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Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the Holy Spirit

Mark Driscoll » Dead Guys Church History

Known affectionately as “the Doctor” because of his medical career prior to preaching, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981) is considered by many to be the preeminent British preacher of the twentieth century. He began working at the famed Westminster Chapel in London the day after World War II broke out. That same year he became president of InterVarsity Europe. Lloyd-Jones was famed for his exposition of the Scriptures as he preached different messages on Friday nights, Sunday mornings, and Sunday evenings for upwards of an hour each, often taking many months to work through even short chapters of the Bible.

Joy in the Holy Spirit

Lloyd-Jones retired from preaching at Westminster in 1968 following a major operation. He said that he believed God stopped him from continuing to preach through Romans because he did not personally know enough about “joy in the Holy Spirit,” which was the text of his forthcoming sermon from Romans 14:17. Lloyd-Jones is widely admired by Christians from a number of networks, denominations, and traditions. In my own experience this would include Tim Keller, Terry Virgo, and J. I. Packer, all of whom have spoken of their great appreciation for the work of Lloyd-Jones and his influence on their ministry.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Many charismatic Calvinists love Lloyd-Jones because he taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a distinct work of the Holy Spirit separate from regeneration. Furthermore, it is reported that he had his own baptism in the Spirit in 1949, which some have called “the moment when the Charismatic Movement in Britain was born.” Not surprisingly, Lloyd-Jones also opposed the cessationistic teaching that some of the gifts of the Spirit have ceased in our age. He critiqued Calvinists such as B. B. Warfield for quenching the Spirit. Lloyd-Jones was very much led by the Holy Spirit in his preaching, as evidenced by the fact that he would often wander from his planned talks as the Spirit led and the length of his messages varied greatly. He also preached on television a time or two but refused to do it ever again because he felt the time constraints might also quench the freedom of the Spirit.

For Further Study

For those wanting to study more about Lloyd-Jones, Iain Murray’s two-volume biography is a good place to start. For preachers, Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching and Preachers is a must-read. In addition, if you want to hear him preach, you can. For example, I am listening to his sermons on 1 and 2 Peter from 1959 and taking advantage of a free podcast of his sermons here. Today, the confluence of a love for Calvinism and the Holy Spirit is found in a growing movement thanks in large part to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and his other works. God is also using men such as my friend C. J. Mahaney for the purpose of blending the best of what is Calvinistic and Charismatic so that the mind is engaged and the passions are ignited for the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


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