 However, it is fair to add that the challenge and impact of the address by Lloyd-Jones in the first meeting overshadowed the rest of the Conference.

o Who attended the NAE?

Delegates from local churches, Fellowships, Societies and Denominations affiliated to the Evangelical Alliance.3

o Tell me more about the Commission on Church Unity which was established by the 1965 NAE.

During the first NAE in 1965 it was apparent that Evangelicals of all denominations were „vitally interested”4 in the question of Christian unity. The purpose of the Commission was „to study radically the various attitudes of Evangelicals to the Ecumenical Movement, denominationalism and a possible future United Church”. The 1965 NAE insisted that those elected to serve on the Commission should be „from within the membership of the Evangelical Alliance”. The Revs Peter Johnston (CotE) and John Caiger (Baptist) shared the chairmanship of the Commission. Other Commission members included Canon Frank Colquhoun (CotE), Rev. TH Bendor- Samuel (F1EC), GCD Howley (Brethren), Rev. Godfrey Robinson (Baptist) together with the Executive secretaries, Rev. Gilbert Kirby (Congregationalist), Rev. J Hywel Davies (Elim) and David Winter (CotE).

o Is it correct that Lloyd-Jones attended the Commission? Yes, it is correct. In addition to Lloyd-Jones, several others members of the Westminster Fellowship also agreed to speak to the Commission. The following people attended in person at the request of the Commission :

  • Rev. Canon T G Mohan, CofE Evangelical Council Rev. W M D Persson, CotE Evangelical Council
  • Rev. John A Job, Methodist Revival Fellowship
  • Rev. Hon Roland Lamb, Methodist Revival Fellowship
  • Rev. Ronald S Luland, Baptist Revival Fellowship
  • Rev. Stanley J Voke, Baptist Revival Fellowship
  • Rev. Geoffrey R King, Baptist Revival Fellowship 8
  • Rev. E S Guest, Congregational Evangelical Revival Fellowship
  • Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Westminster Chapel
  • Rev. Alfred F Missen, British Pentecostal Fellowship
  • Derek Warren, Christian Brethren Rev. HJones, Free Church ofEngland
  • Rev. E Gregory, Free Church of England
  • Rev. Dr JD Douglas, Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Murdo A McLeod, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Kenneth H Bell, Presbyterian Church of England Rev. lain Murray, Grove Chapel, Camberwell

c::> How did the Commission define key-terms like ‘evangelical’ and ‘ecumenical’?
The term „evangelical” was used „in its more restricted sense to denote ‘conservative evangelical”‘ while „ecumenical” was understood „primarily with reference to the World Council ofChurches”.5 The Commission in using the term „United Church” understood it as referring to „a possible United Evangelical Church mentioned in the resolution passed at the 1965” NAE.

c::> What conclusions did the Commission come to?

There were „definite conclusions”, namely:

  1. „There is no widespread demand at the present time for the setting up of a united evangelical church on denominational lines”.
  2. „There is a strong demand for the strengthening of the links between evangelical churches of varying traditions”.
  3. „This does not mean that there could not be an effective fellowship or federation of evangelical churches at both the local and nationallevel”.6

c::> Did the EA know in advance which subject Lloyd-Jones was going to speak on in 1966 and the burden of his address?

Lloyd-Jones had previously shared in private with the members of the Commission his own views of Christian unity. He was then „asked to say in public what he had said in private”.7 In his opening remarks to the Conference, Lloyd-Jones announced that „My subject is Church unity, and I am speaking on this at the request of the Commission.. .It was the members of the Commission themselves who asked me to state in public here tonight what I am now proposing to say to you. So it is really their responsibility. They have already heard it, and they asked me to repeat it to you”. John Stott also knew in outline what Lloyd-Jones would say and was given ten minutes prior to the main speaker to state his own view on unity.

c::> Can you summarize the main message of Lloyd-Jones at the second NAE?

Only with some difficulty! Obviously it is better to read and study the whole address for it is available to us in Knowing the Times.8 On the other hand, it can be helpfu(to summarize the address in order to feel its challenge and to reflect on its message again.

For convenience, I am dividing his address in three ways :


In his introduction, Lloyd-Jones made several points. One, that the doctrine of the Church is prominent in the New Testament itself. Two, it is a „most urgent”9 and relevant subject especially because of the Church’s contemporary condition in the world. Three, the formation Of the WCC in 1948 haS Created „an entirely neW situation”,10 „such as has not been the case since the Protestant Reformation”. In 1966 he observed that Protestant denominations were „prepared to reconsider their whole position” which included a new and more favourable attitude towards Rome. Tragically for Lloyd-Jones, Evangelicals hardly ever discussed ecclesiology and always appeared negative towards ecumenism.


