Definition of False Teacher: One who presumes
to teach in the Name of the Lord when God has not sent him.
False Teacher - Andrew Murray
There is not a more horrible sight to Heaven than men trying to appear heavenly. It is the arrogance of men who say in their hearts, “I will be as God,” whereas Jesus Christ is God saying, “I will become a man.” Christ comes to consume those who consume Him, thereby making them one with God according to His will and doing. Thus is Jesus’ saying fulfilled:
“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 MKJV).
Anti (“instead of” and therefore “opposed to”)
When I first believed on the Lord Jesus Christ in 1973 and entered
the evangelical Christian world, I was introduced to literature by
many popular Christian teachers, one of those being Andrew Murray.
I recall several leaders in the churches raving about him and his books;
they would collect them and pass them on to others. It seemed every
Christian bookstore carried them and likely still does.
Yet whenever I tried to read Murray’s work, I was bored nearly
to death. I found it so dry, although I found the Bible alive and intensely
interesting. Murray’s books presented an impossible challenge
to me: How could someone be so spiritual? I felt like I was condemned
because I simply could not relate to God the way he seemed to. I just
did not measure up to Andrew Murray.
By the way, before I believed, the Bible was perfectly dead to me
(in retrospect, I realize it was the other way around - I was dead
to the Bible). Before I entered into faith, I knew nothing about Andrew
Murray, but I know I would have found him to be dead whether I believed
or not. Not so with the Bible, which became alive to me when I believed.
This matter with Andrew Murray perplexed me for a while. Whenever
I tried reading his books, I would ask myself doubting questions. Wasn’t
I spiritual? Wasn’t I right with God? Was there sin in my life?
Perhaps my conversion wasn’t real?! Was there something wrong
with me that I could not appreciate Murray’s material, as others
professing faith in Christ seemed able to do?
Without answers to these questions, I simply laid Murray aside. But
I noticed that people who praised him never had anything substantial
or specific to say about him or his writings, just that he was a wonderful
Christian writer with such deep and wonderful things to say and ways
to say them. I thought, “I’m just not there yet.”
Today, I realize that Andrew Murray was not speaking of Jesus Christ,
but of his carnal perception of Him. Murray put on a great show of
imitating Jesus Christ as he perceived Him. It was all religiosity,
a product of flesh born of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Murray pleased and impressed men by imitating Christ.
Presuming to imitate Jesus Christ is never good; it is thoroughly
evil, because it makes God (Jesus Christ) in man’s image, thinking
it pleases Him. But it doesn’t please Him at all; it grieves
and angers Him. Why is that? After all, what is wrong with supposedly
focusing on Him, talking about Him, and bearing witness of Him to others?
How can that be anything but so very good?
This paper exposing Andrew Murray was prompted when I recently picked
up his book, Like Christ. I looked inside and the subject matter was
described as, “thoughts on the blessed
life of conformity to the Son of God,” suggesting we should try to be like Him. Then
it hit me. “Like Christ”? Can we really presume to even
know what He is like, much less be like Him in our own knowledge, strength,
and judgment? Would we not have to be God, Who alone could make that
judgment of His nature? Is this not the height of arrogance and presumption?
Indeed, it is!
Nowhere in Scripture are we exhorted to be like Christ or imitate
Him. We are called to believe, love, and obey Him, and to follow in
His steps, which all may seem like, or be interpreted as, imitating
Him. But the truth is that God is at work with
us as His children, and as His children, we are called to obey, not
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed
to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers” (Romans
“Beloved, now we are children of God,
and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.
But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall
be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2 MKJV).
God is the Potter, we are the clay; He is the One doing the conforming
in us. Some mistakenly think the following Scripture endorses Murray’s
approach to being a Christian, with man conforming to God:
“Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians
But Paul was not talking about imitating Christ according to his own
understanding, but following Christ as He leads and reveals Himself:
“But when it pleased God, Who separated me from my mother's
womb, and having called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me so
that I might preach Him among the nations, immediately I did not confer
with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:15-16
This happens by the initiation and empowerment of God. Paul was calling
others with like faith, the gift of God, to follow him in what Christ
“Because of this we also give thanks to God unceasingly, so
that when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you
received not the word of men, but just as it truly is, the Word of
God, which also is at work in you who believe” (1
Thessalonians 2:13 EMTV).
