Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Book Review: Joy Unspeakable by D. M. Lloyd-Jones

Coming from a Pentecostal background, while becoming increasingly enamored with the Reformed tradition and theology, I was very interested in getting my hands on something by D. M. Lloyd-Jones. Lloyd-Jones was a Reformed pastor/theologian held in high regard by the Reformed community. I had read elsewhere that his view of the work of the Holy Spirit was more akin to ideas I had been brought up with than those of many Reformed Christians.

I have been greatly affected by the work of others that hold to a reformed-charismatic theology such as Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, and those affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Though I would not label Lloyd-Jones 'charismatic', the fact that he held view points similar to mine concerning the Holy Spirit and yet was a Calvinistic-Methodist, I looked forward to reading some of his works.

In Joy Unspeakable, Lloyd-Jones espouses a view of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit that is very close to what I grew up with. He holds some subtle, yet very important, differences compared to the ideas that were presented to me in my youth. In fact, I would argue that in this book I have read a champion of the view that sees the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a distinct and separate work from regeneration. Though I lean to a more nuanced view of the differences between being 'filled' with the Spirit and being 'baptized' with the Spirit, I believe Lloyd-Jones provides a solid argument for his point of view.

Lloyd-Jones has a straightforward approach to proving his points: present relevant Scriptures with exposition, give biblical examples of pertinent events, give similar examples from church history, reflect on personal experiences pertaining to the topic.

Lloyd-Jones is touted as a solid expositor and, though I'm no expert, I would agree. His knowledge of church history seems to have great breadth and depth. And his willingness to share personal experiences is encouraging, refreshing, and applicable to life.

Encompassing all of his explaining and defending is an ever-apparent passion for the church and the welfare of Christ's body. He clearly wants to see the bride of Christ live to her full potential. That over-riding sentiment is not and end to itself in the author's eyes, but rather is a means to see God glorified; he makes that very clear.

I found this book to be encouraging in its admonishments to be a vessel for the witness and testimony of Christ. I found it educational in the exposition of Scripture and in its formulation of arguments. Joy Unspeakable is a book I will surely speak about with joy! I recommend it!

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