Christian liberty issues are just as relevant today as in New Testament times when the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to pen the words found in Romans 14. Today’s debates cover varied topics such as the partaking of alcoholic beverages, whether the father should allow someone outside the home to educate his children, or the appropriateness of age-segregated Sunday schools. Churches, even in the Reformed world, have been split apart over such issues.
We welcome the publication of this volume and the fact that the author ably dissects the topic using God’s word as his scalpel.
As Dr. Lloyd-Jones works through this passage verse by verse, and at important junctures phrase by phrase, the reader should note the preacher’s emphasis on promoting Christ and advancing God’s kingdom.
In this series of transcribed sermons, the former pastor of Westminster Chapel in London begins by examining reasons why Christians take adamant positions on issues that clearly fall in the category of Christian liberty.
He then directs attention to the responsibilities of the weaker and stronger brother toward one another in their fellowship and practical living within the body. What is a legalist and how does one treat such an individual? How does one continue to minister to a brother who staunchly maintains his position as the only ethical, Christian stance when he has been shown otherwise from the Bible? Should we challenge the weaker brother’s conscience and thus possibly stifle the influence of his conscience in other areas of the Christian life? Should a church mandate the desires of a weaker brother in order to promote unity within the body? What safeguards can brothers use to avoid the personal pride that can accompany abstinence from or participation in actions? Such questions are incisively answered and applied in the Christian liberty context.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims Biblical teaching on a number of other topics as well. Does the Lord’s Day fall under Christian liberty or does it remain set apart as mandated in the fourth commandment? How are we to live life and approach death under the sovereignty of God? Will true Christians persevere in the faith? Although Christian liberty remains the focus, I found his exposition on other subjects to be extremely helpful in my own life.
One may disagree with Lloyd-Jones on some points regarding what is a Christian liberty issue and what is not, such as church polity. However, one’s disagreement drives him or her back to God’s word to study the issue. It does not hinder the wisdom that flows out of this pastor’s heart from being edifying and encouraging.
Ministers and laity can read this winsome volume with much spiritual profit. It highlights the beauty and necessity of expository preaching and underlines the importance of doctrinal preaching being applicable.
This book is the thirteenth in the publishers’ ongoing project of bringing into print Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s thirteen years of sermons on Romans.