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A Tale of Two Sons: The Inside Story of a Father, His Sons, and a Shocking Murder Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John MacArthur, the author of numerous best-selling books that have touched millions of lives, is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and president of The Master's College and Seminary. He is also president of Grace to You, the ministry that produces the internationally syndicated radio program Grace to You and a host of print, audio, and Internet resources. He authored the notes in the Gold Medallion Award-winning The MacArthur Study Bible. For more information, contact Grace to You at 1-800-55-GRACE.

From AudioFile

John MacArthur, a pastor for almost 40 years and a natural speaker, reads his own book, a labor of love covering the parable of the Prodigal Son from the Gospel of Luke. This material is close to MacArthur's heart, and he reads it as if he is talking straight to the listener. The material, while largely familiar, still has a hidden wealth of application, and MacArthur has the added benefit of coming to this task after completing commentaries on the rest of the New Testament. The CDs are not very user-friendly, each featuring just one track of over an hour, but the subject matter is so deep and enlightening that this minor drawback does not detract from the experience. S.M.M. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785262687
  • ASIN: B001O9CD10
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Widely known for his thorough, candid approach to teaching God's Word, John MacArthur is a popular author and conference speaker and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969. John and his wife, Patricia, have four grown children and fourteen grandchildren.
John's pulpit ministry has been extended around the globe through his media ministry, Grace to You, and its satellite offices in seven countries. In addition to producing daily radio programs for nearly 2,000 English and Spanish radio outlets worldwide, Grace to You distributes books, software, audiotapes, and CDs by John MacArthur.
John is president of The Master's College and Seminary and has written hundreds of books and study guides, each one biblical and practical. Best-selling titles include The Gospel According to Jesus, Truth War, The Murder of Jesus, Twelve Ordinary Men, Twelve Extraordinary Women, and The MacArthur Study Bible, a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion recipient.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The story of the Prodigal Son is undoubtedly among the best-known and most highly-favored tales of all time. Even those who do not know the story itself are familiar with its outline or some of the words and phrases that arose from its King James translation. A powerful and heart-rending story, it is unforgettable to all who hear it. John MacArthur, with no hyperbole, says it is "hands down, the greatest five minutes of storytelling ever." His most recent book, A Tale of Two Sons, is an examination of this, Jesus' most memorable and most powerful parable.

Though most people know something of this parable, very few really understand it. We see this even in the name assigned to it--the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The story, after all, was not meant to be primarily a feel-good tale of a father's love for his son, though certainly it is that, too. Rather, "it is a powerful wake-up call with a very earnest warning." The purpose of the parable, as Jesus delivered it, centered on the elder brother--the very character who is so often overlooked in popular re-tellings of the tale.

In the book's opening chapter MacArthur makes clear the central and culminating lesson of the parable: "Jesus is pointing out the stark contrast between God's own delight in the redemption of sinners and the Pharisees' inflexible hostility toward those same sinners." Though the younger son is important to the story, his redemption is not the main point. Rather, this parable is to serve as "a mirror for every human heart and conscience" that will reflect either God's love for fallen sinners or a human hardness and arrogance that would deny that such hardened sinners could ever know His love.

A Tale of Two Sons is classic John MacArthur.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By wisdomofthepages.com on March 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most well-known of Jesus' parables. However, a lot of the theological depth of the parable goes undiscovered as preachers assume the lesson ends with the return of the younger son. MacArthur brings the full meaning of this important parable to light by showing the two-possible ways someone can be apart from a love-relationship with the Father. Excellent material.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Erik Raymond on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It is doubtful that many would argue that a large emphasis within the mission of disciples of Christ is to put the truth of Scripture before ourselves and others that God would be glorified. This is fundamental to who we are as Christians. However, within this lifelong mission, we too often become familiar with the narratives and have a functional understanding of the text and so we move on without true life transformation. John MacArthur endeavors to change that. In his newest book, A Tale of Two Sons, MacArthur unpacks the parable of the prodigal son in the pattern of clear, biblical, convicting teaching that many of us have come to love from his ministry.

I appreciate the `angle' that they took in writing and publishing this book. The whole feel of the book comes across as a story. Everything from the font on the cover, the image of a burly figure, to the subtitle of (The inside story of a Father, His Sons, and a Shocking Murder), all reflect the type of drama we would expect in a masterful story. And it is helpful to remember that this is, after all, a story told by Jesus himself, to communicate spiritual truth.

The book is broken neatly into four main parts:

The Parable, which provides a wide-angeled preview;

The Prodigal, which deals with the rebellious son

The Father, which obviously deals with the gracious and forgiving father

The Elder Brother, which identifies his own rebellious heart

The basic summary of the book and the parable is that the prodigal son is the rebellious sinner who has squandered the good gifts of God and in his own heart truly wished death upon God.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Seth McBee on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
John MacArthur's book/sermon series on the Prodigal Son called, "A Tale of Two Sons" was very well done. MacArthur, from what I know, does not actually write any of his books for the purpose of being a book, but they are all taken from his sermons and study notes on the subject. Which most pastors do these days as they really don't have time to actually write books since they are studying all week for their sermons and doing other pastoral duties. Not a bad thing, just some insight.

I wasn't sure how I would like this book as I figured that I knew "what there was to know" about this parable found in the book of Luke. Let's just say that I was overwhelmingly humbled in my knowledge.

MacArthur masterfully goes through the parable to give you insights to the culture, history and textual criticism to give the reader the understanding of exactly what was going on throughout this parable.

He breaks down the parable in three parts because that is how the parable is focused in on as Christ told it. The three parts are: The prodigal son, the father and the eldest son.

At points throughout this book I believe that MacArthur does look to much into things and takes them as fact, when in actuality the text is silent on the issue so there is no way of knowing. But, this is overshadowed of his brilliant look to the Scripture and the culture to give you a taste of what it must have been like to be standing there as a hearer of Christ.

He teaches you as though you were standing there as either a mere onlooker or a Pharisee and gives you the responses that must have been going through each one's head. I actually think this is the main reason that this makes this book truly well worth the read.
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