Watching Giants Collide

26 06 2007

I love the preaching and written ministry of Dr D.M. Lloyd-Jones. Likewise with Dr John Piper. Both men epitomise a love and desire for God’s glory and majesty which is refreshing, infectious, and inspiring. Both men demonstrate a concern for fresh outpourings of God’s grace by the Holy Spirit on His people. Both men are ruthlessly exegetical and expository in their style of ministry – demonstrating a commitment to allowing God’s Word to speak for itself.

It comes as something of shock, then, when one finds the views of such men in collision. I am referring to an article which I have just listened to, and which can be read here, in which John Piper outlines a character sketch of the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and ultimately treats him with a fairly heavy hand. The title of the article is ‘A Passion for Christ-Exalting Power’ and Piper’s main concern is to outline Lloyd-Jones position on the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit. He finds much in the life of the late Welshman that is commendable, and seems to resonate with Lloyd-Jones’ position on pneumatology (which many of a Reformed persuasion struggle with), drawing quotes from some of the volumes not published by Banner of Truth, such as ‘Revival’ and ‘Joy Unspeakable’. Piper’s problem with Lloyd-Jones, however, is that he doesn’t seem to go far enough in his view of the gifts, and the energy which should be expended by the Christian in pursuing them. Ultimately he writes Lloyd-Jones off as something of a bookworm who couldn’t relate to people, and who wouldn’t risk his reputation to follow his convictions. Piper opens this character sketch by recommending Iain H. Murray’s two volume biography, but in referencing it seems to treat in a fairly derisory way.

My difficulty with Piper’s approach is not necessarily his advocacy of charismatic teaching (although I do struggle with his statements on this issue) but with his poorly nuanced view of Lloyd-Jones. No time is given to exploring the latter’s struggle against the onset of ecumenism or other issues threatening the evangelicalism of his day, and little is done to try to place Lloyd-Jones’ views within the broader context of Puritanism and church history. In essence Lloyd-Jones’ life is used as a springboard for teaching on pneumatology, and as far as he agrees with Piper’s position he is commended, where his views diverge he is condemned. This comes across as unfair, and not a little sloppy in terms of research – which is surprising given Piper’s normal brilliance in putting together biographical sketches. This lack of rigour is even demonstrated in simple things such as Piper’s repeatedly wrong assertion that Lloyd-Jones founded the Banner of Truth Trust (although it is doubtful that the Trust would have so flourished without the foundational influence and financial assistance he afforded to Murray and Cullum).

This doesn’t in any way affect my good opinion of John Piper – it just seems a shame to see such giants in collision. If anyone else has read/listened to this sketch, or has strong feelings about Lloyd-Jones’ take on the work of the Holy Spirit, I’d love to hear from you.


Men for Ministry Blog Update

22 06 2007

Speaking of interviews, I’ve just posted a question and answer session with Mark Dever over at the other blog I run on behalf of Men for Ministry. I trust you’ll enjoy it…

Interview with the Exiled Preacher

22 06 2007

The Exiled Preacher, Guy Davies, has recently interviewed me for his blog. You can read my rambling responses to his questions here.

Losing our Young Men

18 06 2007

The headlines begger belief and break hearts – a growing number of young men here in County Armagh are taking their own lives. Over the weekend rumours of a suicide pact and further deaths led to something approaching hysteria in the Tandragee and Laurelvale areas, with parents deeply concerned for the welfare of their children and teenagers. The idea that the internet is being used to make and maintain contact between those considering ending their lives adds a chilling element which the technological age has provided.

In reading this blog today, could I ask you to take a moment to pray for the communities of County Armagh, the young people of Craigavon High School (where these individuals studied), and the families of these young people who have been left behind with only pain and questions. Please pray that God will move in the midst of these circumstances, and turn hearts away from meaningless self-destruction and towards a loving Creator who has given His only Son to save us.

Also, if any readers have recommendations on good evangelical books which deal with this issue, I would really value hearing about them either in the comments or via email.

If you are a young person (or older person for that matter) who is struggling with the meaning and purpose of life, and would value being able to listen to something which will show why you are here, how deeply God loves you, and why He is worth trusting, then please send me an email via the address in the sidebar. I will send you a free copy of John Piper’s message ‘Don’t Waste Your life’ by first class post within the UK.

Any e-mail correspondence will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

A Diamond in the Rough

15 06 2007

I hate the X-Factor/Grease is the Word/Any Dream Will Do or any other show that revolves around that kind of format. But for some reason this is pure magic…

Free Jonathan Edwards Audio

14 06 2007

The nice people over at Christian Audio are offering three of the best of Jonathan Edwards’ sermons on audio for free this month. To obtain the download simply click here and follow the instructions on screen, being careful to type in the promotional code JUN2007 at the checkout.

New Peru Website

9 06 2007

We’ve put together a new website to record our experiences in preparing and ultimately going to Peru. It’s a resource which we hope to update regularly, and can be found at:

Happy browsing!