Placeholder ImageAbout the Author

Iain H. Murray (1931-) was born (of Scottish parents) in Lancashire, England, brought up in a liberal denominational church, and converted to Christ at the age of seventeen.  He became assistant minister at St John’s, Summertown, Oxford in 1955, where the Banner of Truth magazine began. 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. 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, PA, 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.  He has written biographies of many key figures in church history including Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, C.H. Spurgeon, A.W. Pink, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones; and as a preacher, writer and lecturer, he is regarded as one of the notable church historians of our times.

Arminianism and Evangelism

(Copyrighted material used by the kind permission of Banner of Truth and Iain Murray)

No more soul-destroying doctrine could well be devised than the doctrine that sinners can regenerate themselves, and repent and believe just when they please…. As it is a truth both of Scripture and of experience that the unrenewed man can do nothing of himself to secure his salvation, it is essential that he should be brought to a practical conviction of that truth.  When thus convinced, and not before, he seeks help from the only source whence it can be obtained.  – Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2, 277.


‘God asks you to believe that through the blood of Jesus Christ, He can still be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.  He asks you to trust in Christ to save you.  Can you expect that He will save you if you will not trust Him?  Man, it is the most reasonable thing in the world that He should demand of thee that thou shouldst believe in Christ.  And this He does demand of thee this morning.  “Repent and believe the gospel.”  O friends, O friends, how sad, how sad is the state of man’s soul when he will not do this!  We may preach to you, but you never will repent and believe the gospel.  We may lay God’s commands, like an axe, to the root of the tree, but reasonable as these commands are, you will still refuse to give God His due; you will go on in your sins; you will not come unto Him that you may have life; and it is here the Spirit of God must come in to work in the souls of the elect to make them willing in the day of His power.  But oh! in God’s name I warn you that, if, after hearing this command, you do, as I know you will do, without His Spirit, continue to refuse obedience to so reasonable a gospel, you shall find at the last it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for you; for had the things which are preached in London been proclaimed in Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and in ashes.  Woe unto you, inhabitants of London!’ [2] 

Thou along hast power, I know,
To save a wretch like me;
To whom, or whither should I go
If I should run from thee?

O God, my inmost soul convert,
And deeply on my thoughtful heart
Eternal things impress;
Give me to feel their solemn weight,
And trembling on the brink of fate,
Wake me to righteousness.

‘The greatest missionaries that have ever lived have believed in God’s choice of them; and instead of this doctrine leading to inaction, it has ever been an irresistible motive power, and it will be so again.  It was the secret energy of the Reformation.  It is because free grace has been put into the background that we have seen so little done in so many places.  It is in God’s hand the great force which can stir the church of God to its utmost depth.  It may not work superficial revivals, but for deep work it is invaluable.  Side by side with the blood of Christ it is the world’s hope.  How can men say that the doctrine of distinguishing grace makes men careless about souls?  Did they never hear of the evangelical band which was called the Clapham sect?  Was Whitefield a man who cared nothing for the salvation of the people?  He who flew like a seraph throughout England and America unceasingly proclaiming the grace of God, was he selfish?  Yet he was distinctly a free-grace preacher.  Did Jonathan Edwards have no concern for the souls of others?  Oh, how he wept, and cried, and warned them of the wrath to come!  Time would fail me to tell of the lovers of men who have been lovers of this truth.’ [24]

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