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The Shorter Writings of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Category Articles
Date June 1, 2010


The significant effect of the ministry of Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones on evangelicalism cannot be doubted. Since his death in 1980 his ministry has continued to have an impact by means of his recorded sermons and written ministry. This written ministry, like the recorded ministry, is chiefly in sermon form, especially his expositions of various books of the Bible.

At the end of Iain Murray’s official biography1, Volume 2, The Fight of Faith, in Appendix 6 he has a bibliography. This begins with the main books then available but in sections 7-9 there are some shorter items – nine book reviews, miscellaneous items and a number of ‘forewords’ listed in the eighth and penultimate section. Some 23 or 24 items are found there, an almost but not quite complete list. The exact figure is nearer 28. These ‘forewords’ are not those he wrote for some of his own books but those he wrote for others.

Type of writing

A foreword is a piece of writing, usually quite short (ideally a page or two), found at the beginning of a book, before the introduction, if it has one. It can be written by the primary author of the work but is often written by someone else in order to introduce the author and his work, seeking to establish credibility for both. A foreword does not generally provide the reader any extra information about the book’s subject but instead serves as a reminder of why to read it.

A preface, by contrast, is always by the author of the book. It has to be said, however, that the two terms are often used interchangeably. A preface generally covers the story of how the book came into being or how the idea for it was developed; this is often followed by thanks and acknowledgements. Often, a foreword will tell of some interaction between the writer of the foreword and the story or the writer of the book. A foreword to a later edition of a work often explains in what respects that edition differs from previous ones. Unlike a preface, a foreword is always signed.

According to one writer:

by their very nature, forewords are rather light literary works designed not so much to draw attention to themselves but to the books that they draw attention to. Nevertheless when a full bibliography of a writer is drawn up a place will be found for forewords and similar pieces and sometimes these will even merit republication in their own right.

Lloyd-Jones forewords

Some of what we are calling Lloyd-Jones’ forewords are technically not forewords but can be considered under that heading (two are introductions, one an ‘endorsement’). They were all written either to introduce books from the past or for people the Doctor knew personally. Written over a 30-year period, the first is from 1944, when the doctor was 45 (for a biography of Donald Maclean by Professor Collins) and the last in 1976, five years before his death at the age of 80, for the modernisation of Bunyan’s Holy War by Thelma Jenkins, a member at Westminster Chapel.

They make an interesting set of writings, revealing, as they do, some of the pre-occupations of one of the leading evangelical preachers of his generation. We can divide them up in several ways. Eleven of them introduce us to books from the past. Another three or four books deal with historical themes. Others in that same area are Peter Lewis’ The Genius of Puritanism and Thelma Jenkins’ book. Seven are for largely biographical works. Several deal with the subject of revival and three introduce commentaries – Burrowes on the Song of Songs, Hendriksen on John2 and Haldane on Romans3. Two are for symposia by various writers. One of these is a joint effort with two others.

The Welsh connection is prominent in at least four cases – Eifion Evans on the 1904 Revival and three translations from Welsh – Richard Bennett on The Early Life of Howell Harris4, Mari Jones’ book of parables – In the Shadow of Aran – and William Williams’ work on the Experience Meeting. The last two were translations made by his own wife, Dr Bethan Lloyd-Jones. As for his medical background, the main work with a foreword by him in that area was Ideals in Medicine edited by V Edmunds and C G Scorer. The re-issues of the biography of Pastor Hsi and the work on Miraculous Healing by H W Frost reveal his interest in the subject of healing. Some contributions perhaps are less obvious, such as his foreword to John Wilmot’s Inspired Principles of Prophetic Interpretation.

What one finds in reading these forewords and similar writings is that several of the notes sounded in his wider ministry are also found in these shorter works and what I want to do is simply to revisit some of these writings and remind ourselves of the important themes.

