In this, the second of a series on Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones first written for The Resurgence, we will explore some of the key elements of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ doctrine that might be less frequent in the doctrine of others. He was thoroughly Reformed and, in his day, he seemed to stand almost alone for these values, and for the centrality of expository preaching.
The Doctor’s View on Grace
Lloyd-Jones emphasized the doctrine of grace, perhaps even more strongly than many preachers today. He argued that God loves Christians exactly the same way, irrespective of how we behave. Lloyd-Jones received some criticism for this, but proclaimed that unless your preaching leads some to think you are claiming one need not live a godly life as a Christian, you are not preaching the gospel.
He refused to believe, however, the Christian was redeemed to remain enslaved by sin. He argued strongly, contrary to many Reformed commentators, that the “man” of Romans 7 who knew only defeat in his battle against sin could not possibly be the mature Christian. This radical, grace-filled message of a freedom from law, but joyful submission to Christ captured the attention of a young Terry Virgo, and liberated him from bondage to legalism. Virgo has taken what has been essentially The Doctor’s message on grace, and used it as fuel for a movement that has grown to over 700 churches.
The Doctor’s View on the Holy Spirit
Lloyd-Jones was no dry theologian. Perhaps his other almost unique contribution was the way he combined a strong Reformed theology with a passionate commitment to experiencing the power of the Spirit. He defined preaching as “logic on fire”. He believed strongly there is a filling of the Spirit available today that is distinct from conversion.
The Doctor also spoke of God guiding him to preach on certain subjects. He believed Gifts of the Holy Spirit were available today, though it is stretching it a little too far to claim he was a fully-fledged charismatic. He criticized the church of his day saying, “the greatest sin of the evangelical church is telling God what He could not do.”