Monday, February 25, 2008

A Summary of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ life

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981)
“Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire”[1]

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (DML-J) was the second child born to Henry and Magdalene Lloyd-Jones and became world famous for his emphasis on the expository preaching of the gospel. He lived a long life of servitude to the gospel and to the church until he died of cancer[2] on March 1, 1981 in his own house while sleeping.
DML-J was born on December 20, 1899, in the city of Cardiff, South Wales. He was a bright child and in 1911 he won (second place in the examinations[3]) a scholarship to study at Tregaron Grammar School.[4] The school was four miles away from Llangeitho – a small Welsh-speaking community that his family had moved to in 1906. However, the Lloyd-Jones family did not stay at Llangeitho for too long. In 1914, after his father’s business had bankrupted, they moved to London, subsequent to an attempt to move to Canada.[5] In London, DML-J passed the examination and interview for admission at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and in 1916 he became a medical student. His admission to the medical school at the age of sixteen gained the attention of a Welsh newspaper that “under the heading ‘Llangeitho,’ announced that ‘an old Llangeitho boy, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, at the London University Senior School examination, passed in seven subjects and gained distinction in five.’”[6] By the age of twenty three years old DML-J earned his MD researching on “subacute bacterial endocarditis.”[7] In 1923 DML-J began to work for Lord Horder as Chief Clinical Assistant. As John Peters says, “in his twenties he was academically successful, with excellent prospects.”[8] He continued working for Lord Horder until 1927 when he resigned his position in order to become a minister of the gospel.

During his time with Lord Horder, he began attending a Presbyterian church. While attending this church, DML-J met Dr. Tom Phillips who would become his father-in-law. At some point in this period, DML-J had a conversion experience. Brencher puts his experience this way: “Some time in 1923, the exact date is not known, he [DML-J] reached an evangelical experience of the gospel when the ‘Holy Spirit quickened me and awakened me to the realization of certain profound and vital truths taught in the Bible.’”[9] However, this quickening of the Holy Spirit in DML-J’s life was not what caused him to enter the ministry. The real cause is not clearly known[10] despite an article from The People in 1939 where DML-J says, “I felt called to the ministry. In deference to my father’s wishes, however, I took up medicine instead. But the first chance I had I went back to my first love.”[11] On the other hand, Murray mentions that DML-J went through a deep struggle over the issue of abandoning medicine. In Preaching and Preachers, DML-J writes extensively about the call to preach. For him, the role of delivering a message cannot be executed by any Christian who decides to preach by his own will. The preacher must receive a call to preach, however, he states “[T]his whole question of the call is not an easy matter; and all ministers have struggled with it because it is so vitally important for us.”[12] In this regard, DML-J’s struggle to enter the ministry led him to lose over twenty pounds in eighteen months.

In the same year that he left his career as a physician to become a minister, he got engaged to Bethan Phillips, daughter of Dr. Tom Phillips. On January 8th, 1927 DML-J and Bethan got married at Charing Cross Chapel in London. After their honeymoon, DML-J and his wife moved to Aberavon, where he became the leader of the Forward Movement Mission at Sandfields.[13] When DML-J arrived in Aberavon, the congregation had no more than ninety-three members. However, due to the evangelistic tone of DML-J’s sermons, the congregation grew to “530 with an attendance of about 850.”[14] During the time that DML-J preached in Sandfields, the doors of the church had to be opened two hours before the service began. Brencher quotes Rhys Davies saying that he had “never seen a building so unhygienically packed. The ground floor and extensive gallery steamed with bodies that were piled up to the walls in a warmth that was stifling.”[15]

