Censorious or pastoral?
In 1932 Martyn Lloyd-Jones spent the summer preaching in Toronto. One day he had lunch with T. T. Shields, a prominent pastor in town known for his public critique of theological liberalism. At one point Shields asked Lloyd-Jones if he read a certain author who shared that passion. Wisely, Lloyd-Jones’ answer was no.
MLJ: I get nothing from him.
TTS: Man, what’s the matter with you?
MLJ: Well, it’s all very well to make these criticisms of the liberals, but he doesn’t help me spiritually.
TTS: Surely you are helped by the way he makes mincemeat of the liberals.
MLJ: No, I am not. You can make mincemeat of the liberals and still be in trouble in your own soul.
Lloyd-Jones appealed to Shields to aim at winning people who had drifted from the gospel. As the conversation went on, Shields was genuinely touched and seemed open to recalibrating his ministry in a less censorious and more pastoral way. Commendably, he told Lloyd-Jones that he would call a meeting of his church’s leaders the next night, explain this conversation with Lloyd-Jones, and follow whatever their conclusion might be. And he did so. But his leaders told him to disregard Lloyd-Jones’ counsel.
Narrated in Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, 1899-1939 (Edinburgh, 2008), pages 271-273.