Christian parents rightly seek to share the Gospel (Good News) of salvation with their children and to lead them, at an early age if possible, to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior from sin. By God’s grace, some children do come to saving faith in Jesus early in life. But parents eager for their children’s salvation need to guard against assuming their kids have been saved simply because they’ve heard the Gospel and made some sort of an elementary profession such as “I asked Jesus into my heart” or “I believe in Jesus.”

Andrew Murray as a young man

Instead parents need to listen carefully for indications that their children have a clear understanding of the Gospel and an abiding trust in Christ and His death for them on the cross as their only means of salvation. Parents should also look for ongoing spiritual interest and fruit, which inevitably accompanies genuine salvation, in the lives of their children.

Andrew Murray, who eventually became arguably the greatest Christian preacher and devotional writer ever to come from South Africa, serves as an example of these truths concerning a young person’s salvation. Murray was raised by devout parents in a conservative Christian home and church until he was ten years of age (see my Jan. 29, 2015 Perspective on Murray’s upbringing entitled, “A Godly Parentage Is a Priceless Boon”). Throughout his growing up years he showed some sensitivity to spiritual matters. He had numerous opportunities to come to saving faith in Christ. But he did not do so until he was a theology student preparing for the Christian ministry. And until he did so, his parents never assumed his salvation but kept fervently praying for it.

Andrew Murray, Sr.

Andrew’s father, Andrew Murray, Sr., pastored the Dutch Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa, for over forty years. Opportunities for secondary and university education were severely limited in South Africa in the first half of the nineteenth century. So Murray, Sr., and his wife Maria made the painful decision in 1838 to send their two oldest sons, John and his younger brother Andrew, at the tender ages of twelve and ten, to live with an uncle, Rev. John Murray, in Aberdeen, Scotland. There the boys could receive a sound secondary and university education.

The year Andrew and John arrived in Scotland a dramatic spiritual awakening began sweeping across the country. In the spring and fall of 1840 William Chalmers Burns, the primary human agent used of God in igniting that bona fide revival, visited and ministered in Aberdeen for several weeks. He preached to densely crowded audiences in three separate churches each Sunday. Every weekday he led prayer meetings in the morning and afternoon, then gave a public address in the evening. Untold hundreds or even thousands of people came under pressing conviction of their sin, cried out to God for mercy and were saved at that time.

William Chalmers Burns, later as a missionary to China

Burns was a frequent guest in Rev. John Murray’s home. Andrew and John had the opportunity to converse with the evangelist about spiritual matters and to witness first-hand many of the stirring spiritual events then unfolding in Aberdeen. After leaving Aberdeen, Burns wrote Andrew and John, urging them not to delay in turning to Christ as their Savior. But despite all those advantages, neither Andrew nor John was converted under Burns’ ministry.

The Murray brothers excelled in their studies. They were admitted to Marischal College, Aberdeen, Andrew with an academic scholarship. While heartily commending them for their academic success, their father earnestly wrote to them about the greater importance of their Christian conversion: “I am well aware, my dear boys, that neither you nor I can ever change the heart. But let me entreat you both, with all the intense affection of a Christian clergyman and a loving father, to pray daily that God may in mercy be pleased to do so by His Holy Spirit. Many distinguished students have been taken away by death in the midst of their literary and scientific pursuits. And although I trust God will spare you long to be useful in the world, yet should He take one or another of you away in youth, the consolation of the bleeding hearts of parents would not be that you had excelled in human acquirements, however important in themselves, but that there was reason to believe that you died in the Lord.” 

Nine months later, on August 1, 1844, he wrote similarly: “Every parent wishes to see his family ‘getting on,’ as it is termed, but what unspeakable joy for the heart of a Christian parent to hear good ground for believing that his children shall have an eternal inheritance in Heaven! Oh!, when may I through the free grace of God have this soul’s joy with respect to you both? Do not think I am needlessly anxious. Every letter I write to you may be the last you may receive from me. One of our nearest neighbors spoke to me in tolerable health on Monday and died on Tuesday. This is a digression, but with such warnings we ought to live and act as dying creatures.”

