In a discussion about the reasons why Dr. Lloyd-Jones discontinued the candidates class at his church, Iain Murray makes reference to the first book review Dr. Lloyd-Jones ever wrote. The book reviewed was A. T. Schofield’s Christian Sanity, which had much that was agreeable to Dr. Lloyd-Jones. But, Dr. Lloyd-Jones took issue with the author’s statement that “nearly 75 per cent out of 1,000 Christians questioned were converted before the age of 20.”
Here are Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s comments:
From this, Schofield tends, as many others definitely do, to conclude that conversion is somehow related to puberty and its concomitant changes. One wonders whether there is not a grave danger here of confusing ‘confirmation or acceptance into full membership’ with ‘conversion’. To me, there is nothing which is quite so pernicious and detrimental to the true interests of Christianity as this association of ‘conversion’ with a certain age period. There is no question but that this teaching is responsible for all the concentration upon ‘the young people’ which characterises our church work in these days, and makes many a minister and deacon say woefully: ‘The young people and children are our only hope – we must concentrate upon them.’ Such statements and such a belief show a lack of faith and set a limit upon the power of God. The Gospel recognises no such limit – there is hope to the end, to the eleventh hour. There is as much hope today for the middle-aged and the aged as there is for the young people. It may be more difficult to teach morality and ethics to the older people or to teach one’s own special fads and fancies with respect to the Christian life, but to ‘The Help of the helpless’ and ‘Hope of the hopeless’ there are no such distinctions. Yea, indeed, the besetting sin of most who are concerned in Christian work is to concentrate on one particular age or one particular truth instead of delivering ‘the whole counsel of God’ to all and sundry whoever or whatever they may be. Concentration upon the young is a large part of the genius and success of Roman Catholicism, but surely it is the very antithesis of the genius of Protestantism. It is one thing to produce a religious man – men can do that – but it takes the power of God in Jesus Christ to produce a Christian man, and there is no limit to that power.
– pages 161-162, D. M. Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years