Friday, January 23, 2009

Review of Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Author: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Pages: 300 pages

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Price: 11.99

Genre: Christian Living

Quick Summary:

Spiritual Depression is a compilation of 21 sermons from “the Doctor”. Lloyd-Jones was an excellent physician of the body and after his calling to the ministry he became an excellent physician of the soul. Spiritual Depression comes from the heart of a pastor to his congregation.
Lloyd-Jones believes that one of the greatest hindrances to the gospel in our day is spiritually depressed Christians. In these sermons Lloyd-Jones hopes to be used by The Great Physician to do something about it.

What I Liked:

Lloyd-Jones is balanced and practical. I went through this book with a few other pastors and we benefited greatly from it. Lloyd-Jones does an excellent job of explaining the Christian life (or should I say Christian struggle) in light of Scripture. Lloyd-Jones is sympathetic throughout and yet he does not pull any punches. He allows for such things as temperament and biology but yet is not shackled by them. What refreshment from the psychobabble of our day!

What I Disliked:

The book suffers from the older writing style and does not flow as well as some of the more modern books on the topic. Because of that I fear that much of what Lloyd-Jones has to say will be lost on the more modern and casual reader. It also was not originally intended to be a book but rather sermons. It is often difficult to transfer a collection of sermons into a book—and the disunity is obvious. Because of these I would probably recommend someone that is struggling with depression to a couple other resources (see below).

Perhaps the title is a tad misleading. If you are looking for a treatise on battling depression then you are going to probably put the book down after chapter 3. A person struggling with depression would greatly benefit from this book but because of its writing style and sermonic form I have seen a few people put the book down because “it doesn’t help”. Perhaps if it were titled How to Effectively Struggle in the Christian Life then it would be more true to the overall scope of this book.

Should You Buy It?

If you are someone that is deeply struggling with depression or hope to help someone that is then perhaps Spiritual Depression is not the best book for you. It would be helpful but it has been my experience (though somewhat limited) that the folks at CCEF do a better job dealing with such issues. Buy a book by Jay Adams, Paul Tripp, David Powlison, or any other CCEF person. Yet, Lloyd-Jones book is not to be confined to obscurity. It is still a very beneficial work. Just read it alongside one of the others.
Rating: 4 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. I would add to your list of books for those suffering through depression "Hope for the Wounded Heart" by Dan Allender. He walks a frustrating line between the Arminian and Calvinist debate - he's Reformed, but he's also really annoying to some Reformed-minded people. Nonetheless, it's a great book for anyone who has suffered sexual abuse - particularly childhood sexual abuse - and Allender's insights into the shame side of depression are pure, Spirit-given, genius.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...