Category Archives: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

What is an Evangelical?

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones on “What is an Evangelical?”


Dr. Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 – 1 March 1981) was a minister in the 20th century who spoke concerning the issues within evangelicalism with an almost prophetic character. Lloyd-Jones recognized that evangelicalism, in a desire to influence wider society and academia, was making compromises that would lead to the inevitable decline in gospel preaching and godly living. At the 1971 IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) conference the doctor spoke on the topic “What is an Evangelical?” While addressing the particulars that an evangelical believes, Lloyd-Jones stated “the first is the doctrine of Scripture.” In the extract below the preacher expands what a true evangelical should believe regarding this central doctrine.

            The basis of faith says: ‘We believe in the divine inspiration and entire trustworthiness of holy Scripture as originally given, and its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.’ I contend that it is not enough just to say that; we have got to go further. There are people who claim to subscribe to that doctrine, who, I would suggest, in some of their statements raise very serious doubts as to whether they really do accept it…

            It seems to me that we have got to spell out much more clearly the whole notion of revelation. It is difficult to do that in a short statement. The basis speaks of ‘the divine inspiration and entire trustworthiness’, but we must go beyond that. We have got to assert today this category of revelation. We have got to exclude the notion that men have arrived at the truth as a result of searching and thinking, or by means of philosophy. We must affirm that it is entirely given, that ‘holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’ (2 Pet. 1:21), or, as Paul is constantly reminding his readers, that his gospel is not his own, ‘For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (Gal. 1:12). We have to underline in a new and very definite way the whole notion of revelation and also, in the same way, of inspiration, showing that by inspiration we do not mean that these men were inspired in the way that certain poets have been ‘inspired’ and given glimpses into truth, but that they were actually controlled by the Holy Spirit. ‘Borne along’, as Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:21, or as Paul puts it in 2 Timothy 3:16: ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God’; it is ‘God-breathed’. These things we must assert with particularity.

            In the same way we have got to assert today that we believe that Scripture contains propositional truth. This has often been the dividing line between evangelicals and pseudo-evangelicals. I have noticed over the years it is one of the first points that indicate a departure from an evangelical position when men begin to object to, and to reject, propositional truth, as Karl Barth did and as most of his followers still do. But we claim that in the Bible there are propositions, truths stated in propositional form, with regard to God and His being and His character, and many other matters. We have got to assert this element of propositional truth.

            Likewise we have to assert particularly the supernatural element in the Scripture. What do I mean? Well, we have got to emphasize that we believe in prophecy in the sense of foretelling. The emphasis today is on ‘forthtelling’. We admit that we agree that prophecy is forthtelling but, over and above that, it is foretelling. To me one of the profoundest arguments for the unique inspiration of the Scriptures is the truth of prophecy, the fulfillment of prophecy. We have got to emphasize this extraordinary manifestation of the supernatural.

            We have also to insist upon a belief in the literal truth and historicity of the miracles of the Old and the New Testament, because there are people who say that they can still subscribe to our general statement about the inspiration and the authority of the Scriptures, who increasingly are denying the historicity of many of the Old Testament miracles, and indeed are trying to explain away some of the New Testament miracles in terms of science or psychology. We must assert the historicity of these manifestations of the supernatural.

            Then the next thing to be said under this heading of Scripture is that we must believe the whole Bible. We must believe the history of the Bible as well as its didactic teaching. Failure here is always an indication of a departure from the true evangelical position. Today there are men who say, Oh yes, we believe in the Bible and its supreme authority in matters of religion, but, of course, we don’t go to the Bible for science; we go to it for help for our souls, for salvation and help and instruction in the way to live the Christian life. They are saying that there are, as it were, two great authorities and two means of revelation: one of them is Scripture and the other is nature. These they say , are complementary, they are collateral, and so you go to the Scriptures for matters concerning your soul, but you do not go to them to seek God’s other revelation of Himself in nature. For that, you go to science.

            You are familiar with this view which, it seems to me, is not only extremely dangerous, but tends to undermine our whole position. We have got to contest it, and contest it very strongly. There is one thing about this present tendency which is quite amazing to me, and it is that those who advocate it seem to think that they are saying something quite new; but it is not new. It is precisely what Ritschl and his followers were teaching a hundred years ago. ‘Judgments of fact’ and ‘judgments of value’, as they called them. It is just a return to that. That is how evangelicals in the last century went astray in the 1840s and subsequently. That is precisely how it came about. Their argument was that they were merely out to defend the truth of the gospel against this increasing attack from the realm of natural science. And that was the method they adopted. They hold that the Bible is only concerned with ‘religious’ truth and so, whatever science may discover, it cannot affect this truth.

Our friends today with the same motive- and let us grant that their motive is good and true- are doing exactly the same thing. It seems to me that in so doing they are on the same path as the followers of Ritschl and others, and it always ends in the same result, namely that the gospel itself is compromised. We must assert that we believe in the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis and all other biblical history.

Source: The full manuscript of Lloyd-Jones’ address may be found in Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn. Knowing the Times: Addresses Delivered On Various Occasions 1942-1977. Edinburgh U.K.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2013. (pages 299-355).


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SUNDAY SERMON: Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on “The Person of the Holy Spirit”

GDOTB Lloyd-Jones


In our consideration of these biblical doctrines, our method has been to follow the order and the plan of salvation, so we come now, by a logical sequence, to the great doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Now I cannot begin to talk about this doctrine without pausing for a moment to express again my sense of wonder and amazement at the plan of salvation. I believe that people who are not interested in the plan of salvation as such, are robbing themselves of a great deal. When you try to stand back and look at it as a whole, you must at once be impressed by its glory, its greatness, its perfection in every part; each doctrine leads to the next until there it is, the complete whole.

It is a very good thing in the Christian life to stand back periodically and look at this great plan. That is why I think it is important to observe Christmas Day and Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and to preach on those days. They are convenient occasions for reminding ourselves of the whole plan of salvation. Look at it as a whole, look at the separate parts; but always remember that the parts must be kept in their relationship to the whole.

So it is very important that we should be studying the Bible in this particular way. I would always recommend that you read the Bible chapter by chapter, that you go steadily through it—that is also good. But in addition I do suggest that it is of vital importance to take out the great doctrines that are taught there, and look at them according to the plan or the scheme of salvation. The Church has done this from the very beginning, and it is a tragedy that it is done so infrequently at this present time because if you are content only with reading through the Scriptures, there is a danger of missing the wood for the trees. As you read through, you become so immersed in the details, getting the right translation, and so on, that you tend to forget the big, outstanding doctrines. So the reason for taking a series like this is to remind ourselves that the purpose of the Bible is to tell us God’s plan for the salvation of this world.

Another thing which I must emphasise is this: I know nothing which is such a wonderful proof of the unique, divine inspiration of the Scriptures as the study of Christian doctrine because we see then that this book is one, that it has one message though it was written at different times by different men in different circumstances. There is great unity in the message, one theme running from the beginning to the end. From the moment mankind fell, God began to put the plan of salvation into operation, and we can follow the steps and the stages right through the Bible. And so as we come to consider the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, we are reminded that here again is a doctrine that appears both in the Old and the New Testaments. We find a reference to the Holy Spirit in the second verse of the Bible, and the teaching goes right the way through. This amazing unity, I repeat, is proof of the unique, divine inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures.

So, then, we find that in this great plan the Holy Spirit is the applier of salvation. It is His work to bring to us, and to make actual in us, in an experiential manner, that great salvation which we have been considering together and which the Son of God came into the world in order to work out. In the Godhead, the Holy Spirit is the executive, the executor. I shall have to come back to this again when we deal particularly and specifically with His work, but that is His great function in the plan.

Now it is a remarkable and an astonishing thing that this doctrine of the Holy Spirit, His person and His work, has been so frequently neglected in the Church—yet that is an actual fact of history. It is quite clear that the first Christians believed the doctrine, they almost took it for granted. Then you come to the early centuries of the Christian era and you find very little reference, comparatively speaking, to this doctrine. That is not surprising, in fact it was more or less inevitable, because the Church was constantly engaged, in those first centuries, in defending the doctrine concerning the Son. The Son of God had become incarnate: He had been here in this world. Jesus was preached, Jesus as the Christ, and, of course, the enemy was constantly attacking the person of Christ. This was the linchpin in the whole of the gospel and if it could be discredited, the whole scheme would collapse. So the attack was upon the person of the Son and the Church had to give herself in defence of that doctrine in order to establish it.

Tragically, the result was that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was comparatively neglected, until the time of the Protestant Reformation. Now it is our custom to say that the Protestant Reformation is primarily the epoch in the history of the Church in which the great doctrine of justification by faith only was rediscovered in the Bible, and that is perfectly true. But let us never forget that it is equally true that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was also rediscovered in a most amazing manner, and the great Dr B. B. Warfield is surely right when he says that John Calvin was the great theologian of the Holy Spirit. With the whole Roman system the Holy Spirit was ignored; the priesthood, the priests, the Church, Mary and the saints were put into the position of the Holy Spirit.

So the Protestant Reformation rediscovered this mighty doctrine; and let us, in Britain, take partial credit for that. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit was, beyond any question whatsoever, worked out most thoroughly of all by a Puritan divine who lived in this country in the seventeenth century. There is still no greater work on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit than the two volumes by the mighty Dr John Owen, who preached in London and who was also at one time, during the period of Cromwell, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. And not only John Owen. Thomas Goodwin and other Puritans also worked out the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It has never been done so thoroughly since, and certainly had never been done before.

Now generally speaking, the position today is that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is either neglected or it tends to be emphasised and exaggerated in a false manner. And I have no doubt at all that the second is partly the cause of the first. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is neglected because people are so afraid of the spurious, the false and the exaggerated that they avoid it altogether. No doubt this is why many people also neglect the doctrine of prophecy, the last things and the second coming. ‘The moment you start on that,’ they say, ‘you get into these extravagances and these disputes.’ So they leave the whole thing alone and the doctrine is entirely neglected.

