Thursday, December 4, 2008

New: Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace by Iain Murray

When I arrived home after the Thanksgiving holiday I found a package awaiting me from The Banner of Truth Trust (Thank You!). I love receiving books, and was thrilled that this package had arrived safely. I'll comment on the second book I received in anther post. First, I would like to introduce to you the above mentioned title.

Iain H. Murray, Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace. Edinburgh: BOT, 2008. Jacketed Hardcover (cloth), xiv + 274 pages.

ISBN: 9780851519753

I feel comfortable recommending anything that has come from the pen of Iain Murray. He is a fantastic student of great preachers; and, when it comes to Lloyd-Jones, there is a special connection. Murray has already produced a magisterial two-volume biography of Lloyd-Jones (Vol. 1; Vol. 2), but this new volume does not duplicate that material. Rather, Murray's intent in this book is to interact with contemporary criticisms of Lloyd-Jones. Murray focuses on three major topics, namely, 1) the nature of true preaching, 2) the assurance of salvation, and 3) his supposed ecclesiastical divisiveness.

I have only just begun to read this volume, and I am thoroughly enjoying Murray's assessment. Lloyd-Jones was a firm believer in the importance of the local church, especially as the primary means of evangelism. Murray identifies this conviction as one of the six legacies Lloyd-Jones left to us. Murray writes,
He was, of course, sympathetic to every evangelistic endeavour that did not compromise any biblical truth; but he believed that the gospel preached in a worshipping church, and in a local setting, has an advantage over other situations. Here the preacher is not just one man addressing a crowd: he is part of a community of believers who are not onlookers; they are involved; they too are witnesses in whom the Holy Spirit is present. When this is a reality, the incomer is confronted by something that has no counterpart in the world - 'thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth' (1 Cor. 14:25). Something of eternity may be felt on such an occasion: 'Our coming together in public worship should be a foretaste of heaven.'1

Footnote 1: [D. M. Lloyd-Jones,] God's Ultimate Purpose, p. 308. When the church suits her services to the taste of the world, however well-intentioned the endeavour, the ultimate result will never be biblical Christianity. (pp. 15-16)

A few lines later, he writes,
From the New Testament times onwards, a vibrant, praying, witnessing church has always been the strongest authentication of the gospel. For ML-J mass evangelism without a recovery within churches was no solution. (p. 17)
This one is going on my "Recommended Christmas Book Purchase" list. In the meantime, I also highly recommend the following handful of articles by our resident Lloyd-Jones "expert," Tim Ashcraft: