I'd better say this first: I'm a great admirer of "the Doctor". As a young Christian I read his sermons on Romans with great relish. My theological outlook has been influenced by the ministry and writings of the great preacher. I think that he was right to force Evangelicals to face up to the challenge of the ecumenical movement in 1966. His call for church-based evangelical unity was admirable and prophetic. I share something of his burden for revival.
However, there is a problem. Not perhaps with the man himself, but with the way in which his name and views are used to stifle debate in some circles. Am I the only Reformed minister who feels a little frustrated at conferences and fraternals when the following happens? A man gives an excellent paper. The subject is opened up for discussion. Views fly back and forth and an interesting exhange of views develops. Suddenly someone stands up and says, "I remember that we talked about this at the Westminster Fellowship and the Doctor said...." And that's virtually it. Once the name of Lloyd-Jones has been invoked, debate grinds to a standstill.
Now, I know that Lloyd-Jones was a very wise and gifted minister. We can learn a lot from him. But I think that he would be horrified were he to turn up at some of our meetings. He was a provocative, original and independent thinker, not a man who parroted the view of others. In his sermons on Romans he often disagreed with Calvin, Hodge and Haldene. He refused to hide behind names. We should not be hiding behind his. Today's ministers face new challenges that demand fresh, Biblical thinking. Trotting out "the Doctor said...." just isn't good enough. We need to learn what we can from him and then move on to serve God faithfully in our generation.