I have been reading the second volume of Iain Murray’s comprehensive biography on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, having read the first volume last year. It is a bit tedious at times, but only because Murray made the conscious choice to include more, rather than less, “in part because of the thought that writers on Dr Lloyd-Jones in future years will naturally find it harder to gather information from those who knew him” (xx). Nevertheless, the whole is a challenging, exciting account of one of the greatest British preachers of the 20th century, and I commend it to you wholeheartedly.
One of the most interesting emphases of the book of Lloyd-Jones’s burden to preach toward and pray for genuine revival in Britain. He was not interested in revivalism, which requires only the right manipulation of human elements, but in revival, which only God can grant. Quoting the book Revival, Murray gives us Lloyd-Jones’s own definition:
The essence of a revival is that the Holy Spirit comes down upon a number of people together, upon a whole church, upon a number of churches, districts, or perhaps a whole country. It is, if you like, a visitation of the Holy Spirit, or another term has often been used is this–an outpouring of the Holy Spirit…When God acts in revival everybody present feels and knows that God is there. Of course, we believe this. We believe this by faith. Yes, but we should know it. We should be conscious of His nearness. And that is what revival does for us. (p. 380-81)
I could say many things about this thought, but I will limit myself to only one point. Reading Kuyper has brought about an awakening of the belief that politics matter, and that Christians (especially Calvinistic Christians) should engage in politics with a view toward subduing the earth to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, no amount of political (or scientific, or commercial, or familial etc…) change can transform this world, but only the Spirit of God, applying the righteousness of Jesus Christ to his people through faith.
The best work we Christians can do to improve America’s economy, or to defend ourselves from terrorism, or to end the holocaust of abortion in this country is to pray for true revival–that is, for a visitation from the Holy Spirit.