David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981) was born in Wales, earned a medical degree from the University of London and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, and then became a minister in his late-20s. In 1943, he succeeded the retiring G. Campbell Morgan as pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, where he served until his retirement in 1968, following a major operation. He died in Ealing on March 1, 1981, at the age of 81.
J. I. Packer was a wonderful theological biographer, writing several sketches that seemed to capture the essence of his subjects. Of Lloyd-Jones, he wrote in 1985:
What a fascinating human being he was! Slightly built, with a great domed cranium, head thrust forward, a fighter’s chin and a grim line to his mouth, he radiated resolution, determination, and an unwillingness to wait for ever. A very strong man, you would say, and you would be right. You can sense this from any photograph of him, for he never smiled into the camera.
There was a touch of the old-fashioned about him: he wore linen collars, three-piece suits, and boots in public, spoke on occasion of crossing-sweepers and washerwomen, and led worship as worship was led a hundred years before his time.
In the pulpit he was a lion, fierce on matters of principle, austere in his gravity, able in his prime to growl and to roar as his argument required.
Informally, however, he was a delightfully relaxed person, superb company, twinkling and witty to the last degree. His wit was as astringent as it was quick and could leave you feeling you had been licked by a cow. . . . He did not suffer fools gladly and had a hundred ways of deflating pomposity. Honest, diffident people, however, found in him a warmth and friendliness that amazed them.
For he was a saint, a holy man of God: a naturally proud person whom God made humble; a naturally quick-tempered person to whom God taught patience; a naturally contentious person to whom God gave restraint and wisdom; a natural egoist, conscious of his own great ability, whom God set free from self-seeking to serve the servants of God.
Packer goes on to write:
Nearly forty years on, it still seems to me that all I have ever known about preaching was given me in the winter of 1948–49, when I worshipped at Westminster chapel with some regularity. Through the thunder and the lightning, I felt and saw as never before the glory of Christ and of his gospel as modern man’s only lifeline and learned by experience why historic Protestantism looks on preaching as the supreme means of grace and of communion with God. Preaching, thus viewed and valued, was the centre of the Doctor’s life: into it he poured himself unstintingly; for it he pleaded untiringly. Rightly, he believed that preachers are born rather than made, and that preaching is caught more than it is taught, and that the best way to vindicate preaching is to preach. And preach he did, almost greedily, till the very end of his life. . . .
Thanks for the Lloyd-Jones Trust, audio recordings of his 1,600 sermons are now widely available.
Lloyd-Jones was of such an age that video recordings were more scarce. (He was born one year after C. S. Lewis, of whom not one video has emerged.)
Fortunately, with Lloyd-Jones, a few have survived. Below are some excerpts from family home videos, two interviews he conducted in his retirement, and a documentary he filmed about George Whitefield.