Let’s Meet J. D. Jones

post date: August 6, 2010

J. D. Jones of Bournemouth
In 1898 a young man named J. D. Jones became the pastor of the Richmond Hill Congregational Church in Bournemouth, a popular English seaside resort. The church building is located near the Central Square so that whoever preached there could draw people from all directions. That’s what J. D. Jones did for 40 years. He was called “the man with the mouth of gold” because his preaching was so clear, so powerful, and so convicting. One source says that “he had his place among the chief celebrities of the pulpit in England in his day and possessed an enchanting gift which drew large crowds to listen to him.” Another writer noted these three qualities in his preaching:

1. A faith that never wandered from the central things,
2. Ease and simplicity in expounding it,
3. An appealing winsomeness in commending it.

Besides being a pastor of a local congregation, he became friends with many other noted ministers, including G. Campbell Morgan and (late in life) Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 

Regarding his theology, John Bishop sums it up very simply:

He was from first to last an evangelical. To Jones the only thing worth preaching was the gospel of the grace of God and the redeeming life and death of Christ.

Bishop then adds this telling anecdote:

He was once asked to be a candidate for Parliament but replied in the words of Nehemiah: “I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down.” It is fitting that on his tombstone he is described simply as “Preacher of the Gospel.”

Though largely forgotten today, J. D. Jones deserves to be remembered and read. Warren Wiersbe includes a chapter on Jones in his book 50 People Every Christian Should Know. Because he ministered in the early decades of the 20th century, many of his books are now in the public domain. I have uploaded a pdf copy of a book he wrote called Paul’s Certainties, a collection of sermons published in 1900. I propose to go through the book a chapter a day, highlighting quotations that may encourage and challenge us spiritually. 

The book contains a little gem of a sermon called “Spiritual Shortsightedness.” When we consider the advance of sin in the world, it is tempting to think that God is losing and the devil is winning. But it is not so. The message ends with these stirring words:

What is it I see when I look out upon the world ? The nearest and most obvious facts are the facts of sin and wrong, and vice and selfishness, and irreligiousness, terrible enough to make any one despair.

But I look up and away, and I see in the place of supreme authority and dominion the Man of Calvary, with the nail-prints still in His hand, and the spear-gash still in His side, the Man who bought the world by dying for it, and when I see Him there I cannot despair—no, despite the sin and vice and apparently impregnable strongholds of Satan, I cannot despair, I am full of radiant and unquenchable hope, for I know He will not fail nor be discouraged till He have set judgment in the earth.

As they say, that’ll preach. And it should be preached, and we would be better off if we had more preaching like that. So I hope in the next few days to examine these fine sermons and let J. D. Jones of Bournemouth speak once again.


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