MLJ MONDAY – Why The Doctor Did Not Approve Of Theological Degrees

One little known fact about Doctor Martyn Lloyd-Jones is his opposition to the concept of theological degrees for Christians. The following quote is probably the best one I have found which explains his reasoning for this position. It is also notable for the disappointment he clearly feels with those who are not interested in understanding more about God, but also his similar despair over those who stop at mere knowledge about God without pressing in to truly know him and worship him.

What foolish creatures we are! Many of us are not interested in doctrine at all; we are lazy Christians who do not read, do not think, and do not try to delve into the mysteries.Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones We have had a certain experience and we desire no more. Others of us, deploring such an attitude, say that, because the Bible is full of doctrine, we must study it and grapple with it and possess it. So we become absorbed in our interest in doctrine and stop at that. The result is that, as regards this question of the love of Christ, we are no further on than the others because we have made doctrine an end and a terminus. In this way the devil trips and traps us and robs us of our heritage. If your knowledge of the Scriptures and of the doctrines of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has not brought you to this knowledge of the love of Christ, you should be profoundly dissatisfied and disturbed. All biblical doctrine is about this blessed Person; and there is no greater snare in the Christian life than to forget the Person Himself and to live simply on truths concerning Him.

It is for this reason that some of us have always had a feeling that it is dangerous to have examinations on scriptural knowledge. Some of the Reformers held that view, Martin Luther especially. Some of the Puritans also held it. There should never be such a thing as a ‘Degree in Scriptural Knowledge’. This is so, not only because it is wrong in and of itself, but also because it tends to encourage this tendency to stop at truths and to miss the Person. We should never study the Bible or anything concerning biblical truth without realizing that we are in His presence, and that it is truth about Him. And it should always be done in an atmosphere of worship. Biblical truth is not one subject among others; it is not something that belongs to a syllabus. It is living truth about a living Person. That is why a theological college should be different from every other kind of college; and that is why a religious service is essentially different from every kind of meeting the world can organize. It is always a matter of worship; we are in the presence of a Person.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ—Studies in Ephesians, Chapter 3 (Grand Rapids MI: Baker Book House, 1972), 208. Also available electronically from Logos Bible Software.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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