Before that letter reached Aberdeen, Andrew had written to inform his father that he had decided to devote his life to pastoral ministry. After receiving that intelligence, the father immediately responded: “I have now to congratulate you on your choice of a profession, and rejoice that the Lord has been pleased to incline your heart the way He has done. I trust, however, my dear boy, that you have given your heart to Jesus Christ, to be His now and His forever, to follow Him through good and through bad report.”

Andrew and John graduated from Marischal College, the latter as the salutatorian of their class, the following spring. By then John had also determined to prepare for the Christian ministry, so he and Andrew decided to pursue their theological education at the Academy of Utrecht in Holland. There they joined a small group of consecrated students who had as their stated purpose “to promote the study of the subjects required for the ministerial calling in the spirit of the revival” that had visited Holland some twenty years earlier.

Sometime during his first autumn at Utrecht, Andrew Murray experienced a personal spiritual transformation that he ever afterwards called his conversion. In a letter dated November 14, 1845, he informed his parents of his spiritual rebirth: “My Dear Parents – It was with very great pleasure that I today received your letter containing the announcement of the birth of another brother. And equal, I am sure, will be your delight when I tell you that I can communicate to you far gladder tidings, over which angels have rejoiced, that your son has been born again. …

“For the last two or three years there has been a process going on, a continual interchange of seasons of seriousness and then forgetfulness, and then again of seriousness soon after. But after I came to Holland I think I was led to pray in earnest; more I cannot tell, for I know it not. ‘Whereas I was blind, now I see’ [John 9:25]. I was long troubled with the idea that I must have some deep sight of my sins before I could be converted. And though I cannot yet say that I have had anything of that deep special sight into the guiltiness of sin which many people appear to have, yet I trust, and at present I feel as if I could say, I am confident that as a sinner I have been led to cast myself on Christ. What can I say now, my dear Parents, but call on you to praise the Lord with me? At present I am in a peaceful state. I cannot say that I have had any seasons of special joy, but I think that I enjoy a true confidence in God.”

May many Christian parents today similarly have the blessing of wisely urging and fervently praying their children to Christ, even when a considerable number of years are involved in that process.

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Andrew Murray by Vance Christie

I have written a comprehensive biography on Murray entitled Andrew Murray, Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa. Much spiritual encouragement and instruction can be gained through the consideration of his outstanding life of service for Christ Jesus.

Copyright 2019 by Vance E. Christie

Young Andrew Murray

Young Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) is best known by Christians today as the author of several still-popular devotional classics. In his lifetime, however, he was equally well-known as a prominent, powerful preacher.

Throughout his active preaching career of some six and a half decades, hundreds and even thousands of people eagerly gathered to hear him preach. His sermons were characterized by overwhelming intensity, depth of spiritual insight and evident empowering by God’s Spirt that stirred, instructed and challenged his hearers.

Beginning in his early twenties, Murray conducted ministry tours to Dutch pioneers in the frontier regions northeast of Cape Colony, South Africa. Dutch settlers would assemble by the hundreds at pre-arranged meeting sites to hear the dynamic young preacher. An early Murray biographer related of his tremendous fervency on such occasions: “When preaching, so absorbed was he in his message that should he by his violent gestures knock down Bible and reading desk of the impromptu pulpit, he would not notice it.”

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Once an indigenous tribesman watched Murray closely as he preached with his habitual earnestness. The native did not understand a single word of what he heard but afterward stated his impression of what he had observed: “I never thought that the white men stood in such dread of their chiefs. Look at the young chief yonder [Murray]. He points his finger at the people; they sit quiet. He threatens them; they sit quiet still. He storms and rages at them; they sit as quiet as death!”

In 1895, at age sixty-seven, Murray was invited to speak at a number of prominent Christian conferences in Europe and America. An article in a popular British publication provided this description of his intense preaching:

“When preaching or conducting a service his whole being is thrown into the task, and he glows with a fervency of spirit which it seems impossible for human flesh to sustain. At times he startles and overwhelms the listeners. Earnestness and power of the electric sort stream from him, and affect alike the large audience or the quiet circle gathered round him. In his slight, spent frame, of middle height, he carries in repose a volcanic energy which, when he is roused, bursts its barriers and sweeps all before it. Then his form quivers and dilates, the lips tremble, the features work, as from the white-hot furnace of his spirit he pours the molten torrent of his unstudied eloquence. … Audiences bend before the sweeping rain of his words like willows before a gale. The heart within the hearer is bowed, and the intellect awed.”

