As we have already seen in our previous editorial on this subject, the Free Presbyterian Magazine (May, 1987) marshals considerable evidence to prove that Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones had strong pentecostalist leanings. In this installment we will cite more such evidence from the same magazine.
First of all, the article cites the Foreword to Lloyd-Jones’s Joy Unspeakable, written by the Rev. Peter Lewis, as follows:
“The past 20 years have seen the widespread growth of two radical and potentially mighty movements in Great Britain. These are the reformed movement with its stress on doctrine, expository preaching and total loyalty to scripture; and the charismatic movement with its stress on the Holy Spirit’s Baptism and Gifts, its strong sense of personal guidance and its bold inventiveness in worship.
“The weaknesses of the reformed churches have often been their traditionalism, their lack of evangelism and their contentment with sound doctrine sincerely approved. The weaknesses of the charismatics have tended to be their self indulgent and sometimes uncritical enjoyment of experience, their lack of interest in doctrine and their naivety in church polity.
“Both of these groupings have known considerable blessing in recent years, but both may well expect an element of divine rebuke to enter their life if they do not now begin to learn from one another.”
The Free Presbyterian Magazine then continues as follows:
“At the British Evangelical Council Meeting in Carlisle in November 1980, Lewis delivered a paper in which he advanced the idea of pulpit exchanges between non-ecumenical charismatics (in the Assemblies of God and Elim Churches) and Reformed Ministers, such that the pentecostalists would preach in Reformed pulpits and ‘vice-versa’. This procedure would according to Mr. Lewis modify ‘the Reformed peoples’ timid and drab conservatism in worship’.”
The article then continues as follows:
“When Dr. Lloyd-Jones died Lewis wrote an appreciation of him in the Evangelical Times that gives the following staggering information with respect to Lewis’ B.E.C. paper. Mr. Lewis tells us that it was Dr. Lloyd-Jones who had driven him to a fresh and strenuous study of the whole Reformed/Charismatic issue. It was also to Dr. Lloyd-Jones that he went in the summer of 1980 full of excitement with his paper that he intended to deliver at the B.E.C. conference. After showing Lloyd-Jones the paper calling for a new ‘rapprochement’ between Reformed and Charismatic, Lewis tells us Lloyd-Jones gave him more than encouragement, he positively glowed. ‘But,’ said Lewis, ‘is there nothing that you disagree with or disapprove of?’ ‘Nothing at all,’ replied Dr. Lloyd-Jones emphatically, ‘I am with you 100 per cent without reservation.’ Mr. Lewis then adds, ‘he followed up his encouragement with constant and fervent prayer. ‘I am praying for this every single day—and it is a burden from the Holy Spirit’.”
In rebuttal against the Rev. Iain Murray’s assessment of Dr. Lloyd-Jones as being misunderstood the article states the following:
“. . . Dr. Lloyd-Jones was a highly intelligent and articulate man and he does not need Mr. Murray as his expositor. During his lifetime Dr. Lloyd-Jones knew quite well that his name as being linked with Charismatic Theology, and if he wished, he could have easily distinguished his position from that of the Charismatic Movement with its pretensions to tongue speaking.
“The plain fact is, that whilst he vigorously condemned nonexperiential Calvinism as dead orthodoxy, there is no condemnation of the central tenets of the Charismatic position.
“A. Wesley Richards, a Pentecostal pastor, in a tribute to Dr. Lloyd-Jones after his death confirms this assessment. He writes, ‘Some classical Pentecostal leaders, who had recently returned from a high level dialogue in Rome, were in London. Would the Doctor care to meet them? Indeed he would. And so we gathered for a two hour discussion that was, to all of us, a revelation about this famous standard-bearer of evangelicalism.
“What the Doctor did not know about the Catholic Charismatic: scene was, it soon transpired, not really worth knowing. He had followed its development with great interest and diligent study and was as keen as his brethren not to quench anything that was genuinely of the Holy Spirit. But he said he was concerned that subjective experience should not precede objective truth.
“That was all very well, one of the dialogue team replied forthrightly, but evangelicals, especially those among whom the Doctor was prominent, had in their fierce stand for truth been guilty of regularly quenching the spirit among people who may have needed instructing, but who were at least hungry for God. The pentecostals had bitter experience of this, now it was the turn of Catholics, it seemed.
“The Doctor listened patiently, but would not be smeared with an anti-charismatic brush. He had always dissociated himself from such extremism. He wanted no part of it, he said. Indeed no-one had spoken more consistently than he to stress the need for a movement of the Holy Spirit today. But he insisted everything must be decided by scripture. He welcomed ‘truth on fire’, wherever it might be.
“The Doctor’s advocacy left his ‘critic’ demolished, but much impressed. ‘You are one of us’ he told the Doctor warmly.”
The Free Presbyterian Magazine comments: “Hence at the very heart of the renewed interest in Calvinism in England and Wales was a teacher with a distinct Pentecostal type theology that embraced both a second blessing concept, and belief in the continuance of the miraculous Charismatic Gifts.”
The article cites from the December, 1986 issue ofEvangelicals Now one more significant incident. It is from a footnote following a review of biography of two Pentecostal Evangelists, George and Stephen Jeffreys. The quotation is as follows:
“George Jeffreys . . . at a later stage asked him (i.e. Dr. Lloyd- Jones) if he would consider being the Dean of his Bible College. “The two men met again before Jeffreys’ death in the early 1950s. (A note explains that the reference to Jeffreys’ death in the early 1950s is incorrect, and that he died in January, 1962. HCH) Jeffreys, with a remnant of his revival party, turned up at Westminster Chapel on Whit Sunday morning. The doctor preached from Acts 2 on the Baptism of the Spirit. Later they talked together and Jeffreys was approving of the doctor’s ministry. ‘I always told you, you were one of us,’ quipped Jeffreys. ‘But I don’t believe that speaking in tongues is an essential element of Spirit Baptism,’ remarked Lloyd- Jones. ‘Neither do I,’ retorted Jeffreys.”
It seems quite clear, therefore, from all the evidence that the late Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s sympathies lay with pentecostalism.
There is one more remark that should be made in this connection. It is this, that this bit of history also underscores the danger of independentism in church government. Dr. Lloyd- Jones was, and his Westminster Chapel is, independent as far as church government is concerned. In the nature of the case, therefore, there were no “checks and balances” as far as the teaching and preaching of the doctor were concerned. Also in the nature of the case, it was Dr. Lloyd-Jones who, as the leading figure in Westminster Chapel, set the tone as far as the doctrinal stance of Westminster was concerned. If there was any opposition to his pentecostalism there—and I have no knowledge that there was—there was no court of appeal. Independentism is an ecclesiastical dead-end street. True, presbyterial church government does not furnish an absoluteguarantee against doctrinal deviation; there is no such absolute guarantee. But it at least furnishes a safe-guard.