As so much has been written about Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, with much of it already available online, we thought it best to share just one excerpt on the influence of Lloyd-Jones’ ministry as well as a ten minute video clip on his life. See Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recording Trust for much more on Dr. Lloyd-Jones.
The following is how Pastor John Piper, of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, begins a biograhical talk on the impact of Lloyd-Jones’ life.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones The Preacher
In July, 1959 Martyn Lloyd-Jones and his wife Bethan were on vacation in Wales. They attended a little chapel for a Sunday morning prayer meeting and Lloyd-Jones asked them, “Would you like me to give a word this morning?” The people hesitated because it was his vacation and they didn’t want to presume on his energy. but his wife said, “Let him, preaching is his life” (see note 1). It was a true statement. In the preface to his powerful book, Preaching and Preachers, he said, “Preaching has been my life’s work … to me the work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called.
Many called him the last of the Calvinistic Methodist preachers because he combined Calvin’s love for truth and sound reformed doctrine with the fire and passion of the eighteenth-century Methodist revival. For thirty years he preached from the pulpit at Westminster Chapel in London. Usually that meant three different sermons each weekend, Friday evening, and Sunday morning and evening. At the end of his career he remarked, “I can say quite honestly that I would not cross the road to listen to myself preaching”.
But that was not the way others felt. When J. I. Packer was a 22-year-old student he heard Lloyd-Jones preach each Sunday evening during the school year of 1948-1949. He said that he had “never heard such preaching.” It came to him “with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man” he had known.
Many of us have felt this shock even through the written form of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons. I recall very distinctly hearing George Verwer say at Urbana ’67 that Lloyd-Jones’ two volumes on the Sermon on the Mount were the greatest thing he had ever read. I bought the books and read them in the summer of 1968 between college and seminary. The impact was unforgettable. Not since I was a little boy sitting under the preaching of my father, had I been so moved by what J. I. Packer called “the greatness and weight of spiritual issues”. This was the effect he has had, and continues to have on thousands. By some he was called simply the “greatest preacher this century”.