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The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is…
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The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? (original 1988; edition 2008)

by John MacArthur

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2,17794,963 (4.25)3
The first edition of The Gospel According to Jesus won wide acclaim in confronting the "easy-believism" that has characterized some aspects of evangelical Christianity. Over the past 50 years, a handful of books have become true classics, revered world-wide for their crystal-clear presentation of the Gospel and lauded for their contribution to the Christian faith. These extraordinary books are read, re-read, and discussed in churches, Bible study groups, and homes everywhere. John MacArthur's The Gospel According to Jesus is one of those books. In The Gospel According to Jesus, MacArthur tackles the idea of "easy believism," challenging Christians to re-evaluate their commitment to Christ by examining their fruits. MacArthur asks, "What does it really mean to be saved?" He urges readers to understand that their conversion was more than a mere point in time, that, by definition, it includes a lifetime of obediently walking with Jesus as Lord. This 20th anniversary edition of MacArthur's provocative, Scripture-based book contains one new chapterand is further revised to provide Christians in the 21st century a fresh perspective on the intrinsic relationship between faith and works, clearly revealing Why Jesus is both Savior and Lord to all who believe.… (more)
Member:Kirk1810
Title:The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith?
Authors:John MacArthur
Info:Zondervan (2008), Edition: Rev Anv Ex, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Salvation / The Gospel, Christian Growth / Discipleship
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? by John MacArthur (1988)

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After three chapters, I sense a disconnect in MacArthur's understanding of justification and sanctification. I also sense a double standard in his hermeneutic of the gospel account. Certainly he is right to fight against a false gospel of easy believism, but the pendulum swing, at least so far has been too dramatic.

The next thing I have noticed is that at times he seems to buy completely into the Calvinist understanding of God's sovereign election. But at others he appears to embrace a prevenient grace—a two part salvation of God's work in our heart but then our choosing to surrender.

Finally, I see a tendency to speculate too much about biblical character's emotion, past lives, motivation, and other characteristics in the biblical text. That and each chapter's opening salvo against easy believism that is often over-generalization and lumping all who don't follow his view together. I am struggling to finish as the chapters are all starting to sound the same: 1) Here's what's wrong with the church. 2) God is the one who saves. 3) Here's a story that proves my point that we have to surrender.

I'll persevere, I think.

The book hardly deviates from his point mentioned above. He inserts an interesting footnote on the next to the last page without comment that seems to counter much of his argument: "But the Lordship of Christ as a prerequisite for salvation places emphasis on works rather than grace. God does not need anything from man. His salvation is an unconditional gift. Man's role can be no more than that of a recipient who believes the gift to be a sufficient payment for his sins."

To say that a person must understand need and know that need is paid for, is a great awakening by the Holy Spirit: irresistible grace as Calvinists would say. This little book, if nothing else, is a commercial for that if nothing else. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
After three chapters, I sense a disconnect in MacArthur's understanding of justification and sanctification. I also sense a double standard in his hermeneutic of the gospel account. Certainly he is right to fight against a false gospel of easy believism, but the pendulum swing, at least so far has been too dramatic.

The next thing I have noticed is that at times he seems to buy completely into the Calvinist understanding of God's sovereign election. But at others he appears to embrace a prevenient grace—a two part salvation of God's work in our heart but then our choosing to surrender.

Finally, I see a tendency to speculate too much about biblical character's emotion, past lives, motivation, and other characteristics in the biblical text. That and each chapter's opening salvo against easy believism that is often over-generalization and lumping all who don't follow his view together. I am struggling to finish as the chapters are all starting to sound the same: 1) Here's what's wrong with the church. 2) God is the one who saves. 3) Here's a story that proves my point that we have to surrender.

I'll persevere, I think.

The book hardly deviates from his point mentioned above. He inserts an interesting footnote on the next to the last page without comment that seems to counter much of his argument: "But the Lordship of Christ as a prerequisite for salvation places emphasis on works rather than grace. God does not need anything from man. His salvation is an unconditional gift. Man's role can be no more than that of a recipient who believes the gift to be a sufficient payment for his sins."

To say that a person must understand need and know that need is paid for, is a great awakening by the Holy Spirit: irresistible grace as Calvinists would say. This little book, if nothing else, is a commercial for that if nothing else. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
This book was a powerful and sobering message of what true salvation is and how modern-day evangelicalism has turned it into something that Jesus never intended. Salvation is not just saying a prayer and believing that Jesus is God (even the demons believe He is God). It is recognizing our total lost sinful condition and turning to Christ in surrender and repentance, acknowledging He is the only Way to God. Genuine salvation results in a life that is obedient to God. Works do not give us salvation but they are the evidence of it.
“Modern evangelism is preoccupied with decisions, statistics, aisle-walking, gimmicks, prefabricated presentations, pitches, emotional manipulation, and even intimidation. Its message is a cacophony of easy-believism and simplistic appeals. Unbelievers are told that if they invite Jesus into their hearts, accept Him as personal Savior, or believe the facts of the gospel, that is all there is to it. The aftermath is appalling failure, as seen in the lives of millions who have professed faith in Christ with no consequent impact on their behavior.”