Perhaps a good place to start is with the 1958 foreword to Haldane on Romans. Lloyd-Jones typically enjoys relating the story of what happened to Haldane in Geneva so many years before and the fact that he knew revival. Equally typical is a preference for Haldane over Hodge. He says that he always finds it very difficult to decide which is the better commentary on Romans, that of Hodge5 or that of Haldane. What decides it for the Doctor is that ‘while Hodge excels in accurate scholarship, there is greater warmth of spirit and more practical application in Haldane.’ Later he says ‘one cannot read it without being conscious of the preacher as well as the expositor’.

At the end of the foreword he says,

What a distinguished French minister Dr. Reuben Saillens says of what became known as ‘Haldane’s Revival’ can be applied with equal truth to this commentary: ‘The three main characteristics of Haldane’s Revival, as it has sometimes been called, were these:

1. it gave a prominent emphasis to the necessity of a personal knowledge and experience of grace;
2. it maintained the absolute authority and Divine inspiration of the Bible;
3. it was a return to Calvinistic doctrine against Pelagianism and Arminianism.’

He adds ‘Haldane was an orthodox of the first water, but his orthodoxy was blended with love and life. God grant that it may produce that same “love and life” in all who read it.’

A reading of the other forewords reveals that history, revival and these three issues are among those that lie at the heart of Lloyd-Jones’ thinking. Besides these major issues two others are prominent and we will look at these too later.

An emphasis on the necessity of a personal knowledge and experience of grace

This is what lay behind much of the Doctor’s interest in biography. In 1962, in his foreword to Howell Harris and the Dawn of Revival he asserts that ‘nothing is more profitable, after the reading of the Bible itself and books that help us to understand it, than the reading of the biography or autobiography of a great Christian man’.

You can see what he is seeking from his statement in his foreword to Pastor Hsi’s biography (1949):

The ultimate way of judging the true value of a book is to discover its effect upon our personality as a whole. Many books entertain and divert, others provide intellectual stimulation or appeal to our artistic sense, but the truly great book affects us more vitally, and we feel that we shall never quite be the same again as the result of reading it. Such is the effect produced by this Life of Pastor Hsi. To read it is to be searched and humbled – indeed at times to be utterly humiliated; but at the same time it is stimulating, and exhilarating and a real tonic to one’s faith. In all this of course it approximates to the Bible itself.

It was the thing that drew him to Whitefield too. In a foreword to the sermons6 he says:

Whitefield was not only the greatest preacher and orator of the eighteenth century, he was also one of its most saintly characters, if not the saintliest of all. Certainly there was no more humble or lovable man amongst them . . . To read the wonderful story of his life is to be reminded again of what is possible to a truly consecrated Christian, and how even in the darkest and most sinful ages God in his sovereign power is able to revive his work and shower blessings upon his people.

There is also the argument we have already mentioned ‘what can be more profitable, next to the Bible itself, than to read something of the life of such a man and to read his own words!’

No doubt his interest in church history was also fuelled partly by this same interest. In 1973 he wrote an introduction for William Williams’ little book on the Experience Meeting. There he explains how these societies were formed:

to provide a fellowship in which the new spiritual life and experience of the people could be safe-guarded and developed. The great emphasis was primarily on experience and the experimental knowledge of God and his love and his ways. Each member gave an account of God’s dealings with him or her and reported on any remarkable experience and also their sins and lapses, and so doing compared notes with one another in these respects. The societies were not ‘bible study’ groups or meetings for the discussion of theology. Of course great stress was laid on reading the Bible as well as prayer, but the more intellectual aspects of the Faith were dealt with in the preaching services and not in the societies. Here, the emphasis was on daily life and living, the fight against the world, the flesh and the devil and the problems that arise inevitably in the Christian’s pilgrimage through this world of sin.

