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The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening Hardcover – September 1, 2005
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Murray addresses some of the central subjects of evangelism, including conversion, Christ's imputed righteousness, and the love of God for sinners, by turning to Scripture but also by citing people who have been used powerfully by God in the past, such as C.H. Spurgeon. It was Spurgeon himself who said that "a respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might save many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences."
To just say a few words on the chapter about conversion, Murray contends that this central doctrine of the Christian faith has been neglected, over-simplified, and pushed to the periphery in modern Christianity. Consequently, he says, our evangelistic efforts have suffered. A modern error is the belief that we can bypass the Law of God and go straight to the preaching of the gospel. But we are reminded that the law is the perfect expression of the character of God. It's purpose is not to save but to drive the sinner to Christ. The law is to be preached to lead to conviction of sin, a despairing of meeting God's requirements by oneself. In his own day, Spurgeon recognized the danger of "simplifying" conversion by removing from preaching any sense of awe and reverence before a holy God: "Today we have so many built up who were never pulled down; so many filled who were never emptied; so many exalted who were never humbled; that I the more earnestly remind you that the Holy Spirit must convince us of sin, or we cannot be saved" (page 67). Murray ends the chapter with the admonition that focus on evangelism and revival are all well and good, but following Spurgeon we must go back to first things with a renewed fear of God.
Murray traces out, in this series of addresses revised for publication, the sad state of modern evangelicalism and contrasts it with the vital evangelicalism spanning from the Reformation into the twentieth century.
Murray has powerful things to say about the role of the law in the preaching of the gospel, about conversion and the cross, about many subjects, but he never says it by himself. Instead, Murray calls on the lights of the past to illuminate and support his biblically-informed thinking.
The book itself is a pleasure. Ditch the unattractive dust jacket and you will find a handsome volume underneath, well-bound, with a very readable font. Banner of Truth always seems to do good work, both in their content and presentation.
You will find much wisdom in this volume. Don't skip over the additional notes at the end of each chapter. There you will find short quotes on the subjects just covered by some of the great lights of the Church (Tozer, Calvin, Spurgeon, Bunyan and others).
Finally, you don't want to miss Murray's fascinating take on John Wesley near the end of the book. And the last chapter, Christian Unity and Church Unity, is well-worth reading carefully.
All in all, this is an outstanding volume filled with great insights. Highly recommended.