Monday, April 11, 2011

Hard To Believe

Hard to Believe written by John MacArthur is a hard read. It’s a message I think that we (as Christians) should be hearing more of, but it’s also a message that needs to be handled gently and with love.

While I think MacArthur’s heart is in the right place, I do think there were times that his words are a little hard to hear. Though, truth be told, they said the same about Jesus’ words. Which is the whole point of MacArthur’s book. 

This book caused me to examine my heart closely and I didn’t always like what I saw. At the end of the day this book is John MacArthur’s attempt to exalt Jesus and raise his voice against the softening of His message in order to make the gospel more appealing to accept.

We are called to be evangelize, that’s for sure, but never were we asked to make the gospel more acceptable. It’s God’s job to draw people, it’s only our job to share the truth and help gather the sheep.

Something that really stuck out to me was when MacArthur early on in the book went through the “main players” of the early church, starting with John the Baptist, the Disciples and Paul and pointed out how unacceptable they really were as ministers of the gospel. Nothing about them was acceptable and probably even an obstacle to many in accepting the gospel, yet we try so hard to be and make Jesus the opposite of what He came to be and that is acceptable.

I’m not saying that I think that we shouldn’t try to become somewhat relevant to the culture and to meet people where they are. But I do agree with MacArthur, that we are living in a time and culture where it is not uncommon for us to reach too far and in so doing, we muddle the gospel until we’ve distorted it. The danger is that “delivering half of the message is almost worse than delivering no message at all” – are we even aware of the damage we (the church) are doing when we do this?

The truth is, the gospel is hard to accept. Jesus Himself said that the gate was narrow and that many would not find it. He offers us a beautiful message of grace, hope and love; but with that is a dying of ourselves, an admittance of our sin and our depravity, we must dethrone ourselves and put Jesus as Lord and Master over our lives. He isn’t just a “way out of hell” or an accessory to add to our lives – He is meant to become our life, which is hard (in particular in our Western culture) to do. The gospel is humbling, it’s desperate and it’s non-negotiable and though we don’t like to always admit it – it is the narrow road that few will find. Is that how it’s being presented? Is that the gospel you were taught?

This book is unapologetic, hard-core and truthful in many ways. I got a lot out of it, but I’ll admit it took me a long time to get through it, and at times it was too much. I wish that I couldn’t recommend this book. That I could find countless things wrong with it, and while I don’t agree with every statement MacArthur made, I think his overall message is too important to ignore.  If you’re thinking about reading it, I pray that you would soak yourself in God’s love and mercy every day and ask Him for the grace you need to come face to face with some hard truths and that you take everything MacArthur says and line it up against scripture to compare, for it is the Bible, not MacArthur that we need to base our lives on. And you should also keep in mind that MacArthur is primarily attacking the prosperity gospel and not Christians!

If you want to hear more about this book I found these youtube videos of an interview between Kirk Cameron and John MacArthur further explaining his book. Here is Part 1 and Part 2

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1 comment:

Brookie said...

Hi Amber,
I appreciate your faith and voice for sharing the Truth. Thank you for being the momma you are and for letting us (readers) in on your journey. You inspire me to draw nearer to God and let Jesus do some much needed pruning. Thank you.