Wednesday 8 June 2016

Outstanding Theology: Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume 1

There is a mis-conception that is common today. It is that theology is only for theologians. Theology is the study of God and therefore this line of study belongs to the whole church. While it is true that we cannot distil Christianity down to simply a desire for personal study, none the less studying the right materials is a valuable aid to nourish the church. Christ Jesus has ordained that he sends teachers to his church and we all need to be taught. Indeed we should want to be taught and we should pray to be teachable.

A few months ago, I set out to read the "Collected Writings of John Murray: The Claims of Truth, Volume 1". This reading has been for my own personal spiritual nourishment. While Murray is not new to me, these writings have been fresh to my soul in recent times. I commend this particular book and any books by John Murray because he is probably one of the finest and most faithful Reformed theologians of the last century.

John Murray (1898-1975) was from Sutherland, Scotland, but he spent his life-labours teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary in the USA. He was ordained with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and he has had a continued and profound impact on those who have studied him. The particular volume I am recommending has superlative teaching on the "Moral Law and the Fourth Commandment". Chapter 43 on "The Importance of the Westminster Confession" is a classic and perhaps I need to say more on chapter 18 on another blog post on "The Propagation of the Reformed Faith in New England". We need the propagation of the Reformed Faith in Old England in our own generation.

Perhaps by reading this volume by John Murray, it can help some to be much clearer in their theology, ideas about worship and also the doctrine of the church. We need to find a church which is faithful to the Reformed faith and then to support it. May there be a recovery of sound doctrine, sound preaching and sound churches in our own day.

'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes: “ ‘The LORD bless you, O habitation of righteousness, O holy hill!’ And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jeremiah 31:23–25)'.

My desire is for a return to the "ancient paths" in the church so that our Lord's flocks are nourished. We long for our LORD to restore the fortunes of the church. May we pray for the good of the LORD's church.

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