One of the finest spiritual writers in the Evangelical tradition is only read today in edited versions. Like the Puritans, Andrew Murray's writing could be 'prolix', and like a certain washing machine advert of some years ago, he could go on and on and on. But Andrew Murray (if you Google the name you're likely to encounter a tennis player!) was a profoundly influential teacher in the Holiness tradition in South Africa and in England through the Keswick movement. His commentary on Hebrews, The Holiest of All, was very warmly reviewed by no less than James Denney who didn't call geese swans. What Denney liked was the thoughtful application of evangelical truth to Christian sanctification and behaviour, and the centrality of Christ in all Murray's writings.
Murray wrote one of the best accounts of an Evangelical appropriation of the Bible. Rather than argue for the authority of the text as artefact, he pleaded for a use of the Bible that depended on openness to God and a receptiveness of heart to the transforming work of the Word of Scripture. Here's what he says:
God's Word only works its true blessing when the truth it brings to us has stirred the inner life, and reproduced itself in resolve, trust, love or adoration. When the heart has received the Word through the mind and has had its spiritual powers called out and exercised on it, the Word is no longer void, but it has done that whereunto God has sent it. It has become part of our life, and strengthened us for new purpose and effort.
Andrew Murray, The Inner Chamber and the Inner Life, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1950), 72
Truth that transforms, a Word that is living, dynamic and provocative of response, words through which God speaks now, that is the Word enfleshed, embodied, lived, obeyed - and that is the authority of Scripture that matters most - it authors our lives.
(Learning slowly how to use my new camera. The photo was taken in the Aberdeen Botanic Gardens)