Yet another entry in the “Theologians on the Christian Life” series, Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life: Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire by Jason Meyer is an excellent addition to a generally excellent series. As with Lewis on the Christian Life (reviewed here) is of necessity going to be disadvantaged from the start because of the generally great regard in which its subject is held. Everyone who knows about him loves D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which is admittedly a smaller set than those who know about Lewis. But being smaller by no means makes them less passionate in their admiration. I at least have the advantage of having heard of him, but not being directly familiar with his works. (Many of which are available through the MLJ Trust.) Having read this book, I may want to dig more into his sermons.
Which should tell you that Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life is excellent.
Just what is wrong with the world today? Using methods learned as a physician, Lloyd-Jones diagnosed the problem of man as fundamentally the problem of sin. The prescription is the Gospel—forgiveness offered and accomplished by the Son of God who was Incarnate and who took on himself the punishment for the sins of all who would believe in him. The result is a new life of increasing obedience and joy as the disease of sin is fought against and the healthy life that we were called to begins to flourish. That is the basic message of Lloyd-Jones On the Christian Life, and of the ministry of Lloyd-Jones as a whole.
A weakness in the book: the forward is written by Sinclair Ferguson. If Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life is any indication, Jason Meyer is a competent and thoughtful writer. But he’s no Sinclair Ferguson. So, you know, note to self: if I ever write a book, don’t let Sinclair Ferguson write the introduction…One unique benefit of this book in the “Theologians on the Christian Life” series is that there aren’t really other books in the strictest sense by Lloyd-Jones that you can be inspired to go pick up. What I mean by that is that when you’re done reading, say, Luther on the Christian Life or Augustine on the Christian Life, you can go pick up a copy of Bondage of the Will or The Confessions and dig more into the systematic thought of Luther or Augustine. This is not true of Lloyd-Jones. To be sure he did publish books, but they are all collections of sermons or lectures, rather than ‘books’ in the strictest sense of the word. And both sermons and lectures are by definition to be heard rather than read. Which doesn’t make them bad or not worth your time, it just makes them not the same as reading something designed to be a book. In a sense, Lloyd-Jones On the Christian Life has to do double-duty. Fortunately Meyer’s book is up to the task, and I cheerfully recommend it.
Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO.