“Logic on Fire” – David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (affectionately called “the Doctor” by those close to him), was a Welsh Protestant /Reformed minister and preacher of the gospel.  He was the minister of the Westminster Chapel in London for almost 30 years.  He lived from 20 December 1899 to 1 March 1981.  Before he became a preacher, he practiced medicine for some years until the Lord pressed it on his heart to leave the medical profession and become a minister of the gospel.

He was without a doubt one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century.  He distinguished himself as an expository preacher of true biblical doctrine.  There was also a “fire” and great passion about his preaching which was very unique and distinct.  Dr. J.I. Packer, a distinguished theologian himself, is often quoted as having said that he had “never heard such preaching.”  Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ preaching came to him “with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man.”  And of course, that “one” listener was Dr. Packer himself.

In his book, Preaching & Preachers, Dr. Lloyd-Jones defines preaching at “logic on fire”

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 (p. 97).

O, how we need such preaching in our day!  “The Doctor” illustrates what he means by this.  He writes in the same book:

Let me put this again in the form of a story, an anecdote.  There was an old preacher whom I knew very well in Wales.  He was a very able old man and a good theologian; but, I am sorry to say, he had a tendency to cynicism.  But he was a very acute critic.  On one occasion he was present at a synod in the final session of which two men were preaching.  Both these men were professors of theology.  The first man preached, and when he had finished this old preacher, this old critic turned to his neighbour and said, ‘Light without heat.’  Then the second professor preached – he was an older man and somewhat emotional.  When he had finished the old cynic turned to his neighbour and said, ‘Heat without light.’  Now he was right in both cases.  But the important point is that both preachers were defective.  You must have light and heat, sermon plus preaching.  Light without heat never affects anybody; heat without light is of no permanent value.  It may have a passing temporary effect but it does not really help your people and build them up and really deal with them (p. 97).

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I hope to talk about what “The Doctor” calls “the chief end of preaching.”  But for now, I will let you meet “The Doctor” yourself: