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Andrew Murray – Christ’s anointed minister to South Africa

By Vance Christie
March 2016 | Review by Frederick Hodgson
  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-78191-600-1
  • Pages: 336
  • Price: 8.99
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Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was born in South Africa, but sent to Aberdeen, Scotland, for much of his education. Later, he went to Holland to study for the ministry.

He was then commissioned to go to South Africa and initially sent to a remote outpost in Cape Colony, ministering in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). In addition to his preaching — which he regarded as his principal gift — Murray was a prolific writer on prayer and holiness.

Vance Christie, having profited from some of Murray’s books, was inspired to write this biography. He was gripped by Murray’s devotion to Christ and his humble, peace-loving spirit.

Murray exercised a powerful ministry throughout much of South Africa in addition to being a respected speaker in Europe and the USA. The training of missionaries to work throughout southern Africa was promoted under his capable leadership within the DRC.

Murray was responsible for setting up educational establishments, having a special concern for girls and children of scattered, isolated and poor white people. During his research, Christie became aware of the enormous number of books that Murray wrote and continued to work on, even up to his death. The biography intends to show how Murray’s life experiences led to his becoming such a prolific writer.

During his lifetime, various movements were sweeping through the evangelical churches, such as liberal theology, the ‘higher life’ movement and faith healing. Although strongly opposing the former, the spiritually hungry Murray was drawn to ‘higher life’ principles. Though he spoke at conferences promoting these, he confessed that he never found the perfect holiness that was proffered.

He was attracted to a type of faith healing linked to greater holiness. This came out of his own need to overcome a crippling throat problem. Struggles for greater purity of life led to marked gentleness of spirit. He was a peace-maker between the English and Boers.

A bonus of the book was its insight into South African history, geography and politics. Murray was a significant background figure in the latter. The book’s helpful map was invaluable in pointing out the location of the colonies and towns.

Frederick Hodgson

Whitby

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