Williams’ book was written to help people to learn how to lead such small groups. Lloyd-Jones comments that ‘his genius, his spiritual understanding and what would now be described as psychological insight stand out everywhere and are truly astonishing’. This leads to some remarks typical of Lloyd-Jones’ emphases:

The experimental or experiential aspect of the Christian life has been seriously neglected during the present century. Certain factors and tendencies have led to this unfortunate condition. Chief among these has been a superficial evangelism which has neglected real conviction of sin and repentance, and encouraged an easy believism. Secondly, there has been a theory of sanctification, more psychological than spiritual and scriptural, which has discouraged self-examination and taught that we have only to ‘leave it to the Lord’. Thirdly, and more recently, has been an unbalanced emphasis on intellectual understanding of Truth, the social application of Truth, and the manifestation of particular spiritual gifts. All this has greatly impoverished the spiritual life of both the individual Christian and the churches and led to coldness, barrenness, and loss of power. The greatest need of the hour is a return to the emphases of the Evangelical Awakening. It is in the belief that this classic of the spiritual life and warfare can greatly stimulate and hasten that return that I encouraged my wife to translate it, and am now happy to commend it and to advise all Christians to read it.

It was no doubt the Doctor’s stress on the experiential side of Christianity that got him so excited about that rather strange book More Than Notion by the anonymous Mrs Alexander for which he wrote a foreword in 1965. His attitude is the same as he had to the Pastor Hsi biography. He writes,

There are some books of which it can be said that to read them is an experience, and one is never the same again. The extracts out of the lives of these various people who came in varied ways to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ are, at one and the same time, convicting and encouraging. Some were poor and ignorant, others well placed socially, and learned and cultured; but all came to the same glorious experience.

What he felt in particular was that ‘in reading about them one is shown the vital difference between a head knowledge of the Christian faith and a true heart experience.’

He goes on to say that it ‘should be made compulsory reading for all theologians especially, but . . . will prove valuable also to those who long for a vital Christian experience.’ He says that many who had read it as the result of his recommendation ‘have testified to the blessing they have received. In one church known to me the reading of the book by one man led to a prayer-meeting such as they had not experienced before.’ He concludes, ‘In these superficial and confused days I thank God for a book such as this and pray that He may bless it to countless souls.’

It has to be said that not everyone shared his enthusiasm, but at least we ought to see what it is that he was enthusiastic about.

It is the same desire for an experience of grace that had made him enthuse over the book about Howell Harris a few years before:

But the object of Richard Bennett, the original author, was to allow us to see the working of God’s Spirit in the soul of Howell Harris in the detailed manner recorded in Harris’s own Diaries, in these first formative and thrilling years. Bennett therefore rightly felt that his own remarks should be reduced to a minimum, and that all that was required of him was to supply the connecting links in the story so as to enable the reader to understand the various allusions to actual events.

For this, Lloyd-Jones, for one, was profoundly grateful.

An emphasis on revival

Haldane, of course, like several authors Lloyd-Jones drew attention to, experienced revival. This can be thought of as a personal knowledge of Christ and an experience of grace on a large scale. One of the attractions of the book by Fletcher of Madeley was that it pointed ‘to the one thing that finally matters, and without which all else is more or less vain’ and ‘to the highway to revival – both personal and general.’

Revival was always an important theme for Lloyd-Jones. In 1947 he had written a foreword to a little book by his friend P E Hughes, Revive Us Again. Typically, Lloyd-Jones says,

There is no subject which is of greater importance to the Christian Church at the present time than that of Revival. It should be the theme of our constant meditation, preaching and prayers. Anything which stimulates us to that is of inestimable value. At the same time it is the finest spiritual tonic.

At a time when the greatest danger is to rush into well-intentioned but nevertheless oft-times carnal forms of activism, it is good to be reminded forcefully of the essential difference between an organised campaign and the sovereign action of the Holy Spirit in Revival.

Likewise it is right that this subject be approached from the standpoint of Scripture teaching and also the testimony of history. We are thus reminded that in spite of all we are told about the new and exceptional features in the modern situation, the laws governing the operation of the Holy Spirit in Revival seem to be strangely and wonderfully constant.

Above all, no one can read this book without realising that the way to Revival is still the way of holiness.May God bless and use these eleven brief chapters, and in his mercy ‘revive us again’.

