Evangelical holiness, and other addresses
Iain H. Murray
Banner of Truth
178 pages, £6.00
Star Rating : 5
An author as influential as Iain Murray always deserves a hearing. Few would argue with Geoff Thomas’s commendation on the back cover, ‘All that Iain Murray writes is lucid, compelling and of consequence for the church’.
That is certainly true of Evangelical holiness. A relatively small paperback, it is a collection of four conference addresses from the last four or five years, plus the content of one previously published booklet.
The subjects are: evangelical holiness and spirituality; the attack on the Bible; apostasy; the benefits and dangers of controversy; and ‘rest in God’ (the Sabbath day).
This is not a history book, but to each topic Murray applies his encyclopaedic knowledge to draw lessons from the past. The chapters are filled with quotations from Scripture, hymns and historical figures. The ‘index of persons cited’, listing 200 individuals, is itself something of an education in church history (perhaps with the exception of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi!).
Murray is particularly in his element in the second chapter, where he chronicles the painful decline of belief in biblical inerrancy in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain; his astute observations serve as warnings that need to be heeded.
This ties in with a theme evident throughout the book, namely the centrality of God’s Word in Christian experience. In chapter one Murray identifies a commitment to the Scriptures as both the cause and the effect of sanctification: ‘Evangelical holiness always follows submission to the Bible as the Word of God’ (p.6).
The book doesn’t come across as Murray sharing his personal opinions, but as the collective voice of historical evangelicalism. Its points, therefore, carry added weight when applied to issues affecting churches today.
Chapter four highlights the dangers of overemphasising music in church services and the final chapter is a welcome defence of the continuing application of the fourth commandment.
Evangelical holiness isn’t racy or exhilarating, but it is solid, discerning and edifying. It is recommended reading for any Christian.