Lloyd Jones Meets T.T. Shields

In June of 1932, Martyn Lloyd Jones made his first trip to Canada. T.T. Shields, the infamous pastor of Jarvis Street Baptist Church, asked to meet with Lloyd Jones and Jones agreed. Here’s Jones’ account of the meeting from Iain Murray’s biography:

Shields came to fetch me and we had lunch. We talked on general subjects and then we went to sit in the garden. There, as we drank coffee, he suddenly turned to me and said, ‘Are you a great reader of Joseph Parker?’ I replied, ‘No, I am not.’ ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘I get nothing from him.’ ‘Man!’ he said, ‘what’s the matter with you?’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘it’s all very well to make these criticisms of the liberals but he doesn’t help me spiritually.’ ‘Surely you are helped by the way he makes mincemeat of the liberals?’ ‘No, I am not,’ I responded. ‘You can make mincemeat of the liberals and still be in trouble in your own soul.’ ‘Well,’ Shields said, ‘I read Joseph Parker every Sunday morning. He winds me up—puts me right.’ I felt my opening had come, so we began. We had a great debate. He was a very able man and we argued the issue about which I disagreed with him. In defence of his attitude he said, ‘Do you know, every time I indulge in what you call one of these “dog-fights” the sales of the Gospel Witnessgo right up. What about that?’ ‘Well,’ I replied, ‘I have always observed that if there is a dog-fight a crowd gathers, I’m not at all surprised. People like that sort of thing.’ Then he brought up another argument. He said, ‘Now, you are a doctor and you are confronted by a patient who has got cancer. You know that if that cancer is not removed it is going to kill the patient. You don’t want to operate but you have to do so because it is going to save the patient’s life. That is my position. I don’t want to be doing this kind of thing, but there is this cancer and it has got to be removed. What do you say to that?’ I responded, ‘What I say to that is this: I am a physician but there is such a thing as “a surgical mentality”, or of becoming what is described as “knife-happy”. I agree, there are some cases where you have got to operate, but the danger of the surgeon is to operate immediately. He thinks in terms of operating. Never have an operation without having a second opinion from a physician.’At this point Shields got up, walked down the garden and then came back to re-open the conversation: ‘Well,’ he queried, ‘what about this: you remember Paul in Galatians 2? He had to withstand Peter to the face. He did not want to do it. Peter was an older apostle, a leader and so on. Paul did it very reluctantly, but he had to do it for the sake of the truth. I am in exactly that position. What do you say to that?’ ‘I would say this,’ I responded, ‘that the effect of what Paul did was to win Peter round to his position and make him call him “our beloved brother Paul”. Can you say the same about the people whom you attack?’ Shields was finished…[and] I made a great appeal to him. I said, ‘Dr. Shields, you used to be known as the Canadian Spurgeon…[but] you suddenly changed and became negatory and denunciatory. I feel it has ruined your ministry. Why don’t you come back! Drop all this, preach the gospel to people positively and win them!’ (272-273). (HT: Jake Belder)