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Fool's Gold?: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error Paperback – February 21, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"If we are going to be discerning people, we must develop the skill of discriminating between truth and error, good and bad."

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.

Nathan Busenitz (PhD, The Master's Seminary) is assistant professor of theology at the Master's Seminary. He previously served on the pastoral staff of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. He is the author of numerous books and a regular contributor to the blog Preacher & Preaching.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (February 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860075710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860075714
  • ASIN: 158134726X
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,143,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is rare these days to find a book on Christian discernment when everyone appears to be jumping on every band-wagon of the Evangelical church that comes along. MacArthur has assemblied an excellent set of essays by the staff of Grace Community Church, including several young men who are recent graduates of the Master's Seminary.

I found the most insightful chapters to be the ones in the middle of the book dealing with some of the hottest sellers in the Christian Bookstores (not to mention everywhere else). Nathan Busenitz' critique of "The Purpose Driven Life" is one of the best I have read. Although there are perhaps some redeeming features of the book, they are very few. It is a snapshot of just how shallow American Evangelicalism has become and the degree to which professing Christians are unable to tolerate serious engagement with a truly Biblical Worldview.

Daniel Gillespie's review of "Wild at Heart" was aslo excellent. John Eldredge has zeroed in a narrow and spurious definition of masculinity, the notion that men need to tap into our wild and carefree ambitions; a throw-back to our so-called primal instincts that can be renewed if we just get back to the untamed wilderness of nature and find ourselves again. Gillespie points out that Eldredge skews the Biblical evidence in favor of his own thesis and fails to deal with explicit texts of the Bible that deal directly with masculinity (namely, because they contratict his thesis).

Perhaps the most shocking expose of the book is Rick Holland's review of the new Bibzines, "Revole" and "Refuel"; New Testaments for teenagers designed to look like magazines (inside and out) for those who are afraid to carry traditional looking Bibles because they are too "freaky." The chapter focused on "Revolve" for girls.
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Format: Paperback

I don't think I said the word aloud when I finished reading Fool's Gold, but it may have slipped out. John MacArthur is the general editor of this new book from Crossway, and contributing authors are several of his ministry associates.

The theme of the book is spiritual discernment; not set forth in a didactic way, but in a series of topical snapshots. Section one lays the foundation for the chapters to follow: a call for biblical discernment, and the consequences of a weak proclamation of Christianity. MacArthur makes the point that discernment is not just the responsibility of pastors and Christian leaders, but of every Christian. He covers the favorite verse of many in today's church: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." (Matthew 7:1) and compares that with 1 Thessalonians 5:21: "Test everything." In the second chapter he lists fifteen negative effects of superficial preaching, whittled down from an original list if sixty-one! My only reservation is with the twelfth point, and his comment about the difficulty of exercising church discipline where there is no commitment to the authority of God's Word. I'm not sure that very many churches even practice biblical church discipline, according to the teaching of Matthew 18:15-19. Perhaps a brief exposition of this passage, and an example of how this is practiced in his church is in order. The final two chapters of the book, "A Doctrinal Framework for Developing Discernment" and "A Practical Plan for Developing Personal Discernment" are excellent. I particularly appreciated the exhortation on page 201: "Discernment is not enough apart from obedience."

The rest of the book is a series of chapters looking at current doctrinal trends in the church and in Christian books.
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Format: Paperback
This book is vintage MacArthur. It is concise, uncompromising and totally committed to a through exegisis of Scripture. I find it disturbing that books such as this are even needed today. But sadly, they are. Most profressing Christians are so biblically illierate that they don't know how to recognize truth, much less error and deception. Here again, I find myself wishing I could disagree with MacArthurs findings and teachings, but yet again, I can't. I have to say, the other contributers to this book are on the same caliber as MacArthur himself. Which isn't surprising, considering they all serve at MacArthur's church. I found this book very practical and very disturbing. It is also very convicting.

I have struggled with some of the very things addressed in this book. This book has shown me that my concerns are not unfounded. I truly believe that MacArthur is not overstating his case. Discernment is crucial today. The reader is encouraged to critique every sermon, book, song, teaching, movement and everything else that is labeled Christian through the grid of Scripture. This is a book that should be read and re-read. MacArthur has done a great service to the church by writing this book. Everyone who professes to know Christ would do well to take his message and his advice to heart.
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Format: Paperback
I had heard about Fool's Gold shortly after its publiation and purchaced a copy as soon as I could.

This book is edited and partially written by Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in California. The topic at hand is Biblical Discernment. Is this discernment applied to other world religions? No. Cults? No. Worldly philosophies? No. This is a book about discernment within the Evangelical Christian community itself! There are movements and activities going on "under the radar" which, while not all outright heresy, should still be tested in light of God's word.

The book covers many areas such as popular Christian books, music, and church practices. Everything is subjected to the word of God. The book starts out with a general description of discernment and the case in favor of it and continues through various topics relevant to Evangelicism today. Among the topics discussed are:

1) The Purpose Driven Life

2) Wild At Heart

3) Worship Music

4) Political Activism

5) Altar Calls

The book then wraps up with guidelines for practicing discerment in your daily life.

All in all this book is excellent. The authors are not afraid to call to account many things that are very popular in Evangelical circles today. Many of these things sound very good on the surface but are called into serious question when subjected to the standards of Scripture.

I have had personal experiences with many of these issues and was left with a general feeling that something was not right. The authors of Fool's Gold articulated what I had been thinking and feeling. This book is not merely part of some "fued" within the Evangelical community. These are Godly men who are simply doing what the Bible commands. Holding all teaching up to the standard of truth: Scripture.

In my opinion this is must read for anyone in the Evangelical community today.
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