June 29, 2016

The Doctor: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Part 1

Stephen Nichols
The Doctor: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Part 1


In this installment, we will begin to tell the story of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Now, before we begin, I need to make two notes of personal disclosure. The first is that the last two pastors I've had were significantly shaped and influenced by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The pastor I had in Lancaster, Pa., Pastor Michael Rogers at Westminster Presbyterian Church, had two pictures above his desk. One was of Jonathan Edwards and the other was of Lloyd-Jones. My current pastor, R.C. Sproul, heard Lloyd-Jones in Westminster Chapel in London, has read most if not all of Lloyd-Jones' works, and has been significantly influenced by Lloyd-Jones.

The second personal disclosure is that for a few years I was teaching a master of theology course at London Theological Seminary. One of the classrooms had the walls lined with beautiful bookshelves, which were filled with the personal library of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It was both inspiring and intimidating to teach a course on Jonathan Edwards while surrounded by the personal library of Lloyd-Jones. Now, on to the story.

Lloyd-Jones was born in Cardiff, Wales, on December 20, 1899. When he was fifteen, his family moved to London. He studied at London's prestigious St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and by the age of twenty-five, he had earned his M.D. and gained membership in the Royal College of Physicians. He excelled in medicine, but he sensed a far greater calling in an entirely different arena. He felt called to be a preacher. So in 1927, he, his wife Bethan, and their two children set off for pastoral ministry. He had learned a diagnostic approach as a doctor, and he applied that training and that precision to understanding the biblical text. He also learned one other thing at the same time he was sensing his call to pastoral ministry: he discovered the Puritans. And it was in reading the rich theological heritage of the Puritans that Lloyd-Jones received his training for the pastorate.

From 1927 to 1938, he pastored a church back in south Wales. In 1938, he moved back to London, and until 1943, he was at Westminster Chapel in London as copastor with G. Campbell Morgan. Morgan retired in 1943 and died two years later, just as World War II was coming to a close. And so, from 1943 until 1968, Lloyd-Jones held forth from the pulpit at Westminster Chapel in the heart of London.

There are really two aspects to Lloyd-Jones' legacy. One is the pulpit and the other has to do with books. And this life is too big for one installment, so we will return to the life of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and look at his legacy in the pulpit and his legacy in books.