John Murray

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Snapshot of a Social Gathering at Westminster

macrae05February 11, 1902 marks the birthday of Allan Alexander MacRae, whose papers are preserved at the PCA Historical Center in St. Louis. Educated at Occidental College (1923), Princeton Seminary (1927) and the University of Berlin (1929), MacRae returned to the States at the urging of Paul Woolley to serve as one of the founding faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he remained 1929-1937.

Allan remained close to his parents and it is interesting to note among his papers, that he had carefully kept copies of every letter he sent home to his mother and father. And he wrote home nearly every day while away at school and even later in his new career as a professor. Transcribed below is one such letter, which provides an interesting insight into the social life of the early Westminster Seminary faculty.

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct.22, 1933.

Dear Folks,

Another week has passed by, and how it has flown.  It was quite a busy week.  There was the regular school work, there were the first classes of the year in the University and there were two special things.  These latter were the tea at the Allises last Wednesday afternoon and the party at the Wallaces on Friday evening.  Both these events were particularly pleasant.  The Allises gave a tea in honor of the Kuipers.  They invited over a hundred people.  They asked me, and the others of our faculty to stay most of the time from four to six to help entertain the visitors.  It was a very friendly reception.  Everyone was so cordial and harmonious.  Most of those who came knew most of the others.

On Friday evening the Misses Wallace, two maiden ladies who have been friends of the Seminary and have been present at most of our functions right from the start, entertained the faculty of the Seminary at their apartment in one of the suburbs.  They asked Dr.Machen to speak on mountain climbing.  He gave a very interesting talk indeed.  Then Jimmie Blackstone, who was also invited, sang several numbers for us, and one of the Misses Wallace read some poems she had written.  Dr.Kuiper was asked for a few remarks.  After that we had a spelling bee.  Most of those on the side on which I happened to be chosen were spelled down rather soon, and for a long time I was the lone survivor on our side, while the opposing team still had three standing.  These three were Dr. Machen, Paul Woolley and John Murray.  Then I put one ‘m’ too few in the word persimmon, and left the three of them alone.  So their side was victorious in the contest.  After that ice cream was served.  When we all came to leave, some one happened to look at a watch, and we could hardly believe it was actually past midnight, the evening had been so pleasant.  The only people invited who were not members of our faculty, beside Mr. and Mrs. Blackstone, were Mr. and Mrs.Freeman, whom I mentioned to you recently.  They took John Murray and me with them in their car, which was pleasant and also a great convenience
for us.

GriffithsHM1938H.M. Griffiths is having quite an unpleasant experience.  A week ago yesterday he developed a severe case of acute appendicitis, and that afternoon he was operated on.  They think the appendix might have ruptured soon if they had not taken it out.  Early this week some infection set in, so he had a disagreeable week.  I think they feel that that is pretty well over now,  I saw him yesterday.  He was quite uncomfortable, but is new getting along well, I believe.

Yesterday after faculty meeting John Murray and I went out to Germantown together and visited Griffiths.  Then John and I ate together in the neighborhood.  John had to come back to the city, as he was going right out to Oxford, Pa. to spend the week-end with one of our graduates.  I walked across Germantown to the Woolleys’ home.  I had a nice visit with Paul, and then had supper with both of them.  After supper I played a bit with Edward, who is very friendly.  Paul sat over in the corner, and seemed to have a great time, watching me playing hide and seek with Edward.  I took the train home early, leaving just as soon as I had said goodnight to Edward, so as to get a real good night’s sleep myself.

I am enjoying my beginning Hebrew classes again as much as anything I do.  I am presenting the material in a somewhat different order, and am surely enjoying it.  Early in the week my eyes bothered me a bit.  I stopped in at an optician’s and he spent a long time adjusting the glasses and the way they hung on my nose and ears.  They were hurting my nose.  Since that time, they do not hurt my nose at all, and the eyes have been very greatly improved.  Evidently they were not hanging right on my face.  I hope you are both well and happy as I am.  I will close, very lovingly,

[/s/, Allan A. MacRae]

Words to Live By:
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Eph. 6:2-3, KJV)
Allan MacRae honored his parents first and foremost by himself living an honorable life before the Lord. But even in a small simple thing like frequent communication, he exhibited his care, concern, and respect for his parents. For those who are not so wise, the Lord teaches us to forgive, as we remember our own sins and failings and praise God that in Christ alone our sins are covered. But when we find a good example like Dr. MacRae, it is interesting to watch the rest of his life. Having lived long on the earth, Allan MacRae died in 1997, at the age of 95.

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We Thank God  on Every Remembrance of You

MurrayJohnWhen Professor John Murray retired from Westminster to return to his beloved land of Scotland, he attended for the last time the General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1966.  The delegates there gave a memorial to him which captured the man and his ministry perfectly when it simply quoted the Pauline expression, “We thank God on every remembrance of you.”  That said it all to their fellow minister.

Fast forward in your mind nine years to the Free Church of Creich in Scotland and its small cemetery where the remains of John Murray were being buried in 1975.  Five hundred people from all over the world had gathered to hear the memorial messages.  A prince of Israel  had indeed fallen on May 8, 1975.

Between these two events, John Murray had served his country in World War I,  where he had fought with the famous Black Watch regiment.  The loss of his eye came from that time of military service.

Education included the M.A. degree from Glasglow University in 1923.  Then his ministerial degree (the older ThB) and Th.M. came from Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States.  Returning to Scotland at New College at Edinburgh University, he returned to Princeton Seminary at a pivotal year, namely, 1929.   That year, Princeton’s Board of Trustees was reorganized and Westminster Theological Seminary was begun.  John Murray joined the faculty of Westminster Seminary.