Let me put it another way: Children can learn to do things as their
parents teach, as with eating, washing, combing hair, reading,
and writing. But are they expected to comb their hair in the exact
same way, to eat the same quantities and combinations of foods, and
to read and write like them personally? While we are called to godliness
generally, we are not called to imitation. Our very nature, created
by God, rebels against this notion.
When a son tries to imitate his father’s voice, intonations,
hand gestures, and style of preaching, as does John Hagee’s son,
you know there is something wrong. It is man’s works. Children
must grow up to be individuals with their own personalities, mannerisms,
abilities, gifts, and calling. As John Hagee’s son should not
try to be as his father, so we should not try to be as our Heavenly
Father. While God commands we be holy as He is holy, we are not called
to imitate His holiness, however we perceive that to be.
God does not take pleasure in copycats. He is in the business of making
us in His image and has no desire for us to make ourselves in an image
we conceive of Him. Indeed, that is antiChrist. This copycat
mentality and attitude, in essence, is Andrew Murray’s great
As I perused this book that I had not seen for decades, I recalled
the effect Murray’s doctrine had on me. As a believer, I was
turned off, although I couldn’t define what was wrong; I thought,
surely he speaks nothing wrong, so the fault must lie with me.
But this time, decades later, I did not feel guilt or condemnation.
I felt anger and indignation that anyone should be so daring as to
presume to copy Christ or pretend to know Him intimately by his carnal
senses and knowledge; and, adding sin to sin, gloat about it before
the world. What chutzpah!
All Murray’s writings are self-exaltation. In Absolute Surrender,
one must take his word that he is absolutely surrendered; we assume
talk about it if he wasn’t. In The Deeper Christian Life,
he has this deep Christian life, or he wouldn’t talk about it.
In speaking of the “Secret of True Obedience,” the “Morning
Watch in the Life of Obedience,” and the “Entrance to the
Life of Full Obedience,” all chapter titles in his book, The
School of Obedience, he speaks of himself.
As I scanned his sermon - The
Power of Persevering Prayer - I could find no substance,
nothing practical; it was all theory and condescension.
He was really saying, “Look how godly
I am, how deeply spiritual and Christlike. Watch me, believe me, talk
like me, and you will be a saintly person (just like me - and I will
get the glory!).” It is all theory, intelligent and spiritually-eloquent
perhaps, but diabolical.
His preaching is the letter that kills the spirit. We are called to
imitate Murray as he presumes and pretends to imitate Christ. He follows
and preaches another “Jesus,” a man-made or devil-made
one, the kind the apostle Paul warned about (2 Corinthians 11:4).
Just what is Murray’s fruit? Have you ever wondered about the
mealy-mouthed, pretentious, sickly sweet deportment of those who try
to imitate Christ or let others know they are Christians? It is men
like Murray who produce and promote that spirit and attitude. The Christian
is called to be godly, not to have a show of godliness.
Those who recommend Murray’s books couldn’t care less
about the Lord Jesus Christ. They are there to make themselves look
good: “I am reading Murray, so you see that I understand these
deep things of God; I am a praying Christian (the “a” in “praying” should
be exchanged for an “e”); I am committed, devoted, and
eternally secure. Behold, ME!” They themselves get nothing from
his books because both they and the books are dead.
It is like the emperor with no clothes. Though
people see or understand nothing from Murray's books, they rave about
his works because they
want to be perceived as deeply spiritual. And no one speaks up saying, “There's
nothing here!” Now we do! Emperor, you are stark naked! Shame
on your exposing yourself that way, and in God's Name yet!
Murray’s work is the satanic angel of light being glorified
and promoted, and not the Lord Jesus, Whom fawning Murray admirers
profess to love. Imitators eat it up because it has a form of godliness;
is their ticket to avoid reality and having to face themselves.
