Tag Archives: John MacArthur

Truth Endures by John MacArthur

MacArthur, John.  Truth Endures: Landmark Sermons from 40 Years of Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.  240 pp.  $16.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

John MacArthur is well known as an expositor of the Scriptures at Grace Community Church. He has been heard through his radio program Grace To You for many years. He is president of the Master’s College as well as author of nearly a gazillion books.  You can read some reviews of a few of his works here.

Summary

Truth Endures offers a sampling of twelve sermons from John’s forty years of service at Grace Community Church.  Each sermon is given a brief introduction offering a context to the message.  The dates for the twelve messages are:

9 February 1969
26 December 1976
18 May 1980
5 December 1982
29 May 1983
8 June 1986
20 July 1986
26 March 1989
23 April 1995
16 September 2001
3 November 2002
6 January 2008

In many of these messages, you can discern the seeds for many of John’s books that we have grown to love.  Also, you will see how he responded to national tragedies as well as local events near his church.

Review

I have been more critical of John MacArthur’s works than any other one author I have reviewed.  This is in large part due to the fact that I have gleaned so much from his teaching ministry that I want to be cautious in just giving a “free pass” so to speak.  That being said, there is not much in the way of review or criticism needed for Truth Endures.  What you get is what you see – a sampling of sermons from one of the most well-known Christian preachers of our generation.

What is most extraordinary is that you see that his style has changed very little over the course of forty years.  He has always striven to be faithful to the text of the Bible and, for the most part, his assessments have been accurate and challenging.  Most often, the argument one may have after listening to or reading one of John MacArthur’s sermons is not with the messenger.  Rather, the argument must be taken up with the Lord.  This is something that every pastor ought to seek to attain though few do.

Recommendation

If you have been ministered to by John’s ministry in your life, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Truth Endures.  It will be a blessing to you.  If you are not familiar with the ministry of John MacArthur, this may be the best place to start as you will see MacArthur at his strongest (in the pulpit) while getting a very good overview of the ministry of a man blessed by the Lord.

 

Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur

MacArthur, John.  Found: God’s Will.  Chicago: David C. Cook, 1998.  64 pp.  $2.00 at Grace To You.

Audiobook

Narrated by John Haag.  Esconido:  christianaudio, 2010.  1.42 hrs.  MP3 download or Audio CD - $5.98.

Introduction

John MacArthur certainly needs no introduction by me but for those who do not know John MacArthur, he well known as an expositor of the Scriptures at Grace Community Church. He has been heard through his radio program Grace To You for many years. He is president of the Master’s College as well as author of nearly a gazillion books. This particular book–Found: God’s Will–explores what the Bible says about knowing what God wants from you in your life.

Summary

At only 64 pages divided into 7 chapters, it is obvious that this book is not very long on words though it is long on practical application to one’s life. The five foundational messages regarding God’s will for your life is that you be saved by the blood of Christ. Once saved, you are to be filled with the Spirit so that you are sanctified by Him. The final two are not popular, but they are biblical. You are to be submissive to the authority of the Lord and to be a suffering servant (for more explanation you will have to read get the book). The final will of God is that if the first five are in properly in place, then by all means, do whatever you want.

Review

I appreciate that this book is short. I appreciate that MacArthur says so much in such a confined space. The pearls of wisdom found in the pages of this book are well worth digging into and applying to your life. There was one section of the book, however, in which I completely disagreed.

On page 19, MacArthur writes, “Since we have the Spirit, we also have power, for Jesus said, ‘But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you’ (Acts 1:8, NASB). The word for power in the greek is dunamis, from which we got our word ‘dynamite.’ You are literally walking dynamite.” This takes place in his chapter on God’s will being that you are filled with the Spirit. He goes on to make the point that because you are filled with power (dynamite) that you should live as such.

The problem I have with this is that it is an extremely common exegetical fallacy known as semantic anachronism. Semantic Anachronism is when a later use of a word (dynamite) is read back into an earlier literature and, in this case, a change of language (dunamis). Certainly, they had no idea what dynamite was in 1st century Palestine!  D.A. Carson treats this (specifically, the use of ‘dynamite’) in his book, which I highly recommend, Exegetical Fallacies if you are looking for more information on this sort of thing.

Regardless of the use of this particular fallacy, it is important to also note that the point being made is still true.  The power of the Holy Spirit is far more explosive than a stick of dynamite and is something that we ought to think about as believers in Christ.

Audio Review

At only an hour and 25 minutes, this book can be listened to probably in one day as you tool around town or back and forth to work. Listening to it a couple times will prove beneficial to your soul and walk with the Lord. John Haag does a fine job of reading this “sermon” of sorts. His voice rises and falls with sincerity as he reads what is an answer to perhaps the most asked question by believers today–What is God’s Will for my life?

Recommendation

Despite the exegetical fallacy, I still found this book (and audiobook) extremely edifying to my soul. I recommend this book to anyone seeking legitimate answers to the question of God’s will for my life. You will find MacArthur fairly solid and certainly biblical in his treatment of this tough question.

The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness by John MacArthur

Purchase at AmazonMacArthur, John. The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 256 pp. $17.99. Purchase at Amazon for $12.23 or less.