So it is with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Because of certain exaggerations, excesses and freak manifestations, and the crossing of the border line from the spiritual to the scientific, the political and the merely emotional, there are many people who are afraid of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, afraid of being too subjective. So they neglect it altogether. I would also suggest that others have neglected the doctrine because they have false ideas with regard to the actual teaching concerning the person of the Holy Spirit.

In view of all this, therefore, it is obviously essential that we should consider this great doctrine very carefully. If we had no other reason for doing so, this is more than enough—that it is a part of the great doctrine of the blessed Holy Trinity. Let me put it very plainly like this: you would all agree that to neglect or to ignore the doctrine about the Father would be a terrible thing. We would all agree that it is also a terrible thing to neglect the doctrine and the truth concerning the blessed eternal Son. Do we always realise that it is equally sinful to ignore or neglect the doctrine of the blessed Holy Spirit? If the doctrine of the Trinity is true—and it is true—then we are most culpable if in our thinking and in our doctrine we do not pay the same devotion and attention to the Holy Spirit as we do to the Son and to the Father. So whether we feel inclined to do so or not, it is our duty as biblical people, who believe the Scripture to be the divinely inspired word of God, to know what the Scripture teaches about the Spirit. And, furthermore, as it is the teaching of the Scripture that the Holy Spirit is the one who applied salvation, it is of the utmost practical importance that we should know the truth concerning Him. I am very ready to agree with those who say that the low spiritual life of the Church, today or at any time, is largely due to the fact that so many fail to realise the truth concerning the person and the work of the Holy Spirit.

One other thing under this heading. I wonder whether you have ever noticed, those of you who are interested in hymns and in hymnology, that in most hymnbooks no section is so weak as the section devoted to the Holy Spirit? Here the hymns are generally weak, sentimental and subjective. For that reason, I have always found myself in great difficulties on Whit Sunday. We are lacking in great doctrinal hymns concerning the Holy Spirit and His work. Indeed, there are those who would say (and I am prepared to agree with them) that in many hymnbooks a vast majority of the hymns under the section of the Holy Spirit—these hymns that beseech Him to come into the Church and to come upon us, and to do this and that—are thoroughly unscriptural. That is another way of showing you again that this great doctrine has been neglected, that people have fought shy of it, and there is confusion concerning it.

The best way to approach the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is to start by noticing the names or the descriptive titles that are given to this blessed person. First of all, there are the many names that relate Him to the Father; let me enumerate some of them: the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2); the Spirit of the Lord (Luke 4:18); the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11). Then another is, the Spirit of the Lord God, which is in Isaiah 61:1. Our Lord speaks, in Matthew 10:20, of the Spirit of your Father, while Paul refers to the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3). My Spirit, says God, in Genesis 6:3, and the psalmist asks, ‘Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?’ (Ps. 139:7). He is referred to as his Spirit—God’s Spirit—in Numbers 11:29; and Paul, in Romans 8:11, uses the phrase the Spirit of him [God the Father] that raised up Jesus from the dead. All these are descriptive titles referring to the Holy Spirit in terms of His relationship to the Father.

In the second group are the titles that relate the Holy Spirit to the Son. First, ‘If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his’ (Rom. 8:9), which is a most important phrase. The word ‘Spirit’ here refers to the Holy Spirit. In Philippians 1:19, Paul speaks about the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and in Galatians 4:6 he says, ‘God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son’. Finally He is referred to as the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 5:9).

Finally, the third group comprises the direct or personal titles, and first and foremost here, of course, is the name Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. Some people are confused by these two terms but they mean exactly the same thing. The English language is a hybrid which has borrowed from other languages, and ‘Ghost’ is an old Anglo-Saxon word while ‘Spirit’ is derived from the Latin spiritus.

A second title in this group is the Spirit of holiness. Romans 1:4 reads, ‘Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.’ A further title is the Holy One: ‘But ye have an unction from the Holy One’ (1 John 2:20). In Hebrews 9:14 He is referred to as the eternal Spirit and Paul says in Romans 8:2, ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’ In John 14:17 He is called the Spirit of truth, and in chapters 14, 15 and 16 of John’s Gospel, He is referred to as the Comforter.

Those, then, are the main names, or descriptive titles, that are applied to Him. But have you ever thought of asking why He is called the Holy Spirit? Now if you put that question to people, I think you will find that they will answer, ‘He is described like that because He is holy.’ But that cannot be the true explanation because the purpose of a name is to differentiate someone from others, but God the Father is holy and God the Son is equally holy.

Why, then, is He called holy? Surely, the explanation is that it is His special work to produce holiness and order in all that He does in the application of Christ’s work of salvation. His objective is to produce holiness and He does that in nature and creation, as well as in human beings. But His ultimate work is to make us a holy people, holy as the children of God. It is also probable that He is described as the Holy Spirit in order to differentiate Him from the other spirits—the evil spirits. That is why we are told to test the spirits and to prove them, and to know whether they are of God or not (1 John 4:1).

Then the next great question is the personality or the person of the Spirit. Now this is vital because it is essential that I should put it like this. The person of the Holy Spirit is not only forgotten by those whom we describe as liberals or modernists in their theology (that is always true of them), but we ourselves are often guilty of precisely the same thing. I have heard most orthodox people referring to the Holy Spirit and His work as ‘it’ and ‘its’ influence and so on, as if the Holy Spirit were nothing but an influence or a power. And hymns, too, frequently make the same mistake. There is a confusion about the Holy Spirit and I am sure there is a sense in which many of us find it a little more difficult to conceive of the third person in the blessed Holy Trinity than to conceive of the Father or the Son. Now why is that? Why is there this tendency to think of Him as a force, or an influence, or an emanation?

There are a number of answers to that question. They are not good reasons, but we must consider them. The first is that His work seems to be impersonal, because it is a kind of mystical and secret work. He produced graces and fruits; He gives us gifts and He gives us various powers. And because of that, we tend to think of Him as if He were some influence. I am sure that this is a great part of the explanation.

But, furthermore, the very name and title tends to produce this idea. What does Spirit mean? It means breath or wind or power—it is the same word—and because of that, I think, we tend, almost inevitably and very naturally, unless we safeguard ourselves, to think of Him as just an influence rather than a person.

Then a third reason is that the very symbols that are used in speaking of Him and in describing Him tend to encourage us in that direction. He descended upon our Lord, as John baptised Him in the Jordan, in the semblance of a dove (Matt. 3:16). And again, the symbols that are used to describe Him and His work are oil and water and fire. In particular, there is the phrase in the prophecy of Joel, which was quoted by Peter in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost, about the Spirit being poured out (Acts 2:17). That makes us think of liquid, something like water, something that can be handled—certainly not a person. So unless we are very careful and remember that we are dealing with the symbols only, the symbolic language of the Scripture tends to make us think of Him impersonally.

Another reason why it is that we are frequently in difficulties about the personality of the Holy Spirit is that very often, in the preliminary salutations to the various New Testament epistles, reference is made to the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is not mentioned. Our Lord in the great high priestly prayer says, ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent’ (John 17:3)—He makes no specific reference to the Holy Spirit. And then John says the same thing in his first epistle: ‘And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ’ (1 John 1:3). He does not mention the Spirit specifically at that point.

Then also, the word Spirit in the Greek language is a neuter word, and, therefore, we tend to think of Him and of His work in this impersonal, neutral sense. And for that reason, the King James Version, I am sorry to say, undoubtedly fell into the trap at this point. In Romans 8:16 we have that great statement which reads, ‘The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God.’ You notice the word ‘itself’, not ‘Himself’. Again in the same chapter we read, ‘Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us’ (Rom. 8:26). At this point the Revised Version is altogether superior since in both instances it gives the correct translation: ‘Himself’, even though in the Greek the pronoun, as well as the noun, is in the neuter.

And thus we have, it seems to me, these main reasons why people have found it difficult to realise that the Holy Spirit is a person. People have argued—many theologians would argue—that the Scripture itself says the ‘Spirit of Christ’. The Holy Spirit, they say, is not a distinct person; He is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Son, or of the Father, and thus they deny His personality.

How, then, do we answer all this? What is the scriptural reply to these reasons that are often adduced? Well, first of all, the personal pronoun is used of Him. Take John 16:7–8 and 13–15 where the masculine pronoun ‘He’ is used twelve times with reference to the Holy Spirit. Now that is a very striking thing. Jesus says, ‘Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth’ (v. 13)—and so on. And this, of course, is of particular importance when we remember that the noun itself is a neuter noun, so the pronoun attached to it should be in the neuter. Now this is not always the case but it is in the vast majority of instances. It is most interesting and it shows how important it is to realise that the inspiration of Scripture goes down even to words like pronouns! So that is the first argument, and those who do not believe in the person of the Spirit will have to explain why almost the whole Scripture uses the masculine pronoun.

The second reply to those who query the personality of the Spirit is that the Holy Spirit is identified with the Father and the Son in such a way as to indicate personality.

There are two great arguments here; the first is the baptismal formula: ‘baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matt. 28:19). Here He is associated with the Father and the Son in a way that of necessity points to His personality. And notice, incidentally, that this baptismal formula does not say, ‘baptizing them in the names’ but ‘in the name’. It uses the unity of the three Persons—the Three in One—one name, one God, but still Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And so if you do not believe in the person and personality of the Holy Spirit, and think that He is just a power or a breath, you would have to say, ‘Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the breath’ or of ‘the power’. And at once it becomes impossible. The second argument is based on the apostolic benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost …’—obviously the Holy Spirit is a person in line with the person of the Father and of the Son.

