This past Friday I had the opportunity to attend a lecture on Martyn Lloyd-Jones given by Iain Murray. For those of you who don’t know Murray, you should. Iain Murray is the preeminent Christian biographer. He is able to bring people alive & transport readers to a different time through his writing. His biographies include:
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones : The First Forty Years, (1982), ISBN 0-85151-353-0
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones : The Fight of Faith, (1990), ISBN 0-85151-564-9
- The Forgotten Spurgeon, (1966), ISBN 0-85151-156-2
- Jonathan Edwards : A New Biography, (1988), ISBN 0-85151-494-4
- The Life of Arthur W. Pink, ISBN 0-85151-883-4
- The Life of John Murray : Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1937-1966, (1984), ISBN 0-85151-422-7, ISBN 0-85151-426-
- Letters Of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1992), ISBN 0-85151-606-8
- Wesley and Men Who Followed, ISBN 0-85151-835-4
- The happy man : the abiding witness of Lachlan Mackenzie, (1979), ISBN 0-85151-282-8
- Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace, (2008), ISBN 0-85151-975-X
- John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock, (2011), ISBN 978-1-84871-112-9
These are just the biographical works produced by Murray, and they would be beneficial for all Christian to read. In fact, Murray’s work on Jonathan Edwards opened up an entire new world for me when I first read it. This biography gave me a taste for the encouragement that Christian biographies can provide a Christian and the theological benefit that can be gained through church history. I have read through this biography 3 times & benefited from it each time. That is why it was such an honor not only to hear Murray speak, but also to be able to meet him & have him sign my copy of Jonathan Edwards : A New Biography.
If you’ve ever heard Murray speak then you know that he is a soft-spoken and gentle man (in his entire lecture I don’t think he moved his feet more than once), and that is exactly how he was toward me in our very short conversation. As he spoke with me it was clear that he was genuinely interested in the work that God had called me to, and as he signed my book he told me that young pastors like myself are the hope of the church. This was certainly a humbly thing to hear, especially as I realized that I had done most of the talking in our short meeting (never a good thing). When I got home I excitedly told my story to my wife and on closer inspection realized that Murray had inscribed a verse with his signature:
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On this night Psalm 145:4 was certainly honored. Murray shared with us about MLJ the man, and MLJ the preacher. At the end of it all Murray closed his lecture with a passionate and compelling call to believe in the Gospel and be saved. It was spiritually edifying and God-glorifying, which is exactly how I would describe Murray’s writing ministry as well. As a pastor there are few authors and few subjects that I would commend to you more highly than I would Murray and his collection of Christian biographies. Other than scripture, there are few resources that you will find as edifying and life changing as these biographical gems. Murray has allowed me to meet some of my heroes from the history of the church, which is why in some ways meeting him was like meeting a hero for me.