A decade and more later, in 1958, thoughts were turned to the coming centenary of the 1859 revival, and Sprague’s lectures on the subject were republished7. The Doctor was again arguing the case:

I am profoundly convinced that the greatest need in the world today is revival in the Church of God. Yet alas! the whole idea of revival seems to have become strange to so many good Christian people. There are some who even seem to resent the very idea and actually speak and write against it. Such an attitude is due both to a serious misunderstanding of the Scriptures, and to woeful ignorance of the history of the church. Anything therefore that can instruct God’s people in this matter is very welcome.

He particularly commends Sprague’s treatment as it is ‘scriptural, theological and balanced’. He likes the collection of letters in the appendix where ‘great saintly and scholarly men of God’ such as Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller and ‘the seraphic Edward Payson’ write of their own experience in revivals. He sees the book as an excellent tool to prepare for the meetings due to be held the next year ‘to recall the great revival of 1857-59’. He concludes:

My prayer is that as we read it and are reminded of ‘our glorious God,’ and of his mighty deeds in times past among his people, a great sense of our own unworthiness and inadequacy, and a corresponding longing for the manifestation of his glory and his power will be created within us. His ‘arm is not shortened.’ May this book stir us all to plead with him to make bare that arm and to stretch it forth again, that his enemies may be confounded and scattered and his people’s hearts be filled with gladness and rejoicing.

The same concern underlies his foreword to Eifion Evans’ account of the 1904 revival (1969), which he sees as helpful not just in analysing a particular revival but the phenomenon more generally. As ever his concern is contemporary not merely historical. He saw the book as important for particular reasons:

First, the great need of revival in the churches. This is surely the only real hope; but it is essential that Christians should be clear as to the difference between revival and organised evangelism. Here is a reminder of what is possible, and especially for those whose whole doctrine of the Holy Spirit really leaves no room for revival.

Secondly, this book is most opportune because of what is known as the ‘Charismatic Movement’ and a new interest in spiritual phenomena. It helps to show the danger of passing from the spiritual to the psychological and possible even the psychic.

He admits that there are particular issues in connection with the 1904 revival but warns against dismissing ‘the entire phenomenon because of certain excesses that often accompany it’. He ends,

No one can read this book without coming under judgement. It will reveal whether our ultimate faith is in ‘the power of God’ or in human ability and organisations. It is my prayer, and my hope, that it will lead many so to realise anew and afresh the glory and the wonder of the former that they will begin to long and to yearn and to pray for another ‘visitation from on high’ such as we experienced in 1904-5.

It is the same concern he had just a few years before in the 1962 book on Harris:

Would you know something of what is meant by the term ‘revival’? Would you know the real meaning of, ‘the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God’? Would you know more of ‘life in the Spirit,’ and ‘prayer in the Spirit,’ and something of ‘the powers of the world to come’?

‘Then read this book,’ he says, ‘and remember that Harris was but “a man of like passions with ourselves” and that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today and forever.”‘

One more example of the same thing is in the foreword to Whitefield’s sermons:

May God grant that, as we read of the man whom God made so mighty, and the things which he taught and preached, we may be led to long for and to pray for such a revival in our day and generation as God gave in his sovereign grace and mercy 200 years ago.

An emphasis on the Bible’s absolute authority and divine inspiration

Alongside this obvious concern about authentic Christian experience and revival in particular, Lloyd-Jones never lost sight of the vital importance of Scripture. His foreword to Burrowes on Canticles bristles with eagerness to get at what the text means. Similarly commending Hendriksen on John his stance is

Here is an invaluable aid for all preachers, Sunday school workers and Bible Class leaders, and indeed for all who ‘desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby.’ All who enter into the riches of this great Gospel under the guidance of Dr Hendriksen will find their minds informed, their faith quickened, strengthened and established, and their hearts moved to adoration. At any rate that has been my experience. That is what one is entitled to ask and to expect of any commentary, but alas it is a desideratum that is but rarely satisfied by modern commentaries.