The third reply is that in a most interesting way we can prove the personality of the Spirit by showing that He is identified with us, with Christians, in a way that indicates that He is a person. In Acts 15:28 we read, ‘For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.’ This was a decision arrived at by members of the early Church, and as they were persons, so He must be a person. You cannot say, ‘It seemed good to a power and to us,’ because the power would be working in us. But here is someone outside us—‘It seemed good to him and to us’.

The fourth reply is that personal qualities are ascribed to Him in the Scriptures. He is said, for example, to have knowledge. Paul argues, ‘For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God’ (1 Cor. 2:11).

But—and this is very important—He has a will also, a sovereign will. Read carefully 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul is writing about spiritual gifts, and the diversity of the gifts. This is what we are told: ‘But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will’ (v. 11). Now that is a very important statement in the light of all the interest in spiritual healing. People say, ‘Why have we not got this gift in the Church, and why has every Christian not got it?’ To which the simple answer is that this is not a gift that anybody should claim. It is the Spirit who gives and who dispenses these gifts, according to His own will. He is a sovereign Lord, and he decides to whom and when and where and how and how much to give His particular gifts.

Then the next point is that He clearly has a mind. In Romans 8:27 we read, ‘And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit’—this is in connection with prayer. He is also one who loves, because we read that ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love’ (Gal. 5:22); and it is His function to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). And, likewise, we know He is capable of grief, because in Ephesians 4:30, we are warned not to ‘grieve’ the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and especially this aspect of the doctrine which emphasises His personality, is of supreme importance. The ultimate doctrine about the Spirit, from the practical, experiential standpoint, is that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so that whatever I do, wherever I go, the Holy Spirit is in me. I know nothing which so promotes sanctification and holiness as the realisation of that. If only we realised, always, in anything we do with our bodies, the Holy Spirit is involved! Remember, also, that Paul teaches that in the context of a warning against fornication. He writes, ‘Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you …?’ (1 Cor. 6:19). That is why fornication should be unthinkable in a Christian. God is in us, in the Holy Spirit: not an influence, not a power, but a person whom we can grieve.

So we are going through all these details not out of an academic interest, nor because I may happen to have a theological type of mind. No, I am concerned about these things, as I am a man trying myself to live the Christian life, and as I am called of God to be a pastor of souls, and feel the responsibility for the souls and the conduct and behavior of others. God forbid that anybody should regard this matter as remote and theoretical. It is vital, practical doctrine. Wherever you are, wherever you go, if you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is in you and if you really want to enjoy the blessings of salvation, you do so by knowing that your body is His temple.


Lloyd-Jones preaching at WC London images

Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) [hereafter – DMLJ] was a British evangelical born and brought up within Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, he is most noted for his pastorate and expository preaching career at Westminster Chapel in London.

In addition to his work at Westminster Chapel, he published books and spoke at conferences and, at one point, presided over the Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Students (now known as UCCF). Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations in Wales and England.

DMLJ’s most popular writings are collections of his sermons edited for publication, as typified by his multi-volume series’ on ActsRomansEphesians1 John, and Philippians. My favorite writings are his expositions on the Sermon on the MountRevivalJoy UnspeakableSpiritual Depression; and his recently revised 40th Anniversary edition of Preaching and Preachers. The sermon above is from Volume Two, Chapter One  in the compilation of sermons entitled Great Doctrines of the Bible.

Born in Wales, Lloyd-Jones was schooled in London. He then entered medical training at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital, better known simply as Bart’s. Bart’s carried the same prestige in the medical community that Oxford did in the intellectual community. Martyn’s career was medicine. He succeeded in his exams so young that he had to wait to take his MD, by which time he was already chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Horder, one of the best and most famous doctors of the day. By the age of 26 he also had his MRCP (Member of the Royal College of Physicians).

Although he had considered himself a Christian, the young doctor was soundly converted in 1926. He gave up his medical career in 1927 and returned to Wales to preach and pastor his first church in Sandfields, Aberavon.

In 1935, Lloyd-Jones preached to an assembly at Albert Hall. One of the listeners was 72-year-old Dr. Campbell Morgan, pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. When he heard Martyn Lloyd-Jones, he wanted to have him as his colleague and successor in 1938. But it was not so easy, for there was also a proposal that he be appointed Principal of the Theological College at Bala; and the call of Wales and of training a new generation of ministers for Wales was strong. In the end, however, the call from Westminster Chapel prevailed and the Lloyd-Jones family finally committed to London in April 1939.

After the war, under Lloyd-Jones preaching, the congregation at Westminster Chapel grew quickly. In 1947 the balconies were opened and from 1948 until 1968 when he retired, the congregation averaged perhaps 1500 on Sunday mornings and 2000 on Sunday nights.

In his 68th year, he underwent a major medical operation. Although he fully recovered, he decided to retire from Westminster Chapel. Even in retirement, however, Lloyd-Jones worked as a pastor of pastors an itinerant speaker and evangelist. “The Doctor”, as he became known, was one of the major figureheads of British evangelicalism and his books and published sermons continue to be appreciated by many within the United Kingdom and beyond. DMLJ believed that the greatest need of the church was revival.



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Why is Tim Keller Indebted to Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones?

3 Important Reminders on Preaching Dr. Tim Keller Gleaned from Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Classic Preaching and Preachers  

Preaching and Preachers Image 

DAVID MARTYN LLOYD-JONES’ Preaching and Preachers remains astonishingly up-to-date. In particular I find these three reminders helpful to me, and have been over the years.

(1) Give preaching the primacy— despite the resistance.

Lloyd-Jones was lecturing in 1969 out of a British context where many claimed that Christian preaching would no longer be effective. World War II had given Europeans a suspicion of “great orators” (think Hitler). Television and radio had changed people’s attention spans and created an appetite for intimate, informal speech. The culture’s loss of belief in authority was another factor; in a post-Christian society how could we think it effective to bring people to hear a monologue? Instead, the objectors proposed using new media (television and radio), or putting greater emphasis on liturgy and art, or making the church more of a social service and counseling agency. Some called churches to abandon their current form totally. Christians, they said, should disperse, throwing themselves into addressing people’s personal and social problems out in the world. Then, when holding gatherings, they should be small, informal, and characterized by dialogue and discussion.

It is surprising how similar this sounds to proposals that have been made in United States more recently under the heading of “the emerging church.” Lloyd-Jones’ answers to these objections are still compelling. He shows how in Acts 6 the apostles appointed others to the important ministry of mercy so they could devote themselves to the primary thing—” prayer and the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6: 4). He argues that people sense a power and experience a sermon very differently in person, in a gathered assembly, than they do through media. Most boldly he takes on the main objection—” people just won’t come.” He retorts: “The answer is that they will come, and that they do come when it is true preaching.” Speaking from the heart of secular, pluralistic, late-modern Manhattan, this preacher completely agrees with him.

(2) Don’t preach as if everyone is a Christian— or as if the gospel is not for Christians.

Lloyd-Jones warns preachers not to “assume that all … who are members of the church, are … Christians. This, to me, is the most fatal blunder of all.” He goes on to say that many people have accepted Christianity intellectually but have never come under the power of the Word and the Gospel and therefore have “not truly repented.” Under real Gospel preaching there will always be a steady stream of church members who, every year, come forward and confess that they had never understood the Gospel and had, over the past months, finally repented and believed truly.

There is a flip side to this. Lloyd-Jones calls us not only to evangelize as we edify, but insists that we can edify Christians as we evangelize. As he put it, believers need to feel the power of the Gospel again and again and “almost” go through the experience of conversion again. Lloyd-Jones preached sermons in the evening that were primarily evangelistic and sermons in the morning that were primarily edification, but he insisted that his members come to both and that preachers not make “too rigid” a distinction. The Gospel edifies and evangelizes at the same time.

When I came to New York City in 1989, I listened to scores of Lloyd-Jones recordings. I heard how expository and theological his evangelistic preaching was, and how evangelistic and Gospel-centered his edificational preaching was. It was an epiphany for me. I realized that the Willow Creek strategy of light “seeker talks” every weekend was misguided. I also saw that the reaction against Willow Creek— the move to lengthy, didactic, expository teaching that assumed all were Christians— was inappropriate for Manhattan as well. New York City in the late 1980s was more like midcentury London than anywhere else in the U.S., and so I listened to recordings of sermons by Lloyd-Jones and Dick Lucas, another London preacher. I learned to preach evangelistic-edificational sermons and edificational-evangelistic sermons.

(3) Don’t preach just to make the truth clear— but to make it real.

In 1968, during convalescence after surgery, Lloyd-Jones visited many of the churches pastored by members of his Westminster Ministerial Fellowship. He was disappointed by the preaching he heard. On October 9 of that year he gave the Fellowship an informal lecture (preserved by Iain Murray in Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace, 2008, pp. 99ff.) saying that “once evangelical preaching was too subjective— now it is too objective.” In their concern to avoid entertainment and storytelling, their preaching addressed only the mind and not “the whole man.”

These concerns reemerge in Preaching and Preachers. He speaks against the idea that expository preaching is just a “running commentary.” A sermon must have progression to a climax, it must be life-related with argument and passion. In fact, in a 1976 lecture on Jonathan Edwards, Lloyd-Jones argued that the primary object of preaching is not only to give information to be used later, but to make an impression on the heart on the spot. For this reason he even discouraged people from taking notes. The point of preaching is not just to expound doctrine, but to make the doctrine real to the heart and therefore permanently life-changing.

This message was and is important for those circles that do believe in the primacy of preaching, especially expository preaching. Lloyd-Jones argued strenuously against what he called “the pew dictating to the pulpit,” or overcontextualization. Yet Lloyd-Jones saw that his disciples had overreacted. In his October 9 lecture he appealed to them: “Let us present the sermon the best we can— the best language, the best of everything. We have got the curious notion, ‘It’s the doctrine that matters,’ and ignore this. With the message we have got, it is tragic if we can be cold, lifeless, and dull.”

