Martyn Lloyd Jones in 2015

2015 has been a bumper year for the cottage industry that is Martyn Lloyd Jones hagiography

He was truly a colossus,  a godly man, a great preacher, a loving husband, a caring father and obviously a doting grandfather. At the end of the documentary Vernon Higham said that in his last meeting with Dr Lloyd Jones, as he was leaving the room, the Doctor called him back and said ‘Remember, I’m a sinner saved by grace.’

 

2015 has been a bumper year for the cottage industry that is Martyn Lloyd Jones hagiography. There has been a new, short biography written by his grandson, Christopher Catherwood;  a first biography of his wife, Bethan Lloyd Jones, and the film Logic on Fire – The Life and Legacy of Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones was released earlier this year. I’m a fan of the Doctor, as many others are, such as guns, Tim Keller and Mark Dever.  Both books and the documentary are worthy of engagement….

Logic on Fire is a well produced film by Media Gratiae. It contains interviews with some of Lloyd Jones’ contemporaries, some of the good and great of American evangelicalism, random people who might have had a connection with Lloyd Jones and young Americans who obviously like him. The family of Lloyd Jones are quite prominent in the film, though I’m not sure that really helps the documentary a great deal. At some point, however, I think it might have been helpful for someone to have pointed out that Dr Lloyd Jones was a mere mortal just like the rest of us.

The film is a quality production and for those who are interested in Dr Lloyd Jones I am sure it will be thoroughly enjoyed. I particularly appreciated the contributions of those who had personally known the Doctor – especially Iain Murray, Geoff Thomas and Eryl Davies. At one point in the video part of a recording of Lloyd Jones’ sermon was played. It was a surreal experience and, although it is great preaching, it did very much feel like it was from another age. I don’t think that’s wrong. That was his genius. He was able to communicate with the people of his time.

One of the themes that comes out of the film is that there is something missing from modern day Christianity. At one point a contributor speaks of the Holy Spirit and preaching and says that she hears men preach these days and ‘They are on their own’. The implication is that there are times when the Holy Spirit is with preachers and other times when the Spirit is not. This is just shabby theology. The glory of the gospel is that we’re never on our own. Though there is a sense in which you can see where she is coming from: certain sermons do come to us more powerfully than others. However, how does one differentiate whether you are on your own or not? It’s just all far too subjective. The ‘something is missing’ aspect of Logic on Fire romanticizes the past. There is a right and proper aspect of our faith yearning, longing for more of God, cultivating the awe of God. The language of the Psalms and Song of Solomon are full of this. However I fear that this longing for revival at times lacks the Biblical emphasis that it needs. The language of ‘Look at how they lived in Acts and then how look at how poor we are’,  isn’t nuanced enough nor does it reflect the teaching of the Epistles.

I am a huge fan of Dr Lloyd Jones. I have recently re-read his magnificent sermons on the Sermon on the Mount, only this morning I read this from Ephesians 5,

    Anything that you and I tend to set up as the big thing, the central thing in our lives, the thing about which we think and dream, the thing that engages our imagination, the thing that we live for, the thing that gives us the biggest thrill, if it is anything other than God, it is idolatry

He was truly a colossus,  a godly man, a great preacher, a loving husband, a caring father and obviously a doting grandfather. At the end of the documentary Vernon Higham said that in his last meeting with Dr Lloyd Jones, as he was leaving the room, the Doctor called him back and said ‘Remember, I’m a sinner saved by grace’. I suspect that we may need to remember that message more and recognise some of his failings and idiosyncracies so that we might benefit even more from his ministry.

With the DVD you get a lovely hardback book with photographs and a couple of sermons and for those who love Dr Lloyd Jones Memorabilia there are various niche postcards. Sadly there was no beermat or novelty flags.

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