Posts Tagged ‘Martin Lloyd-Jones’

Below are two videos available for a limited time on YouTube that you will not want to miss.  Both videos feature Martin Lloyd-Jones, the great English preacher who has had a reasonable influence on the pastors at Trinity Church.  In the first video Lloyd-Jones does a biography of Anglican evangelist George Whitefield.  In the second video Lloyd-Jones conducts an interview on what it means to be called to preach.  I don’t know when these will be taken down so enjoy them soon!

Thanks to Andy Morgan for giving us this gem

I suppose that the most popular of all the proposals at the present moment is to have a new translation of the Bible… The argument is that people are not reading the Bible any longer because they do not understand its language – particularly the archaic terms – what does your modern man… know about justification, sanctification, and all these Biblical terms? And so we are told the one thing that is necessary is to have a translation that Tom, Dick and Harry will understand…Look at it like this. Take this argument that the modern man does not understand such terms as ‘justification’, ’sanctification’, and so on. I want to ask a question: When did the ordinary man ever understand those terms? … Consider the colliers to whom John Wesley and George Whitfield used to preach in the 18th century. Did they understand them? They had not even been to a day school, an elementary school. They could not read, they could not write…Yet we are told, [the Bible]  must be put in such simple terms and language that anybody taking it up and reading it is going to understand all about it. My friends, this is nothing but sheer nonsense! What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the Bible, not bring the Bible down to their level.

The first paragraph is a spot on description of the current theological scene in the West.  Read on to see how it trickles down to the laity. 

We are living in an age that dislikes precision and definitions. It is an age that is anti-theological, anti-doctrinal and which dislikes propositions and exact knowledge. It is a lazy age in every respect, a sentimental, sloppy age, an age that wants entertainment and dislikes effort. In the whole of life today the principle is ‘something for nothing’. We are ready to take but we are not ready to work; we are not ready to give ourselves. It is true all round and it accounts for most of our problems. It is particularly true in the realm of the Christian church. We must therefore deal with this very carefully.

This tendency shows itself in many ways which are generally very plausible. One way is to say that Christianity is something that is so wonderful that it cannot be defined, that it baffles analysis or any attempt to state it in propositions. I am sure you are familiar with that particular view. People say you might as well try to dissect beauty, or an aroma, as to define the Christian faith. It cannot be done, they say. You experience it marvelous and wonderful! But if you try to analyze it, then you destroy it, there is nothing left. You must not bring the rude hands of analysis here.

Another way in which it is put is this: that Christianity is only a matter of one’s spirit. What makes us Christians is our spirit, and if we have an appropriate spirit, then we are Christians. Christianity is an attitude, a view of life, a general statement concerning our personality and our being. There was a slogan not so long ago which said, ‘Christianity is caught, not taught’. You catch the spirit. You feel it in the meeting and you get it. But what is it? Well, you do not know, but that does not matter. You have got it! That is the great thing and you feel much happier and much better than you did before.

Then a third way in which it is put is this: that after all what matters is our general reaction to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now this is one of the most popular views of all. People say, ‘You read the Gospels and there you see this portrait of Him and, as it were, you meet Him. Now what decides whether you are a Christian or not is this: Do you like Him? Do you want to be like Him? Do you try to imitate Him? What is your reaction to Him?’ You must not come and dissect, and bring your propositions and your theology and say you have got to believe this and not believe that. What matters is your total response to Him, and if you react favorably to Him, then you are a Christian.

The fourth way is the approach that describes Christianity in terms of living. What does it matter what people believe as long as they are living good, Christ like lives, as long as they are generous, ready to make sacrifices, ready to help others, and concerned about the uplift of the race? That is what makes people Christians.

Now this dangerous attitude takes one other form. I put this in a category on its own because I am beginning to think that in some ways it is the most subtle form of all among evangelical people. It is the tendency to estimate whether or not people are Christians, not by what they actually say about their beliefs but by what you feel about them. Now, I do want to make this clear, because I have encountered it a great deal. We attach greater importance and significance to this ‘feeling’ that we may have about them than to the very words that the people themselves use about the Christian faith. (more…)

