Martyn Lloyd-Jones Panel at the 2014 Together for The Gospel (Mark Dever, John MacArthur, Iain Murray and Jonathan Catherwood)

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VIDEO by MLJTrust – Mark Dever (moderator) hosts a panel that includes Iain Murray (biographer of Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Co-Founder of Banner of Truth), John MacArthur (Pastor-Teacher of Grace Community Church), and Jonathan Catherwood, President of the MLJ Trust, and one of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s six grandchildren.

I have taken down notes from the first 25 minutes of the panel discussion. There are about another 20 minutes of great conversation on Dr. Lloyd-Jones in the video below.

John MacArthur on Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ influence:

I did not know him, but at the kind invitation of the Lloyd-Jones Trust, Grace To You partnered with you (speaking to Jonathan Catherwood, President of the MLJ Trust, and one of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s six grandchildren) all that time, and you didn’t know it at the time, what the Doctor meant to me. There are probably two things I would say: Nr. 1 is reading the 2 volume biography and finding out what a kindred spirit he was to me. And I could break that down into categories-

1) He had the same view of preaching that I’ve had, and I needed to find a hero that I could follow. And that was that exposition had to be relentlessly doctrinal. And you (Iain Murrary- Martyn Lloyd-Jones biographer) have a statement that Lloyd-Jones, during his time as an expositor with a doctrinal emphasis was alone in the UK. Well, that would have been true here, but I was convinced that the whole point of Bible exposition was so that the doctrine would emerge. And all preaching had to be doctrinal. That was a huge influence to me

2) Unscheduled exposition  influenced me – that he didn’t know how many sermons there would be in Ephesians 1, until he finished. And then, there were 38. He didn’t know. He took it as it came. That was a model for me to  preach Sunday by Sunday, by Sunday, and see what you get when you finished. Lloyd-Jones said, „The failure of preaching is not because preachers don’t know enough about man and his problems. The failure is they don’t know enough about the Word and the Holy Spirit.

3) Consecutive exposition –

4) Content – He was focused on the sovereignty of God and the glory of God in all of his preaching.

5) Another thing his ministry did for me was to show me the path of maintaining biblical authority  in epic confrontations. And that really came at the fore, not only in the Anglican confrontation, but it was exacerbated in the Billy Graham years form 1954 to 1966. And he would not equivocate on biblical authority. He would not sit on a platform with men who denied biblical authority. He wouldn’t be a part of cooperative evangelism. In fact, you  [Iain Murrau] write about the fact that he, I think it was sometime in 1966, for that Berlin event, when the [Billy] Graham organization asked him to be the chair of that event and he said, „I’ll do it on 2 grounds: 1- you remove all people from prominent positions, who are not faithful to the authority of Scripture and 2- you take out the invitation with the decisionism.” And there was no deal.

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6) One other immense influence on me was  his book on the Sermon on the Mount.  He, rather effectively, took shots at the old traditional dispensationalism in which I was raised.  When I started into the ministry, I had been taught that the Sermon on the Mount belonged in the millennium, and had nothing to do with the church age, which I didn’t understand or believe. And systematically, page by page by page, the Lord used Lloyd-Jones to dismantle that notion. And by the time I got done preaching through chapters 5-7, people on the dispensational side thought I’d abandoned the faith. I hadn’t, but I think I had come to a correct understanding of that greatest of New Testament sermons.

When as a medical doctor he was invited to speak to the Welsh people, he went in and decried the degraded state of Welsh preachingHe told them that the decline of the country was from the decline of the church and the decline of the church was related to the decline in preaching.  Iain Murray: Yes, it was the tradition of preaching that had become traditional and professional. And it wasn’t doctrinal, and people were easily made church members. MacArthur: When he said that, at the time, he was still a layman. Iain Murray: He spoke in South Wales and the newspapers caught up on what he was saying and they thought this was very arrogant, I suppose.

