A Very Dangerous Book

Thread starter #1
I am reading John MacArthur’s book The Gospel According To Jesus.
Don’t go near this book and expect your understanding of the Gospel nor your commitment to Christ to be the same. It literally wrenched me out of my “comfortable” interpretation of the gospel, into the bare bones reality of just exactly what he meant in those red letters. Hint: He meant EXACTLY what he said. Nothing less. I have not been more convicted of anything since the day I was saved. The Holy Spirit has beat me black and blue with this book and I’m only finishing Chapter 1. Without a doubt, my life will never be the same.

The book adds nothing NEW to the gospel, no special knowledge, no hidden understandings, nothing like that. What it DOES do it bring a laser focus onto what Christ said and a full understanding of the implications of his words. It is probably going to have profound implications on your life too. I’ll tell you ahead of time, don’t expect to finish this book unscathed. It’s brought me to my knees before Christ after only 47 pages and the first 21 were the introduction. God Bless.
 
What I'd really like is a book to tell me what "I" need to do to be saved. If this book teaches me how to do that, it may be more dangerous than the Bible.
 
Thread starter #6
What I'd really like is a book to tell me what "I" need to do to be saved.
There is no book for that other than the Bible, and it couldn’t be clearer. Art I have to be honest. I don’t know whether to take you serious or just as someone trolling for attention. I say that based on the collective history of your post. There are times you sound like an evangelical conservative well versed Christian, other times when you espouse a liberal Christianity and even others where you lean into atheistic lines of thoughts. You are like a reed blowing in the wind. In fact when I think of that expression I’ve come to envision your persona as has been displayed here. I don’t mean that in a deragatory or denigratory intent nor with any malice. It’s just my honest interpretation based on what I see.
That said, regardless of which my opinions of you are correct, or very well neither, I would recommend this book to you. It’s not a substitute in any way, shape or form of the Bible nor do I suggest it to be, but it could help clear up some of your confusion. At the very least, it can’t hurt.
 
Hint: He meant EXACTLY what he said. Nothing less.

Really, MacArthur has abandoned his cessationist view of spiritual gifts and accepted that Jesus meant exactly what he said here:

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Mark 16:15-18 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
 
Thread starter #8
Really, MacArthur has abandoned his cessationist view of spiritual gifts and accepted that Jesus meant exactly what he said here:

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Mark 16:15-18 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
I do think he is wrong on his cessationalist views to the point I understand where he stands, yet I also understand why he took the stance on it that he did. That said, he pegged it with this book.
Try to keep in mind, in the end their understanding is not perfect and also, like normal folks, it can lead to mis-steps, misunderstandings, and mistakes. Martin Luther is credited with bringing a laser focus onto the importance of faith in salvation, yet was openly anti-semantic. Would you deny he was incorrect about the former, because of the latter? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
 
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There is no book for that other than the Bible, and it couldn’t be clearer. Art I have to be honest. I don’t know whether to take you serious or just as someone trolling for attention. I say that based on the collective history of your post. There are times you sound like an evangelical conservative well versed Christian, other times when you espouse a liberal Christianity and even others where you lean into atheistic lines of thoughts. You are like a reed blowing in the wind. In fact when I think of that expression I’ve come to envision your persona as has been displayed here. I don’t mean that in a deragatory or denigratory intent nor with any malice. It’s just my honest interpretation based on what I see.
That said, regardless of which my opinions of you are correct, or very well neither, I would recommend this book to you. It’s not a substitute in any way, shape or form of the Bible nor do I suggest it to be, but it could help clear up some of your confusion. At the very least, it can’t hurt.
I would agree with your view of myself. I can see where one would think myself "all over the place." It's just I have never been able to commit to one doctrine.

So I guess I'm always seeking and never can find any one doctrine/dogma I totally agree with. I look at a belief system or a certain belief and it sounds interesting and believable.

They show me scriptures that prove their point, election, free will, Zionism, soul sleep, physical resurrection, spiritual resurrection, Torah keeping, grace vs works, water vs spiritual baptism, the Trinity, Oneness, etc.
Then I find scripture against that certain doctrine or dogma. It's like everyone picks and chooses to make their beliefs fit and ignore the rest.

Everything looks believable and then sometimes nothing does.
I can see why I appear to be conservative on some things and liberal on others because that's how I actually am.

I would agree with your assumption. I try to check myself and tone it down a bit from time to time.

Reed
 
Art have you ever actually picked up the New Testament and read it front to back?
Yes but it was many years ago and it was the King James version. I couldn't tell that it flowed like a regular book. Just a collection of books, the Gospels and Paul's letters, and Revelation.

I'm not sure why God gave us four different accounts of one reality. Then I'm doing pretty good reading the New Testament until Paul arrives. Then it's like a whole new book, a new concept.

One of my biggest hurdles concerns the destruction of Jerusalem. It seems to be physical and in 70AD but then if changes in the middle of the story to the future. It morphs from city to Church in mid-story.

Just one of the puzzles I've tried to resolve. If great teachers and theological students can't figure it out, how can I? I'm so afraid of getting it wrong that I don't choose sides.

It's not just religion either. I have the same problem with politics and everything really. I envy the staunch Democrats and Republicans. I envy the Oneness or Trinity believers. I'm a fence sitter and that is viewed as negative.
I definitely didn't inherit this from my Dad. He is very opinionated and doesn't mind saying his way is right. Even when he is wrong, what he believes is true.

I don't necessarily believe anything I say is true.
 
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Art have you ever actually picked up the New Testament and read it front to back?
Just the idea of a council of men sitting around discussing what books to put in the New Testament doesn't even sound right to me. Then they voted on it? A group of men? Why didn't God just use one man to assemble the correct books of His Word?

I do like Paul the best. I can identify with him. He isn't always sure of himself. He talks as himself and as the voice of God. He has struggles.
If I was an apostle, I'd be Paul.

I also know that Saul was not seeking. In fact he was against God. It took God to call Saul and make him Paul.
 
Scripture? If God can call Saul and make him understand? Then why not let God's spirit call us to understand? I don't think reading Scripture is the only answer.
It may be the only account we have but Saul still needed his calling. I can't even see me converting myself or convincing myself. I can't do it myself.

I wish that I had not grown up in the Church. I wish that I was just driving down a road and Jesus appeared and made me understand.

I wish that I was a Hindu driving down the road and Jesus elected me to be a Christian.
 
I do think he is wrong on his cessationalist views to the point I understand where he stands, yet I also understand why he took the stance on it that he did. That said, he pegged it with this book.
Try to keep in mind, in the end their understanding is not perfect and also, like normal folks, it can lead to mis-steps, misunderstandings, and mistakes. Martin Luther is credited with bringing a laser focus onto the importance of faith in salvation, yet was openly anti-semantic. Would you deny he wa correct about the former, because of the latter? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
OK enough about me. Let's look at you and this book. You do know that MacArthur is a Calvinist. I do understand that it doesn't take away from everything you believe. Meaning there are many correct beliefs by Free Will believers, Oneness believers, Torah followers, etc. We all have more in common perhaps or at least enough to learn from each other.

Even someone who thinks God is an alien. Well that may be pushing it but you get my point. Some though believe that if a teacher misses one concept, he has missed them all. They wouldn't even open the book.

I'm encouraged that you did. Still though I wonder how Saul became Paul. I would like to know your views on the Prodigal son in relation to this book and God?

Also MacArthur believes, as I do as well, that God has to call someone. Again Saul comes to mind.

The confusing part to me about it all is, God called Saul. Saul was not seeking.

There may be some truth in the fruit as proof, obedience from love, keeping the Law, or however one wants to view it but God called Saul. The bottom line of Christianity is grace and salvation from faith.

If and when you finish the book and you can explain the gospel in relation to grace, obedience, salvation from faith, and God calling Saul, I may be interested.
 
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gemcgrew

Senior Member
SF, thanks for the reminder. This was the first book that I purchased from a Christian book store in the late 80's or early 90's. I have an appreciation for many of MacArthur's books.
 

Israel

Senior Member
The confusing part to me about it all is, God called Saul. Saul was not seeking.
Do you mind if I am able to find the perfection of beauty in what may, for this time only...seem confusing? It is not that "I" can unconfuse it all...it's way too marvelous.

That Paul was indeed seeking...seeking to stamp out all knowledge of Jesus Christ, all and any who confessed this "Jesus Christ", oppose as violently and effectively as all and any means at his disposal would allow "breathing out threatenings and slaughter" against...Jesus Christ.

Oh, what hope this reveals! Oh, what glory! Oh...what joy and mercy!

God forbid...I fall short!

I believe Paul.

Oh, how small a thing discovered...how slaughter...is turned to laughter.
 
Thread starter #17
OK enough about me. Let's look at you and this book. You do know that MacArthur is a Calvinist. I do understand that it doesn't take away from everything you believe. Meaning there are many correct beliefs by Free Will believers, Oneness believers, Torah followers, etc. We all have more in common perhaps or at least enough to learn from each other.

Even someone who thinks God is an alien. Well that may be pushing it but you get my point. Some though believe that if a teacher misses one concept, he has missed them all. They wouldn't even open the book.

I'm encouraged that you did. Still though I wonder how Saul became Paul. I would like to know your views on the Prodigal son in relation to this book and God?

Also MacArthur believes, as I do as well, that God has to call someone. Again Saul comes to mind.

The confusing part to me about it all is, God called Saul. Saul was not seeking.

There may be some truth in the fruit as proof, obedience from love, keeping the Law, or however one wants to view it but God called Saul. The bottom line of Christianize is grace and salvation from faith.

If and when you finish the book and you can explain the gospel in relation to grace, obedience, salvation from faith, and God calling Saul, I may be interested.
Art I’m sorry but I’m not jumping through all those hoops, just so “you may buy the book.” I wouldn’t do that if it was MY BOOK! I recommend it because I think it’s a great book. Read it or not. I don’t care.
 
If Abraham became acceptable to God because of what he did, then he would have something to brag about. But he would never be able to brag about it to God.
What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him.
 
Romans 4:13-17

13It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
 
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