Breakfast with John Murray

At Cambridge Presbyterian Church our Pastor recently began a Saturday morning study group where we are working through various chapters in volume one of John Murray’s collected writings – The Claims of Truth.  This Saturday we looked at chapter 9 which is entitled “The Atonement and the Free Offer of the Gospel.”

In general in the chapter Murray takes people on a journey.  He begins by defining the gospel and the scope of the gospel – which is undeniably for “all men, everywhere.”  He then explains the heart of the gospel which is the atoning death of Christ and the reason for the provision of the death of Christ – the love of God.  After considering a general love of God for all, and some general benefits with flow from the atonement to all, Murray defends the particular electing love of God and a definite (particular) redemption.  This leads to the question Murray has been building up to all along – “How can the gospel be universal when the electing love of God, and the redemption of Christ are particular?”  His answer: the gospel does not call us to faith in the electing love of God, or the extent of the atonement, but to Christ as he is offered to us in the gospel.  Anyway here are the questions with more thoughts to follow hopefully over the course of the week.

The Atonement and the Free Offer of the Gospel (Chapter 9)

Section I


1. What is the gospel? (p59)

2. To whom is the gospel sent? (p59-60)  What are the implications of this?  How do we, and how does CPC live these out? 

3. Why might a passion for proclaiming the gospel be lost? (p59).  Do we have that passion?  What can we do to stir that passion up in us?

4. What is the basis for the universal preaching of the gospel?

The Love of God as the Source

5. What is the source of the atonement? (p62).

6. What do we mean by atonement? (p62).

The Love of God and the Non-Elect

7. Murray gives scriptural reasons for believing in “the love of God for the ungodly, the unthankful and the evil” (p66).  What does this mean for us e.g. our attitude to those outside of Christ?

The Difference in Benefits

8. Who did Christ die for as a substitute?  Is this the Scriptural meaning of “die for”? (p68-9 – see also p63)

The Difference in the Love of God

9. Does God love all equally?  What is the most convincing scriptural evidence to suggest that is not the case? (p69-72)

Disclosure of this Love in the Gospel Offer

10. Note how Murray describes the gospel offer as “the wooing appeals of love”?  How should that influence our sharing of the gospel? (p73)

Section II

Murray’s Exegesis and Definite (Particular) Atonement

11. How do these verses support a particular atonement?  Is Murray’s exegesis of John 3:16-17 correct? (p74-80)

Section III

Unlimited Overtures of Grace

12. What is freely offered in the gospel? (p82-4)

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