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Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure (1965)
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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From Daniel Christensen
I read a chapter or two of this book almost every Sunday for the past couple of months. MLJ's sermons have been such a blessing. The book in a nutshell: practice your faith and rest in Christ. But you should really just read it.
Yall know I read fast, but this was one I had to take very slow and let sink in deeply. I kept going back and re-reading certain parts because the truths were so good. Christians claim to have the best news in human existence, so why are we so often seemingly without joy? Each chapter covers one of these potential reasons, and at the end of each chapter I felt like someone had xrayed my heart and found something that didn't belong. He takes on this topic in a very practical way and his words are kind and stirring. This is going on the list of books that have most shaped my heart so far, and I will be recommending it often. It will be one that I re-read regularly. Buy it. READ it.
This is a collection of 21 sermons that Lloyd-Jones preached on the topic of Spiritual Depression, a broad term he uses as a sort of catch all for various types of unhappiness in the Christian life. Though I felt introduced to very few new concepts, I have a suspicion that is because I have been taught by many who have been influenced by Lloyd-Jones' teaching. One of the most helpful concepts he suggests is quite foundational and is the issue of one speaking to himself rather than listening to himself. Lloyd-Jones often refers to this as "apprehending yourself" or taking your heart to task. In his chapter entitled Feelings he says, "your business and mine is not to stir up our feelings, it is to believe" (116).The author states early on "ultimately the cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief" (20). This has too has had a profound impact on my life. Much of this book is the author working this out in many other contexts. Much of his strategy could be summed up by "believe and then act... feelings will come." Perhaps one shortcoming of this book is that some temperaments may find this advice to be a little cold. While in many senses "believe and act" is quite true and the necessary response, what of those who are struggling for hope while stuck in habitual sin... or in a moment of darkness find the faith to act quite small... what then? I would love to have seen him work this out more to make it more accessible to those who are truly depressed.I would have loved to hear this man preach. I imagine he is far more effective as a preacher than a writer. Since these are sermons which were lightly edited for publication, they read much like sermons do. Lloyd-Jones was not a particularly fiery of teacher, but seems to be to be very accessible - a man of the people. The former physician truly seems to be a physician of souls, a quality I very much aspire to develop in my preaching.Some of the chapters I found most helpful were:"Fear of the Future""Where is Your Faith""Looking at the Waves""In God's Gymnasium"I warmly recommend this book and will likely return to it but would suggest that one read only the first few chapters and then the ones that intrest them. Its conversion from sermons to chapters make the book a little long than perhaps it should have been but all in all this is quite good.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
This enduring collection of twenty-one sermons by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, each originally delivered at Westminster Chapel in London, carefully and compassionately analyzes an undeniable feature of modern society from which Christians have not escaped -- spiritual depression. "Christian people," writes Lloyd-Jones, "too often seem to be perpetually in the doldrums and too often give this appearance of unhappiness and of lack of freedom and absence of joy. There is no question at all but that this is the main reason why large numbers of people have ceased to be interested in Christianity." Believing the Christian joy was one of the most potent factors in the spread of Christianity in the early centuries, Lloyd-Jones not only lays bare the causes that have robbed many Christians of spiritual vitality but also points the way to the cure that is found through the mind and spirit of Christ.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)248.485842 — Religions Christian Devotional Literature and Practical Theology Christian Life; experience and practice Christian Living By Denomination Presbyterian; Reformed; Congregational
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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
An edition of this book was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co..