The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘David Murray

Review: “Christians Get Depressed Too”

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Christians Get Depressed Too

David P. Murray

Reformation Heritage Books, 2010, 126pp., paperback, $10 / £7.50

ISBN 978-1-60178-100-0

Born of deep pastoral concern, this deliberately slim volume sets out to provide, from a reformed Christian perspective, a Biblically balanced introduction to the issue of depression that will be helpful to sufferers and care providers alike. Its brevity, together with its methodical solidity and alliterative structures, may help those who cannot handle something weightier. Murray sets out the crisis regarding depression (its reality and effects) before moving on to its complexity (resisting unhelpfully simplistic and sweeping declarations about the nature of the beast, but taking into account various spiritual, physical and mental factors). The chapter on the condition itself takes in the sufferer’s circumstances, thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviour – the sections on thoughts and feelings are particularly helpful in terms of understanding more or less helpful tracks and tendencies in our attitudes (general spiritual health issues of which all saints should be aware). Again, in considering the cause Murray ranges over a number of potential contributors, as he does when looking at the cure. Finally, there is a chapter for the caregivers, offering some encouragements and counsels. In a book of such brief scope there is always a danger of over- or under-stating a case, or a lack of definition, but I was still impressed with the thoughtfulness and tenderness with which Murray writes, his careful use of Scripture to support and defend his assertions, and his awareness of the interplay of various factors in understanding and addressing depression. He interacts critically with a variety of literature. He does not gloss over sin in its relationship to depression (as cause, concomitant, or consequence) but neither does he simply default to sin (or anything else) as the catch-all explanation for all sorts and degrees of depression. It is very much an introductory piece, but will be sufficient for many in getting a healthy and accurate grip on the issue of depression among believers. If you need help on this issue, you would find a good start here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 5 August 2011 at 13:14

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As some readers will know, David Murray, with whom I have been enjoying a growing acquaintance, was recently struck down with multiple pulmonary emboli. Others may remember that a few weeks ago, I was battered with something called Ramsay-Hunt syndrome in conjunction with a few other trials. Like David, I felt that I was getting something of a wake-up call; like David, I wrestled with the profitability of trying to work through some of the challenges in public, before breaking cover with a few thoughts; unlike David, I was not particularly cogent.

David has now posted the key lessons from his own experience of being laid aside, and it is necessary reading for all Christians, and perhaps especially for pastors. In particular, David identifies a frightening but ever-present danger for the busy Christian:

Let me summarize where I believe I erred: ministry without spirituality. Perfunctory and spiritual disciplines and going from one ministry activity to another to another to another, with hardly a moment to feel dependence upon God, cry for help, and seek the Lord’s blessing before, during, or after. Cramming every waking moment with “productive” activity. And certainly not a second in the day to “be still and know that I am God.”

But now, in the enforced stillness, I hear a loving and concerned God say, “My son, give me your heart.” Not your sermons, not your lectures, not your blogs, not your books, not your meetings, etc. But your heart. YOU!

Again, like David, I had a wake-up call; sadly, I forget too quickly. I now have the benefit of David’s wake-up call as a reminder of the lessons I had not properly learned or fully remembered. Do read it all.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 1 June 2011 at 12:33

Review: “God’s Technology” (DVD)

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God’s Technology: Training Our Children to Use Technology to God’s Glory

David P. Murray

Head Heart Hand, 2010, 40 minutes, DVD $14.99 or download $5.99 ($6.99 HD)

What for many parents might be a bewildering landscape is for their children the norm: the digital revolution has had a profound impact on almost every part of our life in the West, and it is this brave new world in which today’s children are growing up. But how can our children be equipped to face these challenges and embrace these opportunities? To help us, David Murray provides a short but helpful treatment (see preview and trailer below), in which he gives four Biblical principles to help us understand the technology around us. Following on, he offers three possible responses: enthusiastic embrace, strict separation, or disciplined discernment. Eschewing the thoughtlessness of the first two, he embraces the third, offering seven helpful steps drawn from Scripture by means of which to negotiate this realm, and to equip our children, under God, to deal with it righteously. So prevalent are these pressures that it is often a case of master or be mastered. In such a context, Murray’s suggestions will direct parents to manage their own digital load, as well as help their children learn how to live to God’s glory in the dawn of the digital age. The concrete recommendations of useful software and websites are helpful. Individual families will profit from this, but the material would be just as useful in church and other settings where the battle lines need to be drawn and the appropriate spiritual equipment issued.

