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Andrew Murray, Sr.
1794 to 1866
Dutch Reformed Church (DRC)
South Africa

Andrew Murray, Sr., was a Scottish pioneer minister and evangelical leader of South Africa. He was born into a pious Aberdeenshire family and studied at Aberdeen University, where he felt called to be a missionary to Newfoundland. However, when George Thom went to Scotland (1819-1820) recruiting ministers for the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa, Murray was one of five students who volunteered. In 1822 he was ordained and inducted into the vast frontier parish of Graaff-Reinet. He identified completely with the Afrikaner people, marrying one of them, sixteen-year-old Maria Stegman. She bore him six sons, five of whom became ministers of the DRC, and four daughters, all of whom married ministers. His evangelistic zeal transformed the whole frontier community. He brought so many people to an active Christian faith that out of his original parish eight new self-supporting congregations were created during his lifelong ministry there. He served for many years as clerk of synod and was once synod moderator. Murray was the driving force that began the transformation of the DRC in the Cape from a dry formal state into a dynamically evangelical church that reached out to all who spoke Afrikaans, Cape Coloureds as well as whites.

Andrew C. Ross


Bibliography:

The best published source for Murray's life is the biography of his better known son, Andrew Murrary, Jr. by J. du Plessis, The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa (1919). A large collection of Murray's papers are in the DRC archives in Cape Town.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.