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The Nature of Man 人的本性

This video is being made available for use by the MLJ Trust by the kind permission of Dame Joan Bakewell.
Dame Joan Bakewell Interviews Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. December 1970

此錄影乃由瓊.貝克韋爾女爵士善意授權 MLJ Trust 使用。

Joan Bakewell: Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, you are an evangelical preacher. And it's your wish to bring people back to the biblical truth about man. Now in so doing, you persuade man that the modern popular idea of what man is is on the wrong track. Could you specify where you think it’s making mistakes?


Dr. Martyn Llody Jones: Well, it makes mistake in that the essential biblical view of man is that he is a creature of who has gone astray. In other words, I criticise the modern view of man on two grounds. One is that it makes too much of man; secondly that it doesn't make enough of man. It doesn't make enough of man in that it tends to regard him as just an animal. Perhaps his cerebellum was developed to little more than most animals’, but still essentially an animal. And I think that is degrading man and debasing him. And then on the other side, they make too much of him. In the sense that they believe that he has got it within himself to order himself and this society, more or less, to create a perfect world. And so I criticise on both those grounds, it's inconsistent. Whereas the biblical view to me is a consistent view of man on this way that it says that man is a creature created in the image and likeness of God. He is not a mere animal. That he's the lord of creation, that the image of God, which means his reason and his power to criticise and evaluate, and to control himself. This image of God is in him. And that is man essentially. Well, then why is man as he is? Well that is because he rebelled against this, rebelled against God, and regards himself as a god. And he is incapable of functioning as such. The result is, here, we've got chaos. But this is a unified view.


Bakewell: There’re some of the elements that you find wrong with the modern image of man. Now you say that he's put...he's treated as less than man, but in respect of the animal instincts and the research that has been done into man as a naked ape and the victim of the environment and heredity. Now you cannot presumably quarrel with the actual facts that have been scientifically ascertained about this.


Dr. Jones: I would, a little bit, query this scientifically ascertained. You see so much today is as certain as fact in a realm of science which is nothing but theory and hypothesis. This is one of the great troubles, it seems to me today. And, I’m not only sceptical about it, I tend to ridicule it for this reason that I know in my medical training, we were told, you see, that a hundred years ago they regarded the thyroid gland as a vestigial remains, no function. But we know now that we can’t live without it. And they are still saying that about the appendix. Usually they said this about so much. This is the arrogance of modern man. Because his knowledge is limited, he makes these wild assertions that can’t be proved. All I’m prepared to agree with is this: that man today is behaving like an animal. But the question is why.

Bakewell: You say in one of your books that the very essence of the problem is in the nature of sin. And you also say that, in fact, sin has also been part of man’s nature but sin used to be ashamed of itself, whereas, today, sin excuses itself.


Dr. Jones: Yes. I don’t think I’ve ever said that sin is an essential part of man. Man, I would say, as the bible teaches, was originally perfect, but since man’s original fall, sin has been a part of human nature. And that has been true, of course, throughout the centuries. I would say that the story of humanities is just a proof of this fact that man is sinful now by nature. And this is bound to show itself.


Bakewell: What you quarrel with is that the initial assumption about man today is that he’s basically good, but he goes astray and the blame must be put elsewhere. Now, indeed there is some legitimacy in that point of view, in that poverty and pressure and exploitation does set many problems for man in which he doesn’t always behave well. Would you not subscribe to it at all?


Dr. Jones: Yes. This is where we’ve got to start with man as he is today. My quarrel is, with the general outlook of today, is this that they begin to talk about treatment before they establish to true diagnosis. Now, I can’t help putting it like this you see. It’s a very poor doctor who medicates symptoms and isn’t aware of the disease that is producing the symptoms. Well, to me, the disease is this fallen sinful nature of man. And because that is true, none of your medication of the symptoms is going to deal with the problem. And I maintain that this is what history is teaching us, that with all our advantages today, the problem is as great as ever.

Bakewell: What then is the nature of man’s sin that you wish us to recognize?

Dr. Jones: It is this. It isn’t so much that he does things that are wrong, and that thereby makes himself miserable. No, I think this is an important point, if I may say so, I’m glad you asked that question. There are some people who represent sin as a sickness, and say that ‘man is sick’. There are a lot of Christians who would say this. Well, I agree that man is sick. But to me, that’s not the essence of the problem. The essence of the problem is that man is a rebel, and he is sick because he is a rebel. In other words, the business of Christianity, ultimately, is not simply to make us feel happier, or even to make us live a better life. It is to reconcile us to God. Man, you see, from this biblical standpoint, was never meant to be autonomous or self-contained. This is my quarrel with the modern view. They regard man as autonomous -- he is the master of his fate, the captain of his soul. It is so obviously ridiculous, because he isn’t. However, this is where they start.

