Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bold Christianity: "The Jesus You Can't Ignore"

"The way Jesus dealt with His adversaries is in fact a serious rebuke to the church of our generation. We need to pay more careful attention to how Jesus dealt with false teachers, what He thought of religious error, how He defended the truth, whom He commended and whom He condemned—and how little He actually fit the gentle stereotype that is so often imposed on Him today.

Furthermore, His attitude toward false doctrine should also be ours. We cannot be men-pleasers and servants of Christ at the same time."
~ John MacArthur ("The Jesus You Can't Ignore")

In the ever-growing sea of "How To" books out there targeted towards the Christian (or spiritually minded "seeker"), there are a few that actually focus on the true biblical model for the Christian life rather than what Jesus can do for you. I've been reading a lot of John MacArthur books lately and I must say they are a refreshing break from the feel-good, best-life-now, purpose-driven books that are tickling the ears of so many Christians these days. His topics are controversial but his approach is purely biblical. Everyone of his books have caused me to go deeper into the word and evaluate where I am in my own spiritual walk.

Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with a book that encourages you or motivates you to get more out of life. The problem is, how much of what we read actually aligns with what the bible teaches? Sure, we can find a verse to support just about every man-made method for improving your life but, we need to be asking ourselves, "is this the heart of God's message to us or is this just another self-help book sprinkled with verses taken out of context to fit the author's agenda?"

What I'm drawn to in MacArthur's books is the way he conveys a point from the biblical context and not just from his own life experiences. The focus is not on him nor is it about taking scripture and twisting it into something in order to build self-esteem. In fact, the focus is not on ME at all but rather, the basic principles of the Christian faith. Things like the Gospel, the Cross, discipleship, true repentance and salvation. Reading his books won't necessarily cause you to feel good about yourself but they will convict you and awaken you to the truth of God's word. Anything that sends you back to the bible and inspires you to further examine your heart & motives is a very good thing.

In his book, "The Jesus You Can't Ignore", MacArthur explores more on a common theme in several of his books; truth. Not just any truth but the truth according to Jesus Christ. In this day and age of post-modernism, moral relativism, tolerance and a growing emphasis on re-thinking God and the bible, we can be easily distracted from the core biblical principles like truth and recognizing false teaching. This is not a topic that is very popular in many churches today but one that Jesus and the Disciples spent a good deal of time teaching on. If we are supposed to be followers of Christ, doesn't it make sense that we should be passionate about the truth He taught? We should know how to defend this truth and recognize when it is being distorted, diluted or twisted.

Over at his blog, "Possessing the Treasure", Mike Ratliff has an excellent review of not only this book by John MacArthur but, why this topic is so important to everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I think you'll find this to be one of those topics that will reengage you in your walk to be a bold servant of Jesus Christ.

((read Mike's review here))