Iain Murray:

on hearing Lloyd-Jones preach a couple hundred times at Westminster: With all good preaching, if it is good preaching, in the biblical sense , you very quickly forget the man who is preaching. And that’s what happened with Lloyd Jones. God was speaking to you, and I think that is the mark of real preaching. you forget about the man himself. The great deficiency that we suffer from is that way back in the 1950’s nobody thought of gatherings like this, and the result is, as far as I know, we don’t have a single recording of a full service at Westminster Chapel. And that is a real loss, because the service led to the sermon. And they were united; and he led the whole service, and you didn’t notice him doing it. I believe it was the work of the Holy Spirit, as with Spurgeon. People didn’t say, when he was preaching, „Why doesn’t he let other people do things?” When the Holy Spirit is speaking, the man himself is in the background. But, that is a real loss that we don’t have a recording of a full service.

[MacArthur asks: So, tell us what a typical Sunday would be like.] Murray: He would come quietly into the pulpit, bow his head for a moment at the desk, then, the doxology would be sung without intimation. And then he would lead in a brief prayer. And then, the first hymn, which he would announce  and it would be a hymn leading into worship, and perhaps, especially for the Lord’s Day. And then the evening service would always include one madrigal song, there would be full sermons, the long prayer, the pastoral prayer, and brief notices by the church secretary, who had been at princeton since 1906, and in the 1950’s he was still attired as if at Princeton 1906. Then a hymn before the sermon and then the sermon. But by the time the sermon came, generally, you were gripped. There’s no question of the preacher having to get the attention of the people, and tell them a little story to interest them.

John MacArthur on Lloyd-Jones, the preacher:

He’s always been so compelling to me. Just one little illustration of that is he believed in law work, evangelism. You had to preach the law, confront sin. He not only believed you needed to tell the sinner he was a sinner, but you needed to prove it to him. And so, there was all of this argument that was going on. This logical argument. He was pinning the sinner down, and that’s what you get with Lloyd-Jones when you listen to him preach. You’re swept up and you can’t see the skeleton. This thing is fleshed out.

Iain Murray: Thank you for saying that, John. That’s so important.

He meant to disturb people. People complained, „This man talks to us as if we’re sinners.” And when Lloyd-Jones heard that, he was encouraged. And sometimes, people left Westminster Chapel, vowing to never come here again, but they did. They did come again. So, he did speak very plainly to people. And again, it was the sense that it wasn’t simply Lloyd-Jones speaking to them, there was something more happening, conviction.

John MacArthur:

That’s true even with things he said to Christians, in his series on Romans 11- the Benediction. You’re so overwhelmed with the flow of thought and the grasp that he has and the intensity, the energy and the strength of his argument, his unpacking, that you really are… the Lord is speaking through this instrument.

Lloyd-Jones books recommended (during the panel discussion):

  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Knowing the Times
  • The Plight of Man and the Power of God (addresses he gave in Edinburgh in 1939-1940)
  • Authority (Authority of Scripture, authority of God)

Audio sermons recommended

  • Book of Romans – the very first sermon „A Man Called Paul”. A full throated defense of the apostle Paul, and his whole approach to king expositional series
  • Ephesians 2 – a sermon called „But God” having described the problem with man and the state of sin  and the utter hopelessness that we find ourselves in. (A very powerful sermon).

The following is a 40 minute panel discussion at last month’s Together for The Gospel conference in Kentucky on the life and ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

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The discussion might be particularly interesting to those who are relatively new to the Lloyd-Jones sermons, as it provides some context for his ministry, and a perspective on his ministry and life by those who either knew him or are church leaders today.

The panel was chaired by Mark Dever, Senior Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC, and it panelists were Iain Murray, who was once an assistant to Dr. Lloyd-Jones and wrote the definitive two-volume biography on his life; John MacArthur, Pastor-Teacher at Grace Community Church in California, and yours truly, participating as one of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s six grandchildren, and representing the MLJ Trust.

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