Wednesday, February 28, 2007

John Murray on the Necessity of Unconditional Election

I came across this quote today in reading Iain Murray’s biography of John Murray. It is taken from Murray’s “The Reformed Faith and Modern Substitutes” series which was originally published in 1935. Murray was writing for The Presbyterian Guardian, published by his friend and co-professor, J. Gresham Machen as preparations were underway for the formation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

“The denial of unconditional election strikes at the heart of the doctrine of the grace of God. The grace of God is absolutely sovereign, and every failure to recognize and appreciate the absolute sovereignty of God in His saving grace is an expression of the pride of the human heart. It rests upon the demand that God can deal differently with men in the matter of salvation only because they have made themselves to differ. In its ultimate elements it means that the determining factor in salvation is what man himself does, and that is just tantamount to saying that it is not God who determines the salvation of men, but men determine their own salvation; it is not God who saves, but man saves himself. This is precisely the issue.”

Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume III, p.58. Banner of Truth, 1982.


  1. Great Stuff. Thanks

  2. Thanks for this quote, Paul. I own Murray's collected works, which include Iain Murray's bio. . .and recently thought I should bump it to the top of my bios to read next.

    My theo prof was mentored by J.M. at Westminster. . .when I read JM's works I hear the voice of Dr. Duez too!


  3. Straw man argument. Conditional election does not necessarily mean someone earns or merits salvation. In most schemes, it does not. In most schemes, God's grace is required for even the awareness of one's sins or that there is a God at all. And more grace is needed for one to actually repent, more for regeneration, and still more for sanctification. As such, you are left to argue against the claim that while God's saving grace is never earned or merited in anyway, it is nevertheless non-arbitrary. So, good luck! For not even the strongest supporting Calvinistic bible passages teach that. And to assert otherwise is itself pride of a pseudo-intellectual type.