Introductin

John MacArthur is world-renowned for his exposition of the Scriptures, specifically on the New Testament. He has written numerous books based on his studies of the Bible not to mention his own study Bible and New Testament commentary series. Whenever he writes anything, you know it will be saturated with Scripture. Forgiveness is no different.

Summary

MacArthur begins by laying a theological foundation for the ground of all forgiveness and then looks to Christ’s dying prayer on the Cross and how we should understand the implications of his prayer. He next looks at the person who has been forgiven of their sins and what that means.

He spends a great deal of time discussing what the Bible says about forgiving one another. Five chapters, in fact, deal with this subject. At one point he states that he believes that many people experience stress and hardships and such because of their unforgiving spirit.

The book concludes with three important appendices. The first is a look at how we are to understand the Atonement of Christ. The second is a discussion of the unpardonable sin. The third, and I argue the best, is two sermons on forgiveness. The first sermon is by C.H. Spurgeon–Forgiveness Made Easy. The second is by (lesser known?) Alexander MacLaren entitled The Forgiving Son of Man. Both of these sermons are worth the price of the book!

Review

Of course, when you are dealing with the exposition of Scripture, people are going to disagree. I have no problem with people disagreeing with one another on non-essential matters and rather enjoy that we do not all agree. After all, God is infinite and we are finite. To disagree, properly and with a charitable heart, is to really show just how infinite God is.

I am thinking primarily of the appendix on the atonement. Many will disagree with where MacArthur falls here (Christ’s death as a penal substitution) but they cannot say that his argument is not rooted in Scripture. Some will disagree that the blasphemy of the Spirit is a life-long rejection of Christ as Lord and Savior (I am not one of these), but, again, they cannot say that MacArthur has not arrived at this conclusion apart from Scripture.

There are other “quirks” that MacArthur comes to based upon his exegesis, but I can live with those. I have disagreed with him in the past (though not in print) but have always found what he says to be at the very least thoughtful and challenging. I do appreciate that he challenges his readers with Matthew 18 as a prescriptive course of action when a brother offends another and not as more descriptive as many would like.

Recommendation

I suppose there will be many books written on forgiveness an Amazon book search turned up over 4,500. There have been other books recently written on the subject of forgiveness that would also be worth picking up, but MacArthur’s volume definitely deserves your attention because it is saturated in Scripture and was written by one of the better preachers today. He write on forgiveness with a “thus saith the Lord” attitude and that is most needed today.

Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur

MacArthur, John. Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 304 pp. $22.99. Purchase at Amazon for$15.63 or less.

Introduction

John MacArthur needs no real introduction. His radio ministry, Grace To You, is familiar to countless thousands. Master’s College and Seminary, where he serves as President, is known for their conservative, biblical approach to teaching and training men and women to serve the Lord all over the world. He also serves as pastor-teacher at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. As far as books are concerned, he has authored numerous volumes as well as a study Bible bearing his name along with a John Calvin-esque commentary series also bearing his name.

Summary

Ashamed of the Gospel is now in its third edition which is quite remarkable given its topic—the gospel of Jesus Christ and how the modern church (generically speaking) is, in fact, ashamed of the gospel. Much has changed since this book was first written in 1993. Unfortunately, one thing has not—the church is still in bed with entertainment.

The first ten chapters have pretty much been untouched from the first edition. In these chapters, MacArthur looks back at how Charles Haddon Spurgeon handled the Down-Grade controversy in his time in order to see how we might best handle the diminishing of the gospel in our time. He looks at how we have left the preaching of the Word for more entertaining messages that Paul wrote about in 2 Tim 4:3-4. Thankfully, he offers a look at how Paul handled “modern” society in Acts 17.

Chapters eleven and twelve are the additions that bear mentioning and make this edition worth purchasing. As John looks back on the preceding fifteen years since the first publishing of the book, he notes that the “Influence of the church within our culture continues to diminish” (205). In looking at where the church is today, he writes,

The church has become a laughingstock with no moral authority to stand before the world and confront sin, declare Christ’s lordship, and speak with any credibility about sin, righteousness, or judgment (206).

Stinging words for sure, but words that are not only justified, they need to be shouted from the rooftops of every church building!

MacArthur’s greatest concern is that the Emergent and seeker-sensitive types will leave their fading “theologies” and catch on with the latest craze dubbed by Time magazine as “The New Calvinism.” His concern is valid though I think there are enough of the older, more level-headed Calvinists around that they will keep those that are younger in line.

Review/Recommendation

Obviously, many in today’s church will completely disagree with John MacArthur’s assessments. However, it must be noted, that MacArthur is not alone in his critique of the modern church. Many would cite Paul Washer and John Piper and Albert Mohler as a few of many who share these concerns.

I think MacArthur’s book should be read by all pastors since we are called to preach the Word in season and, as is the case in many cities today, out of season. There are so many being led astray by many so-called pastors who merely preach a gospel-lite message that our greatest evangelistic opportunities are those whose names appear on church roles! Do yourself a favor and read this book, especially if you are a younger pastor. We would all do well to heed the warning cries of John MacArthur.

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.

Introduction

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.

Summary

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.

Review/Recommendation

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.