THE FOLLOWING BLOG WAS WRITTEN IN MAY BUT ACCIDENTALLY LEFT OFF THE WEBSITE. IT IS BEING REPRODUCED BECAUSE IT IT IS STILL TRUE...
This past weekend, we had Iain Murray and his wife Jean with us for the weekend. What a dear brother and how he has ministered to so many over the years in giving leadership to THE BANNER OF TRUTH and to his profoundly helpful books. Iain's labors combine a love for Christ, experiential Calvinism, biblical Christianity, meaningful biography, cogent church history, and theology that is alive. Those who have read any of his books know what I am writing about.
In his honor I am highlighting his books, and why Christians should read them. I am not listing all of his books below; one or two are omitted for space and time considerations. All of them are published by THE BANNER OF TRUTH. When you read one, you shall know just what I am trying to describe. Read one and see for yourself.
THE FORGOTTEN SPURGEON--when Iain wrote this in the mid-sixties, Spurgeon was a forgotten figure, believe it or not. His name is loved in most Christian households today but fifty years ago, he was largely forgotten. What little of his memory that was kept alive was that he was a preacher with a big church who liked to tell jokes. What a travesty of history to misrepresent God's grace in this man's life! Iain rehabilitated Spurgeon for us today and the barnacles of untruth that surrounded his memory.
SPURGEON VS. HYPER-CALVINISM--whenever true biblical religion (Calvinism) is raised up by God, hyper-Cavinism soon rears its head. Iain explains what causes hyper-Calvinism and how Charles Spurgeon faced it in the mid-19th century and sought to combat it. A most important book for all who loved the doctrines of God's saving grace in Christ.
THE PURITAN HOPE (Revival and the Interpretation of
Prophecy)--the Puritans believed that God was going to send a great revival that would sweep multitudes into Christ's kingdom. While many of them were post-millenial in their view of biblical prophecy, one does not have to be a post-millenial Christian to rejoice in the biblical truths they mined and expounded and how this all relates to revival, missions and evangelism. An important book for church office bearers and all Christians who pray.
D. MARTYN LLOYD-JONES [1899-1939] (The First
Forty Years)--This is the only book I have read 12 times. I read it that many times because I was swimming upstream in our culture AND the evangelical sub-culture. Reading about MLJ's conversion and call to the ministry refreshed my own memory of my conversion and later call to the gospel ministry. Subsequent chapters dealt with such issues as A DIFFERENT KIND OF PREACHING (MLJ did not seek to curry favor with his hearers nor did he assume they were all Christian just because they were in church. He asked men and women to think and he searched their consciences.); A LEADER WITHOUT A PARTY (MLJ was going in one direction while broad evangelicalism was going in another); REVIVAL (this chapter will stir you to holiness and make you weep with a holy desire to see revival in our time); THE CHURCH FAMILY (how he pastored the men and women of this poor church); etc. I would make this book mandatory annual reading for every seminary student and young minister (i. e. the first ten years of ministry).
D. MARTYN LLOYD-JONES [1939-1981] (The Fight of
Faith)--MLJ ministered in Aberavon in Wales for 12 years until he took a brief rest and went to Westminster Chapel, London, then the largest city in the world. He had the largest Protestant church in Great Britain. This is the story of the phenomenal ministry he had in the United Kingdom and eventually around the world. There are too many important lessons to begin to list them here. Should be read by every maturing minister of the gospel and literate elders, age 35 and above.
LLOYD-JONES, MESSENGER OF GRACE--MLJ had been claimed and disclaimed by many since his death. Iain Murray puts to right some of the wrong impressions and statements made about MLJ and shows how he stood for experiential Calvinism. Includes a NOT TO BE MISSED CD of MLJ preaching--buckle your seat belt before you listen to this powerful, spiritual preaching!)
JONATHAN EDWARDS: A NEW BIOGRAPHY--the study and analysis of Jonathan Edwards has become something of a growth industry. Once an ignored and despised figure in American church history and high school English classes who were required to read his "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", Edwards is being re-habilitated and recognized for the spiritual and theological giant that he was. One recent reviewer of several of Edwards biographers gave his opinion that of all of them, Iain Murray probably understood Edwards best and thus represented him best. Murray's distillation of Edwards' classic analysis and defense of the Great Awakening, THE RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS, is worth the price of the book alone.