Andrew Murray

Older Andrew Murray

Well into his eighties Murray continued to be a powerful, popular preacher who ministered at numerous churches and Christian conferences. He once was the featured speaker at a conference in which a new missionary enterprise to Sudan was being launched. One of the missionary candidates, who was well acquainted with Murray’s preaching ministry, reported:

“A lady was sitting close to me, and as Dr. Murray went up the pulpit steps, frail and gray and old, she asked: ‘Who is that old man? What a shame to make him go up those steps to preach.’  I smiled inwardly and thought, ‘My dear lady, you will be surprised tonight.’ Dr. Murray got up, he seemed to grow tall and majestic. In regard to the new work in the Sudan he once more spoke according to the oracles of God. ‘Forward!’ was his cry. Well, my lady was surprised, and more than surprised, pity made way for esteem. ‘What a voice for such a body!’ she exclaimed.”

Murray’s fervent preaching was reflective of his intimate, earnest personal relationship with the Lord.  His preaching was carried out—through dependence upon and empowering by the Holy Spirit—in the context of an extremely demanding ministerial career. By reading a complete account of Murray’s life and ministry (such as my recent biography, Andrew Murray, Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa) one is able to glean the keys to his powerful preaching ministry as well as the many other fruitful aspects of his Christian service.

Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie

Shaun Tabatt Show Ep 28 Vance Christie Andrew Murray Christian Focus

Last week I got to visit with Shaun Tabatt and share about my new book on the life of Andrew Murray. Listen to our interview below.

-Download the MP3: http://ow.ly/SMDUz
-Read the show notes: http://ShaunTabatt.com/028
-Subscribe to The Shaun Tabatt Show on iTunes: http://ow.ly/Pxz1x

To find out more about Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa, visit the Andrew Murray book page on my website.

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Why is it worthwhile to read an account of the life and ministry of Andrew Murray (1828-1917), the distinguished pastor-devotional writer from South Africa? Here’s a brief rundown of my top ten reasons:

  1. Andrew Murray became the most prominent South African minister of his day. He is almost certainly the premiere pastor ever to serve in that country. It’s certainly worth our while and to our benefit to get acquainted with such an outstanding Christian servant.
  2. Murray provides an inspiring example of active service of Christ, even under challenging circumstances, clear to the end of life. His entire adult life (age 20 to 88) was spent in consecrated Christian service. He often ministered under difficult pioneer conditions, despite personal health challenges, and under enormous ministry pressures. When he retired from full-time pastoral ministry at age seventy-eight, he continued right on in his active speaking and writing ministries for another decade.
  3. Murray also has much to teach us about the devotional-contemplative side of the Christian life. He was a man of prayer who maintained daily time for personal prayer and who prayed “without ceasing” by weaving prayer all through his many activities of the day. His mind was saturated with and continually fixed on Scriptural truths. That pronounced biblical focus resulted in his publishing nearly 240 works (including over seventy full-length books) on scores of different subjects, all from a sound spiritual perspective.
  4. Dutch Reformed Church of Wellington

    Dutch Reformed Church of Wellington, where Andrew Murray pastored for thirty-five years.

    Both during his lifetime and to this day Murray’s books have been widely read and appreciated by Christians throughout the world. His books are thoroughly spiritual, devotional and practical in nature. But because Murray’s books contain virtually no autobiographical material, many people who have greatly appreciated and profited from his writings know very little about his life and ministry. However, they can get to know the man behind the pen by reading a biography about him.