Just what you’d expect from a gifted preacher and a great mind.  Enjoy…

That brings us to a concrete statement of the nature of what we may call divine chronology. God acts and plans and schemes, He interferes and enforces. When does He do so? What is it that determines when God intervenes? That is the question that concerns people. Our trouble when we begin to think of time, of chronology, is that we think of clocks and calendars, of weeks and months and years. But a study of the Bible makes it abundantly plain and clear that God’s chronology must never be thought of in this way. It is always, rather, a matter of moral conditions. Let me give you some quotations from Scripture to prove what I mean. In Genesis 6:3 we read, ‘And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man.’ Now what was happening there? Well, the world had sinned and the moral conditions were getting worse and worse. God was speaking, God was upbraiding, He was condemning, and calling to repentance; but men paid no heed. So He makes this statement: the point will arrive when I will cease to strive with you and I will act. That is not a point on a calendar, it is that the moral conditions would become such that God then would act. Or take the statement in Genesis i 5:16, ‘For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.’ God will only act when the iniquity is full. Take again the words from the New Testament: ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute; that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.’ The prophets had been killed centuries before, but the punishment comes when the iniquity has reached a certain level. Then take the phrase, ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’, and ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, and then shall come the end’. When is the end going to come? It is obviously not a certain date on a calendar, it is when the Gospel shall have been preached to all nations and amongst all people —‘then cometh the end.’ When did Christ come into the world? ‘When the fulness of the time was come’ — when the conditions were such that God said: This is the time. Again, ‘in due time Christ died for the ungodly’. When will the end of the world be? It will not be until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, until God has gathered out His people from amongst the Gentile nations — it will not happen until then. Now that is the biblical teaching on divine chronology.

Let us therefore get rid of all these ideas of dates and calendars, and let us realise that what determines God’s intervention in the time process is the matter of moral conditions. What is much more important than any particular date is the moral state and condition of the world today; for Scripture makes it very plain that before the end there will be a terrible apostasy. But we must be careful, for men have often said before, ‘This is the last great apostasy’. We must not again try to fix the exact time of the end, but we should be made to think, as we see the falling away from God and the arrogance and the active godlessness and irreligion. We should be made to think of these things because we are told that just before the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the moral conditions will be such that there will be this great apostasy and sin and iniquity will be revealed. Let us therefore, keep our eyes on the moral conditions rather than on the dates, because that is what seems clearly to be the teaching of the Bible with respect to the nature of divine chronology.

read the rest here

booksLloyd-Jones gives the surprising conclusion of supplying yourself with a steady stream of biography in your reading.  On the whole a fascinating essay entitled “Knowledge- False and True: A Warning Against Dead Orthodoxy”em>

My last word—how are we to get this knowledge? I give you but the bare headings. Bible study! Obviously you start there. But in addition, self–examination. How vital that is! Reading the Bible is not enough. Self examination! How do you examine yourself? If you read your Bible correctly, you will soon discover. Ask yourself questions, apply what you are reading to yourself. Say: ‘This was spoken to a Pharisee, is it true of me?’ and so on. But if you want further help as regards self–examination, read the diaries of men who have truly known God. Jonathan Edwards drew up a list of questions for people to ask themselves. John Fletcher of Madeley did exactly the same thing. You can use them if you like. But however you do it, be sure that you do it. Examine yourself!

Then another thing—and I want to emphasize this—balanced reading! I am concerned about this. I know of nothing that has such a tenndency to produce false knowledge and to make men victims of this false knowledge, as reading which lacks balance. If a man reads nothing but theology, he is exposing himself to this danger. I would therefore advise that we should always balance our reading as we balance our material diet. You should not eat only one kind of food. if you eat nothing but proteins you will soon be ill. You should always have a balanced diet. That principle is equally essential here. ‘What do you mean?’ asks someone. Well, if I may say so with humility, the thing that has been of the greatest help to me has been to balance theological reading with the reading of biographies. That is the best advice I can give. I have always done this: I have always done it on holiday and I have tried to do it day by day. But on holiday in particular I used always to give my mornings to reading some theological work, but I was also careful to read some biography at night. It worked like this. Having read for three or four hours in the morning I felt before lunch that I was quite a considerable man, and that I had a great deal of knowledge which I would be able to display to others. There I was! But I remember very well when I first ‘stumbled’—and I am speaking the truth literally—when I first stumbled across Jonathan Edwards in 1918. 1 had never heard of him before but I began to read him and I soon discovered that you cannot read a page of Jonathan Edwards without feeling very small indeed. It completely corrected what had been happening in the morning. The best antidote to the poison of false knowledge is to read a biography like that of Jonathan Edwards or Whitefield or Fletcher of Madeley…How monstrous, how ridiculous how foolish it is to think that we know these things, that we have a knowledge of God simply because we have garnered a certain amount of intellectual and theoretical and academic information! ‘Grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.’ Can we say with Spurgeon that we know what it is to be ‘embraced’ by Him? Have we ever really been there in His presence in a ‘sensible’ way—using the term ‘sensible’ as the Puritans used it? To ‘know and feel’ that God is near!

What is the value of all the knowledge we may have if we are ignorant of that! ‘Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.’ (I Cor. 13: 2). May God preserve us from this ‘false knowledge’ which is not knowledge but a counterfeit, and which is finally useless!