Rev. Dr. Andrew Murray – Calvinist, or Pentecostalist?

Was Rev. Dr. Andrew Murray — South Africa's best-known man of God — a consistent Calvinist? Or was he an incipient Pentecostalist?

Murray was fully committed to the Classic Calvinist doctrine of imputed justification as contained in the Heidelberg Catechism — which he constantly championed.   He concentrated, however, especially on its Third Section — on how, after being justified, we should show our gratitude.   He rightly believed this should be done — in terms of the (much neglected) doctrine of sanctification.

Said he:[1] “In all our thoughts on God, we look at Him in a twofold light — either as dwelling above us and outside of us [as] Creator, Lawgiver, and Judge; or as dwelling and working within us, by His Spirit.   In redemption, the two aspects find their expression in the two great doctrines of justification and regeneration.

"In the former, God is regarded as Judge, as separate from us; as [being] much against us in Law, and occupying very much the same relation as any judge on earth toward the accused whom he sentences.   In justification, grace forgives and accepts.

"In regeneration, the work of redemption is regarded from an entirely different point of view.   Sin is death, the loss of the divine life.   Grace is seen as the new life implanted by the Holy Spirit, and by Him maintained in the soul.

"It is seldom given to any human mind to hold two sides of truth with equal clearness….   It has often happened that where one side of truth has laid powerful hold — another aspect has been neglected."

However, what we actually need is: both justification and sanctification; both crucifixion and resurrection; both ascension and heavenly session.   Fundamentally, we need the im-put-ation of Christ's righteousness.   Yet we also need the concomitant and resultant im-plant-ation of the God-given incorruptible seed of obedience. That must germinate — unto progressive sanctification.

Even when being born again, we need not only the commencement but also the continuation of that new condition. Thus, we need "God's inworking in regeneration — not only as the act of grace by which the divine life is imparted; but [also as] the unceasing maintenance of that life, by the [increasing and ongoing] outworking of the indwelling Spirit" even after being born again.

"Murray's call for a deeper spiritual life was balanced, and squarely grounded on Holy Scripture." Thus wrote Rev. Dr. Fred Liebenberg[2], for years the General Secretary of the South African Student Christian Association.   “He [Andrew Murray] was a Calvinist, in all sincerity. But that

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did not blinden him to the beauty of…a practical doctrine of sanctification….   Murray brought a new sound into our Reformed theology, which advantageously fructified and enriched Calvinism."

This Murray did, Liebenberg goes on, by "faithfully appropriating the full blessing of Pentecost…. This message Murray preached time and again, and throughout his life.  For he was very conscious of the low spiritual level of life among Christians, which revealed itself in the extremely lamentable spiritual condition of the Church….   This is why he constantly spoke about the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.   Without a complete surrender to the Holy Spirit, for Him to lead us to obey and to do the will of God — there can be no question of spiritual advance."

Long before Calvary, Jesus predicted that His then-still-future enthronement would immediately be followed by the Acts 2:33 outpouring of His Holy Spirit.   For, when a thirsty woman came to a well to draw water, Jesus said: "Whosoever keeps on drinking of the water which I shall give him, shall never stay thirsty.   But the water which I shall [then] keep on giving him, shall become, inside of him, a fountain of water.  It shall keep on gushing forth, unto everlasting life." John 4:14.

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