Tuesday, June 29, 2010

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones On Reaching Postmoderns With Christ?

In August 1967 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached a powerful sermon at Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada. Update a few time-related references and this sermon could be preached next week—and be just as powerful and timely. This 55-minute sermon says so many good things that it's hard to outline!

The late Calvinistic Methodist (1899-1981) dismantled common fallacies of his day (and these fallacies are still with us). He challenged the notions of people of his day who believed that their age was different from previous ones so they had to be reached in a fundamentally new way. He curtly answered that the world is still just as lost as it ever was and is no different than when Paul preached to the pagans in the Roman Empire.

(I confess I find it rather smug for each succeeding generation to look at the previous ones and think they are more sophisticated, more educated and more complex than their elders and, hence, are more difficult to reach with the gospel. They forget one thing: it's humanly IMPOSSIBLE to reach anyone of any generation in any era controlled by any philosophical outlook, be it premodern, modern or postmodern. The gospel is the power of God who alone convicts sinners of their sin, without which no one would ever embrace the truth and so be saved. By each generation thinking they are harder to reach for Jesus than at earlier times just proves that they don't understand how difficult it really is. It is humanly impossible...always.)

He went—at length—into the importance of doctrine. One zinger that I love is when he pounded the pulpit twice and fired this salvo across the bow of Knox Presbyterian Church about apostolic preaching:
And may I say this in passing: you can't preach that in 20 minutes! I want to say this in the name of God—you Christian people have a great responsibility. You're in too much of a hurry to get home to your televisions. Give your preachers time! If they preach the gospel give them time! These mighty truths can't be declared in a few minutes. Let's look at them; let's glory in them! Let them speak to us! This is the apostolic message. And if you don't want to go on hearing about this I tell you in the name of God you're not a Christian—you've never been one!
The crowd audibly reacted to this exhortation. It registered!

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