Preaching and Preachers contains many statements about preaching that many will quibble with, including me. But his main themes and messages to preachers are powerful and still so, so timely. This book likely flies in the face of the last five or six books you have read on preaching. But it is one of the most important books on preaching in print. I personally owe it a debt I can never repay.

*The essay above A “Tract for the Times” was written by Dr. Tim Keller following Chapter 4 (The Form of the Sermon) in the special 40th Anniversary of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Preaching and Preachers. Grand Rapids: Zondervan (2012 Reprint of 1972 edition).

 About the Author

Tim Keller in office image

Dr. Timothy Keller is founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City and the author of numerous books, including Galatians For You, Every Good Endeavor, Center Church, The Meaning of MarriageThe Reason for GodKing’s CrossCounterfeit GodsThe Prodigal God, and Generous Justice. Be watching out for his new book Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions coming in November 2013.


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The Danger of The Gospel by Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Lloyd-Jones preaching at WC London images

The Gospel makes us seeour real danger. These are the problems — not the Esaus we put up. These are the problems — my relationship to God, my relationship to myself, yes, and my real danger. Now to Jacob of course the danger was this, that Esau might rob him of a certain amount of his goods, or that Esau might kill his wives and children, or indeed that Esau might go so far as to take the life of Jacob — that to Jacob was the danger. As we look and watch him as he paces backwards and forwards, he says, “What is Esau going to do to me? I may lose this wonderful stock, that I bred in the land of Laban, I may lose it, it would be a terrible loss — I may lose my wives and children, I may lose my life, isn’t this terrible.” And he prays to God frantically. But what does God do? “Jacob,” says God, “you haven’t realized your greatest danger — your greatest danger is that you may lose your soul. Jacob,” said God to him, “these things about which you are worrying are things which of necessity sooner or later you are bound to lose. There is a day coming when you are going to die and, then you will have to lose your stock, you will have to leave your wives and children and all your possessions.… But at that moment and hour you will still have your soul and you will have to render up an account to me of that soul. I have given you that soul, Jacob — your greatest danger at this moment is the loss of your soul and not being the man I want you to be, the man with the birthright blessing — that is the danger — the wrong relationship to me that leads to wrath and punishment and hell and destruction.”…

The Gospel, I say, reveals to man that he worries and troubles about the wrong problem, it then goes on to show him the real problem, but thank God it does not stop at that. It then reveals to man the blessings of life, possibilities infinitely greater and transcending everything that man has ever thought of or dreamed of or imagined. Look at it in terms of Jacob. Jacob stands there and he says to himself, “Now what about my future, if only I can appease Esau I will cross the river, I will settle down and be a wealthy and prosperous man — I will have stock and the crop, I will have the wives and the children — that will be a wonderful life.” This is what he coveted. But when God met him there that night Jacob was given such a vision of blessing that he forgot all about Esau and his stock and crop and everything else. He saw God and he met God. God revealed to him the blessing that he had in store for him and Jacob said, “I will not let thee go, I will let my animals go, I will let my wives and children go, I will let everything go, but I will not let thee go and the blessing of God.” He had met the God who was offering him pardon for his failure, who assured him that He would place His hand upon him, who gave him there a vision of his own future as the father of a nation, the father ultimately of the Lord Jesus Christ who was to be the Savior of the world. Jacob, I believe, was given a glimpse of that — out of his seed even the Messiah shall come — and he said, “I will not let thee go. What are earthly honors and goods and possessions when I see that through me and out of this nation will come Shiloh, the Deliverer” — that is the blessing — the new name, no longer Jacob but “Israel.” And that is what the Gospel says to every man who hears it by the power of the Holy Spirit. It offers us, let me say it again, pardon, forgiveness, assurance that God blots out our sins as a thick cloud and casts them behind him. Can you think of anything greater in this world tonight than that, having your conscience cleansed, being able to face and look at God and say, “I am guilty but Christ suffered for my sin and I am free, pardoned and forgiven.” It means a new start in life, a new nature — the nature of God Himself, being made a child of God.… He offers new power and strength and new might; He will enable us to conquer old sins and get rid of the things that have spoilt and ruined our past existence; He gives us righteousness and joy and peace; He removes the fear of death and the grave; He enables you to smile at death and the grave and say, “I have gone from death to life, through judgment to eternity.” And it gives us an everlasting hope that can never fade away. In other words, what the Gospel tells us is something like this: It tells us that this world is ultimately going to be rid of sin. It tells us that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, is coming back into this world; He is going to destroy all His enemies…. It tells us that everything that is sinful and evil is going to be taken out of the world, even out of creation itself — that there is going to be “a new heaven and a new earth in which dwelleth righteousness” and that those who are Christian are going to live in that world with Christ at their head, looking into the face of God and enjoying everlasting and eternal bless. It offers that. That is why I said at the beginning that the Gospel surprises us. It does not mean just pulling yourself together and trying to be a better man — No, no, it means that God will make you a child of His own; it means He will put His own nature into you, He will make you an heir of that bliss which I have tried to describe so inadequately; it means death will have no terror for you; you can look forward to that glorified existence. That is the blessing which He offers us. We have but to realize our need of Him, the failure of our life, the danger to the soul, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and those are the things we receive.

An excerpt from a sermon, “The Life-Changing Meeting,” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones from Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons, published by The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1995. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 


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“Where Is Your Faith?” Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones Exposition on Luke 8:22-25

(*Disclaimer: There is much that Lloyd-Jones writes here and elsewhere that is to be commended. However, in this case I wholeheartedly disagree with his view that a Christian should “never be depressed.” Many godly men and women have battled with depression their entire lives – Martin Luther and Charles H. Spurgeon to name two (not to mention – David and Moses in the Bible). I think that certain personalities are prone to depression and some people are clinically depressed and can be helped tremendously with the aid of medication and biblically based counseling. If you are severely depressed and have battled chronic depression I think you would be wise to seek medical attention. I agree with Lloyd-Jones that the Holy Spirit is powerful to help anyone overcome anything, and that all Christians can and should grow in their faith in the Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence of God. The reality is that yes, Christians should never sin, but we do; and thanks to the work of the Trinity we are saved by grace and sanctified by grace. Sanctification is a journey of ups and downs and God-willing this sermon will help you to increase your faith – no matter what your doubts and struggles may be! – DPC) 

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” – Luke 8:22-25

I WANT to call attention particularly to this question which was addressed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the disciples. He said to them: `Where is your faith?’ Indeed I would call your attention to this entire incident as a part of our consideration of the subject of spiritual depression. We have already considered a number of causes of the condition and this particular incident in the life and ministry of our Lord brings us face to face with yet another cause.

The one that is dealt with here is the whole problem and question of the nature of faith. In other words, there are many Christians who get into difficulty and are unhappy from time to time because they clearly have not understood the nature of faith. `Well’, you may say, `if they have not understood the nature of faith, how can they be Christians?’ The answer is that what makes one a Christian is that one is given the gift of faith. We are given the gift of faith by God through the Holy Spirit and we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and that saves us; but that does not mean that we have fully understood the nature of faith. So it comes to pass that, while we may be truly Christian and genuinely saved through receiving this gift of faith, we may subsequently get into trouble with our spiritual experience because we have not understood what faith really is. It is given as a gift, but from there on we have to do certain things about it.

Now this very striking incident brings out the vital importance of distinguishing between the original gift of faith and the walk of faith, or the life of faith which comes subsequently. God starts us off in this Christian life and then we have to walk in it. `We walk by faith, not by sight’, is the theme that we are now considering.

Before I come actually to that particular theme, I must say a few words about this great incident in and of itself. Looked at from any standpoint it is a very interesting and important incident. It has a great deal to tell us, for instance, about the Person of our Lord Himself. It brings us face to face with what is described as a paradox, the seeming contradiction in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. There He was, weary and tired, so tired, in fact, that He fell asleep. Now this incident is recorded by the three so-called synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, and it is really important from the standpoint of understanding the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Him. There is no doubt about His humanity, He is fatigued, He is tired and weary, so much so that He just falls asleep, and, though the storm has arisen, He still goes on sleeping. He is subject to infirmity, He is a man in the body and flesh like all the rest of us. Ah, yes, but wait a minute. They came to Him and awoke Him saying:

`Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the sea, and they ceased and there was a calm-one of the others describes it as `a great calm’. Now it is not surprising that the disciples, seeing all this, wondered and said one to another: `What manner of Man is this! For He commandeth even the winds and water and they obey Him’.

Man, and yet obviously God. He could command the elements, He could silence the wind and stop the raging of the sea. He is the Lord of nature and of creation, He is the Lord of the universe. This is the mystery and the marvel of Jesus Christ-God and Man, two natures in One Person, two natures unmixed yet resident in the same Person.

We must start here, because if we are not clear about that there is no purpose in our going on. If you do not believe in the unique deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not a Christian, whatever else you may be. We are not looking at a good Man only, we are not interested merely in the greatest Teacher the world has ever seen; we are face to face with the fact that God, the Eternal Son, has been in this world and that He took upon Him human nature and dwelt amongst us, a Man amongst men-God-Man. We are face to face with the mystery and the marvel of the Incarnation and of the Virgin Birth. It is all here, and it shines out in all the fullness of its amazing glory. `What manner of Man is this?’ He is more than Man. That is the answer-He is also God.