  5. Pastors will benefit from considering the ministerial career and powerful preaching ministry of this faithful fellow under-shepherd. Murray pastored four congregations over the course of fifty-seven years, including his last pastorate of thirty-five years. The settings for his pastoral ministries ranged from an isolated frontier settlement to the capital city of South Africa.  In addition to ministering to his own congregations, Murray was a popular preacher who carried out extensive speaking ministries at churches and Christian conferences throughout South Africa, as well as in Europe and America.
  6. Ministry leaders of various types will appreciate and learn from Murray’s vibrant, visionary leadership of numerous Christian causes. He served six terms, totaling some twenty-five years, as the Moderator of his denomination, the Dutch Reformed Church of Cape Colony. Murray threw his tremendous energies into: establishing schools throughout the Colony; actively evangelizing European settlers; founding foreign missionary societies to minister to unreached tribal groups beyond the Colony’s borders; supporting home mission endeavors that ministered to military personnel, the poor and moral outcasts; developing and promoting student ministries and the Higher Life Movement.
  7. Murray lived through two periods of bona fide spiritual awakening. As a twelve-year-old boy, while pursuing his education in Scotland, he witnessed the widespread revival that took place in that country in 1840 through the ministry of William Burns. Twenty years later, as a pastor in Worcester, South Africa, Murray participated in and helped promote the awakening that occurred throughout Cape Colony. The accounts of those two revivals are truly dramatic and stirring.
  8. Another great benefit to reading an account of Murray’s life is the opportunity to consider his amazingly-consistent Christlike character. In public and in private, whether dealing with hearty supporters or harsh critics, Murray manifested patience, kindness and gentleness. Throughout his ministry career he actively sought to promote Christian love and unity in the churches, communities and countries where he served, often in the face of deep divisions between various parties.
  9. While three other full-length biographies were previously written on Andrew Murray, two of those have been out of print for many decades. All three of those earlier biographies related only about half of Murray’s life in chronological order. They treated the ministry emphases of the latter half of his life (such as his promotion of education, evangelism and missions) in topical but non-chronological fashion. The biography I have written on Murray is the first to offer a chronological account of his life from start to finish, presenting the events and developments of his life and ministry in the order in which they unfolded.
  10. Historic Christian biography is an enjoyable and easy way to learn some history, both sacred and secular. As one reads the account of Murray’s life, a lot is learned about (to list only four of many subjects): the establishment and spread of Christianity in South Africa; some of the battles within the Christian Church in South Africa and Europe against encroaching theological liberalism; the settlement of European people groups in South Africa and their conflicts with indigenous tribes; tensions between the British government and Dutch settlers that led to South Africa’s tragic Boer Wars.

I hope you’ll read my recently-published Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa. Murray’s is an inspiring and instructive example well worth considering.

Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie

 

 

 

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

The massive amount of ministry Andrew Murray carried out all through his long ministerial career was truly impressive. Equally or perhaps even more impressive was the steady, sanctified spirit with which he carried out his many ministry demands, despite the considerable pressures he bore in doing so.

In 1864, at the age of 36, Murray became one of three co-pastors of Cape Town’s Dutch Reformed Church, with its constituency of 5,000 people. He served in that capacity for nearly seven years. Every Sunday Murray preached (usually more than once) at one of the two large churches in that metropolitan parish, normally to thousands of people, including many of the city’s leading citizens.  He held two weeknight services for fishermen and other poor individuals, and frequently spoke at one of the weekly services held at Cape Town’s three Dutch Reformed schools. Murray faithfully carried out pastoral visitation in the poorer districts of town. He also promoted ministry to young men by helping establish and serving as first president of a Cape Town chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association.

Groote Kerk (Great Church), Cape Town

Groote Kerk (Great Church), Cape Town

In addition, during those years Murray was Moderator of his denomination in Cape Colony. At that time stringent battles were being waged to resist the encroachment of theological liberalism. More than once Murray needed to be the primary representative of his denomination in court cases that came out of that period of marked controversy.

Besides their own eight children, Andrew and Emma Murray had other young people living in their home during those years. Those youths resided with the Murrays while pursuing their education in Cape Town. One of the young people, Frederick Kolbe, later bore this glowing testimony of his experience as part of the Murrays’ household:

“I hope that Mr. and Mrs. Murray knew by instinct how I loved them, but I never could tell them. … That was the time I saw Andrew Murray at the closest possible quarters. I may have been shy, but I certainly was observant. He was a very highly strung man. His preaching was so enthusiastic, his gesticulation so unrestrained, that he was wearing himself out, and the doctor ordered him to sit while preaching. So he had a special stool made for [the] great pulpit in order to obey the doctor without letting everybody know.

“Now, such an output of nervous energy (and he was a frequent preacher) might well mean some reaction at home – some irritation with his wife, some unevenness towards his children, some caprice towards the stranger within his gates. But no, I never saw him thrown off balance. His harmony with Mrs. Murray was perhaps easy; she was such a gracious, wifely, motherly person, that not to be in harmony with her would itself be self-condemnation. But he never did condemn himself. He was solid gold all through.”

