Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Truth About Grace - by John MacArthur - a review

Over the years I've listened to dozens of messages from John MacArthur, and read a handful of his books.  Generally I enjoy his messages and books due to their careful attention to scripture.  This book had that same attention to detail that I've come to expect from MacArthur.  That said, I left reading the book only lukewarm on it, and uninspired to read the others in this series.

The content is solid beginning to end.  But it is the content that is the issue actually.  MacArthur has taken the subject of grace and mostly removed the joy from it through academic minutia in assembling this book.  I entered into reading this book with the expectation that it would be a lighter read (it's a small/thin book, quite different than most his other books).  I thought it would be an introduction to something he may have written or preached elsewhere, but rather than that it was very dense with all the interesting parts stripped away.  This doesn't remove the truth of what MacArthur is writing about, but it makes it far less enjoyable to read. Realistically the book probably should've been 2-3 times as long with some stories and examples to make it an enjoyable read.  But I had to nearly force myself to keep on reading it.

It is a great resource book however.  Like a mini-commentary on the subject of grace.  Had I entered into it with that mindset, I might have been more interested in it.  Where I think this has a place is on a pastor's shelf as a resource, or to be used as a study/discussion starter in a group setting where the human aspects could be added back in.

So would I recommend it?  With qualifications yes.  It's not where I'd start a new Christian on their path to understanding the concept of grace, but it is a tool that could be useful in a number of settings.  Would I have paid for this book?  Probably not.

From the publisher:

Book Description
Is the experience of God’s grace in your life a thrilling thing? Just thinking about the fact that God, by His own sovereign plan, decided to be gracious to me is overwhelming. There is nothing greater than receiving grace upon grace.” —John MacArthur
Simple definitions can make grace feel like an obvious―even mundane―concept. Nothing could be further from the truth. Grace is the defining feature of the Christian faith. Once we understand how undeserving we are and how much favor we’ve been given, grace becomes shocking, thrilling, inspiring, and contagious.
Best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur illuminates this profound concept with verse upon verse of Scripture. He also shows that misunderstandings about grace have led to some of the church’s greatest problems, perhaps because grace is her most precious gift.
For decades, MacArthur has encouraged countless Christians to develop a deeper understanding of the Bible and a greater respect for God’s truth. In The Truth About series, he now gathers his landmark teachings about core aspects of the Christian faith in one place. These powerful books are designed to give readers a focused experience that centers on God’s character and how it applies to their daily walk of faith.

I was given this copy of the book by BookSneeze to review but am under no obligation to give it a positive review.

No comments: