Tag Archives: C.J. Mahaney

Humility by C.J. Mahaney

Mahaney, C.J. Humility: True Greatness. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2005. 176 pp. $12.99. Purchase at Westminster for $9.22.


Narrated by Sean Runnette. Escondido: christianaudio Hovel.  4 hrs.  Download for $9.98, CD for $15.98.


C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries–a church planting and sustaining mission.  He served for twenty-seven years as pastor of Covenant Life Church where Joshua Harris now serves as pastor.  (I think being bald is a pre-requisite to serve as senior pastor there!)


Divided into three parts, Mahaney packs much into such a small book.  In part one, he takes a look at both sides of the issue–humility and pride.  The second part offers an exhortation to look at the One who defines humility and gave us the greatest example of humility.  It is by the standard of Jesus Christ that we can know what true humility looks like.

In true C.J. Mahaney form, the third part offers much in the way of how to live a life of humility; in other words, the application of the exhortation.  Mahaney looks at how you should begin each day, how you should end each day and everything else in between (as well as when you are sleeping). He concludes the book with a list of suggestions on how to weaken the pride in your life and cultivate humility.  One example he does offer is to play golf!

Review (Content & Audio)

The content is dead on.  Humility is written with some strong exhortations mixed with very practical applications.  Granted, we are not all going to play golf, but what Mahaney is saying is that there are many everyday ways in which you can cultivate humility in your life without becoming a monk and secluding yourself from the rest of the world.

The audiobook was very well done as well.  This was the first time I had listened to Sean Runnette read a book from christianaudio.  He read with feeling and emotion.  It was as though he was being deeply impacted by what he was reading and wanted to relay that on to those who would be listening later.  His pace of reading and voice were both steady and strong.  The audiobook was a joy to listen to.


Humility is a topic that is extremely tough to write about without coming off as arrogant.  C.J. Mahaney succeeded in doing just that.  He writes with a genuine humility that is seen or heard whenever he steps into a pulpit to preach.  He comes across as one acutely aware of his sin and God’s grace which is needed today more than ever.

I would recommend to every pastor or leader in the local church that they read and discuss this book with others.  I would also recommend that any Christian read this book.  Perhaps a youth group study would be advisable on the contents of Humility.

Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology: Together For the Gospel

Dever, Mark, J. Ligon Duncan III, R. Albert Mohler Jr., C.J. Mahaney. Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 192 pp. $21.99. Purchase from Westminster for $14.51.


Do these men need any introduction to the evangelical community? The men who comprise the Together for the Gospel “movement” are Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, and C.J. Mahaney. Contributors include Thabiti M. Anyabwile, John MacArthur, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul. Every two years, since 2006, these men have gathered in Louisville, Ky to exhort and challenge pastors and Christians to stand together for the gospel. In other words, be the unity that is called for in Scripture despite denominational “walls.”

Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology was the theme for 2008. This book is an adaptation of the messages presented at that three day conference. The audio can be downloaded and listened to here for free.


Beginning with the necessity of sound doctrine, Ligon Duncan offers an apologetic for the need of biblical doctrine to be taught on a regular basis. In what I thought was the best message of the conference, Thabiti discusses what it means to bear the image of God and how we, as Christians, need to be more explicit in doing. John MacArthur discusses the inability of the sinner to repent apart from the grace of God.

Mark Dever looks at five common mistakes from the pulpit by pastors trying to “improve” the gospel. R.C. Sproul looks at a controversial subject; i.e., the curse motif of the atonement–I thought the second best message of the conference. Al Mohler takes an academic look at the rejection of substitutionary atonement in recent years. Piper looks to the book of Hebrews to discuss how Christ will create in us a radical sacrifice. C.J. Mahaney concludes with the sustaining of the pastor’s soul–yet another quality message.


Obviously, the charge can be brought against these men that they are all Calvinists. While that may be true, that does not mean that they are arguing against non-calvinists. Rather, they are showing how these doctrines give them an urgency to sharing the gospel in thought, word, and deed. I liked C.J. Mahaney’s comment at the conference when asked about the heresy of hyper-calvinism. His response was something along the lines of I thought hyper calvinism was just someone who got really excited about the gospel!

For those who disagree with these doctrines, then MacArthur’s chapter will not be for you. However, these messages will encourage your soul and exhort you to diligent study of the Scriptures.

I would recommend this book to anyone in pastoral ministry. As I stated earlier, you can download the messages for free and listen to them. Having attended the conference (and taking notes), I have found that reading the book is better for me as it allows me to interact a bit more with my thoughts and the thoughts of the speaker.

Finally, a reading (or listening) of Mahaney’s chapter on sustaining the pastor’s soul is a must for all in the ministry as well as those who attend church on a regular basis. Pastoral care is often not mentioned and taken for granted by many. Mahaney helps to change that.

Worldliness by C.J. Mahaney

Mahaney, C.J. Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 191 pp. $12.99.

C.J. Mahaney has become one of the most beloved charismatics of our time. I say that tongue-in-cheek and as one who has greatly benefited from his ministry. This book illustrates why everyone runs to Mahaney to see what living a cross-centered life looks like in today’s marginalized Christianity. He does not disappoint with this little volume.

Mahaney is joined by Craig Cabaniss, Bob Kauflin, Dave Harvey, and Jeff Purswell in exhorting the believer to flee worldliness. C.J. introduces the book with a chapter that looks hard at how often we disregard certain verses in the Bible. He compares this to Thomas Jefferson who removed everything in his “bible” that conflicted with his own thinking. How much more do we do that today and not even realize it? If we are to believe the Bible to be God’s Word, then we must adhere to all of it and not just what we agree with.

The proceeding four chapters in the book are all titled “God, my Heart, and _______.” They include the media (television and computer), music, stuff, and clothing. In each of these four chapters, the reader will be shaking his head as if to say “Yes, that was me once” or “Wait a minute that is worldliness?” You will be both challenged and comforted in reading these pages.

The final chapter explains how to love the world without losing focus of Who we worship. Jeff Purswell shows, in essence, how to be in the world and not of the world as so many Christians claim they do. What many will see is that they are in fact living for the world rather than living for the glory of Christ.

There are two appendices that are worth reading. Both are directed at women and dressing modestly (something that seems to be foreign even in our churches today) daily, and perhaps more importantly, on her wedding day. Even though they are directed at women, husbands, fathers, and young men would do well to read them and use them as a guide when shopping with a daughter, wife or wife-to-be.

We all struggle from time to time with what kind of music we listen to or what media we allow in to our homes or how much stuff we own. We would all do well to heed the call to flee worldliness and to live a more Christ-centered and God-glorifying lives. This volume shows what that looks like and offers the encouragement to “go all in for Christ.”

Ligon Duncan offers this statement in his blurb on the back of the book: “I now know the first book I am going to reach for when a Christian is wrestling with worldliness—or isn’t but should be!” I include this statement because it best sums up my recommendation. This will be a book that you will want to purchase multiple copies of to loan out to those needing counsel on worldliness.