I’ve just finished Iain Murray’s excellent biography of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Lloyd-Jones faced an enormous struggle with doctrinal compromise in the United Kingdom starting in the post-war period. There was a wide-spread allergy to doctrine and, more significantly, to doctrinal firmness. Instead of a muscular and confident Christianity, many were endeavouring to create a more gelatinous and open-minded faith. The authority and certainty of Scripture was widely discounted. Murray relates how Lloyd-Jones spoke to an annual meeting of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship in 1954. He explored the question of why the churches were empty on Sundays in Great Britain. His answer: apostasy. Turning away from the authoritative truth of Scripture robbed the gospel message of certainty. Who would keep going to church to hear an uncertain message?
Then Lloyd-Jones spoke these words and they remain relevant for our current day:
In Jude 3, we read, ‘Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Here we are given a stirring call to the defence of the Faith. Such a call is not popular today. It is not popular today even in some evangelical circles. People will tell you that it is all ‘too negative.’ They continually urge that we must keep on giving positive truth. They will tell us that we must not argue and we must never condemn. But we must ask, ‘How can you fight if you are ever afraid of wounding an enemy?’ ‘How can you rouse sleeping fellow-warriors with smooth words?’ God forbid that we find ourselves at the bar of judgment and face the charge that we contracted out from love of ease, or for fear of man, or that we failed to do our duty in the great fight of the Faith. We must — we must fight for the faith in these momentous times. (as quoted by Iain Murray, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 332).
The reference to Jude 3 is quite appropriate. As I have argued here, this passage speaks directly to the church as it faces attacks from within.