The Exegetical Systematician: The Gospel Does Require Adaptation…

Oftentimes it is pleaded that the Christian message must be adapted to the modern man. It is true that the message must be proclaimed to modern man, and to modern man in the context in which he lives and in language he can understand. But it is much more true and important to plead that modern man must be adapted to the gospel.  —John Murray, The Importance and Relevance of the Westminster Confession

The Exegetical Systematician: Church and State

To the church is committed the task of proclaiming the whole counsel of God and, therefore, the counsel of God as it bears upon the responsibility of all persons and institutions. While the church is not to discharge the functions of other institutions such as the state and the family, nevertheless it is charged to define what the functions of these institutions are, and the lines of demarcation by which they are distinguished. It is also charged to declare and inculcate the duties which devolve upon them. Consequently when the civil magistrate trespasses the limits of his authority, it is incumbent upon the church to expose and condemn such a violation of his authority. When laws are proposed or enacted which are contrary to the law of God, it is the duty of the church to oppose them and expose their iniquity. When the civil magistrate fails to exercise his God-given authority in the protection and promotion of the obligations, rights, and liberties of the citizens, the church has the right and duty to condemn such inaction, and by its proclamation of the counsel of God to confront the civil magistrate with his responsibility and promote the correction of such neglect. The functions of the civil magistrate, therefore, come within the scope of the church’s proclamation in every respect in which the Word of God bears upon the proper or improper discharge of these functions, and it is only misconception of what is involved in the proclamation of the whole counsel of God that leads to the notion that the church has no concern with the political sphere.” —John Murray, The Relation of Church and State

The Exegetical Systematician: Read Calvin’s Institutes

The Institutio is not only the masterpiece of Christian theology; it is a devotional classic. It is theologu, therefore, shot through with the warmth of ardent devotion. —John Murray, Calvin as Theologian and Expositor

The Exegetical Systematician: You Cannot think of Christ apart from the Church

We cannot think of Christ properly apart from the church. All the offices he exercises as head over all things, he exercises on behalf of the church. If we think of the church apart from Christ, or transfer to the church prerogatives that belong only to Christ, then we are guilty of idolatry. But if we think of Christ apart from the church, then we are guilty of a dismemberment that severs what God has joined together. We are divorcing Christ from his only bride. The central doctrine of the Christian faith should remind us of the evil of such divorce, for this doctrine is that ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it’ (Eph. 5:25). —John Murray, The Church—It’s Identity, Functions, and Resources

The Exegetical Systematician: Modern Evangelical “Apostles” Abound

That is to say, we may still fall into the error of thinking that while the Holy Spirit does not provide us with special revelations in the form of words or visions or dreams, yet he may and does provide us with some direct feeling or impression or conviction which we are to regard as the Spirit’s intimation to us of what his mind and will is in a particular situation. The present writer maintains that this view of the Holy Spirit’s guidance amounts, in effect, to the same thing as to believe that the Holy Spirit gives special revelation. And the reason for this conclusion is that we are, in such an event, conceiving of the Holy Spirit as giving us some special and direct communication, be it in the form of feeling, impression, or conviction, a communication or intimation or direction that is not mediated to us through those means which God has ordained for our direction and guidance. In the final analysis this construction or conception of the Holy Spirit’s guidance is in the same category as that which holds to direct and special revelation, and that for the reason that it makes little difference whether the intimation is in the form of impression or feeling or conviction or in the form of a verbal communication, if we believe that the experience we have is a direct and special intimation to us of what the will of God is. The essential point is that we regard the Holy Spirit as giving us guidance by some mode of direct operation and intimation. We are abstracting the operation of the Spirit, in respect of guidance, from the various factors which may properly be regarded as the means through which we are to be guided. Particularly, we abstract the operation of the Spirit from the infallible and sufficient rule of practice with which he has provided us. —John Murray, The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

The Exegetical Systematician: Obedience

Do we recoil at the notion of obedience, of law observance, of keeping commandments? Is it alien to our way of thinking? If so, then our Lord’s way is not our way. —John Murray, The Christian Ethic

The Exegetical Systematician: Love is Emotive, Motive, Impulsive, and Expulsive

“Love is primary because only by love can the commandments be fulfilled. Love is emotive, motive, impulsive, and expulsive. It is emotive in that it constrains affection for its object, motive because it is the spring of action, impulsive because it impels to action, expulsive in that it expels what is alien to the interests of its object.” —John Murray, The Christian Ethic