WESLEY AND MEN WHO FOLLOWED--John Wesley was no Calvinist but he was a Bible Christian who did much good as an evangelist. He was not a great theologian. Learn how Wesley went astray in his thinking. But before you chortle with glee that you can spot the flaws in your brother's doctrine, read about his powerful evangelistic preaching and that of the men who followed him into the ministry. It made me weep with shame that I do so little for Christ.
REVIVAL AND REVIVALISM (The Marking and Marring
of American Evangelicalism) [1750-1858]--before the American Revolutionary War, most Christians in the American colonies were Calvinists of one stripe or another (Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Anglicans, Dutch Reformed, et al). But within the next century, changes were taking place in the thinking of the post-Revolutionary War American mind-set that would make Arminianism the favored teaching of American Christians. Read Iain Murray as he carefully explained what happened and the sad results.
EVANGELICALISM DIVIDED (A Record of Crucial
Change in the Years 1950 to 2000)--a sea change has come over evangelical Christians during the period marked out by Mr. Murray. He carefully and faithfully shows who believed what and why; who changed in their thinking; whose strategy bore good, enduring fruit and whose strategy bore bitter fruit. R. C. Sproul said that if it were within his power, he would make every American pastor and office bearer read this book, it is that important!
THE OLD EVANGELICALISM (Old Truths for a New
Awakening)--read what older evangelicals of all stripes once believed and preached and practiced and prayed for. We don't need a new gospel for a new century or a new millenium, we need the old gospel preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent down from God.
THE LIFE OF ARTHUR W. PINK--when Arthur Pink died in 1952, he was called "the last of the Puritans". His hearty and heart-felt classic Protestant religion was out of sort with the post-World War I generation and he found himself isolated and cut off from his Baptist brethren in America, Australia and the United Kingdom. God called him to write and for decades he produced a monthly magazine of biblical studies and practical application of the Scriptures. Read why he needs to be better known, warts and all, today.
A SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN HERITAGE--the northern section of Great Britain is Scotland, the land of the Picts and the Scots--peoples the Romans once were afraid of and built Hadrian's wall to keep them at bay in the north of this island kingdom. But God most graciously intervened and saved and grew up multitudes of Scottish believers who have enriches the churches worldwide. Read about some of your heroes and how God used them in the past--and can through their example and teachings use us n the future.
HEROES--we need men and women who challenge us to live more holy lives, to live more stretched out for Christ, to love Christ more and aim more for His glory. Iain gives us the story of seven men who being dead still challenge us today:
1. JONATHAN EDWARDS--THE MAN & THE LEGACY
2. GEORGE WHITEFIELD AND CHRISTIAN UNITY
3. JOHN NEWTON--'A WONDER TO MYSELF'
4. THOMAS CHARLES OF BALA (Wales)
5. TWO MEN AND AN ISLAND--amazing chapter!
6. CHARLES AND MARY COLCOCK JONES: ANOTHER
VIEW OF THE OLD SOUTH
7. SPURGEON AS AN EVANGELIST
These men and their ministries under God are a mighty encouragement to read this book!
PENTECOST--TODAY?--are the so-called manifestations of the Holy Spirit that are claimed for today really a work of the Holy Spirit? Are we in another time like Pentecost in the book of Acts? How can we understand and diagnose what is going on today? What is a true revival ? What is religious fanaticism?
All pastors and office bearers should read this book as they pray for revival.
ARCHIBALD G. BROWN (Spurgeon's Successor)--most Christians, even Christian leaders have never heard of Archibald Brown, a successor to the great Charles Spurgeon in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. But as Calvinism fell out of intellectual and spiritual favor in the early 20th century. so did the memories of many worthies who held to and cherished these doctrines and what they told of the saving purposes of God. Brown was a mighty man of God with a heart for God's people and the lost all around him in London.
Thank you Iain Murray for your gifts to Christ and His churches. May we stand on your shoulders and see a bit farther than we otherwise might have and live as better Christians as a result.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin