Diary of Kenneth MacRae

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Has anyone read the Diary of Kenneth MacRae (edited by Iain Murray and published by Banner of Truth in 1980)? I hear it is a gripping read of a godly pastor who was exceptionally faithful in his service to the Lord in the North of Scotland.

Iain Murray pays a warm tribute to him here. Iain emphasises his godly service for the Lord. I need to be exposed to godly men such as this.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have not read the Diary, but I am wondering if anyone has access to his pamphlet, The Resurgence of Arminianism? If so, could they send me a photocopy on a PDF?
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
I've heard good things about this work for years. Finding a copy for less than a million dollars is another thing.
 

CathH

Puritan Board Freshman
I read it fairly recently, although we've always had it around. I wanted to find for myself a bit I've heard people talking about - where he lamented that when they called a special day of prayer, nobody paid much attention to the reason for calling the day, but just prayed for the same things in the same way as ever.

Found that bit, and also got drawn into more or less reading it through. It's a gripping read (and I'm not usually big on biographies or diaries). Definitely worth getting hold of if you can.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
if anyone has access to his pamphlet, The Resurgence of Arminianism?
Sorry I cannot help here, but I came across this interesting comment in a tribute to Kenneth MacRae:

"I think we are especially indebted to him as a champion for the cause of Christ in the midst of a deteriorating spiritual situation in the Church in Scotland. Having experienced the soul-destroying nature of theological liberalism and the subtle danger of the new school of Victorian evangelism, he was wholly committed to full-orbed Calvinism all his days. He was ministering in the midst of a drift from the old ways and no man understood the nature of the declension better than Mr MacRae. He felt that the distinctive Reformed testimony of the Free Church was being compromised by a weakening of principles. He had the discernment to see when some of his colleagues were supporting outside movements that would be harmful to the testimony of his Church.

In this connection he had a great concern to instruct the rising generation in these principles. As early as 1936, at the request of the Public Questions Committee and sanctioned by the General Assembly, he undertook a three month itinerary ‘with a view to seeking to persuade the young people of the Church to a greater interest in and zeal for the message and testimony which has been given the Free Church to declare’. He prepared a sheet ‘What the Free Church Stands For’ which was given out at the close of each meeting. The account of the tour in the Diary is most revealing. It highlighted a great need for such instruction, especially in congregations south of the Highland line.

Sadly the situation did not improve and in later years Mr MacRae had to fight some battles in the courts of the Church. Things came to a head in the 1950s. A booklet which he wrote on his voyage to Australia in 1953 was published under the title, The Resurgence of Arminianism, in 1954, coinciding with the time of the Greater London Crusade of Dr Billy Graham. The General Assembly of the Free Church in May 1954 had indicated public approval of the Crusade. Mr MacRae in a letter published in The Monthly Record in September 1954 gave ‘another point of view’ and felt that the approval was ‘a betrayal of our testimony.’ Coming to the 1955 General Assembly with an Overture from his Synod to deal with the matter in hand he faced some bitter opposition and the motion was defeated by 53 votes to 37. It was a watershed in the history of the Church. He recorded in his Diary: ‘It was a sad Assembly, which chilled my heart and filled me with apprehension as to the future’."

From https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2014/fifty-years-remembering-rev-kenneth-macrae/
Found that bit, and also got drawn into more or less reading it through. It's a gripping read
Yes, I have read a number of comments online about the book being a gripping read, and the godly impact Mr Mcrae had throughout Scotland. On one book review page I looked at, some said they read the book 4-5 times! I love reading books about theological and spiritual giants.
Definitely worth getting hold of if you can.
Finding a copy for less than a million dollars is another thing.
I found a good copy at a great price via a Christian bookshop in Australia.

I have a reputation for promoting the ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones :) There is actually an interesting connection. Iain Murray edited the Diary of Kenneth MacRae in the late 1970's. At that time there was a discussion going on regarding someone writing the official biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. MLJ was cautious on this. MLJ was impressed with the quality work Iain Murray did editing MacRae's diary. This led to MLJ agreeing to let Iain Murray writing the official biography on MLJ. MLJ read the Banner of Truth edition of this diary not long before he died and was greatly blessed by it.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Stephen, I fully agree on Macrae's diary. On the back of a blog post I wrote last year (Here), I contacted Banner of Truth & asked them if they had any plans to republish it. They said they're sure they will do, in due course.
Scott, I inserted your comment into this forum so as to not hijack the other thread. I had previously set up this post to ask about MacRae's diary.

As a matter of interest I had read your blog post on MacRae's diary. I really enjoyed your post and it was one of the things that motivated me to buy a copy of the diary. I got a quality second hand copy from Australia.

