Atomization and Imitation: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as an Expository Preaching Model

As a successful medical doctor turned preacher, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the pastor of Westminster Chapel (1939-1968). Lloyd-Jones is heralded as a premiere preacher and biblical expositor. Additionally, Lloyd-Jones is remembered for igniting the flame that fueled a revival of biblical preaching during the latter half of the twentieth century. He is a role model for the expository method of preaching.
A deeper inspection of Lloyd-Jones’ sermonic methodology reveals that his preaching philosophy and subsequent methodology were, at times, inconsistent. Although he often preached sequentially through books of the Bible and touted the expository method, at times, he preached topical messages for the purpose of elucidating biblical doctrine. Thus, his proposition and sermon structure did not always expose the text, but the doctrine in the text. In short, although Lloyd-Jones’ sermons were biblically-based, at times, he used the text as a launching pad for exposing doctrine. Subsequently, at times, Lloyd-Jones atomized the text of Scripture in his preaching.
New preachers seeking to learn the craft of preaching, or even experienced preachers seeking to hone their skills, often look to Lloyd-Jones for instruction in the expository method. His book on preaching, Preaching and Preachers, and his recorded sermons are extremely popular and readily available in both print and audio form.
In this paper, four propositions will be advanced. The first section will establish Lloyd-Jones as a notable preacher who championed the expository method of preaching. The second section will note that Lloyd-Jones’ homiletical method was often shaped by two factors: his systematic theology and his struggle to formulate and preach a holistic sermon. The third section will reveal notable examples of atomization in Lloyd-Jones’ preaching. The final section will argue for caution when utilizing Lloyd-Jones as a model for expository preaching. As a preacher and biblical expositor, Lloyd-Jones was uniquely gifted. Thus, preachers who are committed to the expository method should consider his methodology before emulating his model.

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