David P. Beaty
Reviewed by: Iain Wright
Date posted: 07/05/2015
An All-Surpassing Fellowship: Learning from Robert Murray M'Cheyne's Communion with God, by David P. Beaty. Reformation Heritage Books, 2014. Paperback, 164 pages, list price $15.00. Reviewed by OP pastor Iain Wright.
I was first introduced to Andrew Bonar's Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M'Cheyne when I was a young man. His transparent love for the Lord and desire to honor God in all his ways blessed me then as it blesses me now. What minister would not be challenged by his simple statement that his congregation's greatest need is his personal holiness? Few indeed are the men who have lived consistently with this dictum, but perhaps M'Cheyne comes closer than most.
David Beaty has done us no small service in distilling the godly example of a man of eminent piety in the scope of a few pages. The work is divided into three sections, giving us a brief biography, a description of M'Cheyne's communion with God, and finally a section on learning from him. The last section alone is worth the price of the book. In five studies from "Really Understanding the Gospel" to "Passion for Revival," Beaty not only opens up in brief compass the deep motivation for the glory of Christ that undergirded the prayers and ministry of M'Cheyne, but also concludes with simple recommendations and thoughtful exercises designed to assist the thoughtful reader toward that experimental Calvinism of which M'Cheyne was so eminent a practitioner.
I am tempted to encourage every member to ask his or her pastor whether he is familiar with this book and, if he does not have a copy of his own, to purchase it for him. I would, however, recommend that such a thoughtful member first acquire a copy and read it thoroughly himself. A lesson learned from M'Cheyne is that we should prepare the ground with our own prayers if we are looking for blessing from on high. If your congregation's greatest need is your pastor's personal holiness, then first take this book as your own devotional and then with your prayers present it to your pastor, so that together you might see that outpouring of the Spirit of God that truly is both the glory and the abiding joy of the saints.