Andrew Murray statue at Groote Kerk, Cape Town

Andrew Murray statue at Groote Kerk, Cape Town

Kolbe’s testimony of Murray’s pleasantness even in the privacy of his own home is all the more impressive given the enormous ministerial pressures and problems Murray faced throughout those years. “Why how is it you never get angry?” Murray was once asked. “It takes too much trouble to recover your good temper,” was his sage reply.

May God help each of us to grow in the ability not only to bear up under significant pressures and problems in life, but to do so with an even, pleasant Christlike spirit. We can do that as the Holy Spirit increasingly conforms us to the image of Christ.

For much more on Andrew Murray’s remarkable ministry career and his commendable Christian spirit see my newly-released biography, Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa.

Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

The mighty prayer meeting revival movement that swept across the United States in 1857-1858, next ignited powerful revivals in Ireland and Wales in 1859, then brought widespread spiritual awakening to South Africa in 1860-1861. After the revival’s dramatic beginning in Montagu, South Africa (see my July 25, 2015, Perspective), it next spread to Worcester, where Rev. Andrew Murray, Jr., had recently been called as pastor.

The awakening there actually began on the farm of David Naude in the rural Breede River ward of the Worcester parish. Three individuals— Naude’s son Jan, Jan’s cousin Miss Van Blerk and an old native farmhand named Saul Pieterse—had been faithfully meeting weekly for several months to pray for revival. Miss Van Blerk taught the servants on the farm and was particularly distressed over their spiritually needy condition. She became so burdened for them that she prayed almost continuously for a week. Then one evening shortly thereafter, God’s Spirit moved suddenly and mightily on a meeting she was holding for them. Within a week nearly everyone on the farm was converted.

As news of these developments quickly spread, people from neighboring farms—“young and old, parents and children, white and colored”—promptly began streaming to the previously-neglected prayer meeting. Members from other parts of the parish and even from other congregations arrived at the Naude farm in carts and wagons. For three months the Naudes needed to suspend their farming activities to assist the many people coming to seek salvation.

Historic Dutch Reformed Church in Worcester, South Africa

Historic Dutch Reformed Church in Worcester, South Africa

Not long after the initial awakening at the Naude farm, the revival spread to Worcester itself. God’s Spirit so moved on a Sunday evening youth meeting that all sixty young people in attendance suddenly started praying simultaneously. The sense of God’s presence was so powerful that some of the youth felt compelled to kneel down to pray.

J. C. de Vries, a young man who witnessed the Worcester revival, later related: “After that the prayer meetings were held every evening. At the commencement there was generally great silence, but after the second or third prayer the whole hall was moved as before, and every one fell to praying. Sometimes the gathering continued till three in the morning. And even then many wished to remain longer, or returning homewards, went singing through the streets. The little hall was soon quite too small, and we were compelled to move to the school building, which also was presently full to overflowing, as scores and hundreds of country folk streamed into the village.”

On the first Saturday evening in the larger meetinghouse, Murray led the prayer meeting. After reading a passage of Scripture and making a few observations on it, he prayed. When he invited others to pray, everyone again began praying aloud all at the same time. Murray thought such praying disorderly, so descended from the platform and moved among the people, trying to quiet them.

That evening a stranger had been standing at the door from the beginning of the meeting. That unknown individual quietly approached Murray, gently touched him and said: “I think you are the minister of the congregation. Be careful what you do, for it is the Spirit of God that is at work here. I have just come from America, and this is precisely what I witnessed there.”

Throughout the remainder of that year and continuing into 1861 revival continued to spread across South Africa. In all, nearly three dozen parishes experienced dramatic spiritual awakening. The church leaders at Wellington reported that their parish had made greater moral and spiritual progress in recent weeks than throughout its entire previous history of nearly two decades. The Stellenbosch leaders enthused of revived spiritual conditions in their community, “The whole of society has been changed, yes, turned literally upside down!”

God is still able to work in these dramatic ways today. Are we willing to diligently seek such transformative blessings from Him in fervent prayer?

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Andrew Murray by Vance ChristieA full account of South Africa’s 1860 revival is recorded in chapters 11 and 12 of my forthcoming biography, Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa. That volume is to be released in the U.S. this August.

Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie

Andrew Murray by Vance ChristieI’m delighted that my most recent biography, Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa, is to be released in the United Kingdom next month then in the United States in August. I thought you might enjoy reading part of “the story behind the book” in this Perspective:

I recall as a boy seeing two or three of Andrew Murray’s devotional books in my dad’s pastoral library. Then in college I read with great benefit Murray’s devotional classic With Christ in the School of Prayer. I was somewhat acquainted with his books but not with his life. I have come to learn that the same is the case for many Christians with regard to Murray.

When Christian Focus Publications graciously asked me if I might have interest in writing a biography on Andrew Murray, I ordered a couple of the earlier accounts of his life and took those along on a week of family vacation. As I read those works in the following weeks I was impressed and inspired by many features of Murray’s life and ministry – including, among others:

  • His intense devotion to Christ, Scripture and prayer.
  • His humble, Christlike Spirit that grew ever stronger and sweeter as he aged.
  • His powerful preaching ministry that attracted and impacted thousands.
  • His prolific devotional writings that have gained countless appreciative readers from his own day to the present time.
  • His boundless vision, capable leadership and tireless, Spirit-empowered exertions that led to the establishment and promotion of numerous Kingdom enterprises including missionary societies, educational institutions, Christian life conferences, student ministries and more.

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

I quickly concluded that it would be a great privilege to write a fresh account of Murray’s fascinating and inspiring life in order to help acquaint the contemporary generation with this remarkable Christian minister of the past.

Early in the process of composing this work I casually asked a Christian bookstore owner if he was familiar with Andrew Murray, but did not reveal that I was writing his biography. “Oh certainly,” the man immediately responded. “We carry and sell a number of Murray’s titles.” Shortly after that a member of the church I pastor asked if I was currently working on a writing project. When I indicated I was writing Murray’s biography, she became very excited and exclaimed, “Andrew Murray! He’s one of my favorite authors. We’ve read several of his books in our family devotions.”

It took me nearly two years (on a very part-time basis, while carrying out my full-time pastoral responsibilities) to write the Murray biography. My original rough-draft manuscript was 131,000 words in length, the second draft was trimmed to 117,000 words, while the final manuscript I actually submitted to Christian Focus Publications was slimmed down even further to 106,000 words. CFP was once again most patient in waiting for the completed manuscript and most kind in agreeing to publish my final proposed manuscript in its entirety.

*          *          *

For other Perspective articles on this outstanding servant of Christ, just type “Andrew Murray” in the search box.

Andrew Murray by Vance ChristieI’m delighted to share that Christian Focus Publications has announced the publication date of my forthcoming biography, Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa. The book will be released in the United Kingdom in July then in the United States in August.

In the coming weeks both Christian Focus Publications and my own website’s Andrew Murray book page will post additional information about the volume and where to order it. But here’s some initial information:

Book Description:
In an era that saw many gifted and diligent ministers, missionaries and evangelists being used by God to powerfully advance Christ’s Kingdom work in South Africa, Andrew Murray (1828-1917) emerged as that country’s premier preacher, devotional writer and Church leader. Andrew Murray’s writings and influence are still felt today and Vance Christie skillfully and faithfully brings his story to life for a new generation. (Christian Focus Publications)

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Endorsements For Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa:

“Vance Christie has done an excellent job on Murray’s life… This is a fine, relatively brief volume on a huge subject, and I find it accurate and edifying. I shall recommend it to my classes, and to some of the conferences where I speak.”
-Douglas F. Kelly, Richard Jordan Professor of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

“Andrew Murray, though dead, still speaks to us in this charming volume. Walk with this great evangelist through the years of preparation, great success in ministry, and struggles with sickness. May this book introduce a new generation to the life of this man of God, and stimulate faith that the God of Murray is also our God and can lead us also to faithful and fruitful service.”
-Adrian Warnock, Author of Raised with Christ and Hope Reborn and prolific Blogger at adrianwarnock.com

Andrew Murray

Older Andrew Murray

“… an edifying book on a model Protestant saint. May God use it to revive His church today.”
-Douglas A. Sweeney, Chair, Church History & History of Christian Thought Department, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

Book Information:

  • Pages: 336
  • Trim: Trade paperback (198 x 130mm)
  • Isbn 13: 9781781916001
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: August 2015

Pre-Order Today:

AndreAndrew Murray, Sr.w Murray, S.

