Applications from the Life and Teachings of Andrew Murray
Many of Andrew Murray’s writings should be avoided altogether by all Christians. Compositions such as his writings on the Faith Cure are certainly worthless settings forth of dangerous error. The remainder of his works, at the most, should be read only by those who, within the protection of a strong Bible-practicing Baptist church, have a comprehensive knowledge of his Keswick and continuationist errors and the spiritual wisdom to reject them, as well a firm grounding in the truth of Scripture on the doctrines and practices concerning which Murray has been led astray. Since such knowledge is absent in the vast majority of those who read Mr. Murray, the great majority of his readers should abstain from reading him. Countless Christians have been hindered in their sanctification and been spiritually confused by the Keswick errors in Murray’s writings, and many have been influenced toward charismatic apostasy by him. Even for the small minority that possesses the comprehensive knowledge and equipment to diagnose and handle his errors, one would expect greater spiritual refreshing from spending time in the Word itself, instead of Murray’s works, and from the reading of better devotional writers who handle the Scripture with more study and carefulness. A spirituality developed from the study of Andrew Murray will be withered and weak compared to a spirituality sustained by a deep study of God’s Word.
Learn from Andrew Murray’s life the dangers of corrupt religious denominations. While Christian charity has a reasonable ground for hope that Murray himself was truly regenerate, the fact that he could already have determined to enter the ministry before his conversion illustrates the fact that vast numbers of spiritual leaders in the South African Dutch Reformed denomination of Murray’s day were unconverted—while God in His mercy appears to have saved Murray in seminary, many others who were studying for the ministry had never come to Christ, and never did come to Christ, but became spiritual wolves destroying the flock of God. It was imperative for any true believers among the Dutch Reformed in South Africa in Murray’s day to come out from among that corrupt denomination and unite themselves with truly Biblical and separatist assemblies. Unconverted members are an awful curse to any church—what disaster, then, is an unconverted minister?
Learn also from Andrew Murray’s life the danger of a corrupt seminary education. A Christian should be as likely to attend an apostate seminary as the Apostle Paul would have been to send one of his converts to the Judaizers for an education, or as Elijah would have been to send one in the school of the prophets to learn in the school of Baal. By the great mercy of God, a young and impressionable Murray was himself preserved from utter spiritual shipwreck while funding and attending an educational institution of the Antichrist to prepare for Christian ministry. Many others were not so preserved. Furthermore, Murray’s seminary education was both a waste of years of his life and a seed-bed for filling his mind and heart with errors that were never entirely extirpated—had he instead attended a school run by a true church, one that was whole-heartedly consecrated to God and whole-heartedly opposed to every form of error, the likelihood that Murray would have adopted an ecumenicalism that contributed to the destruction of whatever true Christianity remained in his denomination is small. Furthermore, God blessed Murray’s sincere desire to walk with Him despite all his errors—but how much the more could he have flourished spiritually had he not been pumped full of error for years in his youth? Who knows what blessings were available to Murray had he followed the preceptive will of God, and were lost because of a failure to practice separation (cf. 2 Chronicles 16:7; Psalm 81:16)? Such terrible evils as apostate institutions for the training of Christians should not be attended, but be abolished from the face of the earth, thrust down into that hell which belched them forth.
Learn also from Murray’s life the great spiritual danger in hearing and reading of corrupt false teachers. Although he had already been hopefully converted, and even in the ministry, for years, Murray unfortunately fell under the spell of William Law, that enemy of the gospel of Christ, and allowed that false teacher to profoundly influence him. What is more, not only did Law influence Murray personally, but countless believers have been drawn towards error by the teachings of Law that they received mediated through Murray. It would have been better for Murray to have feared error more, and mistrusted his ability to discern error more, and avoided William Law altogether. “Be not deceived”—whether considering your denominational affiliation, or your educational choices, or your reading material—“evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The Scripture gives no exceptions. Whether you are in seminary, or in the ministry already, unscriptural associations will corrupt you.
Murray’s ecumenicalism and continuationism illustrate the experience-centered spiritual confusion engendered by the Keswick theology. His Faith Cure delusion, which was nothing but the physical concomitant of his Higher Life doctrine of sanctification, has led both to many an unnecessary physical death and to the rise of Pentecostalism, which has overwhelmed South Africa and brought many not only to physical death by a rejection of medicine, but to spiritual death also, as the saving gospel is confused with mystical experience. Reject experience-based hermeneutics and cleave with all your heart and soul to the literal interpretation of Scripture, recognizing the Bible as your sole authority. In so doing, you will be preserved from much spiritual danger.
Rejoice that God promises you perfect physical healing in the future glory. Ponder His blessed promise: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). Yes, healing is in the atonement. Perfect bodily healing, perfect freedom from all pain and suffering, crying, and perfect victory over the last enemy, death, is certain to come. Since God is your own God, and He has given you His Son, with Him you will certainly also be given all things. You will not need to worry that you will “lose your healing.” You will not need to pretend that you are healed when you are not. Your body will be perfectly whole in truth, and so forever and ever, for you will have a body like Christ’s glorious body. How wonderful is God’s real work of healing—how infinitely it exceeds the meager dregs promised by the Faith and Mind Cure! Fix your eye of faith on your God and His glorious promises to you. Knowing that even in this life He works all things together for your good, you can traverse your earthly pilgrimage, with its trials and sorrows, with a joyful confidence in the ineffably blessed eternity that is your certain future, to the everlasting glory of your blessed Savior, Jesus Christ.
Andrew Murray sought for genuine spirituality; such a desire was highly commendable, and one that you must share. Indeed, your very desire for a closer walk with God must undergird your rejection of Murray’s Keswick continuationism. Rejoice that a genuinely vibrant and Christ-centered spiritual life can truly be lived by the power of the Spirit through the Word in the context of a historic Baptist church. Rather than being lieft to a dichotomy which includes, on the one hand, following Andrew Murray, adopting his errors, and having a heart-felt spiritual life—or, on the other, rejecting Keswick’s errors for a cold and lifeless orthodoxy—you can have a glorious and living relationship with Jesus Christ. Such fellowship can be grounded upon a passionate orthodoxy that undergirds and greatly contributes to a sweet and growing spiritual life in Christ. In fact, this is what you must have—nothing else can suffice but the wholehearted spiritual embrace of the orthodox Christ revealed fully and truly today only in the pages of the Holy Scripture. Reader, how is it with you?
See here for this entire study.