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More Martyn Lloyd-Jones

posted May 17, 2016, 10:13 AM by First Baptist



Last week, I wrote that I was reading a biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a prominent Welsh preacher from the 20th century. At the age of 27, he left medicine to preach the gospel.


I did not realize until the final third of the biography that Lloyd-Jones was a controversial figure in the 1960’s & 70’s. This was the era of ecumenism; the era of churches & denominations laying aside their doctrinal differences in a spirit of Christian unity.


While not the only reason, one of the primary motivations for ecumenism was the belief that such a show of unity would be attractive to unbelievers and would thus have the effect of reversing the downward trend in church attendance. (The steep decline in church attendance in Western Europe preceded the decline in the United States.)


Lloyd-Jones opposed the movement toward ecumenism. He warned that churches & denominations would compromise essential Christian beliefs/doctrines in order to “get along.” It would be a “race to the bottom” in terms of Christian belief. In the end, the Church wouldn’t really stand for anything – which unbelievers would eventually find repulsive.


Unfortunately, his concerns were borne out. West European churches essentially jettisoned the gospel for the vain hope of popularity. In the end, they lost the gospel, and lost the entire continent. Church attendance is only 6% in Great Britain.


Turning his attention to the United States, Lloyd-Jones saw something different going on. (He traveled to the States frequently.) In the so-called church growth movement, he saw a reliance on human means to “build” Christ’s church. He predicted it wouldn’t work and I think history will show that it hasn’t.


His concern reminds me of Psalm 127:1: Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.


We need to keep this in mind as we enter into our visioning process. We must not fall into the trap of thinking WE can build God’s church here in Harlan. Only God can bring people to himself.


One last thing: Listening to some of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons (available online), he even foresaw the coming moral/sexual revolution that has bombarded the church in recent years. His message would be clear: Don’t compromise!


Of course, there’s a price to be paid for standing firm on the essential doctrines of the faith. There is great reward as well!


Pastor Dan