His commitment to divine inspiration made him a great admirer of Warfield. He describes his unforgettable experience of discovering Warfield’s works in a library in Toronto in 1932. He felt like ‘”stout Cortez” as described by Keats’.8

Before me stood the ten sizeable volumes published by Oxford University Press. But, alas, it was the OUP of New York only and not of this country also. Friends and pupils of Warfield had arranged the publication . . . The fact that they were not published in this country is a sad commentary on the state and condition of theological thinking here at that time.

Lloyd-Jones was full of admiration for Warfield’s stance in the ‘the age of the “liberal Jesus” and “the Jesus of history” who was contrasted with the “Christ of Paul”‘. As he says,

The Bible had been subjected to such drastic criticism that not only was its divine inspiration and unique authority denied but the whole idea of revelation was in question. The Lord Jesus Christ was but a man, ‘the greatest religious genius of all time’, miracles had never happened because miracles cannot happen, our Lord’s mission was a failure, and his death on the cross but a tragedy. The great truths proclaimed in the historic Creeds of the Church, and especially in the great Confessions of Faith drawn up after the Protestant Reformation, concerning the Bible as the Word of God and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ were being questioned and rejected by the vast majority of ‘scholars’.

While there were many who fought valiantly to stem this tide and to refute the errors which were being propagated, it can be said without any fear of contradiction that B B Warfield stood out pre-eminently and incomparably the greatest of all. He was peculiarly gifted for such a task. He had a mathematical mind and had at one time considered the possibility of a career as a mathematician. His precision and logical thinking appear everywhere. Added to this he was a first class New Testament scholar and a superb exegete and expositor. Furthermore, he had received the best training that was available at the time, and not only in his own country. He thus could meet the liberal scholarship on its own grounds and did so.

The Doctor then exults in the Warfield method and especially the fact that though ‘thoroughly familiar with all the literature, for him the test always was “to the law and to the testimony”‘. His question was ‘Was this a true exegesis and interpretation of what the Scripture said? Was it consistent and compatible with what the Scripture said elsewhere? What were the implications of this statement?’ and so on.

He goes on to say that ‘no theological writings are so intellectually satisfying and so strengthening to faith . . . He shirks no issue and evades no problems and never stoops to the use of subterfuge.’ Lloyd-Jones was impressed by ‘his honesty and integrity as much as by his profound scholarship and learning’ that meant there was ‘a finality and authority about all he wrote’.

Like other of the Doctor’s heroes, Whitefield in particular, it was Warfield’s fate to be largely ignored. ‘It is quite amazing to note the way in which this massive theologian is persistently ignored and seems to be unknown. A “conspiracy of silence” is perhaps the only weapon with which to deal with such a protagonist.’ No doubt it was easy to sympathise for one who would often tread a lonely path down the years. For Lloyd-Jones the contemporary need was great but the reader can be greatly helped ‘thanks to Warfield’s particular method’. He will be helped ‘to face and to answer criticisms of the historic evangelical faith in their most modern form and guise’.

Though very different to Warfield, this is one of the things the Doctor admired about J C Ryle too. Writing about the book Holiness he says,

The characteristics of Bishop Ryle’s method and style are obvious. He is pre-eminently and always scriptural and expository. He never starts with a theory into which he tries to fit various Scriptures. He always starts with the Word and expounds it. It is exposition at its very best and highest. It is always clear and logical and invariably leads to a clear enunciation of doctrine. It is strong and virile and entirely free from the sentimentality that is often described as ‘devotional.’

His foreword to the 1946 edition of The Infallible Word by lecturers at Westminster Seminary also points to his emphasis on the Bible’s absolute authority and divine inspiration. He wrote:

The problem of authority has always been crucial in the life of the individual and the Church; and to Protestants that authority has always been found in the Lord Jesus Christ himself mediated to us through ‘the infallible Word.’ The Bible and our attitude to it has always therefore been at the very heart and centre of the conflict between true evangelicals and Roman Catholicism on the one hand, and liberal and modernistic Protestantism on the other hand.

