Christian Biographical Fiction: Andrew Murray Destined to Serve.
by Dr. Olea Nel
This is a wonderful biography of a great Christian pastor
For lovers of historical fiction about Christian heroes of the faith
A boyish and fun-loving Andrew Murray arrives back in South Africa after being ordained at the Hague on his twentieth birthday. He soon discovers that his preaching lacks the power displayed by his heroes of the faith. He therefore decides to embark on a quest to become a powerful preacher filled with the Holy Spirit.
But not long after his appointment as pastor to the Dutch emigrants beyond the borders of the Cape, he finds that he is being shunted off course by a frenetic round of preaching tours that sap his energy and leave him little time to spend with God. He also finds himself having to cope with an overly demanding church council, as well as walk a tightrope between the Boer farmers and the British Settler community who are bent on land speculation to the detriment of neighboring tribes.
Feeling overwhelmed by the task, and knowing that he was pressed into taking it, he starts to doubt his calling. It does not take him long to realize that he has to either man-up or bow out.
Historically accurate, and based upon Andrew Murray's letters and early biographies, this is a compelling story that makes well-known historical characters come to life.
WALK with Andrew Murray as he negotiates his first year of ministry to the Voortrekkers in the Orange River Sovereignty and the Transvaal between the years 1849 and 1850.
PLACE yourself with him in the wilds of Africa teaming with game, lions and African wolves.
THROW into this mix the British, who at the Battle of Boomplaats in 1848 have just taken over the land between the Orange and Vaal Rivers.
IMMERSE yourself in a world where the Boer is forever ready to rebel against their British overlords, and where Paramount Chief Moshesh of the Basuto is constantly threatening war against the British and neighboring tribes.
OBSERVE how Andrew Murray at twenty-one is able to straddle the divide between Boer and Brit and grow into his role as lone pastor, eager to serve his far-flung congregation of over 20 000 souls.
Dr. Olea Nel was born in Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her training as a teacher in Andrew Murray’s heartland of Wellington, she relocated to Australia to further her studies.
Besides attaining a PhD in Linguistics, she also has qualifications in Information Studies and Theology. Having now retired from her position as a senior librarian at the National Library of Australia, she is able to pursue her passion for research, especially within the fields of church history and biography. Her aim is to share her findings with fellow Christians.
What Readers Are Saying
An enjoyable read that was an eye-opener
I really enjoyed reading Andrew Murray Destined to Serve. Having read Andrew Murray’s writings, it was a real eye-opener to read about his first year of ministry in South Africa. He was an ordinary Dutch Reformed minister who faced extraordinary circumstances. Although only 21, Murray was loaded with responsibilities which both excited and challenged him to the limits.
The story is peopled with unique, interesting, strong and quirky characters, who all make a contribution to Murray’s life. For all who appreciate the extensive writings of Andrew Murray, you will discover in this book the situations and experiences that forged his spiritual outlook on life. You will really warm to Murray as a very down to earth, loveable and practical person. He was totally committed to spreading the Gospel and building the church in a frontier environment.
Although the story takes place in the mid-19th century, Murray experienced the 21st-century symptoms of work overload, stress, multi-tasking, and exhaustion. Nevertheless, he was a quick learner from life’s experiences, and that itself provides insight into the depth of wisdom one comes across in his books.
The story moves as briskly as Murray moved from frontier town to frontier town. One aspect of the book that I really appreciated was seeing the complex political situation in 19th century South Africa through Murray’s eyes. The tension between the Dutch farmers and English settlers was excellently portrayed. Throughout the book, you can see behind all the setbacks and successes God’s providential care in shaping Andrew Murray’s life, the life of the church and of the nation.
This book is extremely well researched and well written. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone who has an interest in Andrew Murray—both the writer and the man.
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