Logic on Fire: The life and legacy of Dr Martyn-Lloyd Jones (DVD)

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Stephen L Smith

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I have said multiple times I have been greatly blessed by the ministry of Dr Lloyd-Jones so it is a privilege to review this DVD documentary. This package includes 3 DVD's, a souvenir book, and some postcard photos. I will focus on the 3 DVD's.

The First DVD contains the main documentary and some extra features. The main documentary is 1 hour 41 minutes long, and starts with MLJ reading 1 Cor 2:4-5. This was a good way to start the documentary as MLJ regarded this as one of the most needful passages for the church today. The documentary features the providence of God in him shifting to Llangeitho, Wales, in his childhood. Llangeitho was the home of the great Calvinistic Methodist preacher Daniel Rowland, whose own ministry had a big impact on MLJ. The providence of God is also seen in MLJ studying medicine at St Barts hospital. St Barts was one of the very best hospitals in England and MLJ proved himself to be a gifted pupil. He studied under one of the hospitals leading clinicians, Sir Thomas Horder. Horder trained his students so their minds would become "mental instruments of precision". He also gave MLJ a book on logic. In short, the providence of God was seen here because MLJ used these skills in diagnosis and logic in his sermons, his analysis of theological and social events in England, and also in his pastoral counselling.

Of course St Barts was not a training institution for preachers. It could be called a "monument to scientific humanism". But the Lord overruled so that it served as a valuable training institution for MLJ later ministry. In time he came to see the vanity of human greatness and that a longing heart could only be satisfied with Christ.

The documentary continues with his ministry at Sanfields (Port Talbot, Wales), and Westminster Chapel, London. Both churches showed tremendous growth during his ministry. Some of the growth could be described as genuine revival. The documentary concludes with his years of ministry post Westminster Chapel and death.

The extra features include an insightful discussion on MLJ's view of the Holy Spirit, his role in the Westminster Fellowship and the 1966 Controversy with John Stott. It is true that MLJ's view of the Holy Spirit has caused some controversy. The comments by Paul Washer and Iain Murray are especially helpful. MLJ view could be described in the words of John Knox "God gave his Holy Spirit to ordinary men in great abundance." These extra features are described as 'deleted scenes'. I found the choice of words a little unfortunate as the term deleted scenes implies they are less important. On the contrary these features give important insights into MLJ theology and ministry.

The Second DVD includes insightful video clips from MLJ's family including an extended interview with his two daughters. There is a background section with background on Daniel Rowland and Welsh Methodism, MLJ medical training, as well as his conversion by his biographer Iain Murray. There are sections on MLJ's powerful ministry at Sanfields and Westminster Chapel. It is clear the Holy Spirit worked in a mighty way in his preaching and general ministry. The final section concludes with MLJ's Legacy and Influence. Many esteemed pastors speak of MLJ influence on their ministries, and Iain Murray makes some insightful comments on writing MLJ biography. I have reviewed this biography here.

The Third DVD is from the 'Behold your God' series and features MLJ while discussing that if one has a correct view of God, one will avoid the lies of Pragmatism. While this is a very important truth, one that MLJ himself emphasised strongly, I found this DVD redundant because it is actually included in the Behold your God series. Instead I would have preferred some more video clips. The official "Logic on Fire" website mentions that over 35 hours of interview material was not included in the DVD series. It is my opinion that the third DVD would have been better served by using some of these interviews. You can see some of these here. The segments "John Snyder on Meeting Christians Converted Under Lloyd-Jones’ Ministry" and "Iain Hamilton on Lloyd-Jones and 1 Corinthians 2:4" are two fine examples of video segments that are highly relevant to understanding MLJ ministry.

A couple of other small critiques. Unfortunately the DVD series does not include a segment on the life of Mrs Lloyd-Jones. Yet Mrs Lloyd-Jones was a valuable 'help meet' to her husband. She said her job was to keep him in the pulpit. Another minor criticism is that when the DVD records MLJ preaching, the video camera scans the church building which is distracting. It would have been better to focus the camera on the pulpit to emphasise the gravity and importance of the preached word (something MLJ himself emphasised). Finally, it would have been helpful to have had a video discussion on MLJ contribution to Reformed theology itself. MLJ expounded his views in his "Great Doctrines of the Bible". He taught important truths such as the authority of the Scriptures, the Triune God, covenant theology, the doctrines of sovereign grace etc. His 'Great Doctrines of the Bible' remains a helpful user friendly introduction to Reformed theology.

Minor criticisms aside, this is a powerful and heart moving documentary which led me to worship afresh the Triune God. I thought the producers have helpfully grasped important features in MLJ ministry. It is helpful and balanced.

I would encourage all on the Puritan Board to watch this DVD series. Let me give some quotes to vindicate this assertion:
First quote from Iain Murray's Biography. When MLJ travelled to South Africa by sea in 1959, he spent considerable time with the sea captain. This sea captain commented to a church leader in South Africa "I have been at sea all my life, and am due to retire very soon. I have served on many of the great liners as a senior officer, and have had at my table almost all of the great men of my day. Mr Gilfillan, I give you my considered opinion. The greatest man I have ever met is Martyn Lloyd-Jones".

Second quote from DVD 1 by Sinclair Ferguson commenting on MLJ preaching:
"Expository, discerning, diagnostic, soul stretching, mind stretching, life changing preaching."

Third quote from DVD 2. John MacArthur described MLJ:
"Consummate preacher with a God-given gift of a very very rare mind, a man who completely believed the authority of scripture, and locked himself to the convictions that grow out of that scripture. He is a model for all true preachers".
 
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Stephen L Smith

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Staff member
Official biographer, Iain Murray says this:
'Logic on Fire has moved me deeply and I do believe that it will do untold good across the earth. I never expected to see such a visual record in my lifetime; had it not been done until some later date it could not have been the same. The professional presentation, the wise selection, the spiritual insight, and other things, are just so well done. I think my wife was giving it the highest praise when she said, "the Doctor would have approved of it". I believe the men at Media Gratiae were helped and guided by the Saviour whom they have sought to honour. The film has all the marks of a spiritual ministry of very lasting value which will help far more people than we will ever know!'

Dr Lloyd-Jones grandson says this:
'Media Gratiae has made a film that all of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s family can be proud of. We could not be more grateful.' — JONATHAN CATHERWOOD, grandson of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and President of the MLJ Trust
 

RickG

Puritan Board Freshman
I watched it again recently and honestly found it the best thing I’ve seen on screen. Might watch it again!!
 
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