However, that is not, it seems to me, the special purpose of this particular incident. You get that revelation in other places also, it shines out right through all the Gospels; but the separate particular incidents in which it is seen, generally also have some special and peculiar message of their own to teach us. In this case there can be no doubt that that message is the lesson with regard to the disciples and their condition at this point-it is the great lesson concerning faith and the nature or the character of faith. I do not know what you feel, but I never cease to be grateful to these disciples. I am grateful for the record of every mistake they ever made, and for every blunder they ever committed, because I see myself in them. How grateful we should be to God that we have these Scriptures, how grateful to Him that He has not merely given us the gospel and left it at that. How wonderful it is that we can read accounts like this and see ourselves depicted in them, and how grateful we should be to God that it is a divinely inspired Word which speaks the truth, and shows and pictures every human frailty.

So we find our Lord rebuking these men. He rebukes them because of their alarm, because of their terror, because of their lack of faith. Here they were in the boat with Him, and the storm arose, and soon they were in difficulties. They baled out the water, but the boat was filling up and they could see that in a few moments it was going to sink. They had done everything they could but it did not seem to be of any avail, and what amazed them was that the Master was still sleeping soundly in the stern of the vessel. So they awoke Him and said: `Master, Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ -are You unconcerned about it all? And He arose, and having rebuked the wind and the sea, He rebuked them.

Now we must be careful to observe this rebuke and to understand what He was saying. In the first place, He was rebuking them for being in such a state at all. `Where is your faith?’ He says. Matthew puts it: `O ye of little faith!’ Here as elsewhere `He marvelled at their unbelief’. He rebuked them for being in that state of agitation and terror and alarm while He was with them in the boat.

That is the first great lesson we have to apply to ourselves and to one another. It is very wrong for a Christian ever to be in such a condition. I do not care what the circumstances may be, the Christian should never be agitated, the Christian should never be beside himself like this, the Christian should never be at his wit’s end, the Christian should never be in a condition in which he has lost control of himself. That is the first lesson, a lesson we have emphasized before because it is an essential part of the New Testament teaching. A Christian should never, like the worldly person, be depressed, agitated, alarmed, frantic, not knowing what to do. It is the typical reaction to trouble of those who are not Christian, that is why it is so wrong to be like that.

The Christian is different from other people, the Christian has something which the non-Christian does not possess, and the ideal for the Christian is that which is stated so perfectly by the Apostle Paul in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians : `I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content . . . I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’. That is the Christian position, that is what the Christian is meant to be like. The Christian is never meant to be carried away by his feelings, whatever they are-never. That is always wrong in a Christian. He is always to be controlled, as I hope to show you. The trouble with these men was that they were lacking in self-control. That is why they were miserable, that is why they were unhappy, that is why they were alarmed and agitated, though the Son of God was with them in the boat. I cannot emphasize this point too strongly. I lay it down as a simple proposition that a Christian should never lose self-control, should never be in a state of agitation or terror or alarm, whatever the circumstances. That is obviously our first lesson.

The position of these people was alarming. They were in jeopardy and it looked as if they were going to be drowned the next moment, but our Lord says in effect: `You should not be in that condition. As My followers you have no right to be in such a state even though you are in jeopardy’. That is the first great lesson, and the second is, that what is so wrong about being in this condition is that it implies a lack of trust and of confidence in Him. That is the trouble and that is why it is so reprehensible. That is why He reprimanded these men at that point. He said in effect: `Do you feel like this in spite of the fact that I am with you? Do you not trust Me?’ Mark reports them as saying: `Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ Now I do not think that they were referring only to themselves or to their own safety. I do not think that they were so self-centred.

I do not think that they simply meant: Don’t You care that we are going to drown? without considering Him at all. I believe they were including Him as well, that they thought they were all going to be drowned. `Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ But still, this agitation and alarm always carries with it a lack of implicit trust and confidence in Him. It is a lack of faith in His concern for us and in His care for us. It means that we take charge and are going to look after the situation ourselves, feeling either that He does not care, or perhaps that He cannot do.

It means that we take charge and are going to look after the situation ourselves, feeling either that He does not care, or perhaps that He cannot do anything. That is what makes this so terrible, but I wonder whether we always realize it. It seems obvious as we look at it objectively in the case of these disciples; but when you and I are agitated or disturbed and do not know what to do, and are giving the impression of great nervous tension, anybody looking at us is entitled to say : `That person has not much faith in his or her Lord. There does not seem to be much point in being a Christian after all, there is not much value in Christianity as I see it in that person’.

Now during the war we were all subject to these trials in an exceptional way, but even now in days of peace anything that comes across our path and puts us in difficulty, at once shows whether we believe in Him and trust in Him, by our response and reaction to it. There seems to me, therefore, on the very surface to be these two great lessons.

We must never allow ourselves to be agitated and disturbed whatever the circumstances because to do so implies a lack of faith, a lack of trust, a lack of confidence in our blessed Lord and God. However, let us look at the passage in detail, let us now draw some general principles out of the incident and its great teaching.

First of all, in looking at this whole question of faith, let me say a word about what I might call `the trial of faith’. Scripture is full of this idea of the trial of one’s faith. Take the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. That is, in a sense, nothing but a great exposition of this theme of the trial of faith. Every one of those men was tried. They had been given great promises and they had accepted them, and then everything seemed to go wrong. It is true of all of them. Think of the trial of a man like Noah, the trial of a man like Abraham, the trials that men like Jacob and especially Moses had to endure. God gives the gift of faith and then the faith is tried.

Peter, in his First Epistle in the first chapter, says exactly the same thing. He says : `Though ye are in heaviness for a season’ because of certain circumstances, the object of that is `that the trial of your faith which is more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ’. That is the theme of all the Scriptures. You find it in the history of the Patriarchs and of all the Old Testament saints, you find it running through the New Testament. Indeed, it is peculiarly the theme of the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.

Let us then be clear about this. We must start by understanding that we may well find ourselves in a position in which our faith is going to be tried. Storms and trials are allowed by God. If we are living the Christian life, or trying to live the Christian life, at the moment, on the assumption that it means just come to Christ and you will never have any more worry in the whole of your life, we are harboring a terrible fallacy. In fact it is a delusion and it is not true. Our faith will be tried, and James goes so far as to say: `Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials)’ (James 1:2). God permits storms, He permits difficulties, He permits the wind to blow and the billows to roll, and everything may seem to be going wrong and we ourselves to be in jeopardy. We must learn and realize that God does not take His people and lead them into some kind of Elysium in which they are protected from all `the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’. Not at all, we are living in the same world as everybody else. Indeed, the Apostle Paul seems to go further than that.

He tells the Philippians: `Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake’ (Philippians 1. 29). `In the world’, says our Lord, `ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33) `Be of good cheer’-yes, but remember that you will have the tribulation. Paul and Barnabas going on their missionary journey visited the churches and warned them, `that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22).

We must start by realizing that `to be forewarned is to be forearmed’ in this matter. If we have a magical conception of the Christian life, we are certain to find ourselves in trouble, because, when difficulties come, we shall be tempted to ask: `Why is this allowed?’ And we should never ask such a question. If we but realized this fundamental truth, we never would ask it. Our Lord goes to sleep and allows the storm to come. The position may indeed become quite desperate and we may appear to be in danger of our lives. Everything may seem to be against us, yet-well here it is, a Christian poet has said it for us:

`When all things seem against us To drive us to despair’ .. .

But it does not drive him to despair because he goes on to say:

`We know one gate is open One ear will hear our prayer’.

But things may be desperate: `All things seem against us, to drive us to despair’. Let us then be prepared for that. Yes, but we must go further. While all this is happening to us, our Lord appears to be utterly unconcerned about us. That is where the real trial of faith comes in. The wind and the billows were bad enough and the water coming into the ship. That was terrible, but the thing that to them was most terrible of all was His apparent unconcern. Still sleeping and not apparently caring. `Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ He appears to be unconcerned, unconcerned about us, unconcerned about Himself, unconcerned about His cause, unconcerned about His Kingdom.

Just imagine the feelings of these men. They had followed Him and listened to His teaching about the coming of the Kingdom, they had seen His miracles and were expecting marvelous things to happen; and now it looked as if everything was going to come to an end in shipwreck and drowning. What an anti-climax and all because of His unconcern! We must be very young indeed in the Christian life if we do not know something about this. Do we not all know something of this position of trial and difficulty, yes, and of a feeling that God somehow does not seem to care? He does not do anything about it. `Why does He allow me, a Christian, to suffer at the hands of a non-Christian?’ says many a person. `Why does He allow things to go wrong with me and not with the other person?’ `Why is that man successful while I am unsuccessful? Why does not God do something about it?’ How often do Christian people ask such questions. They have asked it about the whole state of the Church today. `Why does He not send revival? Why does He allow these rationalists and atheists to take the ascendancy? Why does He not break in and do something, and revive His work?’ How often we are tempted to say such things, exactly as these disciples in the boat were!

The fact that God permits these things and that He often appears to be quite unconcerned about it all really constitutes what I am describing as the trial of faith. Those are the conditions in which our faith is tried and tested, and God allows it all, God permits it all. James even tells us to `count it all joy’ when these things happen to us. This is a great subject-the trial of faith. We do not talk much about it these days, do we? But if we went back to the seventeenth or eighteenth century we would find that it was then a very familiar theme. I suppose that in many ways it was the central theme of the Puritans. It was certainly prominent later on in the evangelical awakening of the eighteenth century. The trial of man’s faith and how to overcome these things, the walk of faith, and the life of faith, was their constant theme.

Let us now go on to the second question–What is the nature of faith, the character of faith? This is above everything the particular message of this incident and I feel that it is brought out especially clearly in this record of it in the Gospel according to St. Luke. That is why I am taking the incident from that particular Gospel and emphasizing the way in which our Lord puts the question: `Where is your faith?’ There is the key to the whole problem. You observe our Lord’s question. It seems to imply that He knows perfectly well that they have faith. The question He asks them is: `Where is it? You have got faith, but where is it at this moment? It ought to be here, where is it?’ Now that gives us the key to the understanding of the nature of faith.

