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Sermon #5801

Body Mind and Spirit (Part A)



Sermon Description

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones served as one of the greatest preachers of his time; however, before he was called to the ministry, Dr. Lloyd-Jones was one of the most respected medical doctors of his time; at one point being the head doctor to the Royal family. In his sermon on body, mind, and spirit, Dr. Lloyd-Jones expresses his concern over the increasing number of psychological illnesses in the medical field. As a speaker at the Christian medical fellowship conference, Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides his solution to the rising depression rates that are crippling the British nation. He first states how the relationships between doctors and their patients is not what it used to be. Doctors no longer visit the homes of patients and therefore, do not have the same intimate relationships with them. This lack of intimacy between the doctor and patient severely hinders the doctor’s ability to diagnose the root cause of one’s psychological illness/depression. This often results in doctors having to take a universal stance on psychological illnesses. According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones there are four opinions on psychological illness that doctors can hold to. The first is that mental illnesses aren’t actually real and that patients must simply toughen up (Muscular Christianity). The second holds that people can take medication’s to help with their illness but are ultimately doomed to a life of depression. The third holds that every Mental illness is spiritual and can be mended with spiritual acts. The fourth believes that Mental illness is spiritual but cannot be solved by Christianity. With this said, Dr. Martyn Lloy-Jones summarizes the four opinions with two basic questions. Is mental illness physical or spiritual? He then expands on these two questions in part B of the sermon.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones begins by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to deliver the Rendell Short Memorial Lecture. He acknowledges Rendell Short's role in influencing Douglas Johnson and the IVF.
  2. He notes that he will be discussing issues related to "body, mind and spirit" and the problems that arise from their interrelationship. In particular, he will focus on Christians who are troubled or unhappy for various reasons.
  3. He makes some general remarks about the need to pay more attention to these kinds of cases. He notes some faulty tendencies in how medical professionals and ministers handle these cases. He also comments on evangelicals' changing views on psychology.
  4. He outlines his general approach to these kinds of cases which begins with determining which "category" the person belongs to in order to provide the right diagnosis and treatment. The first question is whether the issue is physical, spiritual or psychological.
  5. If the issue is physical, it needs to be properly diagnosed and treated medically. He provides several examples of cases that appeared spiritual or psychological but were actually due to physical causes.
  6. If the issue is spiritual, it can be addressed through spiritual counsel and Scripture. He provides examples of people troubled by lack of assurance, sin, blasphemy, etc. A diagnostic point is their readiness to listen to and accept Scripture.
  7. If the issue is psychological, it may require treatment from medical professionals. However, the concept of "mental illness" is controversial and some argue that it is overdiagnosed or misused. But there are certainly cases of true mental illness that require treatment.
  8. He argues we must be careful not to wrongly "label" or "condemn" people as mentally ill when they are not. But we also must not ignore true mental illness. Discernment and wisdom are needed.

Itinerant Preaching

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.