Volume 1 contains the most important of John Murray’s shorter writings and addresses between the years 1935 and 1973. They have been placed together in this opening volume of his Collected Writings as the best introduction to his thought on wide range of Christian truth. Murray’s belief was that, while the expression of truth ‘may be expanded indefinitely and furnish nourishment for the highest intellects to eternity’, it is also capable of presentation in popular and generally-understood terms. Accordingly, he speaks in these pages not so much to students as to the church at large in this critical century of her history. Such chapters as ‘Some Necessary Emphases in Preaching’, ‘The Power of the Holy Spirit’, and ‘The Church of Mission’, show how thoroughly he understood the great inadequacies of much contemporary Christianity.
Volume 2 of his Collected Writings provides virtually John Murray’s own selection from his articles and lectures in systematic theology. In it will be found definitive treatments of subjects upon which, in the judgement of many, he advanced the frontiers of reformed theology and gave fresh elucidation of biblical truth. This is most evident in the chapters on Adamic Administration and Definitive Sanctification, but the seed-thoughts of further insight are also clearly evident in many other places.
The arrangement is in seven sections which deal comprehensively with the themes of Man, Common Grace, Christ and Redemption (2 sections), Sanctification , Church and Sacraments, and the Last Things. To the authors own selection the publishers have added material from his class lectures. None of the 36 chapters has previously appeared in any of John Murray’s volumes.
Volume 3 of Murray’s Collected Writings brings to the reader both the story of his life and some of the choicest fruit of his ministry. Since the publication of volumes one and two of the Collected Writings of John Murray, this third volume in the series has been eagerly awaited. As promised, it contains an extensive account of Murray’s life and the first published collection of his sermons. Added to these are the penetrating and valuable book reviews which he contributed to The Westminster Theological Journal during the period 1939-1953. Iain H. Murray’s biography of John Murray traces his life from his boyhood days in the north of Scotland at the turn of the century, through the First World War (in which he suffered the loss of one eye), his theological training at Princeton and his long ministry as a Seminary Professor in Philadelphia, until his retirement, his return to his native Scotland, and his late marriage and brief period of fatherhood. The biography closes with a moving account of his last days during the early months of 1974.
Volume 4, Studies in Theology, is the concluding volume in the Collected Writings of John Murray. Like the preceding volumes it presents a selection of the finest work, produced mainly during his long and distinguished ministry as Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Volume 4 includes articles dealing with several areas of doctrine which lay close to Murray’s heart. Among them is the hitherto unpublished work, ‘Jesus, the Son of God’, which is possibly his last piece of theological writing. Its chief characteristic – as with all of Murray’s writings – lies in the way in which the text of Scripture suffuses everything he says. This concern to be thoroughly biblical applied also to his doctrine of Scripture, to Christology, and to his understanding of the proclamation of the gospel and the Christian ethic. Outstanding articles in each of these areas may be found in these pages.
Professor John Murray (1898-1975) was recognized in his own lifetime as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the English-speaking world. He spent most of his distinguished career teaching systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. A careful scholar, an eloquent lecturer, a moving preacher, and the author of many outstanding articles and books, Murray’s driving passions were to declare Christ’s Word, advance his cause, and bless his people.