Thursday, October 12, 2006

Meet D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981

From an essay by his son-in-law, Sir Fred Catherwood:

With the death of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a great pillar of the 20th century evangelical church has been removed. A pillar, however, is too static a metaphor to describe such a figure, for his spiritual and intellectual leadership created a new dynamic which owed little to the church he entered in the mid-twenties. By the fifties its full impact had been felt; by then there were ministers not only in Britain but around the world, who understood and preached a full-blooded gospel. That gospel once more rested fairly and squarely on the framework of reformation theology, based on the sure foundation of apostolic and biblical authority, and irradiated by the example of 18th century evangelism.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones was brought up in Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, first as a boy in Wales and then as a teenager and student in London, when the Charing Cross Chapel, which his family attended, was living on the left-over emotion of the Welsh revival. There was little doctrine to counter the rising trend of liberalism or to bring out the distinction between church-goers and true Christians. The three Lloyd-Jones boys enjoyed intellectual debate, but each was more committed to his career than to his professed faith.

Martyn's career was medicine. He went from school to Barts, one of the great London teaching hospitals, and was brilliantly successful. He succeeded in his exams so young that he had to wait to take his MD, by which time he was already chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Horder, one of the best and most famous doctors of the day. By the age of 26 he also had his MRCP and was well up the rungs of the Harley Street ladder, with a brilliant and lucrative career in front of him. Then something happened.

Slowly, reading for himself, his mind was gripped by the Christian gospel, its compelling power and its balanced logic, like the majestic self-supporting arches of a great cathedral. He had no dramatic crisis of conversion, but there came a point when he had committed himself entirely to the Christian gospel. After that, as he sat in the consulting room, listening to the symptoms of those who came to see him, he realised that what so many of his patients needed was not ordinary medicine, but the gospel he had discovered for himself. He could deal with the symptoms, but the worry, the tension, the obsessions could only be dealt with by the power of Christian conversion. Increasingly he felt that the best way to use his life and talents was to preach that gospel.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Find many sermons, articles, and some audio here.

Find audio downloads for purchase (along with scattered free downloads) here.

No doubt someone has already wondered, "A famous British Christian from the middle of the last century - I wonder if he knew C.S. Lewis?" Well the answer is yes. Listen (or download) an interview with MLJ's daughter, Lady Elizabeth Catherwood, and her husband, Sir Fred Catherwood, on MLJ's life, including his connection to C.S. Lewis, here.

Listen to (or download) another interview with the Catherwoods about MLJ's legacy here.

Listen to (or download) MLJ's personal assistant and Banner of Truth founder Iain Murray discuss MLJ here and here.