Monday, July 07, 2014

Martin Lloyd-Jones on creation and evolution

Martin Lloyd-Jones is the last great Old Evangelical, who was ostracized and demonized when he rejected the New Evangelicalism of John Stott and Billy Graham. In his book What is an Evangelical? (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1992). Lloyd-Jones attempts to reclaim the word "evangelical" for the Old Evangelicalism, an exercise, I would say, of futility.

It is however always interesting to look at Lloyd-Jones' views to see what Evangelicals have historically believed to be true. This is what Lloyd-Jones wrote regarding the creation/evolution debate:

We accept the biblical teaching with regard to creation and do not base our position upon theories of evolution, whichever particular theory people may choose to advocate. We must assert that we believe in the being of one first man called Adam, and in one first woman called Eve. We reject any notion of a pre-Adamic man because it is contrary to the teaching of the Scripture.

Now someone may ask, Why do you care about this? Is this essential to your doctrine of salvation? Are you not falling into the very error of over-particularization against which you warned us at the beginning? I suggest that I am not, and for these reasons. If we say that we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we must say that about the whole of the Bible, and when the Bible presents itself to us as history, we must accept it as history. I would contend that the early chapters of Genesis, the first three chapters of Genesis, are given to us as history. We know that there are pictures and symbols in the Bible, and when the Bible uses symbols and parable it indicates that it is doing so, but when it presents something to us in the form of history, it requires us to accept it as history.

We must therefore hold to the vital principle, to which I have referred earlier, of the wholeness and the close interrelationship of every part of the biblical message. The Bible does not merely make statements about salvation. It is a complete whole: it tells you about the origin of the world and of man; it tells you what has happened to him, how he fell and the need of salvation arose, and then it tells you how God provided this salvation and how He began to reveal it in parts and portions. Nothing is so amazing about the Bible as its wholeness, the perfect interrelationship of all the parts.

Therefore these early chapters of Genesis with their history play a vital part in the whole doctrine of salvation. ... Indeed, it seems to me that one of the things we have got to assert, these days in particular — and it should always have been asserted — is that our gospel, our faith, is not a teaching; it is not a philosophy; it is primarily a history. (pp. 74-5)

We go on to assert that we must underline the fact of the historical fall of the first man, and that it happened in the way described in the third chapter of Genesis. Whether we can understand it or not is not the question. That is what we are told, and the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3 reminds the Corinthians that 'the serpent beguiled Eve.' You cannot play fast and loose with these facts without involving the inspiration of the apostles and, ultimately, the person of our Lord. You will soon be saying that He was a child of His own age, that He was ignorant in certain respects, and that He has simply the scientific knowledge of His own times, and so on. You begin to query and to question His statements, and ultimately you will have no authority at all. ...

In the same way, we must assert the fact of the flood. ... (pp. 79-80)

It is interesting to note that what Llyod-Jones have said about the consequences of the acceptance of evolution upon one's doctrine of the person and knowledge of Christ in His incarnation is actually being promoted today.

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