D.M. Lloyd-Jones: Heretic (1)

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) is thought by many to be the most influential proponent of historic Calvinism in Britain in the 20th-century.

Here are quotes from D.M. Lloyd-Jones. Both are from The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors:

“At this point I would make a comment, and put it in the form of a question. Is there not a real danger of our becoming guilty of a very subtle form of Arminianism if we maintain that correct doctrine and understanding are essential to our being used by the Spirit of God? It is sheer Arminianism to insist upon a true and correct understanding as being essential.

The case of the young Harris disproves this. For eighteen months he was used in this mighty manner while still not merely confused, but actually wrong in his doctrine. The same, of course, is true in the case of John Wesley. I remember speaking once in the Anniversary at the Central Hall, Westminster. I said that I felt I was there to represent George Whitefield, and in discoursing a little on the difference between the theological standpoints of Whitefield and Wesley I made a remark which I repeat on this occasion.

I said that John Wesley was to me the greatest proof of Calvinism. Why? Because in spite of his faulty thinking he was greatly used of God to preach the gospel and to convert souls! That is the ultimate proof of Calvinism – predestination and election. It certainly comes out quite clearly in the case of the young Howell Harris.”


“I would sum up this section like this. One of the greatest proofs of the truth of the doctrines emphasized by Calvin, what is known as ‘Calvinism’ – though I have already said I do not like these terms – is John Wesley. He was a man who was saved in spite of his muddled and erroneous thinking. The grace of God saved him in spite of himself. That is Calvinist! If you say, as a Calvinist, that a man is saved by his understanding of doctrine you are denying Calvinism. He is not. We are all saved in spite of what we are in every respect. Thus it comes to pass that men who can be so muddled, because they bring in their own human reason, as John Wesley and others did, are saved men and Christians, as all of us are, because it is ‘all of the grace of God’ and in spite of us.”

To answer a fool according to his folly, there cannot be a “real danger” in becoming guilty of any form of Arminianism, let alone a subtle one. In fact, it cannot be a danger at all. Rather, to become guilty of a subtle form of Arminianism is an opportunity to be used of God in a “mighty manner.” To be guilty of the Arminianism of John Wesley is not only to be given an opportunity to preach the gospel and convert souls, it is also an opportunity to present the ultimate proof of Calvinism! Becoming guilty of “sheer Arminianism” is NOT to be persuaded against, but admonished towards since this would be the greatest and ultimate proof of Calvinism!

From what he says about John Wesley, Lloyd-Jones is inconsistent with himself to call the “ultimate proof of Calvinism” a “real danger.” He said that there is “a real danger of our becoming guilty of a very subtle form of Arminianism,” so one would assume that the blatant Arminianism of Wesley would be as much of a danger. But who cares? For whether subtle or blatant it is NOT a real danger but a wonderful opportunity to show forth the ultimate proof of Calvinism! Lloyd-Jones is exactly right about what Calvinism is: It is a heretical system of doctrine that asserts (among many other things) that when God saves sinners, He causes (or “permits,” as the Calvinists like to say) some of them to believe in the false christ of Arminianism!

“But also if our gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, so that the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your slaves for the sake of Jesus. Because it is God who said, Out of darkness Light shall shine, who shone in our hearts to give the brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

Those who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception (along with those who believe that such people are regenerate persons) have NOT had the brightness of the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shone in their hearts. They are blinded to the glory of Christ revealed in the gospel. They are unregenerate.