Tag Archives: martyn-lloyd jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Logic on Fire

Martyn-Lloyd Jones (1899-1981) was the most influential British preacher of the 20th century, rivaled perhaps by only John R. W. Stott. As a young man from Wales, Jones had trained to be a medical doctor, but wrestled with a calling to preach. View an interview with him here on Veracity.

Upon taking the pulpit at Westminster Chapel in London, Jones became known as a scholarly yet fiery, verse-by-verse expositor of the Bible. In his series on the Book of Romans alone, he delivered at least 366 sermons on the 16 chapters of this great letter by the Apostle Paul. That’s a good six years plus of preaching week by week just on one book of the Bible!

He was not afraid to ruffle some feathers. He was thoroughly Reformed in his theology, an unapologetic critic of Arminianism and champion of the sovereignty of God, and he showed great restraint in voicing his frustration with dispensationalism. Yet he was a man of controversy of his own making, too, criticizing other evangelical leaders who were not severe enough in distancing themselves from more liberal wings of the church, while ironically embracing a tentative yet curious acceptance of a more charismatic form of Christian faith.

Nevertheless, Martyn Lloyd-Jones was passionate about helping believers understand God’s Word and live it out at the most profound level. In an age where many churches shy away from verse-by-verse teaching in favor of more thematic approaches to pulpit teaching, evangelicalism today would do well to learn from the example of the “Doctor,” even if one does not fully find themselves in agreement with all of Martyn Lloyd-Jones teachings, many of them having been preserved in audio form by the MLJ Trust.

A new film is out now documenting this man’s life: Logic on Fire, available here.


Podcasts for the Thinking Christian

Plumb LineJohn’ s recent post on William Lane Craig’s Defender Series of podcasts brought to mind that I should update my list of recommended podcasts for the thinking Christian (here is an earlier list John and I have discussed).  I do not have the time to read books as much as I would like, but the marvel of MP3 players is that I can download audio files and listen to them while I work in the yard or drive to and from work.

John’s suggestion of William Lane Craig as the “graduate school” for the next step following after Dick Woodward’s Mini Bible College is very appropriate. Dick was an amazing teacher who continues to impact the world through his unique ability to “put things on the bottom shelf” for people by exploring the basic contours of the Bible. Dr. Craig then makes it more in-depth in terms of helping you grasp and develop your own understanding of God (theology) founded on Scripture and then applied in terms of being able to offer a rational defense of the Christian faith (apologetics).

But just as there are fine and different academic graduate schools out there, there are different “graduate school” approaches to theology and apologetics. For example, Dr. Craig is probably one of the leading Christian apologists alive today, such that atheist Richard Dawkins awkwardly still refuses to debate him. But Dr. Craig is known for his “Middle Knowledge” approach to the issue of God’s sovereignty vs. free will. He is also known for his classical/evidentialist approach to apologetics.  Without digging too much into those things right now, let me just say that not everybody is totally with Dr. Craig on these issues. But, PLEASE, do not let that dissuade you from digging into William Lane Craig! He is awesome! It is just important to know that there are other approaches that Christians take to these issues. You might want to check out some of the other podcast resources available to get a flavor of what is out there. So here we go!

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Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the Human Condition

Let us be honest. None of us really likes to talk about sin.

But when we talk about the great and glorious news of the Gospel, that in Jesus Christ we have been forgiven of our sin, it would behoove us to fully understand what the sin problem really is. If we fail to do that, it would be like a doctor trying to give a prescription to a patient for their healing without fully grasping the proper diagnosis of the condition.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was perhaps the greatest evangelical preacher in 20th century Britain, only rivaled by perhaps one of my favorite expository British teachers, John R. W. Stott (who teaches on the subject of human sin as found in Ephesians 2:1-3 in a commentary found here). Formerly a doctor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones went onto preach as a minister for 30 years. Jones was a great admirer of the Puritans, thoroughly immersed in the Reformed tradition.

I have been spending several weeks reading Romans 5:12-21 in preparing some discussions for our small group Bible study. Of everything I have read in Romans, this passage of Scripture is probably the most compact, dense, liberating, and enriching text in the entire letter. It is nevertheless controversial within the church as to how it has been interpreted. Just ask any Roman Catholic, Protestant or Eastern Orthodox Christian familiar with the discussion. For starters, consider verse 12:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned——

The Apostle Paul simply breaks off his thought within mid-sentence.  It is as though Paul had to pause there, anticipating the objections that would be raised to the concept of human as sinners that would chafe against the rational mind for the next 21 centuries. What does Paul mean by this phrase all sinned?   I have been reading this over and over again, looking at commentaries like this one, only to be further drawn into the Apostle Paul’s famous pause at the point. What was Paul getting at?

It is as breath-taking as it is challenging.

In the following video, Martyn Lloyd-Jones gets to the heart of why so many people have such difficulties with Paul’s message in Romans 5.

Also, if you want to hear some of the best Reformed, expository Bible preaching ever recorded, you will be pleased to know that over 1,600 of Martyn-Lloyd Jones sermons are now available for free on the Internet (though you can donate to make sure that those sermons remain freely available).

In the meantime, you can get the flavor of his approach to the Bible and why it is so important to understand the proper diagnosis of the human condition. This interview was conducted by journalist Joan Bakewell in December, 1970:


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