The Welsh minister, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), served at Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years, and he is considered by some to be the greatest preacher of the 20th century.
Here are seven good (in my opinion, but you be the judge) reasons to read MLJ…
- ML-J was a godly man. One of the advantages of reading authors who are already dead is that you don’t have to worry about them getting embroiled in some scandal. You already know whether they finished well or not. Lloyd-Jones was a faithful husband, a good father, and an exemplary minister for over 30 years. The man lived what he taught.
- ML-J was an expository preacher. In other words, Lloyd-Jones did not primarily get up in the pulpit in order to share his opinions about life. He opened up the Bible and unfolded its words so that the listener could understand the meaning and application of God’s Word. So, when you read Lloyd-Jones, you are not simply getting the ideas of a very smart man, you are receiving a faithful explanation and proclamation of the very words of Almighty God.
- ML-J is a compelling writer. Lloyd-Jones was primarily a preacher, and many of his books are simply published transcripts of his sermons. Here are a couple of things you need to know about the writing of Martyn Lloyd-Jones: He is theologically sound and biblically faithful. The primary aim of his preaching and teaching is to exalt Jesus Christ. He is thoughtful, insightful, and compassionate about the human condition. His writing is weighty (dealing with eternal things), while also being clear and compelling.
- ML-J is a time-tested author. Many people choose to read a book based on its title, but if you can’t judge a book by its cover, then you could end up wasting a lot of time and money. A better way to choose is to find a good author and then read his or her books. Lloyd-Jones died 41 years ago, but many of his books are still in print. That tells us that his writing has stood the test of time.
- ML-J has written some excellent books. Two of Lloyd-Jones’ books stand out to me for their unusual excellency. The first is his 14-volume series through the book of Romans (that is NOT a typo!) If you were to pick up any of these volumes, you would soon discover a rare combination of rich theology and devotional writing. The second is my favorite: Spiritual Depression. In this book, Lloyd-Jones considers various things that can prevent a Christian from being happy in God. This book has 18 chapters, including chapters on regrets, fear of the future, weary in well-doing, and that one sin. I have found it to be helpful, personally, on a number of occasions, and useful when talking with other Christians.
- ML-J’s writings help you encounter God. Lloyd-Jones’ preaching ministry was actually a second career for him. He started out as a medical doctor, and his medical training carried over into his preaching and contributed to his extraordinary insight into the human condition. He had a wonderful, God-given ability to properly diagnose the human condition, and prescribe, from the Bible, the appropriate spiritual remedies. You cannot read him very long without saying or thinking, “God is speaking to me!”
- ML-J’s life and preaching are accessible. If you would like to get a sample of Lloyd-Jones’ preaching before you pick up one of his books, you can visit the MLJ Trust site and choose from over 1,600 audio sermons. The sound quality is not always good, but you can quickly get a feel for him. And if you would like to learn more about the man and his ministry, look no further than the excellent (almost 2 hours long!) documentary, Logic on Fire.