D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Preacher -- By: Thomas N. Smith

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:4 (Fall 1992)
Article: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Preacher
Author: Thomas N. Smith

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Preacher

Thomas N. Smith

There can be little question that if Martyn Lloyd-Jones assessed his own life and work he would have considered himself to be a preacher. That he was a gifted and able man in many areas, there is no doubt. But, in the midst of the personal crisis which he underwent in 1925–26, Lloyd-Jones (ML-J hereafter) came to the conclusion that his call from God was a call to preach, to preach the gospel. Until his death in 1981 he was never to waver from this conviction. In the mid 1950’s he said, “Whatever authority I may have as a preacher is not the result of any decision on my part. It was God’s hand that laid hold of me, and drew me out, and separated me to this work.” 1

Thus, he entered this work only after a long and difficult struggle and only with a sense of the Divine compulsion, of the Divine “call.” He would have agreed with a contemporary of his on this: “The preacher must be conscious of an interior call. He must experience the imperative pressure of a vocation and accept it with all his heart.” 2

From the time of this call and onwards, ML-J was to devote the whole of his considerable intellect, the whole of his passionate personality, the whole of his time to what he himself called “the primacy of preaching,” either in preaching or the preparation of his sermons for publication.

This self-estimate was also that of those who knew him best. In the memorial service held in Westminster Chapel just weeks after his death, T. Omri Jenkins was to make this point in his reminiscences of “the Doctor” as “a preacher.” And it is impossible to read any of the biographical material referred to before without concluding, with the writers, that whatever gifts and training he possessed, ML-J was, first and foremost, the preacher.

Just what are we to make of ML-J the preacher? By what standards are we to judge him? And what profit can we hope for in such an assessment, such a judgment?

We will consider and judge ML-J and his preaching by four standards. These will be:

  1. The question of evangelical control and content
  2. The question of biblical fidelity
  3. The question of human and contemporary relevance
  4. The question of spiritual power

Evangelical Control and Content

It is with good reason that I have put this question first, and not the question of biblical fidelity. (I confess the Doctor may have taken me to task for my order!) The Christian does not approach any subjec...

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