Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines “Church and the State”

After returning to the Lord in 2014 after my very long prodigal “season,” the Lord introduced me to some solid Bible teachers, past and present, including D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). I’ve read several books by and about MLJ and also enjoyed the 2015 documentary, “Logic on Fire,” about the life and ministry of the Doctor.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I desired to read some more about/from MLJ so I Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 6.59.44 AMdownloaded “Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life” by Jason Meyer to my Kindle (review to follow). While reading that book, I thought about another resource, the MLJ Trust. I was vaguely aware that Lloyd-Jones’ former ministerial assistant and biographer, Iain H. Murray, had collected the Doctor’s recorded sermons and made them available via the MLJ Trust website. I was curious if MLJ Trust had a smart phone app and, sure enough, they do! I downloaded the free app to my iPhone and, voilà, I now have access to 1600 of the Doctor’s sermons. Wow!

I quickly browsed the list of MLJ’s sermons and stumbled across a series of six sermons on “Church and the State” delivered on successive Friday evenings in January-February, 1967. Friends of this blog know the topic of the church’s relationship to the state is something I am very interested in. Roman Catholicism took its cue from Constantine and the Roman imperial model and continued to fuse together church and state. The early Reformers regrettably continued this error to a degree and when the Pilgrims and Puritans settled in Massachusetts, they established semi-theocracies. The Puritans preached that America was the New Israel and that its citizens were in covenant relationship with God and enjoyed special blessings and prerogatives thereby. That thinking was perpetuated from American pulpits for four-hundred years, although the genuine Gospel preached by the Puritans was gradually replaced over time in mainline denominations by a watered-down, social gospel. The God of the Bible was replaced by the nebulous deity/higher power of American “civil religion.” American civil religion infiltrated the church resulting in national citizenship superceding spiritual citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Americans of all denominations, Protestants and Catholics (and even Jews), could harmoniously join together in singing “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

After Americans became increasingly secularized in the 60s, 70s, and 80’s, Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority drew a line in the sand and attempted to return America back to “Judeo-Christian” values. Some high-profile ministers like Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. continue Jerry Sr.’s crusade to “return America back to Jesus.” Regrettably, alliances formed with pseudo-Christian religionists in the cause of shared political and cultural concerns has led many temporal-minded evangelicals to overlook doctrinal differences and compromise the Gospel via ecumenism.

The church has been struggling for two-thousand years to define its proper relationship with the state, but it’s clear from history that the church has erred way too far on the side of church-state alliance. I fully realize that the deeply-rooted concept of America as a “Christian nation” continues to be quite popular amongst American Christians.

Okay, time to step down from my soap box and get to the crux of this post.

In the six sermons below, Martyn Lloyd-Jones thoroughly examines the relationship between church and state including the regrettable historical record and what the Bible teaches. It’s one of the best treatments I’ve ever seen or heard on this topic. Lloyd-Jones has much to say about the Roman Catholic model and the dangers of ecumenism. I’ve provided a link to the MLJ Trust website for each individual sermon. You can also download the MLJ Trust app to your smart phone and search “church and the state” to easily find the six sermons:

Church and The State (1)
Church and state; ecumenism; church and state under Christ’s authority; Constantine; Roman Catholic teaching; Wycliffe; the Reformation; Erastianism; Luther; the Church of England; religious toleration.

Church and The State (2)
Church and state essentially different; common grace; the differences explained; value of history; Luther; Zwingli; Calvin; Belgic Confession on magistrates; Puritans; Presbyterians; Westminster Confession on magistrates; Melville; two kings; two kingdoms.

Church and The State (3)
Pilgrim Fathers and American colonists; Separatists; Cromwell; the ‘Free Church idea’; Roger Williams; the Commonwealth; democracy; the Ejection of 1662; established churches.

Church and The State (4)
Church-state relations unknown in New Testament; Old Testament appealed to; Israel’s position unique; Christ’s kingdom not of this world; confusing the world and the Church.

Church and The State (5)
Summary of teaching; lesson of history; traditionalism; the state cannot Christianize society; parable of the leaven misunderstood; no gradual advance; except in the Church.

Church and The State (6)
The lordship of Christ; tension between the two kingdoms; the Church should lay down principles; freedom; education; the arts; science; law; morality; individual Christians may influence society.

53 thoughts on “Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines “Church and the State”

  1. I USE to like Fox News but they are VERY ecumenical AND I believe worship “America “-I hope I worded that right without causing an uproar…
    Thank you for this post and links!! 🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I miss posting it! I’ll see something and think oh yeah I can’t ! I’m pleased I can still read those that I follow to keep the inspiration going!!
        I looked into it every way I can and it wants to charge me-I might just “bite the bullet” 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Argh! Sorry you’re still having trouble. Maybe you can try contacting WordPress customer support before you pay? They don’t have phone support and they’re probably more helpful with paying customers but they might respond to email?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I always enjoyed when my research took me to MLJ. This resource has nothing to do with what your post so feel free to not post this comment. I’m not sure if Corrine is much of a reader; however, MLJ’s Spiritual
    Depression is a fantastic resource for anyone dealing with pain and anxiety.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mandy! I will keep that one in mind for her. She’s currently three-quarters of the way through “Anxious for Nothing” by J. MacArthur. Last week we started listening to MLJ’s sermons on Romans together and have been thoroughly blessed. She looks forward to it every night.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Mandy, I hope all is well with you. Spiritual Depression, by Lloyd- Jones is a great resource, one I have frequently turned to during emotional trauma, anxiety and depression. Thanks for sharing that resource!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth! I hope you and your husband are doing well downstate. I prayed for your safety many times when reports from NYC re: the virus pandemic were on the TV news.
      I was SO blessed by MLJ’s sermon series on “Church and The State” and my wife and I are now in the after-dinner habit of listening to MLJ preach through the Book of Romans. Right, you won’t find that kind of preaching in the great majority of today’s mega-churches, not even close.


    1. Crissy, thank you for the encouragement and for letting me know you downloaded the MLJ app. I hope MLJ’s sermons are a blessing to you! My wife and I began listening to MLJ’s Book of Romans sermons a couple of weeks ago. We listen to half a sermon every night and we really look forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for letting me know! That’s such a good series. The last couple of nights my wife and I watched the Lloyd-Jones bio-documentary, “Logic on Fire,” which I watched and reviewed back in 2017. It was the first time she watched it and she really enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you did mention that book previously. I just looked it up on Amazon and it’s definitely one I would enjoy, with the church-state alliance being a problem with the Reformation dissenters/non-conformists.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m going to keep that book in mind. Several times in the series MLJ makes the point that it was more than enough that the early Reformers recovered the Gospel of grace. But I’m glad that subsequent Reformers kept chipping away at the church-state issue.

        Liked by 1 person

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