Monday, May 13, 2013

More on Lloyd-Jones and 'Secondary Separation'

Further to my earlier post on this subject, here, Peter Masters weighs in to the debate, here, pinching one of my quotes by the looks. But for a more considered view, see Stephen Clark's piece, Serving God in his Church in our Generation. As his masterly analysis shows, 'The Doctor's' position on separation was more nuanced and sophisticated than both some of his supporters and detractors have claimed. I don't much like just posting a bunch of links rather than writing something myself, as it's a bit lazy and not 'proper blogging'. But I've not got much more to say on the matter other than to commend Stephen Clark's excellent piece of work. So, a brace of links it is. 

4 comments:

Ben said...

I don’t understand why, but a small alarm sounds whenever I hear the word “nuanced”, so much a favourite of the postmodern generation.

Reading Stephen Clark’s piece, it seems that part of his argument is that Lloyd-Jones was a pragmatist rather than a man of principle, and that being Lloyd-Jones and a great man we should follow his example. Hmm.

The other part of the argument appears to be that “things have changed”; this looks like nothing more than a sophisticated form of special pleading. One would hope that a loyalty to the principles of Scripture would carry more weight than an assessment that circumstances dictate a change of course.

He finishes with an uncorroborated and unverifiable anecdote about a student’s assessment of two different churches which he had visited. No doubt the unnamed student already has such extensive experience of life as to enable him to make reliable judgements of this kind. However, the implied conclusion is a worrying one: that the provision of a warm welcome trumps obedience to Scripture. This presents us with a false choice: it should be possible to obey Scripture and that that obedience should include being welcoming to outsiders. But if we make being warm and friendly our main criterion we may find that it’s not a unique selling point. After all, the Buddhists and even the Mormons could well present themselves in at least as warm and friendly a manner.

Richard Miles said...

I think that you are being a little unfair to Stephen Clark. Having read the article in full, I think that he would agree with what you have said.

I am sure he knew that Dr Lloyd-Jones was first and foremost a man of Biblical principle. The examples that were given in the article show that. If he was driven by pragmatism, he may well have taken part in Billy Graham crusades etc.

I think, too, if you were to speak to Stephen Clark, you would find that he would agree that loyalty to Scriptural principle is more important than just following the latest trends.

I think it is unfair, too, to say that he is providing a false choice between faithfulness to Scripture and a warm welcome. I am sure he feels that both are possible and necessary!

I am afraid that there are some evangelicals who will only co - operate with others if they can agree on every single detail, for example Bible version, Hymn book used. It is unfair to say that those who disagree on such things have not come to such an enlightened position. Many of them have given them deep consideration and prayer, and come to a different conclusion. That at least should be respected.

As far as I can see, nothing in Stephen Clark's article advocates unbiblical ecumenism. That is a giant step further, which neither he, nor Affinity would be prepared to take. I personally know Peter Milsom of Affinity and have met Stephen Clark too. Both are Reformed Gospel men.

Richard Miles said...

I think that you are being a little unfair to Stephen Clark. Having read the article in full, I think that he would agree with what you have said.

I am sure he knew that Dr Lloyd-Jones was first and foremost a man of Biblical principle. The examples that were given in the article show that. If he was driven by pragmatism, he may well have taken part in Billy Graham crusades etc.

I think, too, if you were to speak to Stephen Clark, you would find that he would agree that loyalty to Scriptural principle is more important than just following the latest trends.

I think it is unfair, too, to say that he is providing a false choice between faithfulness to Scripture and a warm welcome. I am sure he feels that both are possible and necessary!

I am afraid that there are some evangelicals who will only co - operate with others if they can agree on every single detail, for example Bible version, Hymn book used. It is unfair to say that those who disagree on such things have not come to such an enlightened position. Many of them have given them deep consideration and prayer, and come to a different conclusion. That at least should be respected.

As far as I can see, nothing in Stephen Clark's article advocates unbiblical ecumenism. That is a giant step further, which neither he, nor Affinity would be prepared to take. I personally know Peter Milsom of Affinity and have met Stephen Clark too. Both are Reformed Gospel men.

Guy Davies said...

C'mon, Ben. Clark's point toward the end of the piece wasn't that churches should be chosen on the basis of warmth of welcome rather than faithfulness to Scripture. He noted that the word was faithfully preached in the evangelical Anglican church, as well as the student being made to feel welcome there. The independent church in the scenario seemingly failed on both counts.