Roland Lamb, 1917-2011
The Rev. the Hon. Roland Lamb died on November 23, aged 94.
The son of Lord Rochester, he trained for the Methodist ministry after graduating from Cambridge University. He served as a chaplain in the Middle East during World War II and afterwards in churches in South Shields, Walton-on-Naze, Aberystwyth and Cornwall.
During the 1950s, he was seconded to IVF (now UCCF) for several years as a travelling secretary among student Christian Unions.
In 1967, deeply troubled by the denomination’s increasing departure from fundamental gospel truths, he seceded from Methodism. He and his family moved to St. Albans to be part-time Associate Pastor of Spicer Street Independent Chapel and part-time General Secretary of the British Evangelical Council. The BEC had been in existence for about 20 years; but following Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s passionate appeal, at a famous 1966 meeting in Westminster Central Hall, for evangelicals to come together in a new unity with each other, the BEC assumed a much more important role. Its work grew rapidly and two years later Roland Lamb became full time in his role as Gen. Sec., but continued as Moderator of the church at Spicer Street. Following the appointment of a new pastor there, he remained as a highly valued and much loved elder until his retirement from the BEC in 1982.
His BEC role was not easy and there were doubtless many discouragements. Much time had to be given to organisational and administrative matters and he had no secretarial help. But his preaching around the country was greatly valued, as was his great gift of personal friendship. He was a people person and, unlike a good many ministers, he was a good and patient listener! These qualities, together with his own painful and costly experience of leaving Methodism, fitted him admirably to be a counsellor and encourager of those who were facing, or had faced already, a similar decision.
Eyes on heaven
A friend has described his preaching as always expository, always faithful to the Bible, always clear, always well applied, always warm and passionate, and always Christ glorifying. In the autumn of 1972, at very short notice, he had to give the final address in place of Dr. Lloyd-Jones who had been taken ill. He preached on 2 Chronicles 20.12 — part of Jehoshaphat’s prayer when he was facing a major attack: ‘We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you’. His exposition summed up his own deep convictions about the state of evangelicalism then (and doubtless now) about the unique sufficiency, grace and power of God to transform apparently hopeless situations, and thus also about the priority of prayer.
Many have much cause to thank God for Roland Lamb’s ministry as a pastor, preacher, Christian leader and faithful praying friend. He is survived by his wife Jill.