Books In Brief – The Diary of Kenneth Macrae
Kenneth Macrae was a Scottish minister who served congregations in Lochgilphead (1915-19), Kilmuir (1919-1931) and Stornoway (1931-1964). He kept a diary from 1912-1963, never intended for publication. It was only after his death in 1964 that the diaries were discovered and published by Iain Murray and the Banner of Truth.
The Diary is of particular interest to those of us from the Isle of Lewis and those who have worshipped in the church Macrae once ministered in. However, it ought also to be of great interest to the wider church. Macrae was a faithful minister who exercised great leadership at a time of spiritual decline in Scotland.
It covers entries written at the time of the First World War, “the blackest day of my life, but the Lord has not left me without consolation. Got word today that my darling brother George was killed in action on the 9th in the advance at Arras while leading his platoon. (Saturday 14th April, 1917)”
At the time of the armistice, the town clerk of Lochgilphead arranged an ecumenical service to mark the end of hostilities. Macrae stood firm to his convictions and refused to take part in a service with those who were in error and taught a false Gospel. No doubt today, Macrae would be regarded as being unloving and a hard liner, yet surely it is more loving to lead people to truth, rather than towards error? The question ought to be asked, how many professedly reformed ministers today, have shared pulpits with Roman Catholics and liberal ministers?
Furthermore, the diary reveals a preacher and a pastor who was Christ centred. Macrae believed that a minister ought never to preach a sermon that has not sufficient in it to lead a soul to Christ. How many pulpits throughout the length and breadth of Scotland today are Christless, where the blind are leading the blind?
We have a tendency to put men up on a pedestal. That ought to be avoided at all costs. However, we ought also to pray that the Lord would raise up men like Macrae in our day. Christ centred leaders of conviction who would not bow to the whims of the day, but would know Christ and His presence and declare Him to all, “At night felt very happy. Had more of the presence of Christ than I have had for a long time. (Thursday 19th September, 1918)”
Unfortunately, the Diary of Kenneth Macrae is currently out of print, although second hand copies can occasionally be found online. Perhaps it is time for the Banner of Truth to republish this valuable diary?