Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

 faintdisI don’t really do reviews, but I wanted to review an excellent documentary I watched recently, Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Martyn Lloyd-Jones passed away before I was born, so I never had the chance to meet him on this side of glory. However, I have been listening to his sermons at for several years at MLJ Trust, and I have come to see him as something of a spiritual father. What I love about Martyn Lloyd-Jones is that he doesn’t fit neatly into a box. On one hand, he was a Calvinist through and through and known as a serious expository preacher. On the other hand, he was a revivalist who believed that the ministry of God’s Word ought to be accompanied by demonstrations of the Spirit and power. According to some in the Reformed camp, the charismatic gifts have ceased and no serious, biblical preacher can believe in their continuation beyond the apostolic age. According to some in the Charismatic/Pentecostal camp, anyone outside their revival tents is the “frozen chosen,” boring and dry. Martyn Lloyd-Jones did not dance to either sectarian tune. If he could be classified, perhaps he might be considered the last of the Puritans (as Paul Washer has said), since the Puritans strove to apply the Bible to every area of their lives. The Puritans were far from perfect, but at their best they were simultaneously earnest students of the Scriptures and open to the miraculous works of God in their midst.

What is preaching? Logic on fire! Eloquent reason! Are these contradictions? Of course they are not. Reason concerning this Truth ought to be mightily eloquent, as you see it in the case of the Apostle Paul and others. It is theology on fire. And a theology which does not take fire, I maintain, is a defective theology; or at least the man’s understanding of it is defective. Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this. I say again that a man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.
What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence. – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,Preaching and Preachers

The spirit of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ ministry is embodied in the title Logic on Fire. The documentary portrays young Martyn Lloyd-Jones as someone typical of his time. Although he was raised in church, he was at best a nominal Christian going through the motions of Welsh Calvinistic Methodist churches. By Lloyd-Jones’ time the fire had been smothered. It was assumed that everyone in Wales and England was a Christian, and this was reflected in the preaching. There was no true gospel preaching–no conviction of sin, no call for repentance, no urgent calls to follow Christ as Lord. Instead, the preaching tended to be moralistic and sentimental (much like the preaching in typical American evangelical churches today). As a young medical student, Lloyd-Jones observed the inner despair of the rationalistic, often atheistic, star physicians he had looked up to. He also began to see that, although he could help people physically with medicine, the sicknesses of the soul were untouched. He began to realize that he himself was not really a Christian. When he embraced Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth, he was so radically changed that he decided to leave medicine and become an ordained minister. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was baptized in the Spirit and fire, and his preaching kindled a fire in Wales and England.

One of the highlights of Logic on Fire is that it portrays Martyn Lloyd-Jones as a flesh and blood human being. As you might expect, a good portion of the documentary is testimony of various ministers and family reminiscing on how godly a man Dr. Lloyd-Jones was, how he was a man of prayer, how he reformed the churches he pastored, how his preaching was soaked in the presence of God. Books and films about Christian leaders of the past often portray their subjects idealistically, as if they were nearly as good and great as Jesus Himself! Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ living daughters and grandchildren share stories of a man who hated to have his picture taken, watched wrestling (rooting for the bad guy!), and consumed large quantities of Cadbury chocolate.

I suppose if I were an actual movie reviewer, I would give Logic on Fire a thumbs up, or five stars, or whatever. In its portrayal of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ life and ministry, we see that sound theology and the demonstrable power of God, expositional preaching and a sense of God’s presence, logic and fire, can–and should–go together.

~ Jared Abbott

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2 thoughts on “Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

  1. I’ll admit I’ve never heard of Martyn Lloyd-Jones before today… but I’m glad I have now! Thanks for the blog Jared.. you’ve broadened my scope of spiritual influence… I’ll definitely look into his life and work.

  2. Wonderful blog, Jared! I’ve seen MLJ’s name in reading other works, but never delved into his own personal testimony and walk. Your blog makes me even more curious about him! 🙂

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