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The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones – A Review by Roland Burrows

Category Book Reviews
Date July 2, 2013

Iain Murray has done the rising generation of Christians a great service, in making available this ‘re-cast, condensed and in part re-written version’1 of the longer two-volume biography of 1982 and 1990.2

The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the main events and issues which faced English-speaking Christianity in the 20th century. This book throws enormous light on how and why our churches are as they are today, and at the same time, directs us to many sound principles, which under God, if applied, would considerably help to lead us out of many of our present difficulties.

Mr. Murray has written an extremely compelling biography of a most significant life and ministry – arguably the most influential evangelical ministry of the 20th century. The opening chapter brings us the very human story of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ humble beginnings, in a very ordinary family, not a profoundly spiritual family, in mid-Wales. The threat of poverty necessitated the family moving to London, where they set up a dairy business. We are given a picture of Martyn Lloyd-Jones delivering milk with a horse and trap. This introduction helps us to understand how it was that in the course of his life, though he walked with kings, as it were, he never lost the common touch.

After this we are told of his meteoric rise and success in the medical profession, becoming the Chief Clinical Assistant to the highly acclaimed physician, Lord Horder at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Mr. Murray touches on the Doctor’s felt anguish as he became acquainted, through his medical work, with many of the leading public figures of the time, and realized the inner spiritual poverty and blindness of many of them.

An account of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s call to the ministry and his subsequent ministry takes up the main portion of the book. It was a ministry which began in a struggling Calvinistic Methodist Chapel in Aberavon, South Wales and led eventually to his becoming the minister of the influential Westminster Chapel, London.

His time at Westminster Chapel saw the rise of the ecumenical movement which he rightly perceived as a threat to the theological integrity and well-being of the churches, and warned against it. He became the champion of true biblical Christianity, standing firm against the massive pressure of theological liberalism. The picture is painted of a man not afraid to go against the spirit of his age. In a time of increasing superficiality he sought to deepen the spiritual life of his congregation. He saw this as a vital part of making the gospel known and of defending the churches against the increasing secularism of the time. He held passionately to the need to protect the pattern of reverent worship. A report taken from the British Weekly of 1957, recorded on page 312 of the biography, illustrates this and reveals a great deal about the character of his ministry.

Westminster Chapel is a church which thrives without making any visible effort to achieve success – or so it would seem at first sight. It is well filled every Sunday, morning and evening, although its activities are not widely advertised, and although the form of service makes no concession to modern tastes . . . It may be that in this very absence of any trace of ‘modernity’ we have the clue to the well filled pews in Westminster Chapel . . . Between two thirds and three quarters of the congregation are in the 25–50 age group.

>It is impossible to sum up all the good things that are in this book, for example time fails me to speak of the Doctor’s emphasis on reading and of the massive contribution he himself made to our stock of Christian literature. The last chapter contains a very moving account of the way Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones faced death.

No attempt is made at the end of the book to sum up the lasting value of the life and ministry of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, however much of this is seen in the main body of the book. This book is a mine of encouragement, instruction and wise counsel; if read and taken heed to, it will do, under God, enormous good.

Notes


    • price £11.00
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      Iain Murray has done the rising generation of Christians a great service, in making available this ‘re-cast, condensed and in part re-written version’1 of the longer two-volume biography of 1982 and 1990.2 The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the main events and issues which faced English-speaking Christianity in […]

    • Life of D Martyn Lloyd-Jones

      D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

      Volume 1: The First Forty Years 1899 - 1939

      by Iain H. Murray


      price £17.50
      Avg. Rating

      Description

      Iain Murray has done the rising generation of Christians a great service, in making available this ‘re-cast, condensed and in part re-written version’1 of the longer two-volume biography of 1982 and 1990.2 The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the main events and issues which faced English-speaking Christianity in […]

      Life Of D Martyn Lloyd-Jones

      D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

      Volume 2: The Fight of Faith 1939 - 1981

      by Iain H. Murray


      price £19.00
      Avg. Rating

      Description

      Iain Murray has done the rising generation of Christians a great service, in making available this ‘re-cast, condensed and in part re-written version’1 of the longer two-volume biography of 1982 and 1990.2 The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the main events and issues which faced English-speaking Christianity in […]

Rev Roland Burrows is Pastor of Station Road Baptist Chapel, Cradley Heath, West Midlands. This review appeared in the British Church Newspaper, June 2013.

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