Saturday, December 29, 2007

Book Review: Preaching & Preachers

Do you ever wonder what preachers talk about when they get together? Like most people, they talk about the weather, their wife and kids, and recent developments in the sporting world. But if a man is a preacher, he wants to talk about preaching with other preachers. If a man is a preacher, he is overwhelmed by the enormity of his calling. He feels a great need to learn from other preachers, especially the great preachers in Jesus' church. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a great preacher in the mid-20th century. His pulpit was at Westminster Chapel in London. And this book is a collection of his 1971 lectures to seminary students at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. It's a classic.

Lloyd-Jones and I don't agree on everything. For instance, I've just finished publishing a newsletter for my church and in it I outline my sermon schedule for the next 2-3 months. Lloyd-Jones would NEVER do such a thing. Read the book to find out why. He's an interesting combination of anti-legalism and passionate dogmatism on secondary preaching issues like this one.

But Lloyd-Jones and I do agree on nearly everything else related to preaching.
Lloyd-Jones is a champion of biblical exposition. He deplores pulpiteering and our modern emphasis on oratorical methods. Lloyd-Jones repeatedly reminds his hearers/readers that the real spiritual results of the preaching ministry are not usually immediately evident. The primacy of preaching is central in his theology of the church. I would have loved to hear D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preach.

This book reads like a collection of preaching lectures, which is exactly what it is. Chapters/lectures on the preacher, the congregation, the sermon, the act of preaching, illustrations, humour (note the British spelling) and preparation are extremely helpful even today. Books like this are also of great help to church members who want to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of the ministry of preaching in their church.

If any preachers are reading this far I would like to know if you've ever read or heard D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and what you think of him.

If any of my church members are reading this far I would love to loan you this preaching text or any of a number of others I have in my library. Just ask!

1 comment:

Scott said...

Scott, you can indeed hear "the Doctor" preach via mp3 (try
http://www.mlj-usa.com/
http://www.misterrichardson.com/mljaudio.html
or search archive sites such as www.sermonindex.net or www.sermonaudio.com).

I'm not a preacher myself, but I know of MLJ's influence as a preacher and his legacy of standing firmly for orthodoxy at a time when liberalism was ascendant. So I greatly respect him. Nevertheless, after listening to several of his messages, I have to admit that I wouldn't seek more of them; not my style perhaps.