Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Archibald G. Brown

Title:  Archibald G. Brown: Spurgeon's Successor

Author:  Iain Murray

First Copyright:  2011

Type of Book:  Hardback

General Subject Matter:  Biography

Price:  $29.00

ISBN:  978-1-84871-139-6

The purpose of the author of this book is somewhat obscure. Normally we find the purpose of the author for the writing of his/her book in the preface, introduction, or even in the first chapter. This book is some what unusual. 

A long time friend of the author, Mr. John Eyers, wrote to Iain Murray suggesting that he "take up" Archibald G. Brown as a subject for a book. Murray's first reaction was to ignore the suggestion since he barely knew anything of Brown. After reviewing the material collected by Eyers, Murray grew excited about this subject and to quote Murray, "...this became the first book I have been 'given.'"

As far as Murray's own words go towards the purpose of this book, he wrote, "The life and message of Archibald Brown will speak to many hearts today as it has done to our own. This book has been for me a special reminder of the providence of God. That a preacher of a century ago should reappear from obscurity is no accident."

Murray intended to provide a biographical portrait of Brown in order to convince his readers that Brown was the kind of man that should be prayed for to enter into the labor of the harvest. Murray's style is informal, friendly, and very colorful. Murray has written this biography will great clarity with a full sense of development. 

The intended audience is the church at large. Murray has written so that every believer can and will benefit from reading this book. The subject, style, and the storehouse of blessing is suite for every member of Christendom.

This book was a tremendous blessing to me. I could not put this book down. It is well written, held my attention easily and written in such a way that I wanted to know as much as possible about Brown. I had never heard of Brown prior to receiving this book, but I am now a great "fan" of this wonderful late pastor. Both the subject and the book caused me to reevaluate my own call to the ministry, my values, my commitments, and my priorities. I would recommend this book to every believer without hesitation.

The theme of this book is the life and ministry of Archibald G Brown. Brown as you can tell by the sub-title was a successor to Charles H Spurgeon of the Metropolitan Tabernacle of London. The thesis of this book is that this obscure man known by little was truly a man of God for his time.

Murray develops his theme by narration. He tells a wonderful story of the events of Brown's life. He moves along in a logical and chronological manner through all the life and times of Brown. Murray tells a great story of this man's contribution to the church of Jesus Christ.

This book was very accurate and thorough. Murray, first of all was very objective. He appreciated his subject was not a "hero-worshipper." Murray's research was thorough even though much crucial material had been destroyed when the two main churches of Brown's pastorate were bombed in World War II.

Murray offers his opinion of the godliness, abilities, skill, and gifts of Brown as a godly, competent pastor. I share Murray's opinion. I agree with them completely. Murray's research and objectivity of this man whom he greatly respected was fully supported by evidence and research.

The Sword and the Trowel offers proof of Murray's evaluation of Brown as a godly and competent man:

"Full of youthful pleasantry, our deal brother was also full of zeal for God's glory, and prayer and faith soon caused the tide to turn; the meeting place was full, and the White Heart Assembly Room had to be taken to accommodate the numbers anxious to hear the young preacher. It was soon necessary to admit the regular attenders by ticker." (pg. 35)

Iain Murray has been in the Christian ministry since 1955. In 1957 Murray co-founded The Banner of Truth Trust serving as the senior editor until 1996. Murray served as an assistant to Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the Westminster Chapel. Murray pastored Grove Chapel in Camberwell, London and St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Sydney. He is has authored numerous books including a number of biographies. He is amply qualified to write this biography of Archibald G Brown.

This book is a hardback edition. The type is amply readable. There are several illustrations and pictures.They certainly give great help in understanding what Murray wrote. They help make the story "come alive."

This book contains five appendixes. It includes and extensive subject index. Murray documents his material with sufficient and numerous footnotes.

As far a a summary goes, this is a well written and interesting biography of an obscure man who followed one of the most famous preachers. Brown was tremendously used of God as a great and godly pastor.

Murray concludes this biography with this paragraph:

"When the sound is heard from heaven, and the next revival comes, there will be nothing said from the pulpit or platform about 'up-to-date' or 'social subject,' or the clap-trap that is popular today; it will be Bible! Bible! Bible! And the people clamouring, 'Let us have the Word of God.' The gospel was preached [at Pentecost], and what followed? Conviction! 'They were pricked in their heart.' They said to Peter, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do.' 'But', says someone, 'do you imagine such a thing could ever happen today? Yes, indeed I do. I have seen it! Every week for years, men and women coming and saying, 'What shall we do?'

After my heavens and my earth have perished he remaineth, and he ever will. My savior is the eternal God. My Christ, the I AM, he who died on the cross for me, liveth evermore, throughout eternity 'the same.' In spirit I look far down those endless ages. Aeon follows aeon, and still the song rises and swells, filling heaven with its melody, 'Thou remainest; thou remainest; the same Eternal, Immutable, Lord Jesus!'" (From a sermon on Acts 2:2, circa 1900)

1 comment:


Sounds like an excellent book Gregg.

Just trying to catch up on missed blogs.
Happy week-end.