Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What you must learn from the bold confrontations of Christ,
by John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson, 2008, 219pp.

John MacArthur’s main thesis in this book is this: In order to placate postmodern dislike of dispute over truth claims, contemporary Evangelicalism has largely stopped contending for the faith. The writer does not want a return to pugnacious Fundamentalism that fights tooth and nail over the minutiae of theology. He is aware of what the Bible says on correcting error with patience and grace. But he seeks to shock Evangelicalism out of its wishy-washy approach towards false teaching. The author does this by setting before the reader Christ the controversialist.

Jesus did not shy away from confronting error head on. Indeed he often went out of his way to provoke false teachers. He publicly denounced their errors and excoriated them for their vile hypocrisy. Appeasement and accommodation were not options for Jesus. MacArthur walks the reader through Christ’s key confrontations with the Scribes and Pharisees and encourages us to follow in the footsteps of the Master in exposing error and warning of its dangers.

The book is well written in a clear, punchy and engaging style. The biblical materials are handled skilfully, placing the reader in the heat of the controversy between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders. MacArthur offers a decidedly “old perspective” reading of the teaching of Jesus’ first century Jewish opponents. The work is none the poorer for that. His premillenial predilections intrude only occasionally and so don’t detract from the value of this volume amongst those who, like me don’t share MacArthur’s eschatological views.

As MacArthur points out in an epilogue, taking their cue from the Lord Jesus the apostles also defended the faith and confronted the false teachers who infiltrated the fledgling Christian Church. Gospel-denying error simply cannot be tolerated amongst the people of God. The letters to the seven Churches recorded in Revelation 2-3 reveal that the risen Christ is still concerned to root out false teaching and ungodly conduct among his people. The battle for truth isn’t over yet. This is no time to place the sword of the Spirit in its scabbard. The Jesus You Can't Ignore is a timely reminder of the constant need to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Soldiers of Christ arise and put your armour on!

Thanks to Forrester McGowan for a complimentary review copy of this book. Order from PTS Christian Bookshop.

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