Regarding those for whom the gospel “was just an intellectual hobby.”

Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures by Martyn Lloyd-JonesSo I’m still reading Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  I think that title probably throws some people, and maybe another title would have been better, but it is what it is, and it really is something everybody deals with eventually.  I’ve been reading two or three chapters (sermons) each week, with a day or two in between to chew on what I read, and today’s chapter is called “Mind, Heart, and Will,” and it’s an exposition of Romans 6:17.  The following paragraph is from that chapter and I thought it was worth reproducing here.  He’s speaking of a past time, but folks like he’s describing have been and always will be around.

There are others, not so many today, perhaps, as there used to be, whose sole interest in the gospel is their interest in theology and doctrine and metaphysics, and in great problems, arguments and discussions.  I speak of past days; days that are gone.  I do not want to defend them, but they were infinitely preferable to the present position.  There were people then whose only interest in the gospel was their interest in theological problems; and they argued about them and discussed them.  Their minds were very much engaged; this was their intellectual hobby and interest.  But the tragedy was that it stopped at that interest, and their hearts had never been touched.  Not only was there an absence of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives but there was often an absence of the ordinary milk of human kindness.  Those men would argue and almost fight about particular doctrines, but they were often hard men to approach.  You would never go to them if you were in trouble; you felt that they would neither understand nor sympathize.  Still worse, the truth they were so interested in was not at all applied to their lives; it was something confined to their studies.  It did not touch their conduct or behaviour at all, but was confined entirely to the mind.  Obviously they were bound, sooner or later, to get into difficulty and to become unhappy.  Have you ever seen a man like that facing the end of his life?  Have you seen him when he can no longer read, or when he is on his death-bed?  I have seen one or two and I do not want to see another.  It is a terrible thing when a man reaches that point when he knows that he must die, and the gospel which he has argued about and reasoned about and even ‘defended’ does not seem to help him because it has never gripped him.  It was just an intellectual hobby.

You know, what he’s describing sounds an awful lot like the blogosphere of today’s world, especially the “Christian” blogosphere.  “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  That’s from Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Incidentally, this particular sermon is one of the free sermons that the Martyn Lloyd-Jones recording trust is giving away for free as MP3s.  You can download it and several others at this page.

2 comments on “Regarding those for whom the gospel “was just an intellectual hobby.”

  1. lw says:

    Very good sermon. Made me think a lot.

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