He goes on to lament that

Once more the Reformation cry of ‘Sola Scriptura’ is being questioned and that in a most subtle manner. A new authority is being set alongside the Scripture as being co-equal with it, and in some respects superior to it – the authority of modern scientific knowledge. The Scriptures are still regarded as being authoritative in all matters of religious experience. But not only is their authority in such matters as the creation of the universe and man, and even historical facts which play a vital part in the history of salvation, and which were accepted by our Lord himself, being questioned and queried; it is even being asserted that it is foolish of us to look to the Scriptures for authoritative guidance in such matters. It has recently been remarked that some well-known evangelical writers are arguing that there is a distinction between the Bible’s teaching and what is found in that book which is incidental. They believe that the scientific assumptions are usually in the category of incidentals and do not belong to the infallible teaching. In like manner certain historical data are not a part of the infallible message of Scripture.

Men were forgetting the work of the Holy Spirit ‘and that our task is to be faithful to “the truth once and for ever delivered to the saints.”‘ Once again it was a book he could commend as one that would inform minds, warm hearts and strengthen resolution.

An emphasis on Calvinistic doctrine as against Pelagianism and Arminianism

This particular emphasis is more implicit rather than explicit. The very authors and subjects speak volumes – Bunyan’s Holy War, the Puritans, the Geneva Bible, Whitefield, Williams, Harris, Haldane on Romans, Warfield, Hendriksen, Klaas Runia. Writing of Donald MacLean he remarks,

But one had not been long in his company before realising that the most important thing about him was his great concern for the Truth, and his special zeal for the propagating of the Reformed Faith. That was the great passion of his life, and in a very short time he always turned the conversation in that direction.

Above everything else, however, what was most striking about him was the way in which he combined absolute loyalty to the Truth as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith with a marked catholicity of spirit.

That was an ideal for Lloyd-Jones ‘loyalty to the Truth as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith with a marked catholicity of spirit’. He praises MacLean’s ‘truly oecumenical spirit’.

An emphasis on biblical church unity as against false ecumenism

That leads us onto the matter of biblical church unity, a well known concern of the Doctor’s that surfaces at several points. In the preface to the book by Fletcher of Madeley (1968) we have an emphasis both on experience and unity. Speaking of a great communion service held in August 1769 and attended by Calvinists and Arminians, he says that what made it possible was

Their common experience of the grace of God, their doctrine of assurance, but above all their deep experimental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what made them the men they were and gave them their evangelistic zeal; and this accounts for the authority which was such a great characteristic of their preaching. This is what brought them together, in spite of their differences.

With typical Lloyd-Jonesian hyperbole he says ‘Nothing is more important than this’.

His interest in church history was fuelled not only by an interest in Christian experience but also in the need to learn lessons on the matter of true Christian unity. He commends Poole-Connor’s History of Evangelicalism in England (1951) as ‘a most timely and much needed book’ saying,

The so-called Ecumenical Movement will, of necessity, cause all Evangelicals to re-examine and re-consider their position more and more. It has already done so in many countries, and there is much uneasiness in many minds in this country.

Our first duty, therefore, is to make certain that we are clear as to the meaning of our terms. What do we Evangelicals represent, and how can that be determined? This book is an answer to these questions.

It was Poole-Connor’s interaction with ‘the leading problem of our age’ that he highlights in his foreword to his biography (1966) ‘the question of the nature of the Christian church and especially the relationship of the evangelical Christian to that problem’.

Lloyd-Jones speaks in much the same terms in his preface to Lewis Lupton’s book in 1972:

At a time when the nature of the church and its form of government is constantly before us because of the various ecumenical activities, it is essential that all branches of the church should be familiar with their origins and factors that determined what happened.

In 1968 he wrote a foreword to Klaas Runia’s book on the subject Reformation Today. Again he writes of ‘the most urgent problem confronting the Christian church today’, thankful for a study of the ecumenical movement that was ‘fair, biblical, theological and historical’. He concludes,

It is my prayer that it might be used to bring all evangelical people to see the tragedy, and indeed the sin, of their present divisions and fragmentation and to heed his appeal for true and visible unity among them.

