John Murray was a Scottish-born Calvinist theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary and then left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for many years.
Murray was born in the croft of Badbea, near Bonar Bridge, in Sutherland county, Scotland. Following service in the British Army in the First World War (during which he lost an eye, serving in the famous Black Watch regiment) he studied at the University of Glasgow. Following his acceptance as a theological student of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland he pursued further studies at Princeton Theological Seminary under J. Gresham Machen and Geerhardus Vos, but broke with the Free Presbyterian Church in 1930 over that Church's treatment of the Chesley, Ontario congregation. He taught at Princeton for a year and then lectured in systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary to generations of students from 1930 to 1966, and was an early trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust. Besides the material in the four-volume Collected Writings, his primary published works are a commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (previously included in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series but now superseded by Douglas J. Moo's commentary), Redemption Accomplished and Applied, Principles of Conduct, The Imputation of Adam's Sin, Baptism, and Divorce.
Murray preached at Chesley and Lochalsh from time to time until his retirement from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1968. He married Valerie Knowlton 7 December 1967 and retired to Scotland where he was connected with the Free Church of Scotland. Writing after a communion season at Lochalsh, Murray said, “I think I feel most at home here and at Chesley of all the places I visit.” There had been some consideration that upon leaving the seminary, Murray might take a pastorate in the newly formed Presbyterian Reformed Church, but the infirmity of his aged sisters at the home place necessitated his return to Ross-shire, Scotland.
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