Lloyd-Jones: Help People See Crisis as Both a Mirror and a Lens

May 6, 2020 by

by Stephen Witmer, TGC:

In September 1939, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, and Britain declared war. One month later, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the newly appointed associate pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, preached five Sunday sermons soon published under the title Why Does God Allow War?. The London Blitz would occur less than a year later. So these sermons were preached in the midst of war, to people confronting the sheer scale of a life-altering crisis. Lloyd Jones wrote, “I preached the messages to the people in the hope that they might help them, and strengthen their faith, in the critical days through which we are passing.”

Our present experience of coronavirus has similarities with war (which is exactly what some are calling it). But it’s not like all wars, since many conflicts don’t create personal discomfort or require personal sacrifice from the general population. The granular and global effects of coronavirus are more like a world war.

When facing a problem of this scale, it’s helpful to gain wisdom from those who’ve trusted Christ and shepherded souls through other historically big crises. Lloyd-Jones’s October 1939 sermons point pastors to two crucial ways of preaching and shepherding in time of crisis. A major, scary situation can become for God’s people both a mirror (to show us more of ourselves) and a lens (to show us more of God).

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