Authentic Christianity: A Review by Barry Shucksmith
A review by the Rt Revd Dr J. Barry Shucksmith of Authentic Christianity: Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 6 (Acts 8:1-35) by Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.1
This is the final volume in a set of six excellent books on the Acts of the Apostles. The first volume was issued in 1999. Those who have obtained previous volumes will want to add this final series of expositions to their valued collection. Unfortunately, ‘the Doctor’ was not able to continue with further sermons in Acts because of his serious illness and subsequent retirement as the longstanding Minister of Westminster Chapel. This reviewer heard many of the sermons preached when he was a student at Oak Hill Theological College from 1964 – 1968. The impact in print is considerable. To have heard them delivered ‘in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit’ is even now unforgettable.
The sixth volume of the series is particularly relevant and pertinent for the times in which we are living. Acts 8:1-35 takes in the persecution of Saul (soon to become Paul), the burial of Stephen, Deacon/Evangelist Philip and the ‘revival’ in Samaria, Simon the Sorcerer, the practice of laying on hands, the evangelistic style of Philip, and the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. Had Dr Lloyd-Jones remained well enough to deal with the last few verses of Acts 8, we might have had a thorough exposition of his views on baptism! But even without this, the listed subjects not only reveal the breadth of his thoughts, but obvious parallels in today’s church.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones is not only in a class of his own when it comes to exegetical and expository preaching. He never disappoints. He is always fresh, illuminating, and instructive. Furthermore, he is not content to be limited by the immediate text, but invariably applies it to the wider canvas of Holy Scripture. The result is often a mini-theology on such topics as the work of the Holy Spirit, repentance and faith, marks of spurious faith, the substitutionary character of the Cross, and the true message of the gospel. The challenge, application, and constant call for closure with Christ, marks the whole work. The sermons are not only didactic, they are thoroughly evangelistic in the biblical sense.
If you believe, as the reviewer does, that the most urgent need today is for a new reformation and true revival, then what can be said of the Doctor’s books generally is specifically true of this volume – it breathes the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit. And the great Welsh preacher has lessons still to teach us about the need for illustration in public ministry. He makes excellent use, not only of biblical and historical material, but draws upon his own vast experience. On Acts 8:5-7, for example, – “for unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them “, – the Doctor tells us of a spiritist and medium converted under his ministry. Few of us surely could tell stories of such trophies of grace?
Naturally, the style is sermonic and repetitive, rather than typical literature. But it is so easy to read, immediately impacting, spiritually uplifting, and results in sheer joy and pleasure. Preachers, who have other volumes on Acts, need to sit at the feet of this master and make him a model. Christians, of all shades and interests, can only be enriched by such material. Young and older will find help here. Perhaps, the chapter on ‘True and False Belief’ (Acts 8:13, 18-24) will prove the most useful in an ecclesiological situation not only greatly confused, but ripe for Almighty God’s judgment. Neither the Banner of Truth publications, nor the writings of Dr Lloyd-Jones, need my commendation. Their sheer quality is their own genuine testimony.
Volume 6: Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles
A review by the Rt Revd Dr J. Barry Shucksmith of Authentic Christianity: Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 6 (Acts 8:1-35) by Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.1 This is the final volume in a set of six excellent books on the Acts of the Apostles. The first volume was issued in 1999. Those […]
From British Church Newspaper, 2 February 2007 with permission.
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