Even though the church was experiencing a revival, DML-J’s position in this regard was very sober and revealed a profound dependence on God as the one who creates revivals. In a sermon preached in 1930 DML-J said regarding revivals, “[P]ray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it, it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make it.”[16] For him, man-made “revivals” are not genuine and the church that continuously pray for revivals does not know its mission. Furthermore, to fall on this kind of mistake is not a minor problem. DML-J regarded as a great error the attempt to convert people by men’s efforts. Perhaps part of DML-J’s view on this matter is due to his deep Calvinistic side and Reformed tradition. The results of DML-J’s preaching were not only felt in his congregation. Very early in his ministry, other churches and denominations began to invite him to preach. Commenting on his time in Aberavon in his book Preaching and Preachers DML-J says: “I have always traveled a great deal between the Sundays and preached elsewhere. While in South Wales I generally preached twice on Tuesdays and Thursdays [...].”[17] Murray gives a list of places that DML-J visited to preach in his first year of ministry alone. The list includes:
Ammanford, Aberdare, Aberkenfig, Aberystwyth, Abergavenny, Briton Ferry, Blackwood, Barry, Bridgend, Bethany, Brynamman, Brecon, Blaenavon, Carmel (Aberavon), Cardiff (Cathedral Road), Cardiff (Memorial Hall), Cardiff (University C.U.), Cwmavon, Cross Hands, Crickhowell, Caerphilly, Cwmbwrla, Kenfig Hill, Ferndale, Glyn Neath, Gilfachgoch, Haverfordwest, Llantrisant, Laleston, Llangeitho, Llanharan, Morriston (F.M.), Maestêag, Neath (F.M.), Newcastle Emlyn, Pyle, Pontrhydyfen, Porthcawl, Penclawdd, Pwllheli, Porth, Pencoed, Resolven, Swansea (Argyle), Swansea (Rhyddings), Swansea (Baptist), Skewen, Tonypandy, Taibach (Wes.), Treorchy, Treharris, Tonyrefail, Tonpentre, Ystradgynlais.[18]
In 1932, DML-J visited North America (Canada and United States) for the first time. In Canada, he preached during nine weeks (on Sundays) at Sherbourne Street Presbyterian Church. According to Brencher, the congregation during DML-J’s visit grew to such an extent that people were sitting at the pulpit stairs. In the United States, DML-J was invited to preach at the Chautauqua conference. This conference was not for evangelicals only and DML-J was not among the famous speakers at the conference; however, by the end of the conference, DML-J preached to almost six thousand people.[19] DML-J’s fame was ascending faster than anyone could imagine. Brencher makes reference to the article published in 1935 by The Christian and re-published in 1980 by Christianity Today about DML-J’s continually growing fame. The article mentions that DML-J was the closing speaker “at a Great Demonstration at the Royal Albert Hall, London, under the auspices of the Bible Testimony Fellowship in which he was introduced by George Gordon, second Marquess of Aberdeen, as one of Christ’s physicians.”[20]
Before DML-J stood up to preach at the Albert Hall, Dr. G. Campbell Morgan (pastor of Westminster Chapel – one of the largest nonconformist churches in London) came to him and said “I’ll tell you in the presence of my Maker that no one and nothing would have made me come out on a night like this but you.”[21] The very next day, DML-J received a letter from Dr. Morgan inviting him to preach at Westminster Chapel. In 1938, DML-J was invited to become the associate pastor at Westminster, a position that he held until 1943. In 1943, Dr. Morgan retired from his position as the senior pastor at Westminster Chapel, leaving DML-J as the only pastor of the church. Murray points out that the transition from Dr. Morgan to DML-J was not smooth. Some influential members did not like the former physician’s style of preaching. There was even a particular group of liberals within the church that tried to expel him.[22] However, none of these groups succeeded, and DML-J led Westminster Chapel to a great numerical growth. In 1950, Westminster Chapel reached its peak in number under DML-J. On special occasions the church had an attendance of 2,500 people, and during regular Sundays the attendance was more than 1,500.

In 1968 DML-J retired from Westminster Chapel to dedicate himself to writing. Murray recalls DML-J’s words about his decision to retire: “What really drove me to retire from Westminster was not so much my illness as the fact that I had been there for 30 years and that I have felt increasingly that I must put into book form more of the material that I have accumulated – for example, I am anxious to print what I have tried to do on the Epistle to the Romans among others.”[23]

The year after DML-J announced his retirement, he gave his last series of lectures in the United States at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. The result of these lectures became a book entitled Preaching and Preachers published in 1972.
In 1981, Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones died in his residence while sleeping. His death was, for many, the end of an era of great preachers. He is considered one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. Brencher notes that “[A]bout fifty Lloyd-Jones titles are currently in print in Britain from around seven different publishers.”[24] He also says “Marty Lloyd-Jones is not a man to be dismissed.”[25]

[1] David M. Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and preachers (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Publishing House, 1972), 97.
[2] John Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism (STUDIES IN EVANGELICAL HISTORY AND THOUGHT; Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K. ; Waynesboro, Ga: Paternoster Press, 2002), 6.
[3] John Peters, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, preacher (Exeter: Paternoster, 1986), 15.
[4] Robert L. Penny, "An examination of the principles of expository preaching of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones [microform]" (D.Min., Harding Graduate School of Religion, 1980), 16.
[5] DML-J’s father briefly visited Canada, but concluded that he was too old to move to the New World. Penny, An examination of the principles of expository preaching of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones [microform] 17.
[6] Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones : the first forty years, 1899-1939 (Edinburgh ; Carlisle, Pa: Banner of Truth Trust, 1982), 39.
[7] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 9.
[8] Peters, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, preacher 16.
[9] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 11.
[10] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 11.
[11] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 11.
[12] Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and preachers 104.
[13] Penny, An examination of the principles of expository preaching of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones [microform] 18.
[14] Penny, An examination of the principles of expository preaching of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones [microform] 19.
[15] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 15.
[16] Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones : the first forty years, 1899-1939 204.
[17] Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and preachers 3.
[18] Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones : the first forty years, 1899-1939 183.
[19] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 17.
[20] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 17.
[21] Penny, An examination of the principles of expository preaching of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones [microform] 20.
[22] Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones : the fight of faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), 100.
[23] Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones : the fight of faith 1939-1981 599-600.
[24] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 233.
[25] Brencher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) and twentieth-century evangelicalism 233.

Note: Copy of this material is allowed and free, since the source is cited / A reprodução dos textos é permitida e gratuita, desde que citada a fonte.

Rodrigo Serrao

1 comment:

Adriana Simoes said...

Nossa, que noivinho mais aplicado que tenho!:)
Bjos amor e continue sempre assim, dedicado e fiel ao nosso Senhor!
Bjos e saudades!