At the heart of the address were three major questions:

  1. „Are we content, as Evangelicals, to go on being nothing but an evangelical wing of a Church” and where the majority have liberal views of the Bible?
  2. „Where are we to start in this whole matter?” Again, he observed a cleavage in which some merely wanted to „modify” and „improve” the situation rather than reform in the light of the New Testament. This raises „the question”,12 what is the Christian Church? For Lloyd-Jones, the New Testament maintains that the Church comprises believers, „living people” who embrace the Biblical doctrines „essential to salvation”.
  3. What is the sin of schism? Arguing from 1 Corinthians, he claims that „schism is adivision among members of the true visible Church about matters which are not sufficiently important to justify division”,  „holding the same doctrines but dividing over persons”. Only Evangelicals, therefore, can be guilty of the sin of schism so that to secede from a mixed denomination is not schismatic.


  1. A  „What reasons have we for not coming together?” Lloyd-Jones insisted that it was inconsistent to remain within a mixed denomination such as Anglican or Methodist.
  2. B  „Do we not feel the call to come together, not occasionally, but always? It is a grief to me that I spend so little of my time with some of my brethren…I am a believer in ecumenicity, evangelical ecumenicity. To me, the tragedy is that we are divided … ” Y
  3. C  „But have we a right to ask His blessing upon churches which spend most of their time in arguing about the essentials and the vitals of the faith? Surely, the Holy Spirit will only bless His own Word, and if those of us who believe it would only come together, stand together as churches, constantly together, working together, doing everything together, bearing our witness together, I believe we would then have the right to expect the Spirit of God to come upon us in mighty revival and re- awakening” .16
  4. D  „There are great problems confronting us if we act on these principles. But has the day come when we, as Evangelicals, are afraid of problems?…we are living in tremendous times…in one of the great turning points of history…there has been nothing like this since the Sixteenth Century. It is a day of glorious opportunity… And who knows but that the Ecumenical Movement may be something for which, in years to come, we shall thank God because it has made us face our problems on the Church level instead ofon the level ofmovements, and really brought us together as a fellowship, or an association, of evangelical churches. May God speed the day”.17

c::> Is it true that Lloyd-jones wanted a united evangelical Church?

No, this is a misrepresentation of his message and call. It was not one monolithic evangelical church he wanted but rather a meaningful and real „fellowship or an association of evangelical churches”. His independent approach to church government comes through here. Addressing the Westminster Fellowship in Welwyn in June 1965, he insisted: „I have not proposed a new church”.18 However, there was confusion on this point, but it was not the fault of Lloyd-Jones. For example, it was a member of the Westminster Fellowship, Don Davies, who moved the EA resolution in 1965 that a Commission should consider „a possible future United Church~’ and this in turn was interpreted by the EA to mean „a united evangelical church on denominational lines”.19

Nevertheless, it was not what Lloyd-Jones wanted. For example, in 1963 he expressed his hope for an association of churches in which there was a minimum of central control. In this context he admired Cromwell’s quest for a unity between churches which still allowed differences over church government. „That is exactly my position on these matters”, he declares, „I do not care whether a man is a Presbyterian or a Baptist or an Independent or Episcopalian or a Methodist, as long as he is agreed about the essentials of ‘the faith'”.20

c::> How did John Stott respond to the address of Lloyd-jones?

As chairman, he had already been given several minutes earlier in the meeting to express his view of Christian unity but immediately after Lloyd-Jones had spoken, Stott made an impromptu speech which included the now famous lines: „I believe history is against what Dr Lloyd-Jones has said…Scripture is against him, the remnant was within the church not outside it. I hope no-one will act precipitately…”.21 The effect was „sensational” and it „polarised”22 the meeting.

c::> What were the consequences of this meeting for evangelicalism in the United Kingdom?

One immediate consequence was a deep division both between Anglican Evangelicals and many of their non-conformist brethren, but also among non-conformist pastors and churches. The latter division over secession sadly involved, in some cases, strained and even broken relationships while the former division took the majority of evangelical Anglicans in the direction of the WCC and further away from their non- conformist brethren. Another consequence has been expressed by Hywel R Jones: „The rejection of evangelical unity in 1966 has become an adoption of ecumenical unity in 1991”.23 Anglican Evangelicals also became more committed to their denomination and in numerous ways there was a weakening on the part of some to Biblical teaching.

This is what John Gunstone had in mind when he referred to Anglican Evangelicals as the „new Evangelicals”, being „comprehensive rather than exclusive”, „more relaxed theologically” and more Anglican than evangelicai.24 For some years, too, a strongly negative attitude characterized a few of the secessionists who affiliated to the British Evangelical Council, by that time already 14 years old. Thankfully, this has given way in recent years to a more positive quest for evangelical unity.

o To what extent was Lloyd-Jones responsible for the division among post-1966 Evangelicals?

