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What Is an Evangelical? Paperback – January 1, 1993
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'Should be read by everyone who would lay claim to the name.' --EVANGELICAL REVIEW OF THELOGY
About the Author
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones was born in Cardiff and raised in Llangeitho, Ceredigion, Wales. After retiring from Westminster Chapel in 1968, due to illness, for the rest of his life the Doctor concentrated on editing his sermons for publication, counselling other ministers, answering letters and attending conferences.
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This small booklet appears innocuous, but contains three powerful messages that those in the Christian Church must listen to, take to heart and then take careful action on. He trumpets the warning "I want to try to show you that the situation today is such that we must not take the term `evangelical' for granted. We must rediscover its meaning. We must define it again. And we must be ready to fight for it and to defend it."
Dr. Lloyd-Jones' insists that the term Evangelical must undergo a constant scrutiny and, of necessity, a formal defining to ensure we are acting faithfully to what an evangelical must be. He asks, "Why is this necessary?" Then answers it by asserting that "the history of the church throughout the centuries shows very clearly that there is nothing static in the life of the church. There is always a process of change and of development, and unfortunately, as is true of nature, the process is generally one of degeneration." He points out that the position of most Protestant churches today are virtually the exact opposite of their position when they originally started. In short, these denominations went through a subtle hardening process and many of them are or have recently been in the throes of great debates in an attempt to determine what is really evangelical and what is not.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that the church today is, just as in the seventeenth century when men began a subtle attack on the authority of scripture through the system of Higher Criticism, under attack again. He notes that none of this is new, as scripture itself contains warnings to the church of this inevitable invasion (1 & 2 Peter and Jude). Therefore, Dr. Lloyd-Jones urgently calls the church to submit itself to a "Re-Examining of Our Name" of Evangelicals.
To as smaller degree, Dr. Lloyd-Jones' booklet mirrors what the great Charles H. Spurgeon saw happening to the church in the late 19th century and aggressively began to denounce what he called the "Down-Grade" movement. Most evangelicals of his era thought he was exaggerating the situation and being hypercritical. The church didn't heed Spurgeon's warnings then and it has suffered ever since. The stress on Spurgeon over his fierce denunciation of this Down-Grade movement led in part to his early death. Dr. Lloyd-Jones is sounding the same warning--is anyone listening?
Most of the three messages in What Is An Evangelical? cover a point-by-point defining of what Dr. Lloyd-Jones thinks is the "essential" beliefs and practices necessary to be called an evangelical. The latter portion covers what he calls important, but "non-essential" beliefs and practices of evangelicals. This refers to those beliefs and practices that may differ from other Christian groups and are not central specifically to the gospel and salvation.
Though Dr. Lloyd-Jones' booklet is only 91 pages long, it provides both a fascinating picture of why he was such an important and popular pastor, as well as containing a message for every Christian who embraces the name Evangelical Christian. Beware of impostors!
Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh Protestant Christian minister who was hugely influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Dr. Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations in Wales and England, which he saw as unbiblical. He disagreed with the broad church approach and encouraged evangelical Christians (particularly Anglicans) to leave their existing denominations, as he felt that true Christian fellowship could only take place in accordance with Holy Scripture.
If you have never read anything by Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, you have really missed out on his large volume of work that has contributed so much to Christendom. His style is both clear and very readable as it is direct and to the point. This booklet would be a very good starting point to discover one of the great pastors of the Christian church.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones is a Welshman who was one of the most popular preachers in London for many years, and has published many books of bible expositions, especially on Romans and Ephesians.
This book is a series of talks to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in 1971.
Lloyd-Jones begins with a talk on Jude 3 in which he points out the necessity of "earnestly contending for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints."
The Christian message, or evangel, he says, is worth fighting for! We must articulate this Christian faith, and also counteract heresy. This is why the early Christian creeds were created.
He argues that Christian unity is important, but points out that true Christians are united by Christ, but it is a union based on truth: the truth of God. We must work hard to understand it, and be faithful to it. We are not interested in unity for the sake of it, or to make us look good in the eyes of the world.
He says that there are four areas of importance for evangelicals:
The importance of
1. the preservation of the gospel
2. learning from history
3. maintaining negatives
4. allowing no subtractions from or additions to the gospel
Some evangelical priorities he lists include:
1. Submit yourself to the Bible.
2. Christian faith comes before denomination.
3. Be watchful to maintain purity of doctrine.
4. Keep reason and scholarship in their place.
They are useful tools, but must be subservient to Scripture.
5. Take a critical view of tradition and history.
6. Act on your beliefs.
7. Maintain unity on essentials, and allow liberty on non-essentials.
I think this book would be helpful to anyone who wants to know "what evangelicals are on about."
Overall what is described. An Evangelical is a true Biblical Christian that adheres to what the Bible has set forth as being a follower of Jesus Christ and truly be saved. Some of the criteria include submission to the authority of Scripture alone, salvation by grace through faith alone, hold to Biblical account of Creation, and belief in the Triune Godhead (The Trinity) just to name a few.
Read it and examine why and what Jones says.