I urge all who are concerned about the lamentable state of the church and the urgent need of the presentation of our glorious evangelical message to the masses throughout the world to read this scholarly, incisive and most readable book.

An interest in medicine and healing

As a medical doctor Lloyd-Jones inevitably had an interest in things medical and especially faith healing, a subject into which he had looked most thoroughly.

In 1945 he wrote a foreword to a little collection of addresses by Duncan M Blair and, as mentioned, he was one of those who commended a book on medical ethics edited by Edmunds and Scorer (1958). In the first of these he makes some remarks about Blair being an anatomist and how ‘studies which are supposed to account for the scepticism and unbelief of so many simply went to confirm and increase his faith’. He calls the Shorter Catechism Blair’s ‘backbone’ and then uses words that are just as appropriate to the Doctor himself:

That indeed was the secret of his life. He had accepted the revelation of God given in the scriptures. That led to a personal experience of Christ as his Saviour and then to an ever-increasing comprehension of the great plan of salvation. And everything he learned and discovered in his scientific work seemed to fit in with that plan and to reveal it still further.

Commending the Pastor Hsi book he says that there is a great deal to learn from it about faith healing, something believed in and practised. However, there was no flamboyance or ‘loose statements and exaggerated claims; indeed it is here that his his sanity and balance stand out most clearly.’ He commends Hsi’s willingness to use conventional medicine too and says,

He was acutely aware of the dangers connected with the whole subject and always proceeded in a most cautious manner. It is particularly interesting to note how he became increasingly cautious as the years passed. The effect of all this is that one does not have the usual feeling that most of the purported results can be explained in terms of psychology. One feels rather that they are true, unmistakable cases of faith healing which can be explained in no other way.

It is exactly the same with the question of demon possession. Here again valuable evidence is provided which establishes the reality of this condition as a clinical entity and which shows that there is but one effective treatment.

The Doctor thought the best book on the subject was by Henry Frost of CIM. Commending it in 1951 he wrote:

Some recent writings seem to suggest that the only problem is as to whether one believes or not that miraculous gifts ended with the apostolic age. But this is by no means the only problem. Dr Frost shows clearly that theological problems are also involved, and which we only ignore at our spiritual peril. The Bible frequently warns us against the danger of being deluded by evil powers. All ‘miracles’ and ‘wonders’ are not produced by the Holy Spirit, and we must know how to ‘test the spirits’ in this matter. Our Lord himself has warned us that the ‘lying spirits’ are so clever and so subtle as to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect (Matt. 24:24).

Dr Frost’s method is particularly helpful. He starts on the practical level by citing cases and examples which prove the fact of miraculous healing. He then proceeds to deal with the difficulties, both on the practical and experimental plane, and also in the realm of correct and clear thinking.

His final sentence brings us back to his overall emphasis. ‘Above all’ he says ‘he is thoroughly biblical, and not only orthodox, but truly spiritually minded. I strongly recommend this most valuable study.’


  1. Available in two volumes: Volume 1 David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (1982); Volume 2 David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (1990).
  2. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary – The Gospel of John (1959).
  3. Robert Haldane, Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans (1958), a Geneva Series commentary.
  4. Richard Bennett, The Early Life of Howell Harris (Banner of Truth, 1962). Out of print.
  5. Charles Hodge, A Commentary on Romans (1972), a Geneva Series commentary.
  6. Select Sermons of George Whitefield (1958). Only the first part of the quotation is from the Foreword of this book. This volume includes ‘the best short account and evaluation of Whitefield that has ever been done,’ by J. C. Ryle. See also Arnold Dallimore’s 2-volume biography, George Whitefield – Volume 1 (1970) and Volume 2 (1980) – and Robert Philip, The Life and Times of George Whitefield (2007)
  7. W. B. Sprague, Lectures on Revivals (1958).
  8. See Iain H. Murray, op. cit., Volume 1, pp. 285-6.

This Lunchtime Lecture by Rev. Gary Brady, given on Monday 17 May 2010, is reproduced with permission from the Evangelical Library website Notes added.

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