- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Crossway; 3 edition (January 5, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433509296
- ISBN-13: 978-1433509292
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ashamed of the Gospel (3rd Edition): When the Church Becomes Like the World 3rd Edition
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About the Author
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master’s College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this work, Dr. MacArthur reviews the seeker sensitive movement (he has done this again in his book HARD TO BELIEVE). He uses the infamous Down-Grace controversey during the late 1800's in England and the stand taken by Charles Spurgeon against the down-graders. Just as Spurgeon saw the down-grade as moving away from the true gospel of grace, MacArthur see's the modern seeker sensitive churches moving away from a true biblical gospel toward a user-friendly, worldly, flesh based gospel that is pragmatic at best.
If you are a person who struggles with church growth or possibly a pastor who wants to see their church grow but you frown on much of the church growth movement then I would encourage you to read this book. Allow God to show you His sovereignty in building His Church through His servant Dr. John MacArthur.
The "Down-Grade" controversy, which erupted when Spurgeon noted the decline of doctrine in the Baptist Union and began exposing it in his "Sword and the Trowel". Spurgeon requested that the Union adopt a doctrinal statement, whereas the only requirement for membership was to agree on the issue of Baptism. He noted that once an organization gets on the "down-grade", the slide to the bottom gradually picks up speed until it cannot be stopped. That was where he found the Baptist Union towards the end of his ministry.
This is a good book for those who are interested in the history and legacy of Spurgeon's ministry, for Dr. MacArthur brings out many little-known facts about the controversy. The main theme of the book, however, is not the bare historical facts, but how the principles of Spurgeon's stand are to be applied to the down-grade of today's Evangelical churches.
MacArthur shows that while theological liberalism was the issue of Spurgeon's day, PRAGMATISM is the issue of our day. Whatever works in building a church must be all right. He uses several examples of theatrics, marketing tactics, and acceptance of worldliness all play a factor in the loss of biblical Christianity in the modern day. Preaching is no longer looked at as the central mission of the church, but consumerism, pleasing the customer.
"Worldliness is rarely mentioned today, much less indentified for what it is. The word itself is beginning to sound quaint. Worldliness is the sin of allowing one's appetites, ambitions, or conduct to be fashioned according to earthly values. (I John 2:16, 17).
Yet todaywe have the extraordinary spectacle of church programs designed explicitly to cater to fleshly desire, sensual appetites, and human pride - 'the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.' To achieve this worldly appeal, church activities often go beyond the merely frivolous." (preface, xvii)
There are many quotes in this volume of Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, Tozer, and others. MacArthur goes on to show the problem behind the pragatism goes deeper than simply falling into marketing tactics, but the roots are in doctrinal declesion. The doctrine of salvation, sanctification, predestination and election, and others are clearly defined and the decline and misrepresentation of these doctrines are traced to the modern problems in the church.
The book closes with 3 appendixes, the first on Spurgeon and the Down-Grade Controversy, the second tracing modern pragmatism to Charles Finney, and the last is an excerpt from the Puritan writer and preacher Thomas Boston, "Carnal vs. Spiritual Wisdom", note the excerpt below:
"Carnal Wisdom: Work diligently for fluent and eloquent speech; fine style very much appeals to the learned. Without it, they will think nothing of your preaching.
Spiritual Wisdom: Christ sent you 'to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech ' (I Cor. 1:17). Do not preach 'with superiority of speech or of wisdom' (I Cor. 2:1). Your message and preaching should not be "in persuasive words of wisdom'."
Overall an excellent book for the minister and laymen for evaluting the methods and doctrine of their churches. One unfortunate quality of the book is the fact that it uses a plethora of Bible versions, typical of most modern books. It is my personal opinion that the points could have been made without a subtle endorsing of versions produced and promoted by the folks Dr. MacArthur exposes in his book.