Absolute Surrender: The Blessedness Of Forsaking All And Following Christ, by Andrew Murray
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I am at least somewhat familiar  with the writing of Andrew Murray, and this book falls along the same lines as the previous books I have read by him. There are some aspects of the thought process of the writer that are a bit strange to me–his striking use of the word shunted, for example, is remarkable–but overall this is an author who tends to be very direct and straightforward. In reading a book by this author, this book in particular, one is not going to get a lot of dancing around the point, but rather one is going to get a direct and fierce defense of the author’s beliefs, and one that is going to be tough-minded. This book, it should be stated without any ambiguity, is certainly tough-minded, and the author makes plain over and over again how insufficient our own efforts are in reaching any standards of righteousness as well as any power. Although the book was written before the contemporary mania for ragamuffin gospels , the book is a strong refutation of that concept through a fierce treatment of the carnality of many professed Christians.
The author, in thirteen chapters, manages to cover about 150 pages or so of text. Included in that are many discussions of the Holy Spirit and its role for believers, of our need to be filled and changed by it and separated to it. The author makes it plain that a genuine believer needs to make a transition and a journey through divine assistance from carnal to spiritual and that requires a great deal of conviction and confession of our sins. The author makes use of Peter’s repentance as a way of demonstrating how this process works, and gives quite a few stories about his own life and background and the institutions of his time. Over and over again the author makes it plain that our attempts at making efforts are without efficacy in terms of developing godly love and character in our lives. This is done without any sort of ambiguity whatsoever–whether a reader appreciates the author’s direct approach or not, the author is not the sort of man to mince words or disguise his beliefs, but rather is one to lay out his beliefs openly before the reader, come what may.
One of the notable insights this book brings to the table, and it is not a new insight but is certainly a very relevant one, is that a large part of the reason for the failure of Christians to make a more positive influence on the world is because of a lack of maturity and growth. All too often people profess Christianity and there is little recognition of the full extent of our self-will and departure from God, nor any recognition of the seriousness of the commitment that we have made and the total lack of ability we have of following God’s commandments without His power in us. This book is a salutary reminder of the fallen and frail nature of mankind and our need for greater devotion and surrender to God. Whether or not this message is appealing to our generation, it is certainly a message that is relevant to our issues as believers in the present time, and so this book remains worthy even if–or because–it cuts against the culture of our day and time.
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