Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Truth About the Lordship of Christ

The Truth About...The Lordship of Christ
By John MacArthur, paperback 140 pages.
Thomas Nelson 2012
I was pleased to receive this book free to review from the BookSneeze blogging for books program! I was encouraged to state my honest opinion.

I found the cover, size, font and layout of the book appealing and conducive to enjoyable reading and studying.

A breath of fresh air, this book is Biblically-sound, clear, deep and yet easy to read! Through 6 chapters entitled Lord of the Universe, Lord in Our Lives, Daily Submission, Holy Living, Confession and Restoration, and Ultimate Destination, John MacArthur tackles with wisdom such topics as justification, love and hate, God's perfect love, God's view of sinners,  the lifestyle of a true Christian, daily living in Christ, the joy of Christianity, maturity and glory in suffering, sanctification, confession, repentance, assurance of salvation, etc!

Although a small book, I found it to be worth the read. I think this book would make a good gift for a new Christian friend, and for anyone unused to reading books on doctrine or Christian living which are more than double the size. Additionally, this book would be great for a child to read. And lastly, although this book is addressed to a Christian, I do recommend it for anyone; it would therefore also be a good gift choice for your unsaved acquaintances as well. It explains very clearly salvation, and how God views sin, how we must repent in order to be saved, etc.
I assure you I will not be discarding this book!

However, I did run in to two problems in the book, which I'd appreciate you reading about, especially if you are going to read the book....

Near the beginning of the book, in fact on pages 5-8, I ran into something that disturbed me. I trust John MacArthur's teachings as Scripturally-sound, but here I quote MacArthur quoting Arthur W. Pink:
''God loves whom He chooses. He does not love everybody. Is it true that God loves the one who is despising and rejecting His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holy love. To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience, as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs...''
 page 246 The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink
 Read more here!

John MacArthur, surprisingly, does not support this paragraph. And neither does Banner in Truth publications, supposedly as they edit this paragraph out of their publication of The Sovereignity of God! I was disappointed to hear that, because I don't know about you, but I support Pink's statement. Read an amazingly clear article here! It's wonderful. 

He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father...If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him” (Joh 14:21,23)

Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa 5:5)

Ps. 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in seas and in all deeps.

Contrary to what I would believe is right, MacArthur says: ''Pink was attempting to make the crucial point that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. The gist of his argument is certainly valid: it is folly to think that God loves all alike, or that He is compelled by some rule of fairness to love everyone equally...
Unfortunately, Pink took the corollary too far. The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God's attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love.'' 
(pg. 7 The Truth About the Lordship of Christ)

I don't believe what Pink stated was ''going to far''!

Turning now to John 3:16, it should be evident from the passages just quoted that this verse will not bear the construction usually put upon it. 
“God so loved the world”—many suppose that this means the entire human race. But “the entire human race” includes all mankind from Adam till the close of earth’s history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Savior came to the earth, lived here “having no hope and without God in the world,” and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God “loved” them, where is the slightest proof thereof?
 Scripture declares “Who [God] in times past [from the tower of Babel till after Pentecost] suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Act 14:16). Scripture declares: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom 1:28). 
To Israel God said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amo 3:2).
 In view of these plain passages who will be so foolish as to insist that God in the past loved all mankind! The same applies with equal force to the future. 
Read through the book of Revelation, noting especially chapters 8 to 19, where we have described the judgments which will be poured out from Heaven on this earth. Read of the fearful woes, the frightful plagues, the vials of God’s wrath, which shall be emptied on the wicked. Finally, read the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, the great white throne judgment, and see if you can discover there the slightest trace of love.  But the objector comes back to John 3:16 and says: “World means world.” True, but we have shown that “the world” does not mean the whole human family. The fact is that “the world” is used in a general way. When the brethren of Christ said “Shew thyself to the world” (Joh 7:4), did they mean “Shew Thyself to all mankind”?  
When the Pharisees said “Behold, the world is gone after Him” (Joh 12:19), did they mean that “all the human family” were flocking after Him? When the apostle wrote, “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Rom 1:8), did he mean that the faith of the saints at Rome was the subject of conversation by every man, woman, and child on earth? When Revelation 13:3 informs us that “all the world wondered after the beast,” are we to understand that there will be no exceptions? These, and other passages which might be quoted, show that the term “the world” often has a relative rather than an absolute force.  (A.W Pink- read full article here)

MacArthur, I must say, sometimes DOES sound confusing...because after stating that he thought Pink took the corollary too far, he does end up saying: ''Nor should we imagine that such hatred is any kind of blemish on the character of God. It is a holy hatred. It is perfectly consistent with His spotless, unapproachable, incomprehensible holiness. We must remember that God is Lord of the universe, and He can do whatever He wants.''
Yes! Very true. And in agreement with Pink! 

In the section about ''Assurance of Salvation'' (chapter 6), I was a little tense during my first read through it since the author gives the impression near the beginning of the chapter that it is wrong to question your salvation (by examining your life and your relationship with the Lord) too much, as ''the Puritans did'' which, according to the author, encourages ''morbid introspection and utter despair.'' However, later, to my relief, MacArthur does support self-examination and explains why it is crucial. So I am willing to overlook the flaw, especially since Mr. MacArthur does assure the reader that he admires the Puritans generally. 

Anyhow: I was pleased to receive this book free to review from the BookSneeze blogging for books program! I was encouraged to state my honest opinion.