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Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 [Hardcover]

By Iain H. Murray (Author)
Our Price $ 19.55  
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Item Number 47236  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   342
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.69" Height: 1.07"
Weight:   1.27 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2001
Publisher   BANNER OF TRUTH #535
ISBN  0851517838  
EAN  9780851517834  

Availability  15 units.
Availability accurate as of Dec 16, 2017 08:13.
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Item Description...
Evangelicalism Divided traces the fascinating saga of the personalities, from 1950 to the present, involved in shaping what we call evangelicalism today. Iain Murray's account is not simply a black and white narrative, but using the mass of sources now available he shows how a new policy of cooperation without compromise actually resulted in concessions which seriously weakened biblical Christianity. The first and greatest need, he argues, is to answer the most fundamental and divisive question of all: What is a Christian?

Publishers Description
A penetrating review of fifty years of crucial change in evangelical attitudes and alignments, 1950-2000. Murray leads the reader back to the most basic question of all, 'What is a Christian?'

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More About Iain H. Murray

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

Iain H. Murray currently resides in Edinburgh. Iain H. Murray was born in 1931.

Iain H. Murray has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Collected Writings of John Murray

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General   [2161  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > General   [754  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good, but imcomplete  Feb 5, 2007
As other reviewers have noted, Murray does an excellent job of sustaining his thesis: that the theology of Schleiermacher has crept into evangelicalism over the past fifty years. I would give the book five stars except for two unexamined issues.

First, Murray omits one crucial compromise that evangelicals made. Revivalist movements that emerged from the Second and Third Great Awakenings had originally been excluded under the term "evangelical" because they held to a theology that focused on subjective experience. But in the late 1960s, social conservatism became more important than theological orthodoxy within evangelical circles. Thus, these fellow "conservatives" were invited into the fold despite their Schleiermachian tendencies. I agree that evangelicals also made compromises with liberals and Catholics, and watered down their theology to avoid scorn from intellectuals. But these latter issues all pale in comparison to the changes that came when evangelicals began defining themselves according to social issues rather than doctrine.

Second, Murray fails to point out that these unity-oriented compromises have actually led to disunity. As knowledge of theology has atrophied, individual preachers have gained larger followings. Theological broadening at the macro level has actually led to theological narrowing at the micro level. Denominations and churches now regularly split because the followers of one leader will no longer commune together with the followers of another leader. Oddly, as our ignorance of theology has grown, so has our confidence that our own positions are unassailable.
A thought-provoking book  Jan 12, 2007
To begin, I did not give this book four stars because it was necessarily less than a five, but simply because it could not contain everything concerning Evangelicalism's history in America and Britain since 1950. For its content, Murray's book is a five.

Laying down the groundwork by writing about Schleiermacher was excellent because it demonstrates his continuing influence in liberal/critical thought (for lack of better terms) and, ironically, evangelicalism. The desire to have an experience of God over knowing doctrines about God have overtaken much of evangelical worship, thought, and publication. This need not be. Light without heat and heat without light are the two extremes to be avoided. Doctrine is the skeletal system that supports the body and existential experience (along with our interaction & ministry in the world) is the flesh that covers it. Murray does well at offering practical, biblical solutions to several of the problems that Evangelicalism has come under.

It is very difficult to turn a denomination around once it has made the shift from believing the major doctrines of the Christian faith (see the creeds of Apostle's, Nicene, and Chalcedon) to now doubting their validity or trying to say they were for a different time. The Reformers were not able to do it for the Roman Catholic Church and it seems evangelicals have not been able to do it in mainline Protestant denominations, whether by gaining positions of authority within those denominations or teaching at theological schools.

The reason, as Murray demonstrates, is because the tendency is to compromise rather than to stand up. To stand up likely means you aren't going to get those important mind-shaping positions, and even if you do, you are only going to be considered an evangelical "wing". Though the current and recently past Popes desire reunification, it is clear that any talks between Rome and Evangelicals means Rome not giving an inch and Evangelicals having to (surprise) compromise.

The book makes the important point that to doubt the sufficiency, authority, clarity, and completeness of Scripture leads to numerable problems that, while not having immediate negative consequences, will eventually present serious ramifications downs the road. Please read this book with care.
A Very Interesting History of Evangelicalism within the Past Fifty Years  Jan 20, 2006
Murray begins his work by focusing his attention on Billy Graham. He details Graham's ministry, how it was developed, how it grew in the 50's and 60's, what Graham's intents where in this period of strong growth, and how, perhaps, Graham's lack of interest in a more thorough and well developed theological stance may have caused serious pit falls and divisions between evangelicals of that time frame.

I had a hard time trying to figure out if Murray was actually implying that Graham was the cause of evangelical division. However, it was quite clear that Murray was pointing out to his readers the things he believed were detrimental to Christian theology and Evangelicalism as a whole due to the things Graham espoused and did. I think many of Murray's concerns about Graham were warranted in light of Protestant Christian Evangelical theology.

From Graham, Murray focuses his attention of J.I. Packer. Packer, having a strong background within a Puritan mind set, and befriending Martin Lloyd-Jones, Murray was much more amiable in his handling of Packer's "shift." This "shift" in thinking, as Murray describes, was one from a less "accepting" of things outside of a Reformed Puritan mindset, to a more ready to accept others in the ecumenical movement, especially those who are Roman Catholic, mindset. However, I think Murray, in this work at least, fails to take into enough consideration that Packer is very much a part of the Church of England and Anglican. This is a strong feature which also in many ways "divided" Packer and Lloyd-Jones at certain theological crossroads. Nonetheless, Murray details what he thinks may have slowly moved Packer into a more ecumenical mindset. This is all detailed in chapter 4.