Whereas, I start by saying, that man was not only not meant to be autonomous, and can’t be and can’t act as such, but, he only functions truly when he lives his life under God; the God who made him, and made him in a given way and has put laws in his nature. Well, man doesn’t respond to this essential law of his being and is quarreling with his maker; he’s bound to go wrong. He’s bound to be miserable in what he does. He’ll produce chaos. And he has done so throughout the centuries. This is the whole story of the human race. But, it isn’t merely that he’s sick; it’s that his attitude towards his maker is wrong. Now, the apostle Peter, for instance, puts it in a phrase like this that Christ came into the world to bring us to God. That’s why Christianity must never be thought of as a sort of cult which heals your body, enables you to sleep at night and stop worrying… now, that they turn it into a cult.

The real object is to bring man to his true position, which is that he’s in communion with his maker and he’s living to the glory of his maker. Now, there’s a very well-known definition of this, a Scottish confession of faith, a Presbyterian confession of faith, known as the Westminster Confession of Faith. They produced a shorter catechism, and the first question in that is about man: ‘What is the chief end of man?’ And this is the answer: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’ But, do you see the order? You glorify God. Well, let me put it in another way to you. A clever fellow, a lawyer, I don’t know why they tackled Jesus Christ, and said, ‘Which is the first and the greatest commandment of the law?’ You see, they were dealing with about 613 commandments, and they were arguing about which one is the greatest. Well, that fellow had a great shock when Christ answered him. He said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind and all thy strength. That is the first and the chiefest commandment. The second is liken to it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’(Matthew 22:37-39) Now today, people start with the second and forget the first.




Bakewell: You know, this point of view is obviously held with great conviction by you. But, I would have thought it brought you into great conflict not only with people who don’t subscribe to the Christian religion, but to many other Christians too.


Dr. Jones: Well, of course it does, but I’m sorry about this; this is something I deeply regret. But, this isn’t the first time, you know, that minority has been right. And, in any case, we don’t decide this kind of question by counting heads. I know nothing about these things primarily, apart from what I find in the Bible. But, I maintain that the story of the human race, and the story of civilization is a proof of the truth of the Bible.


Bakewell: But, what I would suggest is that whereas they would tolerate your point of view as rather different and divergent view of Christianity, you are unprepared to tolerate their view as a possible version of the truth.


Dr. Jones: I am, of course I am. And for this I say, of course, quite deliberately, for this reason: that Christianity is a very exclusive and dogmatic faith. Take the apostle Paul, for instance, writing- ‘Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that you have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’ (Galatians 1:8) He puts it like that. Now, you may say, ‘That’s the arrogance of Paul.’ I say, ‘No, this man has been given his message, he has received it by revelation. It isn’t his point of view.’ If a man asserts his own point of view, as a result of his own thinking, in this intolerant manner, well, he’s a –, he’s not to be tolerated; he’s a hopeless fellow. But, when you are given truth, what you claim is truth from God, well, then you have no right to be anything but intolerant. When I find people insinuating their own theories and ideas, and using the name of Christ, well, I have to protest. This is dishonest, apart from anything else, in my opinion.

Bakewell: But, nonetheless, sir, it’s a highly regarded Christian virtue these days to be both charitable and tolerant with people of different views of oneself. Do you disapprove of that?


Dr. Jones: Again, for the same reason, I am bound to. Christ Himself said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.’ (John 14:6)  He says all others have been thieves and robbers. (Ref. John 10:1-15)  So when I find the thieves and robbers being accepted into the church, and their views being tolerated and praised, surely I am bound to protest. The point is this, that Christ- we claim, I claim-  is unique; you mustn’t put anybody near Him. You mustn’t mention Him in the same category as Confucius, or the Buddha, or Mohammad, or anybody else. Why not? Well, because He is the only begotten Son of God. This isn’t my theory; this is Christianity. This is what the apostles preached.  They preached Jesus and the resurrection. Now, take a man like the apostle Paul; he, as a Pharisee, resented all this. The Pharisees regarded Christ as a blasphemer. ‘Who is this fellow? How can this man teach, never having learned Himself? Who is this man who claims to be equal with God?’ And Saul of Tarsus persecuted the church and he hated Christ. He says so. But then, he came to see that this was the Lord of glory. And he preached nothing else.


Bakewell: I must take you up on the social relevance of all the things you’ve been saying, because, if the church here on earth, the church militant here on earth, has a role to play in the lives of all people, whether Christian or not, and I wonder whether the dogma, the dogmatic nature of the church, as you speak of it, doesn’t inhibit you from having a role in the lives of ordinary people. A lot of people would find it, in a sense, easier to reject you, than someone who you would regard as 'liberal social minded regimen'.


