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

Iain H. Murray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 13.67 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Banner of Truth Trust (21 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851517838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851517834
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 442,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Good, A record of crucial change in the years 1950-2000. A good copy. Underlining in pencil on several pages.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just How Much Do You Love God's Word? 2 Dec 2011
I was given this book to study about a month ago by my pastor. At first, I really was not sure I'd get into it and very much doubted that I would finish it, especially so soon! But I have enjoyed the journey, though it's been very irritating at points. I feel that I have benefitted from reading it. This book has emphasised things I already knew and I am certainly more convinced of my views now.

What is is about? I have written in the front of my copy: 'A History of messing with Scripture and not taking the Bible seriously'. I think that sums up Murray's theme very appropriately. This is a book which documents, without restraint, how almost every major group involved in the Evangelical scene in Britain, between 1950 - 2000, has failed to give Holy Scripture it's truly authoritative place. Due to this loss of a real sense of the Bible's true authority, the Evangelical community has led itself into terrible consequences. A few pages in, I have written: 'This is a book which documents historical examples, which show that the sins of tolerance and compromise always lead to an overthrow of trusting in the authority of the gospel and Bible.' And that's what I saw time and time again: the same old sin of tolerance at the expense of biblical truth in areas of significant importance. Even for those who know that it's wrong to compromise Scripture and tolerate those who don't honour Scripture, historical illustrations are always very useful at driving the truth into our hearts even more deeply. But that's what happened during 1950-2000: all major sections of the Evangelical community compromised the authority of the Bible. Murray goes on to reveal that this was all in the name of 'unity'!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read 9 Aug 2011
I don't live in the UK but have a great interest in the Christian scene in that country. It puzzled me for quite a while why it is that Anglicans today do not speak the same evangelical language as men like J.C. Ryle, whom I admire greatly and with whom I am in agreement over many things. This fine book by Mr. Murray is a wonderful insight into the seismic changes that took place in the Anglican church in the 1960s when her leading evangelicals like John Stott and Jim Packer took the decision to ditch the old evangelicalism of Ryle (which defined Christianity through the gospel) and took up a new position of defining Christianity through the church: baptism was the key issue for them.

This new position enabled evangelicals in the Anglican church to be a recognised group and opened up ecclesiastical offices for them. However, on the other hand it meant that the gospel was completely diluted and basically anyone who was baptised was a Christian. Evangelical Anglicans on the outside looked healthy and strong and growing when actually their roots were diseased and evangelicalism within Anglicanism was dying.

I hope someone (maybe Mr. Murray himself) will write a follow up to this book to trace what has happened in Anglicanism in the last ten years; how things have developed since these changes. It would also be interesting to read of what happened to those men within Anglicanism who did not follow Stott and Packer but remained entrenched in the old evangelicalism.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Record of Good Intentions and Sad Results 24 May 2001
By David A. Vosseller - Published on Amazon.com
Iain Murray's history of the change within evangelicalism over the last 50 years is both impressive and frightening. He shows how decisions by some noted evangelical leaders in Britain and the U.S. for the sake of "unity" or "results" have compromised the church and watered down the message of the Gospel. This helps us see why so many claim to be beleivers in Christ, and yet there is so little impact on lives and on our culture(s).
In one insightful passage, he asks, "If the evangelical belief that it is faith in the gospel which brings spiritual unity is true, then it follows that where the gospel ceases to be believed there unity ceases to exist. Therein lay a long-standing problem for evangelicals who found themselves in denominations where many ministers and people did not believe that gospel. In such circumstances, how could they give the commitment to denominational unity which Scripture gives to the unity of Christians?" (p. 83).
While Murray points out failures of certain well-known leaders, he does not throw stones, nor does he assault character or motives of these men. He is charitible and gracious even when he disagrees, which I found very refreshing compared to many "critiques" that people write.
As he writes, "Like the Corinthian Christians we are prone either to idolize men or to be unduly critical. We too readily form parties behind men in forgetfulness of the direction, 'One is your teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren' (Matt. 23:8). Because an eminent Christian is evidently right in some things, or owned of God in his work, we are liable to take him as a leader in all things and to treat any who disagree as opponents." (p. 308)
He also moves beyond simply the history and focuses on practical lessons to be learned from the last fifty years. He also reminds us that our true hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Grace. "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. What we see now is but the beginning." (p. 317).
All in all, a helpful perspective and a firm corrective for all of us who seek unity and truth in the church.
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would give it one hundred stars if I could 18 Mar 2003
By Brian Douglas - Published on Amazon.com
This is one of the most powerful, compelling, stunning, and significant books written in the past decade. In these pages, Murray chronicles the fall of evangelicalism in the late 20th Century.
Murray begins by telling his reader of Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and his brand of theology. In an effort to defend Christianity from the higher criticism of his contemporaries, Schleiermacher made a great distinction between the mind and the heart, the objective thought and the subjective passions. He rejected the objective and taught that true Christianity was solely subjective, thus unassailable by higher criticism.
After his description of Schleiermacher, Murray shifts gears to the earlier half of the 20th Century and describes the events that transpired from that time to the present day. While careful not to slander anyone, he names names and gives example after example of a shift in attitude and approach from standing upon truth to compromise in the name of proclaiming the gospel.
As one reads through this book, at some point or another Murray's connection will strike him: modern evangelicalism has fallen into Scheiermacher-like beliefs, and most of its leaders don't even realize it. It's shocking and its implications hit very close to home, but Murray's conclusions are true.
After reading this book, I was grieved by some of the compromises I had made in the past. It permanently altered my perspective, and I am thankful I read it. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any Christian who is interested in learning from the past, and I implore pastors and church leaders everywhere to read it so that the listing evangelical church might be righted again.
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Provacative 20 Oct 2001
By Kenneth B Pagano - Published on Amazon.com
It has been said that only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Well, I do not believe Mr. Murray is a fool, and he certainly is no coward. Undoubtedly he is unafraid to write what he believes to be the truth regardless of the repercussions. Such is the case with Evangelicalism Divided. This book may be more than many American readers care to digest, especially since it delves into the polity of the Church of England. Yet this book demands a wide and careful reading due to its grave implications, specifically in that it addresses the idea of what constitutes a genuine Christian. Not to mention issues that should concern American Evangelicalism, most notably, Billy Graham. Mr. Murray provides thorough references to back up his claims. Should his position indeed prove to be valid, the following statement may in deed be true: "In our generation, other than the Pope, no individual has done more to lift up the name of Jesus than has Billy Graham. Conversely however, no one individual, other than the Pope, has done more to eviscerate the actual power of the gospel message, than has Mr. Graham." Such are the implications of Evangelicalism Divided. Lines will be drawn in the sand and taking sides will be unavoidable. However this book does not deserve to be passed over. It must either be soundly refuted or widely distributed for all those concerned with true reformation and the biblical gospel.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Reading! 2 Mar 2005
By Tim Challies - Published on Amazon.com
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.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Closer to God 20 Jun 2002
By Randy Given - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is in my current list of Top 10 Christian books. Will it stay there? Fairly good chance. I first heard of it on a tape-of-the-month from RC Sproul, who highly praised the book several times. I ordered it and read it. I agree with him. It outlines how we have gotten away from being Godly and have become focused on growth and other worldly ideals. There is much to cover and, yes, some of it is hard to digest. But, there is no ignoring that the author is hitting the nail on the head. Sometimes we all need a wake-up call.
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