Some blame Lloyd-Jones almost completely for „rocking the boat” and dividing UK Evangelicals. They claim that he did this by introducing and pressing the ecclesiological dimension into discussions concerning Biblical ecumenism, especially the crucial question relating to the nature of the Church. This, however, is a superficial and misleading understanding of .events. For example, Lloyd-Jones was grieved by the radical departure of the historical denominations from the Bible and their willingness to commit themselves to an unbiblical ecumenism. He rightly challenged Evangelicals as to whether they should co-exist and co-operate with those in denominations who blatantly denied and opposed the essentials of the Gospel. Furthermore, Lloyd-Jones correctly perceived that evangelical Anglicans were espousing a new open policy on ecumenism which further isolated them from other Evangelicals. In other words, he insisted from Scripture that Christian unity was grounded in the truth of God’s infallible Word and was, in its essence, spiritual rather than organizational. Lloyd-Jones was „enunciating principles”, confirms lain Murray, „which could be seen to possess Biblical authority”25 and, he adds, „no-one ever attempted to answer the booklet The Basis of Christian Unity from Scripture”. Rather than attempting to divide Evangelicals, Lloyd- Jones’s aim throughout was to call them from doctrinal compromise to a working expression of evangelical unity~ Already, however, and prior to 1966, decisions had been made especially within Anglican circles and~policies adopted which were decisive and had nothing to do with Lloyd-Jones.

o What kind of evangelical unity did Lloyd-Jones envisage?

As indicated in his 1966 address, he wanted „a fellowship or an association of evangelical churches” expressed consistently according to the New Testament doctrine of the Church. To the Westminster Ministers’ Fellowship in late November 1966, he emphasised: „I am not going to organize anything…If I had wanted to start a denomination I would not have left it till now…I am not going to organize, lead or suggest anything. I trust I shall be a helper. I feel I have done what I have been called to do. The question is what are you going to do?”26 In the July 1967 meeting of the Westminster Fellowship he addressed the urgent subject of the nature of the unity sought by Evangelicals who were opposed to developments in ecumenism related to the WCC. While Ecumenists have a minimum of doctrine, he complained that Evangelicals tended to go to „the opposite extreme”.27 Lloyd-Jones then distinguished between doctrines which are essential and those which are not essential; the latter included baptism, Church polity and charismata. „I have never proposed a united evangelical church”, he concluded, „…I cannot see the impossibility of a loose fellowship including those who are Presbyterian, those who are independent, and those with varying views on baptism”.28

When pressed, it was clear that Lloyd-Jones did not have any particular plan or blueprint for the expression of a new evangelical unity. Not only was his own understanding limited at this point, but he also wanted others to pray and consider Biblically the way forward. One thing is clear, Lloyd-Jones wanted a big umbrella-type fellowship of churches, including evangelical Anglicans, but in the circumstances had to opt for the BEC as providing the next best and widest possible fellowship between churches in the post-1966 situation.

o Did Lloyd-Jones repeat and/or develop his 1966 message? Yes, he did. One example is his address in 1967 on Luther and His Messagefor Today. 29 The editor’s introduction to this address is helpful. First, the editor notes that one development is that the 1966 address was a major, positive call for Evangelicals to unite in a fellowship of evangelical churches whereas the 1967 Luther address „led up to an explicit call to them to secede from denominations which were moving towards Rome by their involvement in the ecumenical movement”.30 Second, the editor draws attention to the „Doctor’s” expression „guilt by association” in the 1967 address. He was not advocating „second degree separation”, but rather „putting an important question to those in the doctrinally mixed denominations who would be ‘content to function’ in the same church as those ‘who deny the very elements of the Christian faith”‘.

Again in 1968 Lloyd-Jones addressed the BEC conference on What is the Church? partly because it was at the time „the greatest cause of division amongst Evangelicals in this country”Y In the 1970 conference, his concern was „wrong divisions and true unity” and emphasised the crucial difference between separation and schism. In his 1977 BEC address, the „Doctor” spoke under the title of The Sword and the Song and reviewed the ten year period from 1967-1977. Unti11967, Lloyd-Jones rightly claims that they were all engaged fighting „the old liberalism and modernism”32 with the help ofEvangelicals in the mixed denominations, namely, those within the EA. Now, however, „the situation unfortunately has taken a very sad and a very tragic turn”33 and, he adds, „in my wildest moments, I never imagined that the things which have taken place in the last ten years would come to pass. It is almost incredible”. Lloyd-Jones goes on to describe this as „a real change and a definite shift in the whole position of Anglican evangelicalism”34 in their views of Scripture, salvation, the Church, and also ecclesiastical relationships;35 it represents an „extraordinary change”. And it „has become very doubtful as to what an Evangelical really is. This is a sad, a tragic story”.36

Lloyd-Jones then probes the question as to why this has happened. „To me”, he replies, „there is only one answer. It is that if your doctrine of the Church is wrong, eventually you will go wrong everywhere”.37 He went on to affirm that Evangelicals within the BEC must fight for the Bible, „the truth of the Gospel”38 as well as a „true conception ofthe Christian Church”.39 Not only then was 1966 a tragic division; it was also for some evangelical Anglicans the beginning of compromise on major doctrines.

o Finally, are you suggesting that in some way we need to go back to the 1966 situation?

Not really because the situation today has changed and we dare not live in the past. Nevertheless, although the situation has changed, the issues have not changed. As we have just seen, the post-1966 situation has deteriorated and there is considerable confusion as well as uncertainty over major Biblical doctrines. We can, and must, learn from the 1966 call.

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