Lloyd-Jones on the Spirit's "leadings"

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Philip B

Puritan Board Freshman
A brother in our local body pointed me to a 1991 sermon by John Piper in which he advocates for the Spirit's leading apart from Scripture (The Leading of the Lord in Personal Evangelism - Desiring God). I'm not too concerned that Piper (I believe) got this wrong 22 years ago, especially since he seems to have changed his mind since. But there was one thing in the sermon that troubled me, a quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Here again is a most extraordinary subject, and indeed a very fascinating one, and, from many angles, a most glorious one. There is no question but that God's people can look for and expect "leadings," "guidance," "indications of what they are meant to do." There are many examples of this in the Scriptures and I take one at random. You remember the story in Acts 8:26ff of how Philip the Evangelist was told by the angel of the Lord, "Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert". . .

Now there are leadings such as that . . . If you read the history of the saints, God's people throughout the centuries and especially the history of revivals, you will find that this is something which is perfectly clear and definite—men have been told by the Holy Spirit to do something; they knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking to them, and it transpired that it obviously was his leading. It seems clear to me that if we deny such a possibility we are again guilty of quenching the Spirit. (The Sovereign Spirit, pp. 89–90)

I don't have The Sovereign Spirit in my library, so I am unable to get more context. I note that Lloyd-Jones doesn't say that the Spirit told these men these things apart from the Word, but that seems to be the implication.

So I read that, and I disagree, and I'm not in the habit of disagreeing with Lloyd-Jones. Am I misunderstanding him? Is he just wrong on this point? Or am I wrong (that there is no revelation today apart from Scripture)?


Staff member
Is it possible that MLJ is simply speaking of God's governing his creatures by directing and leading them?

A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. Pro 16:9


Puritan Board Senior
In the Baker Book edition of "The Baptism and Gifts of the Spirit" by MLJ, combining Joy Unspeakable and The Sovereign Spirit, the descriptive blurb inside the jacket says,"When he wrote Joy Unspeakable and The Sovereign Spirit, two books declaring the Bible's teaching on the Holy Spirit, D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones agreed with his conservative church colleagues that a Christian is filled by the Spirit's indwelling presence at the moment of conversion.

He stirred debate, however, with his conviction that the Christian is called to seek a more profound experience with the Holy Spirit through spiritual maturity and faithfulness. The Bible speaks of this spiritual empowerment as an event in the Christian's life at conversion or later. And these books became his most controversial when he defended the view that charismatic gifts continue in the Church."
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