Andrew Murray, Sr.

In a few months my newest biography, Andrew Murray of South Africa, is to be published by Christian Focus Publications. Murray was blessed with a devout ancestry and upbringing. He reminds us (1) how blessed we are if we have had those same benefits and (2) what a great blessing we can be to our descendants by providing them with those spiritual advantages.

Andrew Murray’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all deeply committed Christians. Andrew’s father, after whom he was named, emigrated from Scotland to South Africa as a young man. Murray, Sr., devoted his entire ministerial career of over forty years to pastoring the Dutch Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet, located some 500 miles northeast of Cape Town. In addition to shepherding his own congregation, Murray established eight other Dutch Reformed Churches in that part of Cape Colony.

Murray, Sr., married Maria Stegmann. They had sixteen children, eleven of whom lived to adulthood. One of their children testified of their home: “The chief characteristic of the household was reverence. We reverenced God’s name and God’s day and God’s Word. The wife reverenced her husband; the children reverenced their parents; the servants reverenced their master and mistress. The children were trained in the ways of the Lord. They were taught to render obedience in such a way that they never seemed to know it.”

Murray was deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of his children and that they would come to have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. On a Sunday evening, following family worship when a child came for a goodnight kiss, he would ask, ‘Well, dearie, have you given your heart to Christ yet?’ or ‘Will you not, before you go to bed tonight, give yourself to Jesus?’ On a child’s birthday he would say, ‘This is your birthday. Are you born again?’

Murray impressed spiritual truths upon his children through other means as well. A daughter related: “Many sweet words out of God’s Word became engraven in the hearts of his children by hearing their father repeat them with such feeling and emphasis. The word of Christ did indeed dwell in him richly, and he taught and admonished us in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in his heart unto the Lord [Col. 3:16]. Many a sweet verse has been imprinted on our minds and memories from hearing him repeat it half aloud to himself, as he walked up and down the large dining room after supper.”

Maria & Andrew Murray, Sr.
Maria Murray also played a crucial role in the spiritual development and general education of her children. She taught them to read before they were old enough to attend school, and the hymns and Bible verses they learned at her knee remained in their memory throughout life. When her husband was away from home on ministry responsibilities, she listened to her sons rehearse their daily lessons before they went to school.

Peace and restfulness of spirit, even in the midst of work, marked Maria’s life. A regular habit of personal communion with God was the secret to her trust and tranquility. She always took time for her private devotions, and her children and servants knew that when her bedroom door was closed she was not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary.

The Lord’s Day was strictly observed by the Murrays. There were almost always three Sunday church services, in addition to Sunday School, and the older Murray children were expected to attend them all. In addition, Mrs. Murray taught her children the Shorter Catechism on Sunday afternoon, and toward evening the family enjoyed a time of singing together. One of their children later wrote: “On looking back upon it all, it does seem almost wonderful that the children did not weary of the long services. For the morning service lasted two hours, and on Communion Sundays three, and we remained to the end. It is perhaps to be ascribed to habit, or still more to the fact that the parents delighted in the worship of God, so the children learned to delight in it too.”

Young Andrew Murray, Jr.

Young Andrew Murray, Jr.

All of Andrew and Maria’s children and nearly all of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to faith in Christ and faithfully served Him, in various capacities, with their lives. In 1922 ‘a remarkable centenary gathering’ was held in Graaff-Reinet to commemorate the arrival of Andrew Murray, Sr., in South Africa. 220 of his 486 descendants gathered for the special reunion. With humble gratitude to God it was duly noted: “During the hundred years now ending, over fifty ministers have been connected with the family by birth or marriage, and about the same number of men and women have given the whole or part of their lives to work in the foreign mission field. Some of the young men are now attending the Theological Seminary and others are expecting to enter it in due time, some are studying medicine in the hope of becoming medical missionaries. … Looking over the past one could only adore the goodness of the covenant-keeping God and entrust to the same God the keeping of the future generations.”

A few years before his death in 1917, Andrew Murray, Jr., doubtless thinking of the blessed influence of his own parents and grandparents, wrote in a memorandum addressed to the entire Murray family circle: ‘A godly parentage is a priceless boon. Its blessing rests not only upon the children of the first generation, but has often been traced in many successive generations.’

Copyright 2015 by Vance E. Christie