Martyn Lloyd-Jones impacted countless Christians in his own day with his passionate preaching and a resolute commitment to the Bible as God’s Word. But the principles upon which he built his life and teaching remain as relevant today as they were during his lifetime. Written by his eldest grandson, this biography reveals the heart of Lloyd-Jones’s ministry and explores how the physician-turned-preacher integrated belief with practice, in the hope that his legacy will inspire a new generation of believers to boldly cherish and declare the great things of God.
About the Author
Christopher Catherwood (PhD, University of East Anglia) is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of both Churchill and St. Edmund's Colleges at Cambridge University. He was a fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in 2010 and medalist in 2014. Christopher lives in a village near Cambridge with his wife, Paulette.
This short book is written by the eldest grandson of the great British preacher Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who died in 1981. His goal with the book is to “introduce ‘The Doctor’ to a new generation of readers and to help those discovering wonderful biblical truths for the first time learn how to think scripturally for themselves as Christians”. He presents Lloyd-Jones “as a preacher in whom one could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit—what the Puritans called unction—and to show how the Doctor’s message is as relevant today as it was then.” He hopes to show how relevant Lloyd-Jones’ life and thinking are to evangelicals in the twenty-first century.
He begins the book by providing a brief biography of Lloyd-Jones, who was born in 1899. At the age of twenty-one, Lloyd-Jones was a doctor of medicine. He was also Chief Clinical Assistant to the Royal Physician to King George V, Lord Horder, the top diagnostic physician of the day. He married Bethan in 1927. At the age of twenty-six he gave up what would have been a very prominent medical career in London, to become a pastor, though he never attended a theological college or seminary. He served in Aberavon, a run-down part of South Wales, from 1927-1938. In 1938 G. Campbell Morgan asked Lloyd-Jones to become his joint minister at Westminster Chapel in London. When Morgan retired in 1943, Lloyd-Jones became sole minister of Westminster Chapel, remaining there until cancer forced his retirement in 1968. In 1950 he began what still remains one of his best-known sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, the book version of which (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount) I am reading now, and which had a profound impact on my wife’s spiritual growth thirty years ago.
Catherwood discusses controversies in Lloyd-Jones’ ministry, including a 1966 Evangelical Alliance meeting in London in which he made his views public on whether evangelicals should stay within doctrinally mixed denominations. This led to his permanent split with a young J. I. Packer, though he and John Stott would later reconcile.
Lloyd-Jones described himself as a “Bible Calvinist, not a system Calvinist.” One of the main points of Catherwood’s book is that you do not have to agree with Lloyd-Jones in terms of his conclusions (on baptism, the Lord’s Supper or eschatology, for example), but it is wise to employ his method, which is that all doctrine and practice should originate in Scripture.
Catherwood also discusses Lloyd-Jones global impact, including the United States, where his influence is perhaps greater now than when he was alive. He ends the book by stating “We do not need to follow the Doctor in all his practices, but his principles remain as relevant and as Bible-based and Christ-centered as always.” I say “Amen” to that.