Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Selling Christianity

Here is a powerful quotation from an early sermon of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones about the importance of centering church life around a powerful experience of Jesus:

“Our Christianity has she appearance of being an adjunct or an appendix to the rest of our lives instead of being the main theme and the moving force in our existence….We seem to have a real horror of being different. Hence all our attempts and endeavours to popularise the church and make it appeal to people. We seem to be trying to tell people that their joining a church will not make them so very different after all. ‘We are no longer Puritans,’ we say, ‘we believe that they over-did things and made Christianity too difficult for people. They frightened people with their strictness and their unnecessarily high standards. We are not so foolish as to do that,’ we say, and indeed we do not do so. Instead, however, we provide so called ‘sporting parsons’, men of whom the world can say that they are ‘good sports’ – whatever that may mean. And what it does so often mean is that they are men who believe that you can get men to come to chapel and church by playing football and other games with them. ‘I’ll fraternise with these men,’ says such a minister. ‘I’ll get them to like me and to see that I’m not so different from them after all, and then they’ll come to listen to my sermons.’ And he tries it, but thank God, he almost invariably fails, as he richly deserves. The man who only comes to church or chapel because he likes the minister as a man is of no value at all, and the minister who attempts to get men there by means of that subterfuge is for the time being guilty of lowering the standard of the truth which he claims to believe. For this gospel is the gospel of salvation propounded by the Son of God himself. We must not hawk it about in the world, or offer special inducements and attractions, as if we were shopkeepers announcing an exceptional bargain sale….

‘The world expects the Christian to be different and looks to him for something different, and therein it often shows an insight into life that regular church-goers ofter lack. The churches organise whist-drives, fetes, dramas, bazaars, and things of that sort, so as to attract people. We are becoming almost as wily as the devil himself, but we are really bad at it; all our attempts are hopeless failures and the world laughs at us….And the world today is laughing at the church, laughing at her attempts to be nice and to make people feel at home. My friends, if you feel at home in any church without believing in Christ as your personal Savior, then that church is no church at all, but a place of entertainment or a social club. For the truth of Christianity and the preaching of the gospel should make a church intolerable and uncomfortable to all except those who believe, and even then they should go away feeling chastened and humble.”

(From Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Years 1899-1939, pp. 141-142)

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