Friday, 19 December 2014

Martyn Lloyd Jones interview with Joan Bakewell - post-Christian Britain on the cusp between Old and New Left in 1970


This is a fascinating 20 minute TV interview from 1970 - another era - with the influential evangelical Protestant pastor Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899-1981).

(Despite significant theological differences; I have a great fondness, respect and admiration for MLJ - and would regard him as one of the very best preachers I have come across  - see much more at )


What makes this significant is that the interviewer is someone regarded as a doyen of the British media and a figurehead for mainstream Leftist modernity - Joan Bakewell, now a Baroness.

At this time, Bakewell was nearly always referred to as 'the thinking man's crumpet'  - 'crumpet' being a slang word for a 'fanciable' young woman - but typically of low socioeconomic status and low intelligence; while Bakewell was upper class, a Cambridge graduate, and an insider of the Leftist artistic elite.

In sum, Bakewell was iconic as the original attractive, intellectual, go-ahead woman media figure in the UK; and was an advocate of the sexual revolution both professionally and in her personal life. In the 1960s Bakewell had a long-term 'affair' with Harold Pinter while both were married to other people - Pinter himself being the iconic radical playwright of that era and a later recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature. 


So the confrontation - as it were - in this interview was very much the Old Britain versus the New; and the subject matter of 'modern man' brings this to the fore.

But 1970 was on the other side of the modern domination of the West by hysterical politically-correct secular Leftism; and reveals a lost era of civility and consecutive thought. Bakewell shows she is amused by, and is rather condescending to, Lloyd Jones, but unfailingly polite and reasonable.

MLJ is not badgered or interrogated but given all the opportunity he needs to make his views lucid. TV viewers of that era could see both sides present their views as they wanted, and make up their own minds.


But such 'neutrality' was an inevitably-brief transitional stage, 1970 being a time 'on the cusp' between the Old Left as relative underdogs and the New Left as overseers and commissars.

Still, a fascinating social document.



stephens said...

Thanks, great interview.
I think I will try a few of his sermons from the website.

Nathan said...

I'm only 30, so it's profound to me how dramatically the world has shifted views. The mainstream religious leaders assert the interviewers positions, while MLJ sounds extreme for simply asserting a basic Christian viewpoint.

Stirner said...

What a great interview.

I think it's a great idea to meditate on the purpose of why we do things. Why should we have our streets be clean, our homes beautiful- why should we bother to tell the truth to other people? Because we must (because it is our job and we are paid to do our job) or because these things highlight the duty and gift of god?

I am convinced now that when I read something or see something great that I can see the reflected glory of god in it, and think that the person who created such things must have been inspired by a higher power.

I think that is the reason why people find it so abhorrent to find out that an actor or writer or some such great person that they love the works of, turns out to be a mean or nasty or in some way unlovable person in their personal life. How is it possible for such a person who is so corrupt to have created that which we find beautiful? I think the problem is not so much that we are disgusted by the sins of the person, but that we were fooled, or we fooled ourselves, into thinking that something that was not beautiful was. For how can something beautiful come out of ugliness?

Maybe I am wrong here in this assertion and should think on it a bit more...

Bruce Charlton said...

@Stirner - I would say that all human produced beauty is a product of people who are corrupt - to some significant extent; because that is how humans are.

At the very least, many great geniuses productive of wonderful work were petty, conceited, bad-mannered, greedy, lustful, prone to intoxication, addicted to alcohol or tobacco or drugs... and so on.

This cannot be made sense of in a this-worldly context - such a perspective leads to despair; but Christians regard this mortal world as intrinsically imperfect, a place of trials and errors and repentance; humans as a mixture of good and evil, nobility and sordidness; spiritual striving and hedonistic selfishness.

Perfection, purity, absolute beauty and indomitable virtue are real; but not-of-this-world. So our ultimate hope is based on reality, but must be not-of-this-world.

knifecatcher said...

In 2010, Bakewell criticised the side effects of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. She said:

"I never thought I would hear myself say as much, but I'm with Mrs Whitehouse on this one. The liberal mood back in the '60s was that sex was pleasurable and wholesome and shouldn't be seen as dirty and wicked. The Pill allowed women to make choices for themselves. Of course, that meant the risk of making the wrong choice. But we all hoped girls would grow to handle the new freedoms wisely. Then everything came to be about money: so now sex is about money, too. Why else sexualise the clothes of little girls, run TV channels of naked wives, have sex magazines edging out the serious stuff on newsagents' shelves? It's money that's corrupted us and women are being used and are even collaborating."

Bruce Charlton said...

@k - Yes, sensible points. But the main problems are not really about money. The problems are things like wholesale societal promotion of promiscuous sex outside of marriage, promotion of divorce, deliberate destruction of marriage and the family as ideals, loss of social sanctions against wrong behaviour etc.