Let me first of all put it negatively. Faith, obviously, is not a mere matter of feeling. It cannot be, because one’s feelings in this kind of condition can be very changeable. A Christian is not meant to be dejected when everything goes wrong. He is told to `rejoice’. Feelings belong to happiness alone, rejoicing takes in something much bigger than feelings; and if faith were a matter of feelings only, then when things go wrong and feelings change, faith will go. But faith is not a matter of feelings only, faith takes up the whole man including his mind, his intellect and his understanding. It is a response to truth, as we shall see.

The second thing is still more important. Faith is not something that acts automatically, faith is not something that acts magically. This, I think, is the blunder of which we have all, at some time or another, been guilty. We seem to think that faith is something that acts automatically. Many people, it seems to me, conceive of faith as if it were something similar to those thermostats which you have in connection with a heating apparatus, you set your thermostat at a given level, you want to maintain the temperature at a certain point and it acts automatically. If the temperature is tending to rise above that, the thermostat comes into operation and brings it down; if you use your hot water and the temperature is lowered, the thermostat comes into operation and sends it up, etc. You do not have to do anything about it, the thermostat acts automatically and it brings the temperature back to the desired level automatically. Now there are many people who seem to think that faith acts like that. They assume that it does not matter what happens to them, that faith will operate and all will be well. Faith, however, is not something that acts magically or automatically. If it did, these men would never have been in trouble, faith would have come into operation and they would have been calm and quiet and all would have been well. But faith is not like that and those are utter fallacies with respect to it.

What is faith? Let us look at it positively. The principle taught here is that faith is an activity, it is something that has to be exercised. It does not come into operation itself, you and I have to put it into operation. It is a form of activity.

Now let me divide that up a little. Faith is something you and I have to bring into operation. That is exactly what our Lord said to these men. He said: `Where is your faith?’ which means, `Why are you not taking your faith and applying it to this position?’ You see, it was because they did not do so, because they did not put their faith into operation, that the disciples had become unhappy and were in this state of consternation. How then does one put faith into operation? What do I mean by saying that faith is something we have to apply? I can divide my answer in this way. The first thing I must do when I find myself in a difficult position is to refuse to allow myself to be controlled by the situation. A negative, you see. These men were in the boat, the Master was asleep and the billows were rolling, the water was coming in, and they could not bale it out fast enough. It looked as if they were going to sink, and their trouble was that they were controlled by that situation. They should have applied their faith and taken charge of it, and said: `No, we are not going to panic’. They should have started in that way, but they did not do so. They allowed the position to control them.

Faith is a refusal to panic. Do you like that sort of definition of faith? Does that seem to be too earthly and not sufficiently spiritual? It is of the very essence of faith. Faith is a refusal to panic, come what may. Browning, I think had that idea when he defined faith like this: `With me, faith means perpetual unbelief kept quiet, like the snake ‘neath Michael’s foot’. Here is Michael and there is the snake beneath his foot, and he just keeps it quiet under the pressure of his foot. Faith is unbelief kept quiet, kept down. That is what these men did not do, they allowed this situation to grip them, they became panicky. Faith, however, is a refusal to allow that. It says: `I am not going to be controlled by these circumstances-I am in control’. So you take charge of yourself, and pull yourself up, you control yourself. You do not let yourself go, you assert yourself.

That is the first thing, but it does not stop at that. That is not enough, because that may be nothing but resignation. That is not the whole of faith. Having taken that first step, having pulled yourself up, you then remind yourself of what you believe and what you know. That again is something these foolish disciples did not do. If only they had stopped a moment and said:

`Now then what about it? Is it possible that we are going to drown with Him in the boat? Is there anything He cannot do? We have seen His miracles, He turned the water into wine, He can heal the blind and the lame, He can even raise the dead, is it likely that He is going to allow us and Himself to be drowned in this way? Impossible! In any case He loves us, He cares for us, He has told us that the very hairs of our head are all numbered!’ That is the way in which faith reasons. It says: `All right, I see the waves and the billows but’-it always puts up this `but’. That is faith, it holds on to truth and reasons from what it knows to be fact. That is the way to apply faith.

These men did not do that and that is why they became agitated and panic stricken. And you and I will become panic stricken and agitated if we fail to do the same. Whatever the circumstances, therefore, stand, wait for a moment. Say: `I admit it all, but–‘ But what? But God! but the Lord Jesus Christ! But what? The whole of my salvation! That is what faith does. All things may seem to be against me `to drive me to despair’, I do not understand what is happening; but I know this, I know that God has so loved me that He sent His only begotten Son into this world for me, I know that while I was an enemy, God sent His only Son to die on the Cross on Calvary’s Hill for me. He has done that for me while I was an enemy, a rebellious alien. I know that the Son of God `loved me and gave Himself for me’. I know that at the cost of His life’s blood I have salvation and that I am a child of God and an heir to everlasting bliss. I know that. Very well, then, I know this, that `if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life’ (Romans 5:10). It is inevitable logic, and faith argues like that. Faith reminds itself of what the Scripture calls ‘the exceeding great and precious promises’.

Faith says: ‘I cannot believe that He who has brought me so far is going to let me down at this point. It is impossible, it would be inconsistent with the character of God’. So faith, having refused to be controlled by circumstances, reminds itself of what it believes and what it knows.

And then the next step is that faith applies all that to the particular situation. Again, that was something these men did not do, and that is why our Lord puts it to them in this way: `Where is your faith?’ –`You have got it, why don’t you apply it, why don’t you bring all you know to bear on this situation, why don’t you focus it on this particular problem?’ That is the next step in the application of faith. Whatever your circumstances at this moment, bring all you know to be true of your relationship to God to bear upon it. Then you will know full well that He will never allow anything to happen to you that is harmful. `All things work together for good to them that love God.‘ Not a hair of your head shall be harmed, He loves you with an everlasting love.

I do not suggest that you will be able to understand everything that is happening. You may not have a full explanation of it; but you will know for certain that God is not unconcerned. That is impossible. The One who has done the greatest thing of all for you, must be concerned about you in everything, and though the clouds are thick and you cannot see His face, you know He is there. `Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.’ Now hold on to that. You say that you do not see His smile. I agree that these earthborn clouds prevent my seeing Him, but He is there and He will never allow anything finally harmful to take place. Nothing can happen to you but what He allows, I do not care what it may be, some great disappointment, perhaps, or it may be an illness, it may be a tragedy of some sort, I do not know what it is, but you can be certain of this, that God permits that thing to happen to you because it is ultimately for your good. `Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness’ (Hebrews 12:11).

That is the way faith works. But you and I have to exercise it. It does not come into operation automatically. You have to focus your faith on to events and say: `All right, but I know this about God, and because that is true I am going to apply it to this situation. This, therefore, cannot be what I think it is, it must have some other explanation’. And you end by seeing that it is God’s gracious purpose for you, and having applied your faith, you then hold on. You just refuse to be moved. The enemy will come and attack you, the water will seem to be pouring into the boat, but you say: `It is all right, let the worst come to the worst’. You stand on your faith. You say to yourself: `I believe this, I am resting on this, I am certain of this and though I do not understand what is happening to me I am holding on to this!’

That brings me to my final word, which is my third principle –the value of even the weakest or smallest faith. We have looked at the trial of faith, we have looked at the nature of faith, let me say a closing word on the value of even the weakest and smallest faith. However poor and small and however incomplete the faith of these disciples was on this occasion, they at any rate had a sufficient amount of faith to make them do the right thing in the end. They went to Him. Having been agitated and distressed and alarmed and exhausted, they went to Him. They still had some kind of feeling that He could do something about it, and so they woke Him and said: `Master, are you not going to do something about it?’ That is very poor faith you may say, very weak faith, but it is faith, thank God. And even faith `like a grain of mustard seed’ is valuable because it takes us to Him. And when you do go to Him this is what you will find. He will be disappointed with you and He will not conceal that. He will rebuke you, He will say: `Why did you not reason it out, why did you not apply your faith, why do you appear agitated before that worldly person, why do you behave as if you were not a Christian at all, why didn’t you apply your faith as you should have done? I would have been so pleased if I could have watched you standing like a man in the midst of the hurricane or stormy why didn’t you?’ He will let us know that He is disappointed in us and He will rebuke us; but, blessed be His Name, He will nevertheless still receive us. He does not drive us away. He did not drive these disciples away, He received them and He will receive us. Yes, and He will not only receive us, He will bless us and He will give us peace. `He rebuked the wind and the sea and there was a great calm.’ He produced the condition they were so anxious to enjoy, in spite of their lack of faith. Such is the gracious Lord that you and I believe in and follow. Though He is disappointed in us often and though He rebukes us, He will never neglect us; He will receive us, He will bless us, He will give us peace, indeed He will do for us what He did for these men.

With this peace He gave them a still greater conception of Himself than they had had before. They marveled, and were full of amazement at His wonderful power. He, as it were, threw that into the bargain on top of all the blessings. If you find yourself in this position of trial and trouble and testing, take it as a wonderful opportunity of proving your faith, of showing your faith, of manifesting your faith and bringing glory to His great and Holy Name. But if you should fail to do that, if you should apparently be too weak to apply your faith, if you are being so besieged and attacked by the devil and by hell and by the world, well, then, I say, just fly to Him at once and He will receive you and will bless you, He will give you deliverance, He will give you peace. But remember always that faith is an activity, it is something that has to be applied. `Where is your faith?’ Let us make certain that it is always at the place and at the point of need and of testing.

The Article/Sermon above was adapted from Chapter 10 in the Classic book of Sermons by Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and Cure. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965.

