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Wesley and Men Who Followed Hardcover – July 1, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Thrilling history and biography; the bringing to light of forgotten men of extraordinary faith and energy for Christ; shrewd analysis; challenge to the contemporary church. Wesley and Men Who Followed has it all. I enjoyed it greatly - a breath of spiritually fresh air and vitality comes through wonderfully. I found it uplifting, challenging and gratitude-creating - and a great read.'

About the Author

Murray, born in Lancashire, England, was educated in the Isle of Man and at the University of Durham and entered the Christian ministry in 1955. He served as assistant to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminister Chapel (1956-59) and subsequently at Grove Chapel, London (1961-69) and St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney (1984-84), Although remaining a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, he is founding trustee for Banner of Truth Trust.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Banner of Truth (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851518354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851518350
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,326,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James J. Cassidy on June 22, 2005
A previous reviewer said:

"With all this in mind, it is important to view Murray's book as an apologetic work, not solely of John Wesley or his preachers, but of Evangelical Arminianism."

Such a comment makes one wonder if this reviewer actually read the work! Murray, far from offering an apologetic for Wesley, offers us a wonder critique of Wesley's misunderstanding of Calvinism. At the end of the day, if you want to call this book an "apologetic" as opposed to a "history", you have to conclude that it is an apologetic for Calvinism!

Murray writes in his chapter on Wesley's conflict with Calvinism, that Wesley critiqued Calvinism as being against both holy living and evangelism. Murray goes on to show how Calvinism believes in both holy living and evangelism - exposeing Wesley's misunderstanding.

That said, Murray is very charitable toward Wesley at certain points. He makes it clear that Wesley, although mistaken on Perfectionism and on assurance (among other things), he was a champion of grace and the doctrine of justification by faith alone. So, while Wesley's theology has great weaknesses, we can - and should - be able to appreciate his vehement efforts to evangelize the lost. Wesley as preacher was at his best, certainly better than Wesley as theologian.

Read this book, its the best out there on an important historical figure from a Reformed perspective.
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Written by Iain H. Murray (a veteran minister of the Presbyterian Church), Wesley And Men Who Followed is an informed and informative study of the life and teachings of John Wesley, the Christian intellectual, and evangelist who was also an Oxford Don. Biographer Murray's extensive and scholarly research draws especially from Methodist sources to reveal the reverberating relevance that John Wesley's life and work have on the present-day Christian church. A thought-provoking biographically oriented account, Wesley And Men Who Followed is a welcome and scholarly addition to Christian History collections in general, and Methodist Studies reading lists in particular.
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Iain H. Murray, a prolific author and excellent historian who has given us substantial biographies on four great Evangelical Calvinists - Jonathan Edwards (Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography), D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (The First Forty Years and The Fight of Faith), Arthur W. Pink (The Life of Arthur W. Pink), and John Murray (The Life of John Murray), as well as two books on the theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (The Forgotten Spurgeon and Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism), three books on revival (The Puritan Hope, Revival and Revivalism, and Pentecost Today?), and two on Christian history (Australian Christian Life from 1788: An Introduction & An Anthology and Evangelicalism Divided) - now turns his hand towards the great Evangelical Arminian and founder of what eventually became the Methodist church, John Wesley. As with his earlier writings, this book is not mere historiography. It is a critical, yet kind, reflection on the life and labors, piety and theology, of the man who, along with George Whitefield, was the primary human instrument used of God in the Evangelical Great Awakening of the eighteenth century.

Murray's book is divided into four parts. Part one addresses Wesley himself in five chapters which cover the main movements of his life and the primary features of his thought and ministry. Chapter one, "From Oxford Don to Open-Air Preacher," chronicles the story of Wesley's conversion and explores the various influences upon Wesley's religious thought.
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The 300th anniversary of Wesley's birth in 2003 occasioned several new biographies concerning Wesley, including works by Stephen Tomkins (Eerdmans), Roy Hattersley (Doubleday), and John Kent (Cambridge). Hattersley's biography contains a number of factual errors. Kent's revisionist history claims there was no large-scale eighteenth century revival. This work by Iain Murray, and published by a major Calvinistic publisher, of which Murray is Editor for the Banner of Truth and is a trustee as well, also comes as a surprise.

The first section is a sketch of Wesley's life, which covers a hundred pages. Murray reduced the servant stage to merely the lack of assurance, which he does not see as essential to salvation. Therefore he reinterprets Wesley's experience at Aldersgate in light of the Puritan paradigm. According to Murray, Wesley was converted prior to Aldersgate but received assurance of his salvation at that time. Murray concluded, however, that while Wesley's theology was confused, he was a great evangelist. Yet Murray conceded that the Calvinism of Wesley's day had become fatalistic and prone to antinomianism.

Murray included this exchange between Wesley and a Calvinist. "Do you believe in the perseverance of the saints?" Wesley replied, "Certainly." When his questioner registered his surprise, "I thought you did not," Wesley explained, "O, Sir, you have been misinformed; it is the perseverance of sinners we doubt."

While the first section contains little new information about Wesley, the second section, covering another hundred pages, focuses on three representatives of the next generation of Methodism. None of these men appear in Wesley's Veterans.
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