The result of these emotional appeals is
“Multitudes declare that they trust Christ as Savior while indulging in lifestyles that are plainly inconsistent with God’s Word – yet no one dares to challenge their testimony.”
“Who knows how many people are deluded into believing they are saved when they are not?”
“Many who think they are saved but live unholy lives will be shocked to discover in the final judgment that heaven is not their destiny.”
“Many sincerely believe they are saved, but their lives are utterly barren of any verifying fruit.”

“True salvation occurs when a sinner in desperation turns from his sin to Christ with a willingness to have Him take control.”

On my blog with this book review, I posted a video of a song (by Steve Camp), Consider the Cost, which sums up the message of this book. For those who don't want to take the time to listen to the whole video, below are the lyrics.

Consider the Cost by Steve Camp

to obey is better than sacrifice
and to hearken than the fat of rams
for what will a man give for his own life
houses or money or land
there's a way that seems right to you
but in the end it leads only to death
but come unto Him all ye weary
come and find your rest

consider the cost of building a tower
it's a narrow way that you must come
to do the will of the Father
is to follow the Son
to love Him more than father or mother
to love Him more than your own flesh
to give all that you are, for all that He is
this is the gospel according to Jesus

many will say, "Lord, Lord" on that day
look what we've done in Your name
"We've prophesied and performed
many miracles
and Lord, even demons obeyed"

then the Lord will declare unto them
the most terriifying words of truth
"depart from me ye workers of iniquity
for I have never known you!"

oh foolish man, how you built on the sand
trusting in your goodness to save!
for when the rain falls, and the flood
breaks the walls
you will be swept away!

but blessed is he who builds on the Rock
who takes Jesus as Lord to save!
for when the rain falls, he will endure it all
standing firm in His grace!

More quotes from the book:

“…the good news of Christ has given way to the bad news of an insidious easy-believism that makes no moral demands on the lives of sinners.”

“You cannot remove the lordship of Christ from the gospel message without undermining faith at its core. That is precisely what is happening in the church today.”

“The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer.”

“Contemporary Christians have been conditioned to believe that because they recited a prayer, signed on a dotted line, walked an aisle, or had some other experience, they are saved and should never question their salvation.”

“Genuine assurance comes from seeing the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in one’s life, not from clinging to the memory of some experience.”

“Teaching theology to a heathen will not bring him to faith in Christ. He may learn the evangelical vocabulary and verbally affirm the truth. He may intellectually accept a list of gospel facts. But without a divine miracle to open his blind eyes and give him a new heart, he will only be a theologically informed pagan, not a Christian.”

“Obviously, a new believer does not fully understand all the ramifications of Jesus’ lordship at the moment of conversion. But every genuine believer has a desire to surrender. This is what distinguishes true faith from a bogus profession: true faith produces a heart that is humble, submissive, obedient. As spiritual understanding unfolds, that obedience grows deeper, and the genuine believer displays an eagerness to please Christ by abandoning everything to His lordship. This willingness to surrender to divine authority is a driving force in the heart of every true child of the kingdom. It is the inevitable expression of the new nature.”

“…knowing and affirming facts apart from obedience to the truth is not believing in the biblical sense. Those who cling to the memory of a one-time decision of ‘faith’ but lack any evidence of the outworking of faith had better heed the clear and solemn warning of Scripture: ‘He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him’ (John 3:36).”

“The pattern of modern evangelism is to give people a pleasing and easy message; take them through a simple formula; get them to pray a prayer, sign a card, or whatever; then tell them they are saved and should never doubt it.”

“If your life does not reveal growth in grace and righteousness and holiness, you need to examine the reality of your faith – even if you believe you have done great things in the name of Christ.”

“The validation of salvation is a life of obedience. It is the only possible proof that a person really knows Jesus Christ.” ( )
  twiga92 | Oct 6, 2013 |
John MacArthur has accomplished a superb work in this book. Known for his activism against "easy-believism" and superficial Christianity, MacArthur has written a marvelous little book detailing the ACTUAL gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel has become so utterly watered down today it is no wonder the church has become weakened in its effectiveness. MacArthur challenges believers to read the truth about The Truth and to become more than just a comfortable group of "pew-warmers" on Sunday mornings. MacArthur reminds us God did not call us to be His "cheerleaders." Rather, than this He has called us to be Salt and Light in a fallen, darkened world. ( )
  exinanition | Jul 26, 2013 |
Excellent work. Either Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life or you're not a Christian. ( )
  bholschen | Dec 5, 2012 |
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