Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Jesus You Can't Ignore - A Book Review

I received The Jesus You Can't Ignore (John MacArthur) awhile ago for review but it took me weeks to finish it. There is so much information packed into the book that I kept stopping to take notes or ponder what had been written.

The introduction states why this book is so important.

"Of all the things you might ever study or reflect on, nothing could possibly be greater than God. So your view of Him automatically has more far-reaching ramifications than anything else in your belief system. What you think of God will automatically color how you think about everything else - especially how you prioritize values; how you determine right and wrong; and what you think of your own place in the universe. That in turn will surely determine how you act" (xvii-xviii, emphasis his).

With this view in mind, that our beliefs about God have the farthest reaching ramifications in our lives, it is very important to have an accurate picture of Christ. This book tackles a side of Christ not often portrayed, presented by the subtitle what you must learn from the bold confrontations of Christ.

Chapter 1 is titled "When It's Wrong to be 'Nice.'" This chapter covers why Christ had so many confrontations with the Pharisees. During Christ's ministry, not much is said about political power. Instead, Christ attacks the religious power of the day. MacArthur writes about the Pharisees: "Their religion was their whole life. It even took precedence over God Himself" (10). The Pharisees were teaching that their views of religion had more authority than God Himself. MacArthur warns that:

"Enemies of the gospel have always been (and still are) most formidable when they are religious. The more successful they are at convincing people they are within the circle of orthodoxy, the more effective they will be at undermining the truth. The more deeply they can infiltrate the community of true believers, the more damage they can do with their lies. The closer they can get to the sheep and gain their trust, the more easily they can devour the flock" (13-14).

I can't even begin to cover the depth of material presented about Christ's ministry and how He dealt with those who opposed Him. Instead, I'm going to share two more quotes that really spoke to me.

Toward the end of the book, MacArthur says:

"That's why Jesus' preaching heads the list of things that make Him impossible to ignore. No preacher has ever been more bold, prophetic, or provocative. No style of public ministry could possibly be more irksome to those who prefer a comfortable religion. Jesus makes it impossible for any hearer to walk away indifferent. Some left angry; some were deeply troubled by what He had to say; many had their eyes opened; and many more hardened their hearts against His message. Some became His disciples, and others became His adversaries. But no one who listened to Him preach for very long could possibly remain unchanged or apathetic" (162).

The book concludes by sharing this advice:

"If Christ Himself devoted so much of His time and energy during His earthly ministry to the task of confronting and refuting false teachers, surely that must be high on our agenda as well. His style of ministry ought to be the model for ours, and His zeal against false religion ought to fill our hearts and minds as well" (208).

This book is worth the time to read and really contemplate the image of Christ that is presented. The image of God presented here does not jive with the image that is commonly presented, of a meek and mild Christ who only spoke words of love. One reading is not enough; I want to set this book down for awhile, then return to it later to study it in depth.

Disclaimer - I did receive a free copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.


Missie said...

"But no one who listened to Him preach for very long could possibly remain unchanged or apathetic"
Wow...what a strong and true statement!

D.J. Hughes said...

Wow. These are some powerful statements for sure! And he's right. Jesus made provocative, radical statements. I'll have to get this book. Thanks for the review. And I totally understand about some books needing to be read slowly, over time, to allow for deeper reflections.

This is my first time here. It's nice to "meet" you.

Ann@His Grace To Me said...

Thanks for the tip on goodreads, I'm working on a "to read" list. Sounds like I need to add this book to the list as well.

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