 About the Preacher:

Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) [hereafter – DMLJ] was a British evangelical born and brought up within Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, he is most noted for his pastorate and expository preaching career at Westminster Chapel in London.

In addition to his work at Westminster Chapel, he published books and spoke at conferences and, at one point, presided over the Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Students (now known as UCCF). Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations in Wales and England.

DMLJ’s most popular writings are collections of his sermons edited for publication, as typified by his multi-volume series’ on Acts, Romans, Ephesians, 1 John, and Philippians. My favorite writings are his expositions on the Sermon on the Mount; Revival; Joy Unspeakable; Spiritual Depression; and his recently revised 40th Anniversary edition of Preaching and Preachers.

Born in Wales, Lloyd-Jones was schooled in London. He then entered medical training at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital, better known simply as Bart’s. Bart’s carried the same prestige in the medical community that Oxford did in the intellectual community. Martyn’s career was medicine. He succeeded in his exams so young that he had to wait to take his MD, by which time he was already chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Horder, one of the best and most famous doctors of the day. By the age of 26 he also had his MRCP (Member of the Royal College of Physicians).

Although he had considered himself a Christian, the young doctor was soundly converted in 1926. He gave up his medical career in 1927 and returned to Wales to preach and pastor his first church in Sandfields, Aberavon.

In 1935, Lloyd-Jones preached to an assembly at Albert Hall. One of the listeners was 72-year-old Dr. Campbell Morgan, pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. When he heard Martyn Lloyd-Jones, he wanted to have him as his colleague and successor in 1938. But it was not so easy, for there was also a proposal that he be appointed Principal of the Theological College at Bala; and the call of Wales and of training a new generation of ministers for Wales was strong. In the end, however, the call from Westminster Chapel prevailed and the Lloyd-Jones family finally committed to London in April 1939.

After the war, under Lloyd-Jones preaching, the congregation at Westminster Chapel grew quickly. In 1947 the balconies were opened and from 1948 until 1968 when he retired, the congregation averaged perhaps 1500 on Sunday mornings and 2000 on Sunday nights.

In his 68th year, he underwent a major medical operation. Although he fully recovered, he decided to retire from Westminster Chapel. Even in retirement, however, Lloyd-Jones worked as a pastor of pastors an itinerant speaker and evangelist. “The Doctor”, as he became known, was one of the major figureheads of British evangelicalism and his books and published sermons continue to be appreciated by many within the United Kingdom and beyond. DMLJ believed that the greatest need of the church was revival.


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What Books Have Influenced Christian Leaders?

What we read affects us deeply, with long-term results. What books have influenced you the most? The following are the responses given to a survey of Christian leaders, sent out by R. Kent Hughes (*note that many of these leaders have entered into the presence of God).

 Specific questions asked on the survey were:

(1) What are the five books, secular or sacred, which have influenced you the most?

(2) Of the spiritual/sacred books which have influenced you, which is your favorite?

(3) What is your favorite novel?

(4) What is your favorite biography?


(1) Charles Sheldon, In His Steps; H. B. Wright, The Will of God and a Man’s Life Work; H. J. Carnell, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics; William Manchester, American Caesar; Garth Lean, God’s Politician.

(2) H.J. Carnell, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics.

(3) Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.

(4) William Manchester, American Caesar


(1) The Bible; Calvin’s Institutes; J. I. Packer, Knowing God; J. O. Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion; S. E. Morison, History of the U.S. Navy in World War Two.

(2) After the Bible, Calvin’s Institutes.

(3) Dostoyevski, Crime and Punishment and Ernest Gordon, Through the Valley of the Kwai.

(4) Pollock, Hudson Taylor.


(1) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.); B. B. Warfield, Inspiration and Authority of the Bible; T. M. Lindsay, History of the Reformation (2 vols.); John Stott, Basic Christianity; Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans (10 vols.- most recently issued in 4 vols.).

(2) Calvin’s Institutes.

(3) Ernest Hemingway, Over the River and into the Trees.

(4) Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield (2 vols).


(1) C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

(2) Calvin’s Institutes.

(3) J. Oliver Buswell, A Systematic Theology of Christian Religion.

(4) John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress.

(5) Sidney Greidanus, Sola Scriptura.


(1) Charles Colson, Loving God; Werner Jaegei Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture (3 vols.); Sir Robert Anderson, The Silence of God; David J. Hassel, City of Wisdom; Nathan Hatch, The Democritization of American Christianity.

(2) Charles Colson, Loving God.

(3) Mary Stewart’s novels: The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment (favorite).

(4) Charles Colson, Born Again.


(1 & 2) C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; St. Augustine, Confessions; Armando Valladares, Against All Hope; Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago; Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square; Donald Bloesch, Crumbling Foundations; Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship; St. Augustine, The City of God; Jonathan Edwards, Treatise on Religious Affections; R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture; William Wilberforce, Real Christianity; Jacques Ellul, The Political Illusion and The Presence of the Kingdom; J. I. Packer, Knowing God; Paul Johnson, Modern Times; John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress.

(3) John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress.

(4) St. Augustine, Confessions


Rather than select several books which exceed all others in their impact on my life, I prefer to commend the authors whose collection of writings are most highly prized. This is easier because the best writers require several books to state their cases and leave their mark. First, I admire the memory of Dr. Francis Schaeffer and the anthology he left to us. Second, I have great appreciation for the writings of Chuck Colson. His best book, I believe, is Loving God. His life is a demonstration of its theme.


(1) Besides the Bible, which I would, of course, rank #1, E. M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer; George Muller, A Life of Trust; G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy; Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism.

(2) Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

(3) C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce.

(4) Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter.


(1) Romano Guardini, The Lord; George MacDonald, Salted with Fire; Amy Carmichael, Toward Jerusalem; Janet Erskine Stuart, Life and Letters; Evelyn Underhill, The Mystery of Charity.

(2) Impossible to say.

(3) Sigrid Undeset, Kristin Lavransdatter.

(4) St. Augustine, Confessions.


The Bible; Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?; J. I. Packer, Knowing God; James Stockdale, A Vietnam Experience, Ten Years of Reflection; Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life.

(2) Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

(3) Herman Wouk’s series, Winds of War and Remembrance.

(4) The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.


(1) C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

(2) Adler Mortimer, How to Read a Book.

(3) Calvin’s Institutes.

(4) Lewis Sperry Chafer, He That Is Spiritual.

(5) A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.


The Bible; James Orr, The Christian View of God and the World; John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (this is all Dr. Henry provided).


(1) John Stott, The Baptism and Fulness of the Holy Spirit; Earle Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries; Alexander Whyte, Bible Characters; Carolina Maria de Jesus, Child of the Dark; Dwight Eisenhower Crusade in Europe.

(2) Earle Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries.

(3) Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

(4) Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty.


(1) Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer.

(2) Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live?

(3) Charles Colson, Born Again.

(4) Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty.

(5) Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor.


(1) St. Augustine, The City of God; John Calvin, Institutes; Jonathan Edwards, The Distinguishing Marks of a Revival of the Spirit of God; James Orr, The Christian View of God and the World; Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

(2) St. Augustine, The City of God.

(3) Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

(4) Carl E H. Henry, The Confessions of a Theologian.


(1) Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom; John Bright, The Kingdom of God; Alan Paton, Too Late the Phalarope; Carl Sandburg, Lincoln; C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; Fyodor Dostoyevski, Crime and Punishment.

(2) Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom.

(3) Alan Paton, Too Late the Phalarope.

(4) Carl Sandburg, Lincoln; see also Lee, Jefferson, Sadat, Wesley, Judson, Truman, Churchill.


(1) Clarence Hall, Portrait of a Prophet: The Life of Samuel Logan Brengle; Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret; The Standard Sermons of John Wesley; Yehekel Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel; A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.

(2) The Standard Sermons of John Wesley.

(3) Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

(4) Clara H. Stuart, Latimer, Apostle to the English.


(1) John Calvin, Institutes; Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church; Matthew Henry, Commentary; Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and Its Cure.

(2) Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

(3) None.

(4) Hudson Taylor, Spiritual Secrets.


 (Most influential authors rather than most influential books)

(1) C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce; Mere Christianity; God in the Dock.

(2) A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.

(3) J. I. Packer, Knowing God.

(4) St. Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine).

(5) Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching.


C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce; C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain; C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; Charles Sheldon, In His Steps; Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor.

Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor.

Fyodor Dostoyevski, Brothers Karamazov.

Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor.


(1) Romans, John, Luke, 2 Timothy; C. S. Lewis, Miracles; Warfield, Inspiration and Authority of Scripture; Johnstone, Operation World; Pollock, Course of Time.

(2) Pollock, Course of Time.

(3) C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces; Tolkien, Lord of the Rings; many of Shakespeare’s plays.

(4) Robert McQuilkin, Always in Triumph.


(1) Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines; Bill Moyers, World of Ideas II; Virginia Stem Owens, If You Do Love Old Men; Larsen, Passions; Williams, Islam.

(2) Jean Pierre de Causade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment or Mother Teresa’s Life in the Spirit.

(3) War and Peace, Anna Karenina, anything by Dickens, Dostoyevski, Tolkien.

(4) Troyat’s Tolstoy or Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra.


(1) C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; C. S. Lewis, Perelandra; Paul Tourniet, The Meaning of Persons; Helmut Thielicke, The Waiting Father; Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ; Oswald Chambers books.

(2) C. S. Lewis, Perelandra.

(3) Fyodor Dostoyevski, Brothers Karamazov.

(4) William Manchester, The Last Lion.


(1) Alvin Toffler, Future Shock; Carl Henry, God, Revelation and Authority; Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ; A. J. Gordon, The Ministry of the Spirit; John Stott, The Cross of Christ.

(2) Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor in the Early Years: The Growth of a Soul.

(3) Lloyd Douglas, The Robe and Lew Wallace, Ben Hur.