Branching out beyond Packer, Murray then details how and why he thinks the Anglicans gradually moved further and further away from any semblance of Evangelical thinking, and how that affected those evangelicals who were still involved in the Anglican Church. Murray's emphasis is on John Stott and his acceptance of David Jenkins (the Bishop of Durham in the 70's) remarks about the physical resurrection of Christ. Apparently, Jenkins, an Anglican, commented that the physical resurrection could be denied due to a lack of empirical evidence (historical verifiability) but still be a viable doctrine for the Church in what it communicates. Stott, as Murray demonstrates in this book, seemed to come out and embrace Jenkins's view on the resurrection in an attempt to maintain unity. It is here I think Murray has his strongest case, and it is here where I think Murray is perhaps getting at the obvious evidence as to why the Anglican denomination has moved into a more liberal ecumenical mindset and away from a more orthodox view of Christian theology.

From this point, Murray discusses the evangelical move away from the acceptance of the inerrancy of the Bible. He details certain ideas and writings from various evangelical theologians across several denominations and how these ideas and thoughts formed a type of moving away from inerrancy.

A chapter is included on The Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican move toward Rome in the 60's which tapered off in the 70's, became liberal in the 80's to the point were even The Roman Catholic Church could not embrace Anglicanism. In this same chapter a lengthy discussion on the ECT document which was formulated by Evangelical Protestant and Catholics in 1994. Murray details the events of this gathering and the response which was given by other evangelicals such as Sproul and MacArthur who were adamantly opposed to ECT.

The biggest problem I have with this work is its title, "Evangelicalism Divided." I am trying to recall anytime in Church history where Evangelicalism was ever united. The sub title actually fits the content of the book much better, "A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950-2000." This work certainly frowns upon ecumenism in general and any form of ecumenism in Evangelical circles. In fact, the majority of the crucial changes Murray touches on in this work are ecumenical issues or the like. However, there are certain theological tenets to which any Christian should certainly avoid and Murray covers movements in certain groups towards this type of thinking as well. If you like recent Church history from an evangelical point of view, then perhaps you will like this book.
Challenging, but good.  Sep 1, 2005
I listened to some interviews with Iain Murray on In one interview, he discussed this book and I was extremely intrigued. I am 100% on the side of ecumenism with Murray and Dr. Lloyd-Jones. This book is good to let you know the historical aspect of Evangelicalism. Murray didn't really attempt to apply in a typical manner. But it is extremely applicable if you see how others have gone wrong. I think we should read this, and others like it, with a sense of humility. We need to weigh tough topics like this with God's infallible Word and nothing else. I believe Murray stays true to the Word. If you're interested, I would suggest the interviews [...] to see if this is worth it. The interviews are extremely worth it.
Important Reading!  Mar 2, 2005
If evangelicals wish to take stock of where they are now and what the future of the church holds, they must look to the past and understand from where it is they have come. Evangelicalism Divided by Iain Murray, would be a perfect place to start, for it is a record of the changes that took place in the American and British churches in the years 1950 to 2000. It records the rise of influences and influencers that ultimately changed the course of evangelicalism.

The book begins with an examination of Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and the theology of experience that influenced so many. The God of Schleiermacher was a mere man, and one who bore little resemblance to the God of the Bible. To defend God against criticism, Schleiermacher redefined Christianity as mere subjectivity and not an objective Truth. This stunning departure from Scripture provides a foundation for many beliefs that later gained prominence in evangelicalism.

Having set the scene, Murray begins to examine many of the men and organizations that have directly shaped contemporary evangelicalism. He speaks of Billy Graham, J.I. Packer, John Stott and organizations such as Inter Varsity. While he is unafraid to name names, he avoids slander and conjecture, always speaking in love and always providing ample support for his claims. He writes about controversies in the Church of England during the sixties, about the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). He writes also of controversy regarding how we ought to define a Christian and how we ought to define the church. Having thoroughly examined the modern history of evangelicalism, he raises questions and concerns about the present. The general conclusions he reaches are as follows:

* The history of the new evangelicalism has shown how difficult it is to remedy the faults of one position without falling into dangers at the opposite extreme.
* A great deal of the confusion which has divided evangelicalism has been related to the question, "Who is a Christian?"
* The church cannot succeed in the same way in which political parties may succeed.
* The period of history confirms the painful fact that there can be serious differences of belief and consequent controversies among true Christians.
* The history of this period shows how hard it is for leaders to look in different directions at once.
* The struggles and hopes of Christians are not to be understood in terms of the present and the temporal.

In short, Murray concludes that evangelicalism, as we know it today, has been unduly influenced by Schleiermacher. What is particularly amazing is that so few evangelical leaders know or care.

While this is sobering, we should not be discouraged or dismayed. Murray concludes, "At almost all times in history the kingdom of God has appeared to be in confusion to the outward eye. It is faith in the promises of God which provides a different perspective. The Holy Spirit assures us that infinite wisdom and love are presently directing the life of the church and that eternity will be witness to their success when a multitude which no man can number will be glorified with Christ" (page 317).

This book is fascinating, disturbing and critically important. I hope many evangelical pastors and leaders turn to this book to help them understand where evangelicals have come from so they can make necessary course corrections to lead where we need to go next. I give this book my recommendation.

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