Dr. Jones: Precisely. And that’s why the world is as it is. That’s exactly the explanation. You’ve put it very perfectly. Now, I cannot accept the statement that the church is a social institution in your sense. A church, to me, consists of people  who are truly Christian. Now then, you say: What is the relevance of this to the social conditions and the problems? Well, I would say that it is the business of individual Christians to play their part in society. And, of course, historically, this is what is the most interesting.

The church has had its greatest influence upon society and social conditions when she’s been most evangelical. Now, this isn’t, again, my theory. I can establish this. I was in Scotland last week, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of John Knox. You read the accounts of the conditions in Scotland before Knox, and he’s always charged with intolerance and  all the things you were saying, but that man changed the life of the whole of Scotland. He introduced an educational system, he changed it morally, politically, and in every respect. The Puritans did it in this country. Cromwell, don’t forget was an evangelical Christian. And then, you come on to the 18th century, you have the evangelical awakening, and the Whitfieldand the Wesley’s, that did more to improve social conditions in this country than all the dabbling of ecclesiastics in politics.



Bakewell: You know, and yet, it’s often alleged against evangelicals that they promise salvation at the end of life and don’t, in fact, apply themselves to relieving man’s lot here on earth. Now, how concerned are you with man’s lot here on earth?


Dr. Jones: Well, I’m very concerned. And I’ve always criticized that particular presentation of evangelicalism. To me it wasn’t biblical. You see, the biblical view of man is that he’s to function in society. For instance, Paul’s teaching is that the powers that be are ordained of God. That magistrates, and all, are ordained by God. There are two elements in my position:
Man fundamentally needs this Gospel, which can renew him and renovate him, and make a new man of him. But in the meantime, he’s a believer in law and order, because sin must be held within bounds. If you don’t have magistrates and punishment and so on, you’ll get chaos. And, I think we’re witnessing a great deal of it at the present time. But this is a part of the whole Christian position. And Christian people, in the past, have played their part in politics and in various other aspects of Christian life. Unfortunately, in the last 100 years or so, I agree, they have been somewhat guilty of the charge that you bring against them. But a number of us, by now, I think, that’s more or less gone. I find today that most evangelical Christians are very much concerned about the social implications and are laying a great stress upon it.


Bakewell: Can we go back to this matter on ‘man having lost his sense of sin, and therefore not being in a situation of being able to be saved'. I would say, a great many people now feel that matters of sin are less than their immediate concern. And that being so, do you see much possibility of your point of view prevailing?


Dr. Jones: I not only see the possibility, I already see it happening. I find people are turning back to this. I’m travelling about the country a great deal now. I was telling you, I was in Scotland last week, I was in Glasgow wednesday night; I preached to 2,100 people. Well, it seems to me that something’s happening. I find, politicians, have it very difficult to get 50 people to listen to them. In other words, I believe, people are beginning to realize the utter bankruptcy of most of what’s been offered them, and are turning, perhaps vaguely, and even wistfully back in the direction of this great authoritative message of the New Testament, which I maintain is only represented by the evangelical standpoint. And we’ve got to bring them to an awareness of this. Of course they’re ignorant, but that’s the business of preaching.

Bakewell: But, isn’t this need for an authoritative line, whatever it might be, in conflict with the other trend in man’s development, which is for self expression, fulfillment, self realization, which you actually disapprove of?


Dr. Jones: Well, yes, of course I do, because man as he is, the more he expresses himself, the worst things become. You see, if each man is autonomous,  and is to express himself or herself, you’re bound to get conflict, aren’t you? If each one of us is a god, and I determine I do what I think is right, well, you would think differently. Well, there’s a clashing immediately and you get chaos. You see, we must both of us, unto all others submit ourselves to God. We’ve got an authority outside of ourselves. And we have a motive and a reason and a purpose. You see, when people deny this, you must get chaos. And you’ve got it. This is the tragedy. And so, my business is to call people back to this. You’ve got, first of all, to show them why things are as they are. They’ve got to be clear about this. There’s no hope until they are. Now, I know that there are people going around today saying, ‘Jesus loves you…’ and so on. Well, if I was to be on the street, I would say, ‘Well, what about it? Who is your Jesus? I don’t want Him. I’ve got a car, I’ve got a refrigerator, I’ve got a television set; what are you bothering about? I’m not interested.’ That is my reply to them. You see, the Old Testament is the law, and as Paul puts it: the law was our schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24), to show us our need. Now, when people confront the 10 commandments, there they see their failure. And it’s only when they realize this, truly, they see their failure. And it’s only people who see their failure, who are ready to listen to the offer of salvation.


Bakewell: Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, thank you very much!


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