Andrew Murray titles himself, “Reverend.” From cradle
to crypt, he has been a part of the system, being ordained by men at
age 20 and serving in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, steeped
in men’s religious works.
Note that Murray’s writings are not nearly about the Scriptures
as about his personal take on them. His is more of an opinionated,
psychological, and social commentary than anything of Holy Substance
and Subject. And do watch out for the man who speaks in contemporary
and then changes over to King James English for public prayer. That
is sure evidence of a religious spirit that glorifies the flesh.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour
widows’ houses, and pray at length as a pretense. Therefore you
shall receive the greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14 MKJV).
Men like Andrew Murray are the more colorful and deceptive kind of
serpents, angels of impressive illumination, though they will not deceive
true sheep, those who follow their Shepherd.
“The doorkeeper opens to Him, and the sheep hear His voice,
and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. And when He
puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow
Him. For they know His voice. And they will not follow a stranger,
but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John
For more substance to verify what I say concerning the spiritual fallacy
of this man, go to The
True Marks of a Cult.
How subtle are Satan’s ways! What smokescreens the Devil raises
to deceive the unwary! It doesn’t matter if Andrew Murray was
sincere or not, it only matters that he was deceived and has served
to deceive others. Nevertheless, saints are tried and strengthened
by these temptations; they learn to know the difference between good
and evil, and when they come to maturity, they rejoice in the One Who
kept them safe and sound from the subtle beast.
I don’t have any reason to believe Andrew Murray was deliberately
deceptive – he was raised in an active environment of religion
and continued only in that which he knew, but which he, of course,
also personally chose.
So what, then, is my purpose for speaking of Andrew Murray? I speak
to warn, to alert spiritual sojourners of the dangers and pitfalls
on their path of truth to the Celestial City of God. I want people
to know that what is promoted as Christ most often is not Christ. I
want them to know the difference between the real and the counterfeit.
to confirm to those who sense falsehood in such men that they are indeed
sensing truly. I would like to see confusion removed from their lives,
a confusion that troubled me when I first began my walk of faith in
Christ by His grace.
Most importantly of all, I want the new believer to know that he or
she does not grow in Christ by trying to be like Him. Such efforts
on our part are what the Bible calls men’s works, works of the
flesh, which God hates and which war with the soul. No, the process
of salvation is strictly God’s work:
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For
we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which
God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians
We do not make ourselves Christians, and we do not make Christians
of others. Those who presume to make of themselves, and of others,
Christians are the children of hell (darkness and bondage) of whom
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass
sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you
make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew
There is no proselytization in the Kingdom of God and nothing but
proselytization in the kingdoms of men. There is a great deal of difference
between proselytization and true Christian discipleship, the work of
God. The former is works of men through and through, the paths of the
destroyer - works of wood, hay, and stubble, all of which will be committed
to the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:9-14 MKJV
(9) For of God we are fellow-workers, a field of God, and you are a
building of God.
(10) According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise
master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.
But let every man be careful how he builds on it.
(11) For any other foundation can no one lay than the one being laid,
Who is Jesus Christ.
(12) And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious
stones, wood, hay, stubble,
(13) each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's
work as to what kind it is.
(14) If anyone's work which he built remains, he shall receive a reward.
“Concerning the works of men, by the Words of Your lips, I am
kept from the paths of the destroyer” (Psalms 17:4 MKJV).
Discipleship is working in Christ with God as He works. It is working
with, and in agreement with, what God has initiated.
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to
you, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father
do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise” (John
For those who would enter the Kingdom of God, put your trust in Jesus
Christ. Depend on Him to usher you into the Kingdom. Ask Him to give
you to know what is of Him and what is not, to know the difference
between His anointed shepherds and Satan’s messengers who, as
sincere as they may seem, come deceiving as presumptuous and presumed
ministers of Christ and of righteousness. Don’t be afraid. The
Lord is quite able to save, and He will in no way refuse or neglect