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By Ray Ortlund at the Gospel Coalition…
“Worldliness in the church is the number one enemy, and that comes in when we have unspiritual people, and we have unspiritual people too often because they are nominal Christians. They have the language, they have the outward, but they don’t have the power. So, Paul’s words: ‘The kingdom of God is not in word but in power.’ That whole school of Edwards and Alexander and so on — they believed in the power of religion. You know, men candidating for the ministry, and the minister saying, ‘Can he pray down the Holy Spirit?’ Imagine that question today. Can a man pray down the Holy Spirit? It’s not perhaps exactly the sentence we would say is completely correct, but you know what they meant. . . . When those men prayed, the Holy Spirit did come down.”
|By Iain Murray|Published Date: December 22, 2010
Winston Churchill once wrote to his schoolboy grandson, urging him to be a student of history because history provides the best means for making intelligent guesses about the future. However, by reading Scripture Christians can do more than guess the nature of a future awakening. We know it will be in accord with all that we are told about the character and work of God. This is not to say that revivals are identical, yet certain main features are always present and it is not speculation to believe that these will be present again in future awakenings.
Revival Changes Worship
Fine externals and music may be present where there is no real admiration of God, no giving to him the glory due to his name. The assumption has been that our inherited forms of worship are largely responsible for dull services which in turn have impoverished the churches. But our great contemporary need has to do with something far more fundamental than the outward form of worship. If a sense of the greatness and majesty of God is not present in a congregation, then nothing else can produce awe and wonder
Iain Hamish Murray was born (of Scottish parents) in Lancashire, England, April 19, 1931, and educated at King William’s College, Isle of Man, and the University of Durham. Prior to university he held a commission in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) who were then engaged in the suppression of an insurgency in the jungles of Malaya. Converted to Christ at the age of seventeen, after upbringing in a larger liberal denomination (the English Presbyterian Church), he became assistant minister at St John’s, Summertown, Oxford in 1955, where the Banner of Truth magazine began. The influence of this magazine (edited by him until 1987) was to be greatly enlarged when, with Jack Cullum, he founded the Banner of Truth Trust in 1957. Initially intended to supply out-of-print Reformed and Puritan authors for Britain, the Trust’s publications were soon selling in forty countries, with an office established at Carlisle in the United States in the late 1960s.
Murray remained director of the Banner publications until 1996, combining this with serving Grove Chapel, London (1961-69), and St Giles, Sydney (1981-83). Since the latter charge he has remained a minister of the Australian Presbyterian Church although living chiefly at Edinburgh (the head office of the Banner of Truth) since 1991. A turning point in his life was a call from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1956 to assist him at Westminster Chapel, London. This he did for three years and without which the Banner publications could not have begun. His closeness to Lloyd-Jones led, after the latter’s death, to the writing of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1982), and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1990). When asked how much he owes to Lloyd-Jones, Murray replies that the indebtedness is too great to calculate.
During the 1970s, and after his return to the UK from Australia in 1991, Murray has been often in the United States on speaking engagements and two of his best-known books, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography(1987) and Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858 (1994), reflect his close interest in American church history. While authoring several biographies (John Murray, A.W.Pink and John Wesley), Iain Murray’s main intention has been to use history to recover commitment to the doctrines of Scripture, particularly the doctrines of grace. He did this first in The Forgotten Spurgeon (1966), and again in Pentecost—Today?The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival (1998). More general is his Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 (2000), which, despite its controversial nature, became one of his best-selling hardbacks. Almost all his titles have been published by the Banner of Truth and remain in print.
Marriage, Murray believes, is the next most important event to conversion, and Jean Ann Walters, whom he married in 1955, has been and remains the first influence in his life. They have five children and ten grandchildren.
Since retirement from the everyday work of the Banner of Truth Trust, Murray has both continued to write and been able to visit and help Christians in various parts of the world. The friendship of Christians in several nations are counted by him and his wife as one of their greatest privileges and encouragements.
Australian Christian Life from 1788 : An Introduction and an Anthology (1988)
The Forgotten Spurgeon (1966)
Spurgeon and the Church of England (1966) — a booklet
The Life of Arthur W. Pink
The Life of John Murray: Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1937-1966 (1984)
Pentecost Today?: The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival (1998)
Diary Of Kenneth MacRae : A Record of Fifty Years in the Christian Ministry (1980)
The Invitation System (1960)
Letters Of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1992)
Should the Psalter be the Only Hymnal of the Church? (2001)
The Reformation Of The Church: A Collection of Reformed and Puritan Documents on Church Issues (1965)
The Unresolved Controversy: Unity with Non-Evangelicals (2001)
The Happy Man: The Abiding Witness of Lachlan Mackenzie (1979)
Dr. Lloyd-Jones and Authority in Preaching
MP3 Messages From Iain Murray
|Author Related Links|
History reminds us that if revival is going to come, then it will be proceeded by fervent and consistent prayer.
Iain Murray in Revival and Revivalism, describes this in the year 1787:
“There was a remarkable revival of religion in the town of Petersburgh, and many of the inhabitants were savingly converted; and the Christians greatly revived. That town never witnessed before or since such wonderful displays of the presence and love of God in salvation of immortal souls. Prayer meetings were frequently held both in the town and in the country, and souls were frequently converted at those meetings, even when there was no preacher present; for the prayers and exhortations of the members were greatly owned of the Lord.
The most remarkable work of all was in Sussex and Brunswick circuits, where the meetings would frequently continue five or six hours together, and sometimes all night.
At one quarterly meeting held at Mabry’s Chapel in Brunswick circuit, on the ;25th and 26th of July, the power of God was among the people in an extraordinary manner: some hundreds were awakened; and it was supposed that above one hundred souls were converted at that meeting, which continued for two days, i.e., on Thursday and Friday. Some thousands of people attended meeting at that place on that occasion.
The next quarterly meeting was held at Jones’s Chapel, in Sussex county, on Saturday and Sunday, the 27th and 28th of July. This meeting was favored with more of the divine presence than any other that had been know before . . .
The great revival of religion in 1776, which spread extensively through the south part of Virginia, exceeded any thing of the kind that had ever been known before in that part of the country. But the revival this year far exceeded it.
It was thought that in the course of that summer there were so many as sixteen hundred souls converted in Sussex circuit; in Brunswick circuit about eighteen hundred; and in Amelia circuit about eight hundred. In these three circuits we had the greatest revival of religion; but in many other circuits there was a gracious work, and hundreds were brought to God in the course of that year.
. . . the work was not confined to meetings for preaching; at prayer meetings the work prospered and many souls were born again . . . It was common to hear of souls being brought to God while at work in their houses or in their fields. It was often the case that the people in their corn-fields, white people, or black, and sometimes both together, would begin to sing, and being affected would begin to pray, and others would join with them, and they would continue their cries till some of them would find peace to their souls” (79).