I see many aspects ministry of Kenneth MacRae that I also find in Dr Lloyd-Jones ministry. His commitment to Reformed theology, rejection of Arminian alter calls, purity of worship and godly piety are also emphasised in Martyn Lloyd-Jones ministry. I found his Diary spiritually encouraging because it expressed the soul of a very godly man and his desire for a stronger communion with God.

I'm glad you asked Banner of Truth to reprint this Diary. It is sorely needed today. I am also going to ask Banner of Truth to reprint it; hopefully they see there is a growing interest for it.

Only 2 years before he died, MacRae spoke at a Banner of Truth Conference in England in 1962. I think it may have been the very first Banner Conference. Here is a recording of one of his messages https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=32317816590

Iain Murray actually included a chapter on MacRae in his book "Seven Leaders: Pastors and Teachers". Here is a Youtube clip where Iain discusses his life and ministry
 

scottmaciver

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scott, I inserted your comment into this forum so as to not hijack the other thread. I had previously set up this post to ask about MacRae's diary.

As a matter of interest I had read your blog post on MacRae's diary. I really enjoyed your post and it was one of the things that motivated me to buy a copy of the diary. I got a quality second hand copy from Australia.

I see many aspects ministry of Kenneth MacRae that I also find in Dr Lloyd-Jones ministry. His commitment to Reformed theology, rejection of Arminian alter calls, purity of worship and godly piety are also emphasised in Martyn Lloyd-Jones ministry. I found his Diary spiritually encouraging because it expressed the soul of a very godly man and his desire for a stronger communion with God.

I'm glad you asked Banner of Truth to reprint this Diary. It is sorely needed today. I am also going to ask Banner of Truth to reprint it; hopefully they see there is a growing interest for it.

Only 2 years before he died, MacRae spoke at a Banner of Truth Conference in England in 1962. I think it may have been the very first Banner Conference. Here is a recording of one of his messages https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=32317816590

Iain Murray actually included a chapter on MacRae in his book "Seven Leaders: Pastors and Teachers". Here is a Youtube clip where Iain discusses his life and ministry
Many thanks Stephen. I've never heard a recording of Macrae, I'll look forward to listening to that!
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Scott, I inserted your comment into this forum so as to not hijack the other thread. I had previously set up this post to ask about MacRae's diary.

As a matter of interest I had read your blog post on MacRae's diary. I really enjoyed your post and it was one of the things that motivated me to buy a copy of the diary. I got a quality second hand copy from Australia.

I see many aspects ministry of Kenneth MacRae that I also find in Dr Lloyd-Jones ministry. His commitment to Reformed theology, rejection of Arminian alter calls, purity of worship and godly piety are also emphasised in Martyn Lloyd-Jones ministry. I found his Diary spiritually encouraging because it expressed the soul of a very godly man and his desire for a stronger communion with God.

I'm glad you asked Banner of Truth to reprint this Diary. It is sorely needed today. I am also going to ask Banner of Truth to reprint it; hopefully they see there is a growing interest for it.

Only 2 years before he died, MacRae spoke at a Banner of Truth Conference in England in 1962. I think it may have been the very first Banner Conference. Here is a recording of one of his messages https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=32317816590

Iain Murray actually included a chapter on MacRae in his book "Seven Leaders: Pastors and Teachers". Here is a Youtube clip where Iain discusses his life and ministry
And Murray himself is 89 this year.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Do you know how his health is? I heard his good wife has not been too well. I am very thankful to the Lord for Iain Murray's writings.
No, I haven't heard anything about the state of his health. I do know that the Murrays buried their son last year - and he was in his early 60s, if memory serves.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I just saw on Banner of Truth's Facebook page that they are reprinting 'The way of life' by Charles Hodge. Kenneth MacRae loved this book and used it in church Bible studies. When he was very ill, three months before his death, he asked his wife to pass him a copy of Hodge's work. He then said "Oh some people think that doctrine is dry, but I love it, I love chunks of doctrine, chunks of it. It is so full of Christ, full of Christ!"
[Diary of Kenneth MacRae pg 509].
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I just saw on Banner of Truth's Facebook page that they are reprinting 'The way of life' by Charles Hodge. Kenneth MacRae loved this book and used it in church Bible studies. When he was very ill, three months before his death, he asked his wife to pass him a copy of Hodge's work. He then said "Oh some people think that doctrine is dry, but I love it, I love chunks of doctrine, chunks of it. It is so full of Christ, full of Christ!"
[Diary of Kenneth MacRae pg 509].
MacRae is right. Hodge's book is excellent, both for beginners in the faith and as a refresher for those who have believed for many years.
 
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