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Martyn Lloyd-Jones was born in Cardiff on 20 December 1899 and raised in Llangeitho, Cardiganshire. His father was a grocer, and he had two brothers: Harold died during the 1918 flu pandemic, while Vincent went on to become a High Court judge. Llangeitho is associated with the Welsh Methodist revival, as it was the location of Daniel Rowland‘s ministry.
Martyn’s childhood had at least one highlight: In January 1910, his home caught on fire while he and his brothers were sleeping. All of them could easily have lost their lives. The family did lose almost everything they owned and their shaky finances never recovered. As a result, Martyn set out with real determination to succeed.
He attended a London grammar school between 1914 and 1917 and then St Bartholomew’s Hospital as a medical student, in 1921 he started work as an assistant to the Royal Physician, Sir Thomas Horder. Horder described Martyn as “the most acute thinker that I ever knew.” Lloyd-Jones obtained a medical degree from the University of London, and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians. He faced the prospect of a brilliant and financially rewarding career. But something happened to change that.
After struggling for two years over what he sensed was a calling to preach, in 1927 Lloyd-Jones returned to Wales, having married Bethan Phillips (with whom he later had two children, Elizabeth and Ann), accepting an invitation to minister at a church in Aberavon (Port Talbot). Martyn asked Christ to become master of his life. “For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one.” Reading the Bible for himself and pondering its meaning, he eventually realized that “What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin and … bring me to repentance and tell me something about regeneration. But I never heard that. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians…”
A few years after Martyn came to Aberavon, a local doctor asked for help with a difficult medical case. Martyn diagnosed the problem at once and proved completely right. After that, demands for his medical assistance increased to the point that they almost threatened his pastoral work.
His name became increasingly well-known. G. Campbell Morgan, another pastor with a powerful ministry, invited him to come to Westminster Chapel. Martyn accepted the Westminster invitation in 1938. The publication of his powerful sermons made him internationally famous. He died in 1981.
- “Cardiff.” Britannica. 1967.
- “Cardiff, Wales Area — December 1999.” http://www.electricrainbow.com/welshpages/
- Catherwood, Sir Fred. “Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Ministry.” http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/christian-living/ full.asp?ID=579.
- “Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the Need for Revival and Baptism with the Holy Spirit.” Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, January 30, 1991. http://www.desiringGOD.org
- Packer, J.I. “Martyn Lloyd-Jones.” Chosen vessels : portraits of ten outstanding Christian men. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Vine Books, 1985.
- “Portraits. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.” The Baptist Page. http://www.baptistpage.org/Nquite/ NQ_portraits/jones.html.
- Eveson, Philip H (2004), Travel With Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Day One
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1560 – The First General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets in Edinburgh. Its purpose is, “To consult upon those things which are to forward God’s glory and the well-being of His Kirk.”
1576 – The Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Grindal sent a letter to Elizabeth I in response denying her request to curtail preaching throughout the kingdom. Infuriating the queen Grindal was placed under house arrest.
1846 – William Walsham How is ordained a deacon in the Church of England. He became a notable bishop and hymn writer.
1934 – Sarah “Adelaide” Addison Pollard, an evangelistic worker and missionary to Africa, noted for her hymn “Have Thine Own Way Lord,” written when her missionary plans were stymied. Died of a ruptured appendix in New York City.