George Whitefield: A Spur to the Minister – Pastor Iain Murray Sermon
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.