Olea Nel. Andrew Murray, Destined to Serve: A Biographical Novel. Wamboin, Australia: Clairvaux House, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9925671-0-1. See here to purchase the book.
Andrew Murray was a renowned nineteenth century preacher and Christian author. Andrew Murray, Destined to Serve is the first book of what is to be a trilogy about Andrew Murray’s life and ministry.
Andrew Murray, Destined to Serve is about Murray’s early
years of ministry in South Africa, soon after he had received his
seminary education. An older Andrew Murray is telling someone the story
of these years.
The book is excellent in portraying Murray as a character with whom
many could identify. Murray in this book is a young man who is trying
to find his voice and make a positive impression. He makes mistakes and
learns from them, deals with difficult people, and wants to be
spiritually rejuvenated amidst the busyness of life, but cannot always
find the time to do so.
The book also provides a window into some of the political and
religious issues of nineteenth century South Africa. In terms of
religious issues, there is the question of whether baptism is required
for salvation, the belief that the King of England was one of the ten
kings of Revelation 13 (which is about the evil beast), and the attempts
by some Christians to apply to themselves the story in the Book of Ezra
about the returning Jewish exiles who sought to rebuild the Temple
without outside help.
The book also had its share of jewels. One of my favorites is
something that the older Murray said when he was expressing hesitancy to
contribute to a spiritual memoir: “That’s the trouble with memoirs of a
spiritual nature. If you recall the depths of your despair, readers
might hold you up as an example that provides them with an excuse to
wallow in their self-pity. And if you describe your mountain-top
experiences, that too might become a blueprint for some to emulate. In
either case, you lay yourself open to the glorification of self.”
Most of the book is dialogue. On the one hand, I enjoyed this
because it allowed me to appreciate the personalities of the characters,
and to experience life with Andrew Murray. I particularly enjoyed
reading his interactions with his family. On the other hand, on account
of the style, I had to try to figure out from people’s conversations
what political issues they were discussing. As a reader, I prefer for
things to be laid out before me in clear prose, as background
information, rather than for me to have to figure those things out by
reading the dialogue.
I received a complimentary copy of this book (as an e-book) from BookCrash, in exchange for an honest review.