Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MLJ 'preached liberation theology' shocker

News is breaking that Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a famous 20thC Calvinistic preacher in the UK, known to readers of this blog, has been shown to be a preacher of liberation theology. An amateur church historian, currently working at Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS), claims Lloyd-Jones has been misunderstood for the last fifty years.

'I've been reading through some sermons that MLJ published under the title Spiritual Depression,' said David Shedden, a student coming to the end of a one year course in theology at PTS. 'I couldn't believe what I was reading near the end of the book. I'd always taken MLJ to be radically conservative in everyway.'

Shedden refers to MLJ's sermon, Learning to be Content, a sermon on Phil4:10-12. The sermon series was written for publication in the early 1960s. The following extended quote is at the heart of Shedden's thesis that perhaps MLJ was more radical than we tend to assume:

'It is characteristic of this particular generation in which we live to find a tendency on the part of large numbers of people to feel that the Christian gospel has been a hindrance to the forward march of mankind, that it has been a drag on progress, that it has been nothing but "the dope of the people". They say that it (Godliness with contentment is great gain, 1Tim6:6, cf Matt6:34) is a doctrine which has taught people to put up with all kinds of conditions whatever they may be, and however disgraceful and unjust. There has been a violent political reaction against the gospel of Jesus Christ because people have so misinterpreted this kind of text as to put it in this way:

"The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate, God made them, high or lowly, And order'd their estate"

Now that is just rubbish and a blank denial of what the apostle teaches here... "The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate". Were men meant to be like that and to stay like that for ever? The Bible never teaches that; it does not say than man should be content to remain in poverty, that he should never endeavour to 'better' himself. There is nothing in the Bible that disputes the proposition that all men are equal in the sight of God and that all are entitled to equality of opportunity.'

p 279, Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1965.

8 comments:

Jurgen Moltmann said...

I was under the impression that David Sheddon was a world renowned theologian, indeed I was recently asked to assess his impact on my own theological programme, yet this report describes him as "an amateur church historian". Does he study church history in the mind gaps between theological discourses?

Roving Scotch reporter, Princeton, NJ said...

Jurgen, long time no blog! What you up to at the moment? I've had to re-read some of your stuff recently, and I'm still not convinced that you've quite understood the eschatological implications of the gospel, especially with respect to the millennial joy that creation anticipates in all its groaning. Shedden sees himself as a generalist. He often bemoans the way in which theology, church history, and biblical studies have been torn asunder from each other. He works under a paradigm of Christological wholeness - like the apostle Paul, who tried to bring all things under Christ, starting with discipleship, worship, and mission. In other words, Shedden is a dabbler.

Jurgen said...

Oh you know, usual suffering God, cosmic spirt stuff...Take your point on the millennial joy thingy, but what about our care of earthly kingdom in the here and now?

Shedden the generalist eh? I like your "Paradigm of Christological Wholeness" proposition in respect of dabbling - a sort of of 'jack of all trades' for the post-emerging generation of the street pastor no doubt?

Jonathan said...

Power to the People

arlene airhead said...

I hear that the Shed likes intellectual chicks. What I say is a gal doesn’t need intellect when she has a cute butt and a pretty face.

My heart is open …come on in, honey,

Anonymous said...

Shed
I can only assume you are making these comments up yourself!CG

Jurgen Moltmann said...

What a terrible suggestion... I made my comments up all by myself...I am a world renowned theologian afterall. (Mind you I suspect he could be making up the "cyberstalker" ones...)

charlescameron said...

David,
You may be interested in some articles - 21 of them - I've posted on Christianity and Marxism. They're on my Word Press blog. They're all listed under the topic "Marxism". They run from 5th to 23rd April.
I hope you find them interesting.
Enjoy the remainder of your time in USA.
Best Wishes for your time at Partick.
Charlie