Monday, September 03, 2007
The Quotes of Dr Lloyd-Jones they DIDN'T want you to find!!
I was amazed last night in re-reading through Volume 8 of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones monumental series in Romans. The classic mistake to try and establish what Dr Lloyd-Jones thought and taught on the Holy Spirit is to try and go to texts such as the book of Acts. However a great bulk of his glorious teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit is to be find in Romans 8:15;
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry "Abba, Father!".
In writing about this text, Dr Lloyd-Jones takes several sermons to establish the direct connection between the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and assurance of salvation. He begins by establishing the Puritan argument that assurance of salvation is not something that occurs automatically with conversion. If it was, then why do so many Christians experience severe doubts about their salvation? He then establishes his belief that the main effect of the Baptism or Sealing with the Holy Spirit is to bring the most wonderful assurance of salvation possible. Here are a selection of key quotes that outline his most wonderful teaching on this;
1. The Baptism of the Spirit is Essentially Experiential!
Dr Lloyd-Jones writing and preaching makes it wonderfully clear that as Pentecostal/Charismatics we should not be ashamed to underline the vibrant, awesome experiential nature of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was challenged by Bryn Jones' editorial in the September/October 1976 Restoration Magazine. He wrote;
"We dedicate this issue of Restoration to contribute to the stirring of our faith for a noisy, emotional, powerful, corporate, Christ-honouring baptism with the Holy Spirit for God's people. Just as it should be".
Dr Lloyd-Jones would not have any problem with this. He wrote;
"Let us realize then the profound character of the experience. This is not light and superficial and ordinary. It is not something of which you can say "Don't worry about your feelings". Worry about your feelings? You will have such a depth of feeling that for a moment you will imagine that you have never felt anything in your life before. It is the profoundest experience that a man can ever know".
The profoundest experience that a man can ever know! Dr Lloyd-Jones also argued that this awesome experience can come outside of the Word of God. The quote is here. And again he emphasises:
"The whole object of the Sealing of the Spirit is to give us certainity about our inheritance. It is an earnest, a foretaste of good things to come. It is essentially experimental".
It seems to me that the main factor in arguing against the vibrancy of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is fear. Fear of excess. Fear of Pentecostalism. Fear of moving out of the confines of the Word of God. Fear has been something that I have been familiar with again and again in my church upbringing. I have heard it preached from the pulpit that above all things we must beware of heresy! We must be orthodox! Dr Lloyd-Jones was aware of these arguments yet he had no sympathy with holding back because of fear.
"To refuse anything that is offered in the Word of God because you are afraid of certain possible consequences is a most grievious sin and it will undoubtedly receive the punishment it deserves. The way to face this problem is not to turn your back upon it; it is to be clear as to the difference between the true and the false. Because there is the real danger of false experiences, you must not shut out all experiences".
He goes on to argue that such teachers and preachers who are characterised by fear need only look at the Word of God - that is our standard!
"Why should any be guilty of such a traversty? I have already given the explanation. It is their fear of excesses. To put it quite bluntly they are so afraid of Pentecostalism that they are driven to such exegesis and I suggest that they are thereby guilty of "quenching the Holy Spirit". Non-experimental! Look at the 2nd chapter of Acts!".
Ironically much of my growing up was characterised not only by such fear but also a respect for Dr Lloyd-Jones. Only I never heard these quotes! This isn't something optional according to Dr Lloyd-Jones. This is a matter of refusing and ignoring something that the Word of God makes plain for us! How do we compare to the experiences within the Word of God?
"Every Christian should always be seeking the best and the highest. We should never be content with anything less than what is described as possible to the Christian in the New Testament".
Dr Lloyd-Jones wrote again in his sermon on Romans 12;
"One of the greatest dangers it always seems to me is to interpret the Scriptures in light of our experience instead of testing our experience by the teaching of Scripture".
It seems ironic that one of the greatest accusations against Pentecostal/Charismatics is that we ignore the Word of God for experience. Yet on the contrary the majority of Pentecostal/Charismatic teaching on the Baptism of the Spirit seems to take the Word of God more seriously than those who neglect experience for fear of excess.
3. Our Witness to the World is at Stake!
I was deeply appreciative of Dr Lloyd-Jones emphasis that what is at stake is the Church's mission to the world. Christians who are lacking in assurance, lacking in joy unspeakable and full of glory, devoid of power are not - in short - very good witnesses to the world. He wrote;
"Seek a knowledge of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seek Him! Say that you want to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings! Desire knowledge of God and of Christ in this intimate manner and the knowledge of His love "shed abroad in your hearts". That is what we are to seek! Seek to be holy, seek God's glory! Do not merely desire a comfortable experience but say to yourself "apart from this I can never be a true witness. I cannot witness truly for Him anymore than these disciples could before the Day of Pentecost ... say to yourself "Is it conceivable that I can be a witness without that power and is not it's absence perhaps the reason why I am such a poor witness?". Seek His glory - not your own!".
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones could never be accused of being a classic Pentecostal/Charismatic teacher who fits the typical stereotype. He was a preacher who took the Word of God extremely seriously as well as taking the history of the church seriously. I was blessed beyond words to find he included quote after quote from theologians, writers, preachers down through the age who taught similiarly to him. Let us allow these quotes to fuel us and inspire us. To come to the risen and ascended Lord Jesus and ask Him for this experience of power - this encounter with the risen Lord - is highly Biblical! It is every Christians rightful inheritance and the "promise is for you"!