The preview:

The trailer:

God’s Technology Study Guide

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 14 March 2011 at 08:02

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Old theology marries new technology

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I have little idea what the finished product will look and sound like, and – most importantly – consist of, but I like this topic, enjoy a lot of David Murray’s stuff, appreciate his attitude, and am impressed by his evident abilities (not merely as a theologian). He asks:

Want to find and worship Christ in the Old Testament? Need a weekly Bible Study that’s doctrinal, devotional, and doable? Trying to help your children study the Bible on a Sunday afternoon, but they aren’t great readers? Looking for a Sunday school series that marries “old” theology with new technology. The CrossReference series of films from Head Heart Hand Media may be for you.

Find out more here.

On a related topic, David informs us about an app store missionary putting his newfound skills to good use.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 19 January 2011 at 18:11

Return of the Reformed rapper

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David Murray returns to the issue of holy hip hop to review comments received. He holds his line graciously and winsomely, accepting certain corrections and elucidations, but pressing home the same issues. He concludes:

We will never all fully agree on what is allowable for Christians in the four venues (see above). However, we will surely all agree that Christians should be challenging and learning from one another on what is sinful or holy, and what is wise or unwise in these four venues.

I am sure we do all agree on the desperate need of the inner cities (see this heart-rending article from yesterday’s New York Times), and on the long-term failure of the Church, especially the Reformed Church, to meet that need. Gospel Rappers are doing more than me in this regard at this time in my life, and in that I salute them.

And though I wish them to re-consider some of the means they are using (or at least the extent to which they are using them), I also need much more of the spirit of Philippians 1:18 when trying to evaluate their approach.

Those wrestling with this and related issues will do well to read and ponder the professor’s posts.

UPDATE: Shai Linne got in touch and went to chat with David Murray. Read how it degenerated into a terrible brawl here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 17 November 2010 at 16:47

Posted in Culture and society

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Holy hip hop?

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David Murray asks some searching questions about the acceptance and promotion of rap and hip hop in some New Calvinist circles. To be fair, he asks some of himself as well:

Am I just expressing a cultural preference? Am I just being a traditionalist or a legalist? Am I making my sometimes-faulty conscience a rule for others? Am I threatening the precious gift of Christian liberty? I have to answer such challenging questions honestly and prayerfully when I write something like this. And I continue to examine my motives and aims.

Even so, he is ready to press on and ask some good questions of others also:

But may I not also challenge highly esteemed brothers in the Lord to ask themselves a few questions: Is your Christ-like longing for the salvation of lost souls in our inner cities, and maybe your personal friendships with some Christian rappers, hindering you from taking a sharp biblical lens to Hip-Hop and a consistent biblical approach to the worship of God? Have you perhaps at times mistaken the incredibly powerful effects of music and rhythm upon the human spirit for the powerful effects of the Holy Spirit? Is “Holy Hip Hop” leading Christians and non-Christians away from unholy Hip Hop and its culture or keeping them in it, and maybe even leading outsiders into it? Is there ever a line to be drawn where we say: this culture is so corrupted that separation rather than transformation may be the right Christian response? Are you at risk of unintentionally undermining the biblical, reformed, and God-glorifying dependence on plain preaching to save all souls, whatever the color of their skin? If the message really is more important and powerful than the music, would removing the music and leaving the bare words excite the same interest and produce the same effect? Why is it mainly white churches that are providing a platform for this, and why are so many African American churches so reluctant to welcome a genre of music that has done so much to destroy their communities and devastate young lives?

Doubtless this one is going to cause a little friction, but – as David says –

If the unqualified promotion of “Holy Hip Hop” had not become so public and prevalent over recent days and weeks, I would probably have tried to conduct a more private discussion about my concerns. Maybe the promoters of “Holy Hip Hop” might have been wiser to consult more widely and seriously dialogue with other Christians outside their circles before going so increasingly public with their fairly unquestioning support of what they must know will divide the reformed movement. Although I now feel conscience-bound to put this into the public domain, I do continue to welcome dialogue, both public and private.

I’m hopeful that the New Calvinist movement is now old and mature enough to seriously and prayerfully consider some concerns from other Christians outside their inner circles, from those who love them, appreciate them, and sincerely desire their long-term spiritual prosperity.

We watch with interest both the responses to David’s thoughtful, irenic and earnest piece, and the spirit in which the discussion will be conducted.

[For more on the new Calvinism, intended in the same spirit, try here.]

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 11 November 2010 at 18:28

Evangelistic preaching

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 4 May 2010 at 20:00

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