Just finished the Life of John Murray by Ian Murray, one of my favorite historians. Through the biography of Murray (1898-1976) the reader gets a glimpse of the theological collapse of Princeton in the 1920s and the rise of Westminster Theological Seminary.
Born in Scotland, Murray fought in the first World War. He lost one eye and returned home to spend a significant amount of time in recovery. In 1924 He crossed the Atlantic to study theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
During his student days Princeton was morphing from the bastion of theological orthodoxy that it had been for 100 years, into a nursery for theological liberalism. This ultimately led to the defection of Princeton’s famed professor of New Testament, Gresham Machen (1881-1937), and many other faculty members. They moved up the road to Philadelphia and founded Westminster Theological Seminary. The goal was the continuation of Princeton’s tradition of theological orthodoxy.
By this time Murray had graduated and had returned to Scotland for ministerial work. Machen wrote Murray in Scotland and asked him to join the faculty at Westminster. Murray agreed and ended up spending the rest of his life in Philadelphia.
Biographies are one of the best ways to learn history. This book is a good example. It will be useful to anyone interested in the history of theological currents in twentieth century North America. It is also useful for those who have read Murray’s writings and want to know more about the man. I heartily reccomend.