(4) Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor in the Early Years: The Growth of a Soul.


(1) John Calvin, Institutes; John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress; Goold, John Owen Works (Vols. 3, 6, 7); Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor; Luther, Bondage of the Will.

(2) John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress.

(3) Fyodor Dostoyevski, The Brothers Karamazov.

(4) Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield (2 vols.).


(1) F. W. Krummacher, The Suffering Savior.

(2) Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren.

(3) Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore.

(4) Roland Bainton, Here I Stand.

(5) Francis Schaeffer, Escape from Reason.


(1) Karl Barth, Epistle to the Romans; Fyodor Dostoyevski, The Idiot; Charles Williams, Descent of the Dove; Herman Melville, Moby Dick; George Herbert, Country Parson and the Temple.

(2) Karl Barth, Epistle to the Romans.

(3) Fyodor Dostoyevski, The Brothers Karamazov.

(4) Meriol Trevor, 2 volumes on Newman: The Pillar of the Cloud and Light in Winter.


(1) C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

(2) C. S. Lewis, Surprised by joy.

(3) Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?

(4) Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker.

(5) Peter Drucker, Managing for Results and Managing for the Future.


W. H. Griffith Thomas, Christianity Is Christ; C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God; Dr. and Mrs. Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret; D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and Its Cure.


(1) Richard C. Halverson, Christian Maturity; H. Grady Davis, Design for Preaching; S. I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action; Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative; C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

(2) James Stuart, Heralds of God.

(3) Olov Hartman, Holy Masquerade.

(4) Stockford Brooks, Life and Letters of E W Robertson.


(1) Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will; M. Luther, Bondage of the Will; J. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion; James Collins, God and Modern Philosophy; William Simon, A Time for Truth; Ben Hogan, Power Golf.

(2) Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will because of its theological insight and its literary style.

(3) H. Melville, Moby Dick.

(4) W. Manchester, American Caesar.


John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress; A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God; J. I. Packer, Knowing God; Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor; J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership; Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students; Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts?


(1) The Bible; A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God; A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy; Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty; Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline.

(2) A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy.

(3) Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.

(4) William Manchester, The Last Lion.


(1) A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God; Jill Morgan, Campbell Morgan, A Man and the Word; Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ; Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Phillips Brooks, Yale Lectures on Preaching.

(2) Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ.

(3) Herman Melville, Moby Dick.

(4) Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson.


C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (10)

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (8)

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (6)

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (5)

Fyodor Dostoyevski, Brothers Karamazov (5)

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (5)

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress (5)

Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty (4)

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (3)

Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (3)

C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (3)

J.I. Packer, Knowing God (3)

Charles Sheldon, In His Steps (2)

James Orr, The Christian View of God and the World (2)

William Manchester, American Caesar (2)

William Manchester, The Last Lion (2)

The Article/Listing of favorite books above was adapted from “Appendix C” in R. Kent Hughes. Disciplines of a Godly Man. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001, p. 241.


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10 Wise Reminders on Preaching From Some Of The Best Preachers Of The Last 200 Years

Here are ten reminders for those who preach and teach the Word of God … as confirmed by some of history’s greatest preachers.

1. Effective ministry consists not of fads or gimicks, but of faithfully preaching the truth.

Charles Spurgeon: Ah, my dear friends, we want nothing in these times for revival in the world but the simple preaching of the gospel. This is the great battering ram that shall dash down the bulwarks of iniquity. This is the great light that shall scatter the darkness. We need not that men should be adopting new schemes and new plans. We are glad of the agencies and assistances which are continually arising; but after all, the true Jerusalem blade, the sword that can cut to the piercing asunder of the joints and marrow, is preaching the Word of God. We must never neglect it, never despise it. The age in which the pulpit it despised, will be an age in which gospel truth will cease to be honored. . . . God forbid that we should begin to depreciate preaching. Let us still honor it; let us look to it as God’s ordained instrumentality, and we shall yet see in the world a repetition of great wonders wrought by the preaching in the name of Jesus Christ.

Source: Charles Spurgeon, “Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power,” Sermon (Nov. 25, 1860).

2. Preaching is a far more serious task than most preachers realize.

Richard Baxter: And for myself, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unprofitable course of life, so, the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every sermon I preach; when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me, and that men’s salvation or damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble lest God should judge me as a slighter of His truths and the souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty of their blood. Me thinks we should not speak a word to men in matters of such consequence without tears, or the greatest earnestness that possibly we can; were not we too much guilty of the sin which we reprove, it would be so.

Source: Richard Baxter, “The Need for Personal Revival.” Cited from Historical Collections Relating to Remarkable Periods of the Success of the Gospel, ed. John Gillies (Kelso: John Rutherfurd, 1845), 147.

3. Faithfulness in the pulpit begins with the pursuit of personal holiness.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne: Take heed to thyself. Your own soul is your first and greatest care. You know a sound body alone can work with power; much more a healthy soul. Keep a clear conscience through the blood of the Lamb. Keep up close communion with God. Study likeness to Him in all things. Read the Bible for your own growth first, then for your people. Expound much; it is through the truth that souls are to be sanctified, not through essays upon the truth.

Source: Robert Murray M’Cheyne, letter dated March 22, 1839, to Rev W.C. Burns, who had been named to take M’Cheyne’s pulpit during the latter’s trip to Palestine. Andrew Bonar, ed, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Banner of Truth, 1966), 273-74.

4. Powerful preaching flows from powerful prayer.

E. M. Bounds: The real sermon is made in the closet. The man – God’s man – is made in the closet. His life and his profoundest convictions were born in his secret communion with God. The burdened and tearful agony of his spirit, his weightiest and sweetest messages were got when alone with God. Prayer makes the man; prayer makes the preacher; prayer makes the pastor. . . . Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to project God’s cause in this world.

Source: E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer. From chapter 1, “Men of Prayer Needed.”

5. Passionate preaching starts with one’s passion for Christ

Phillip Brooks: Nothing but fire kindles fire. To know in one’s whole nature what it is to live by Christ; to be His, not our own; to be so occupied with gratitude for what He did for us and for what He continually is to us that His will and His glory shall be the sole desires of our life . . . that is the first necessity of the preacher.

Source: Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, originally published in 1877. Republished in 1989 by Kregel under the title The Joy of Preaching. As cited in “The Priority of Prayer in Preaching” by James Rosscup, The Masters Seminary Journal, Spring 1991.

6. The preacher is a herald, not an innovator.

R. L. Dabney: The preacher is a herald; his work is heralding the King’s message. . . . Now the herald does not invent his message; he merely transmits and explains it. It is not his to criticize its wisdom or fitness; this belongs to his sovereign alone. On the one hand, . . . he is an intelligent medium of communication with the king’s enemies; he has brains as well as a tongue; and he is expected so to deliver and explain his master’s mind, that the other party shall receive not only the mechanical sounds, but the true meaning of the message. On the other hand, it wholly transcends his office to presume to correct the tenor of the propositions he conveys, by either additions or change. . . . The preacher’s business is to take what is given him in the Scriptures, as it is given to him, and to endeavor to imprint it on the souls of men. All else is God’s work.

Source: R.L. Dabney, Evangelical Eloquence: A Course of Lectures on Preaching (Banner of Truth, 1999; originally published as Sacred Rhetoric, 1870), 36-37.

7. The faithful preacher stays focused on what matters.

G. Campbell Morgan: Nothing is more needed among preachers today than that we should have the courage to shake ourselves free from the thousand and one trivialities in which we are asked to waste our time and strength, and resolutely return to the apostolic ideal which made necessary the office of the diaconate. [We must resolve that] “we will continue steadfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the Word.”

Source: G. Campbell Morgan, This Was His Faith: The Expository Letters of G. Campbell Morgan, edited by Jill Morgan (Fleming Revell, Westwood, NJ), 1952.

8. The preacher’s task is to make the text come alive for his hearers.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: As preachers we must not forget this. We are not merely imparters of information. We should tell our people to read certain books themselves and get the information there. The business of preaching is to make such knowledge live. The same applies to lecturers in Colleges. The tragedy is that many lecturers simply dictate notes and the wretched students take them down. That is not the business of a lecturer or a professor. The students can read the books for themselves; the business of the professor is to put that on fire, to enthuse, to stimulate, to enliven. And that is the primary business of preaching. Let us take this to heart. … What we need above everything else today is moving, passionate, powerful preaching. It must be ‘warm’ and it must be ‘earnest’.

Source: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Jonathan Edwards and the Crucial Importance of Revival.” Lecture delivered at the Puritan and Westminster Conference (1976).

9. The preacher is to be Christ-exalting, not self-promoting.

R. B. Kuiper: The minister must always remember that the dignity of his office adheres not in his person but in his office itself. He is not at all important, but his office is extremely important. Therefore he should take his work most seriously without taking himself seriously. He should preach the Word in season and out of season in forgetfulness of self. He should ever have an eye single to the glory of Christ, whom he preaches, and count himself out. It should be his constant aim that Christ, whom he represents, may increase while he himself decreases. Remembering that minister means nothing but servant, he should humbly, yet passionately, serve the Lord Christ and His church.

Source: R.B. Kuiper, The Glorious Body of Christ (Banner of Truth, 1966), 140-42.

10. Faithful preaching requires great personal discipline and sacrifice.

Arthur W. Pink: The great work of the pulpit is to press the authoritative claims of the Creator and Judge of all the earth—to show how short we have come of meeting God’s just requirements, to announce His imperative demand of repentance. . . . It requires a “workman” and not a lazy man—a student and not a slothful one—who studies to “show himself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 9:15) and not one who seeks the applause and the shekels of men.

Source: A. W. Pink, “Preaching False and True,” Online Source.

These 10 reminders were compiled by Nathan Busenitz on his website June 7, 2012:


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