Pleasure mania, spiritual poverty – M. Lloyd-Jones on our affluent society

Having commented on the biography of the great preacher, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I thought it fitting to follow-up today with a quote from him. It’s an observation on modern cultures, who, in their affluence, do not perceive their true spiritual need.

This ‘affluent society’ in which we are living [c. 1972, no less true today] is drugging people and making them feel that all is well with them. They have better wages, better houses, better cars, every gadget desireable in the home; life is satisfactory and all seems to be well; and because of that people have ceased to think and to face the real problems. They are content with this superficial ease and satisfaction, and that militates against a true and a radical understanding of their actual condition. And, of course, this is aggravated at the present time by many other agencies. There is the pleasure mania, and television and radio [cf: internet and social media] bringing their influence into the home. All these things persuade man that all is well; they give him temporary feelings of happiness; and so he assume that all is well and stops thinking. The result is that he does not realize his true position and then face it.

[from the first lecture in his classic, PREACHING AND PREACHERS]

He points this out to rally churches and preachers back to the preaching of the gospel, which alone can waken men from their spiritual stupor. As he goes on to state, The business of the Church, and the business of preaching — and she alone can do this — is to isolate the radical problems and to deal with them in a radical manner.

Amen.
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From Wales to Westminster, the story of Martyn Lloyd-Jones

A book review of Christopher Catherwood’s Martyn Lloyd-Jones: From Wales to Westminster (Kindle edition). Christian Focus Publications Ltd.

With the opening line, ‘Fire! Fire!’ this biography of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins introducing a youth audience to the famous preacher. Written by Lloyd-Jones’ oldest grandson, Christopher Catherwood, in a simple, homespun-story fashion, it contains lots of wonderful, personal anecdotes and some eye-witness accounts not found in the more substantial biographies of the Doctor done by others. It follows young Martyn from his family and school days in Wales, through his education and work experiences in London, marking the major turning points of his conversion, his marriage and his call to preach the gospel.

The language is clearly aimed at younger readers, and the length of the chapters is just right. Although the overall writing style (or perhaps the editing) is sometimes rough or repetitive, the story-line and pace definitely engage the reader making it hard to put down. You cannot help but sense the warm, personal touch of a grandson writing about his beloved “Dacu” throughout the book.

The book clearly shares the hand of the Lord in the life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and makes the need for all boys and girls to likewise come to know Jesus Christ as savior and Lord. There are several passages which not only describe Martyn’s spiritual life, but which directly address the reader about their spiritual needs.

My review is based on the newly released e-reader edition which I read on my Kindle [NB: this was provided free in exchange for posting my review of the book]. I had first read this little book when I gave a printed copy to my own children years ago. Perhaps the formatting made me a bit more critical in this second read through? I love books and reading them in print, but have come to enjoy using my Kindle for reading history, biographies and the like. With many young readers gravitating to e-reading, the availability of this book, and the whole series, to these formats is most welcome news!

Additional material is included at the end of the book about the writings of Lloyd-Jones, as well as some brief subject driven comments under the title Thinking Further Topics.

Christian Focus Publications publishes books for adults and children under its four main imprints: Christian Focus, Christian Heritage, CF4K and Mentor. Their books clearly reflect that God’s word is reliable and Jesus is the way to know him, and live for ever with him. Their TRAILBLAZER SERIES, also includes books on Gladys Aylward, Corrie ten Boom, Bill Bright, Adoniram Judson, Amy Carmichael, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, Isobel Kuhn, C.S. Lewis, and George Müller.

Their web page is: http://www.christianfocus.com
The Kindle edition is available from Amazon.

God’s great power!

Romans 1:1–4, Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…. [esv]

“Had you realized that the power that was necessary to make believers out of you and me is the same power that God used in bringing up His Son from the dead and in raising Him and seating Him at His right hand in glory? Many people seem to think that to believe the Gospel is easy and simple; that a man sits as a kind of judge of the truth. Someone comes and preaches the Gospel to him, and then after some considerations he decides whether he is going to believe it or not. He has the power to do either, they believe; and he just exercises this poiwer. But, says Paul, it takes the power that brought the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave to deal with that man and change him. Nothing less than that power must be exercised in a soul to enable it to believe and to be saved. Nothing less! The natural man is totally incapable of this, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, ‘…neither can he know (the things of the Spirit of God) for they are spiritually discerned’. Were it not that grace is irresistable, not one of us would ever have believed the gospel.”
~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Romans 5 Commentary

We think too much of ourselves…

…and not enough of our God!

Here is a great, heart-piercing excerpt from a sermon from Ephesians 1 by Martyn-Lloyd Jones published in God’s Ultimate Purpose (temporarily out of print):

The Bible is God’s book, it is a revelation of God, and our thinking must always start with God. Much of the trouble in the Church today is due to the fact that we are so subjective, so interested in ourselves, so egocentric. That is the peculiar error of this present century. Having forgotten God, and having become so interested in ourselves, we become miserable and wretched, and spend our time in ’shallows and in miseries.’

The message of the Bible from beginning to end is designed to bring us back to God, to humble us before God, and to enable us to see our true relationship to Him. And that is the great theme of this Epistle [Ephesians]… We must not start by examining ourselves and our needs microscopically; we must start with God, and forget ourselves. In this Epistle we are taken as it were by the hand by the Apostle and are told that we are going to be given a view of the glory and the majesty of God.

Wow. Seek the Lord while He may be found.
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