From that time until his retirement in 1966, hundreds of students sat under this “saintly scholar.”  He really equipped the student saints to go forth and minister the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ on a sound foundation of Biblical truth.  John Murray also capsulized that same Biblical truth in several books he wrote.  It might be interesting to sum up those books, which this contributor used all during his pastoral ministry.

MurrayChurch officers in our Reformed churches  would do well to have a firm understanding of both Christian Baptism, and Divorce.   Both of course would be profitable to the Christian in the pew as well.   All those with the gift of evangelism, as well as Evangelism teams going out weekly, must have an understanding of the book Redemption Accomplish and Applied.  In fact, all Christians should read this book.  Then Principles of Conduct are a reminder of the Christian life.  If any book of the Bible is a “must” book to consider the themes of sin, salvation, sanctification, sovereign election, and service, the book of Romans fills those themes perfectly.  And Murray’s commentary on The Epistle to the Romans is just what is needed to comprehend the great apostle’s words and thoughts.

After John Murray retired in 1966, after having lived 68 years as a bachelor, he took a younger Scottish wife, Miss Valerie Knowlton on December 7, 1967.  Two children would be born to the union.

Words to Live By: John Murray had many “children of the faith” in his years in teaching in this Reformed school of the prophets.  Let them remember him in their current ministries as they pass on what they have heard to others also who will be able to teach still others in the history of the church.

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Snapshot of a Social Gathering at Westminster

macrae05February 11, 1902 marks the birthday of Allan Alexander MacRae, whose papers are preserved at the PCA Historical Center in St. Louis. Educated at Occidental College (1923), Princeton Seminary (1927) and the University of Berlin (1929), MacRae returned to the States at the urging of Paul Woolley to serve as one of the founding faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he remained 1929-1937.

Allan remained close to his parents and it is interesting to note among his papers, that he had carefully kept copies of every letter he sent home to his mother and father. And he wrote home nearly every day while away at school and even later in his new career as a professor. Transcribed below is one such letter, which provides an interesting insight into the social life of the early Westminster Seminary faculty.

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct.22, 1933.

Dear Folks,

Another week has passed by, and how it has flown.  It was quite a busy week.  There was the regular school work, there were the first classes of the year in the University and there were two special things.  These latter were the tea at the Allises last Wednesday afternoon and the party at the Wallaces on Friday evening.  Both these events were particularly pleasant.  The Allises gave a tea in honor of the Kuipers.  They invited over a hundred people.  They asked me, and the others of our faculty to stay most of the time from four to six to help entertain the visitors.  It was a very friendly reception.  Everyone was so cordial and harmonious.  Most of those who came knew most of the others.

On Friday evening the Misses Wallace, two maiden ladies who have been friends of the Seminary and have been present at most of our functions right from the start, entertained the faculty of the Seminary at their apartment in one of the suburbs.  They asked Dr.Machen to speak on mountain climbing.  He gave a very interesting talk indeed.  Then Jimmie Blackstone, who was also invited, sang several numbers for us, and one of the Misses Wallace read some poems she had written.  Dr.Kuiper was asked for a few remarks.  After that we had a spelling bee.  Most of those on the side on which I happened to be chosen were spelled down rather soon, and for a long time I was the lone survivor on our side, while the opposing team still had three standing.  These three were Dr. Machen, Paul Woolley and John Murray.  Then I put one ‘m’ too few in the word persimmon, and left the three of them alone.  So their side was victorious in the contest.  After that ice cream was served.  When we all came to leave, some one happened to look at a watch, and we could hardly believe it was actually past midnight, the evening had been so pleasant.  The only people invited who were not members of our faculty, beside Mr. and Mrs. Blackstone, were Mr. and Mrs.Freeman, whom I mentioned to you recently.  They took John Murray and me with them in their car, which was pleasant and also a great convenience
for us.

GriffithsHM1938H.M. Griffiths is having quite an unpleasant experience.  A week ago yesterday he developed a severe case of acute appendicitis, and that afternoon he was operated on.  They think the appendix might have ruptured soon if they had not taken it out.  Early this week some infection set in, so he had a disagreeable week.  I think they feel that that is pretty well over now,  I saw him yesterday.  He was quite uncomfortable, but is new getting along well, I believe.

Yesterday after faculty meeting John Murray and I went out to Germantown together and visited Griffiths.  Then John and I ate together in the neighborhood.  John had to come back to the city, as he was going right out to Oxford, Pa. to spend the week-end with one of our graduates.  I walked across Germantown to the Woolleys’ home.  I had a nice visit with Paul, and then had supper with both of them.  After supper I played a bit with Edward, who is very friendly.  Paul sat over in the corner, and seemed to have a great time, watching me playing hide and seek with Edward.  I took the train home early, leaving just as soon as I had said goodnight to Edward, so as to get a real good night’s sleep myself.

I am enjoying my beginning Hebrew classes again as much as anything I do.  I am presenting the material in a somewhat different order, and am surely enjoying it.  Early in the week my eyes bothered me a bit.  I stopped in at an optician’s and he spent a long time adjusting the glasses and the way they hung on my nose and ears.  They were hurting my nose.  Since that time, they do not hurt my nose at all, and the eyes have been very greatly improved.  Evidently they were not hanging right on my face.  I hope you are both well and happy as I am.  I will close, very lovingly,

[/s/, Allan A. MacRae]

Words to Live By:
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Eph. 6:2-3, KJV)
Allan MacRae honored his parents first and foremost by himself living an honorable life before the Lord. But even in a small simple thing like frequent communication, he exhibited his care, concern, and respect for his parents. For those who are not so wise, the Lord teaches us to forgive, as we remember our own sins and failings and praise God that in Christ alone our sins are covered. But when we find a good example like Dr. MacRae, it is interesting to watch the rest of his life. Having lived long on the earth, Allan MacRae died in 1997, at the age of 95.

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