June 06, 2024

Augustus Nicodemus Lopes on Lloyd-Jones’ Preachers and Preaching

Stephen Nichols & Augustus Nicodemus Lopes
Augustus Nicodemus Lopes on Lloyd-Jones’ Preachers and Preaching

Known as “the Doctor,” Martyn Lloyd-Jones used medical precision in explaining the text of Scripture and applying it to the soul. Today, Augustus Nicodemus Lopes and Stephen Nichols discuss the lasting influence of Lloyd-Jones’ preaching.


Dr. Stephen Nichols: Well, welcome to another episode of Open Book. Last week, we were talking about Spurgeon, and once again, we are in the city of London, but we’re in the twentieth century, and we’re with a Welshman. So, this is Lloyd-Jones, and we’re on the subject once again of preachers and preaching, and that’s the title of your seventh book: Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers.

Now, before we get into this, this book actually grew out of lectures that Lloyd-Jones gave, not in England, but at a seminary where you and I both share as our alma mater, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Dr. Augustus Nicodemus Lopes: That’s right, that’s true. This is how the book was published. I mean, it was the collection of his lectures there.

Nichols: So, tell us about this book. How did you come into contact with it?

Lopes: Now I have to move to a different time of my life. This time I was in South Africa to do my master’s degree at Potchefstroom University, which at the time was under the supervision of the Dutch Reformed Church, which was very Reformed and biblical at the time.

When I got there to do my master’s in New Testament, I met a Korean called Kim Doo-Young, and he was doing a doctoral dissertation on Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ preaching. I’d never heard the name of the man; I didn’t know Martyn Lloyd-Jones. So, I was interested, and then he gave me the book and said, “Just read this book,” and I was amazed.

After I read Preaching and Preachers from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I went to the bookstore in Johannesburg, and I bought all his commentaries on Ephesians, Romans, and all the books I could find. I was so impressed with the man—two things.

First, his ability to speak, to teach. By the way, I was listening to some tapes of his preachings as well the Korean gave me, and after that I acquired, I bought them, and I was impressed by the way he could speak. His voice was not so impressive, but as you heard him, he was like an airplane that’s taken off—you know, first picks up speed, and then he takes off. He was like this in the beginning of the sermons. I would say, “He’s taking too long, he’s taking too long.” But then all of a sudden you understand why he did that.

First the way he preached, and second, the passion he had for revival in England. He almost mentioned in about everything he wrote. He prayed for revival. He wanted revival. He preached about revival, and he never saw a revival, actually, in England. He died without seeing that.

And so, I did have a difference with him about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He would identify the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second experience a Christian would have, but not like the charismatic movement. He would say that was related to certainty, to assurance. God would give you assurance through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that didn’t mean speaking in tongues and anything. But then that would mean that you would have power and encouragement to go ahead and preach the gospel and so on. I cannot follow him on that because I do think baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs by the time of conversion. It’s an initiatory experience with God. It doesn’t mean you don’t have any experiences later with God like being filled by the Holy Spirit, but you don’t call them baptism. This is difference I have.

But other than that, he’s thoroughly Reformed in his theology, applied theology. He was able to get just one verse of the Bible and just unpack it. And I said: “Woah, where does it come from? All that stuff.” And he was not even a professional theologian. He was a medical doctor.

Nichols: Trained as a medical doctor.

Lopes: Yeah.

Nichols: Right. “The Doctor,” they called him.

Lopes: “The Doctor.”

Nichols: Yeah, and you know, I think those who knew him said he had that precision of a surgeon that he would apply to the text and to the soul and was very precise in his preaching and in his development of his theology.

Lopes: Yeah. So, Preaching and Preachers was the first book I read, and I was amazed about what he said about preaching, and I think it was then that I decided that expository preaching was the way I should go. And after that, after reading that book, I could not do otherwise.

Nichols: You were convinced.

Lopes: Convinced.

Nichols: It’s the best way to stay biblically faithful—is to actually stay in the text.

Lopes: Yeah.

Nichols: You know, I’ve heard stories of Lloyd-Jones preaching in Westminster Chapel, of course, through the bombing of Britain. And there’d be stories where a bomb would hit nearby, and it would shake the church itself, and dust would fall down from the rafters—plaster dust—all over Lloyd-Jones, and he’d just keep preaching, And his secretary would come up and brush off the dust and brush the dust off the pulpit. And he never missed a beat; he just preached all the way through it.

Lopes: All the way through, yeah. And once somebody just gave me a picture of one of his, how to say . . .

Nichols: The manuscript?

Lopes: The manuscript, it was not much. It would just be a piece of paper where he just put the main points and just followed it. It’s amazing.

Nichols: God has gifted certain individuals, I guess, is what we can draw from that. Well, I love this. This is a little story of the global church because we have a Korean giving a Brazilian a book by a Welshman in South Africa.

Lopes: Who preached in England.

Nichols: That’s right—a Welshman who was preaching in England. So, we love it how God brings every tribe and tongue and nation together to sing His praises. Well, that is “the Doctor,” Lloyd-Jones, and his book, Preachers and Preaching.

And we’ll pick up the story with you. So, you did your study at seminary, at Brazil, Recife.

Lopes: Yeah.

Nichols: You did the degree in South Africa at the Reformed University.

Lopes: The South African university, yeah, Reformed University.

Nichols: You also studied at Kampen in the Netherlands.

Lopes: Kampen was for the doctoral studies. I started at Westminster.

Nichols: Yes, in Philadelphia.

Lopes: In Philadelphia. And as you remember, they have this requirement that you have to take two disciplines in another seminary. So, I decided to take them in Kampen.

Nichols: Oh, good choice.

Lopes: So, my wife was Dutch. My father-in-law, Dutch, knew people who knew people, and that made it easier to go there.

Nichols: Now, let me ask you a question.

Lopes: Go.

Nichols: You studied with Dr. Gaffin at Westminster Seminary.

Lopes: I did.

Nichols: Was the fact that you were married to a Dutch woman—did that help you with Dr. Gaffin?

Lopes: Well, my wife was too busy taking care of our four kids, so she didn’t really much—didn’t have time to . . .

Nichols: I just remember Dr. Gaffin would always say, you know, “If you’re not Dutch, you’re not worth much.” So maybe at least being married to one can count for something.

Lopes: Yes. I guess Dr. Gaffin was pretty much in love with Dutch Reformed theology, the theologians, right?

Nichols: I’ve met quite a few people who are Dutch, and they’re very much in love with the Dutch Reformed theologians. Well, I want to thank you for this time of not talking about a Dutchman, but talking about a Welshman.

Lopes: Yes.

Nichols: And grateful for this time with you to discuss this book.

Lopes: Thank you.

Nichols: Thanks so much. We’ll see you next week on Open Book.

I’m Steve Nichols, and that was another episode of Open Book. Open Book is a podcast about the power of books and the people they’ve shaped. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, consider checking out my other podcast, 5 Minutes in Church History, which you can find in your favorite podcast app or at 5minutesinchurchhistory.com. That’s the number 5minutesinchurchhistory.com. Please join us next week, as we’ll be back in the library for another episode of Open Book.