Divisive Unity

Iain H. Murray | May 21, 2010

Murray introduces the origin of Evangelicalism Divided by recalling a meeting in 1966 at which Martyn Lloyd-Jones spoke on “Evangelical Unity,” and had his position challenged by John R. W. Stott, who closed that meeting. The anniversary of that meeting and another series of circumstances led Murray to research and write Evangelicalism Divided. A review of nineteenth-century British church history revealed the cause of the division: liberalism that crept into the church allowed for a faith in Christ without revealed truth and an authoritative Bible, i.e., a new definition of a Christian. When this happened, some evangelicals left the mainline denominations, but others remained and maintained a close tie with other evangelicals who had left. When Billy Graham came to England, he was welcomed by evangelicals, but at first shunned by denominational leaders. Yet when the leaders saw Graham’s large crowds, they accepted him. Some understood the leaders’ change as a new openness to the gospel, yet those leaders were just using Graham as a tool to bring people into their churches. Under the pressure of ecumenism, Graham and others began to think in terms of winning denominations back to evangelicalism, and eventually fell into the error of compromising evangelical doctrine. Two basic problems contributed to the division of evangelicalism: neglect of what makes one a Christian and neglect of the depth of human depravity. Lloyd-Jones diagnosed the problem as an evangelical dependence on human methods and a failure to rely on the Holy Spirit.He offered a positive alternative to evangelicals: dependence on God alone and the sufficiency of the Word of God.

Vol. 12, no. 2 (Fall 2001)

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Murray, Iain H.. "Divisive Unity." The Master's Seminary Journal 12, no. 2 (Fall 2001): 231-47.