Posted On April 26, 2018

Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life: Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire (Theologians on the Christian Life) by Jason Meyer

by | Apr 26, 2018 | Theology, Featured

Tightrope walkers amaze me.  I marvel at the ability to concentrate and balance on such a small wire while certain death awaits the slightest mishap.  They must keep their center mass balanced perfectly over the wire and not lean too far in either direction. I once watched a documentary about a man who walked on a wire between the towers of the World Trade Center, and I was tense the whole time.

In his teaching on doctrine and life, Martyn Lloyd-Jones walked a tightrope that causes many to stumble. He balanced a high view of doctrine with a robust Christian life.  In Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life, Jason Meyer highlights this balance in Lloyd-Jones’s teaching: “The combustible combination of doctrinal precision and experiential power creates an explosion called the Christian life. No theologian explains the explosion better than Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The thesis of this book is that according to Lloyd-Jones, the Christian life is doctrine on fire” (21).

Doctrine and Life

Lloyd-Jones cautioned against two extremes: dry intellectualism and content-less emotionalism. Doctrine as mere intellectual exercise lacking vibrancy in one’s life was just as dangerous to Lloyd-Jones as emotionalism lacking truth.

For Lloyd-Jones, truth affects the whole person. Meyer summarizes the Doctor’s emphasis, “Doctrine should start in the head, catch fire in the heart, and create a life aflame with true obedience in the will” (22). Like many New Testament books, we are to start with doctrine before moving to application. For those who neglect doctrine, they “relegate themselves to a shallow and miserable life” (26).

Lloyd-Jones insists that our doctrine reveal itself in our life, otherwise, we’ve simply engaged in intellectual exercise. He argues, “The way to a rich subjective experience is, in the first instance, a clearer objective understanding of truth. People who neglect doctrine rarely have great experiences. The high road to experience is truth, and to concentrate on experience alone is generally to live a Christian life which is ‘bound in shallows and in miseries'” (26).

Meyer spends Part II of the book walking through Lloyd-Jones’s doctrine. He shows Lloyd-Jones’s unique ability to grapple with deep truths of God in a way a layperson can understand. The third part of the book is devoted to working out the doctrines of the Christian life. Lloyd-Jones was able to capture the practical nature of doctrine and disperse it to his people. For example, Meyer gives five ways Lloyd-Jones taught the impact of doctrine on prayer. He shows how our understanding of the atonement, the Trinity, adoption, etc. all feed our understanding and practice of prayer (140).

Lasting Influence

Meyer concludes that the influence of Lloyd-Jones continues to this day as the things he emphasized continue to shape the church. “His life was a rediscovery of expository preaching, the Puritans, and the Great Awakening, and the fire of the Holy Spirit. His rediscovery of these three things caused a reawakening of all three in our day” (220).

As one reads this book, it’s easy to see how Lloyd-Jones’s teaching is needed in our day. We need men who will exposit the word of God to their congregations in the power of the Holy Spirit. We continue to see the same extremes Lloyd-Jones saw. There are groups who downplay doctrine and turn Christianity into a sentimental, feel-good, empty religion. Thankfully, we’ve seen a correction and more emphasis on doctrine, but it has led some to the other extreme of being merely intellects with little experiential knowledge of God. As Lloyd-Jones warned, we cannot separate Word and Spirit. May we, like Lloyd-Jones, place a high priority on doctrine that is lived out in daily Christian living. This book encourages me to live that kind of balanced life.

If you’ve never studied the teaching of Lloyd-Jones, this book is a great place to start. If you’re looking for an interesting read that provides profound yet readable theology with a dash of biography mixed with practical application for the Christian life, then I’d highly recommend this work.

Related Posts

Christian Friendship and Doing Life With One Another

Christian Friendship and Doing Life With One Another

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the nature and purpose of Christian friendship and why real Christian friends tell each other hard biblical truths, comfort one another in love with Scripture, and do life with one another through every stage of...

Churches Need Expository Preaching

Churches Need Expository Preaching

Churches need pastors committed to expository preaching. An expository sermon submits its shape, emphasis, and argument to the Biblical text being preached. The point of the passage is the point of the sermon. A commitment to expository preaching exposes our...

The Death of a Spouse — Part II

The Death of a Spouse — Part II

Psalms 13:2 (NIV), “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” How much longer? How much longer? Four hundred fifty-eight days later, not only has my hatred of death not diminished even...

Personal Bible Reading and the Holy Spirit

Personal Bible Reading and the Holy Spirit

On today’s Warriors of Grace episode, Dave discusses three aspects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life of the Christian and the Holy Spirit and reading the Word of God. What You'll Hear On This Episode The Ministry of the Holy Spirit. Three Aspects of the Holy...

Longing for Home

Longing for Home

Psalm 26:8-12 NKJV, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells. 9 Do not gather my soul with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men, In whose hands is a sinister scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as...

Combatting the Dangerous Teachings of the “Prosperity” Gospel

Combatting the Dangerous Teachings of the “Prosperity” Gospel

On today’s Equipping You in Grace, Dave, and Sean DeMars discuss the core tenets and dangers of the prosperity gospel, biblical hermeneutics, the importance of Bible-believing and gospel-preaching local church, along with his book with Mike McKinley, Health, Wealth,...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share19
Tweet35
Email
Reddit
Share