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Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World
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Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,063 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
In this book, John MacArthur laments the drift of American Christianity towards compromise with culture and issues a call for the church to recover its prophetic, unadulterated voice in order to have a renewed impact on society.
Paperback, Revised, 266 pages
Published April 5th 2001 by Crossway Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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The first edition of this book was published in 1993, and the latest edition was published in 2010. Sometimes the benefit of a book that is warning the threat posed to Evangelical Christianity is best seen from the passage of time. From the perspective that "time will tell.." I think this book is a must read for those who are concern about the state of American Christianity departing from Biblical mooring. The message is not out of date, but has been proven to be more relevant today. The author ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
John MacArthur deals with the subject of Pragmatism in such a powerful way.

The following is a condensed version of what this book revealed to me:

Pragmatism is the view that meaning or worth is determined by practical consequences.

The error of pragmatism simply put: "if it works, it must be right"!

The pragmatic approach to doing church is to determine what attracts people and makes the church grow. We are far too human. We are limited in our perception and understanding. We are prone to believe t
Mar 21, 2012 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't find the infomation in this book especially surprising or new, but it is definitely a good summary of what has happened in recent decades to the church and some great suggestions of solutions. I would have liked to have read more about how I, a non-pastor, can have more impact.

The best chapter was the last one that gave a brief but striking overview of the Emerging Church (or whatever they want to call themselves) and the decline of that "conversation" even in the face of the stronger an
Oct 15, 2012 Rod rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics
A great book. All Christians should be forced to read this - even though many of them would not like its contents. The truth hurts, sorry.

The numerous quotes by C.H. Spurgeon were a delightful blessing and thrust of the sword. The plight of Christian truth has not changed in hundreds of years. This book proves that.
Yet God looks after his church.
Dec 29, 2015 Marcel rated it it was amazing
Ótimo livro, repleto de passagens bíblicas, o qual nos adverte contra o pragmatismo nas igrejas, e nos encoraja a prosseguirmos fiéis às verdades bíblicas e a crermos na loucura da pregação como forma de Deus salvar os seus.
Feb 17, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing
If you are wondering if there is anything wrong with the contemporary church and in particular a seeker sensitive mentality this is the book for you.

Once again John MacArthur is true to scripture.
Jan 06, 2017 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read the first edition a few years ago. This new edition is even more relevant and poignant. This is MacArthur at his finest.
Jeremy Sarber
Oct 22, 2015 Jeremy Sarber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The prophets of the Old Testament, the apostles of the New, and many preachers since have declared the truth of God’s word at the detest of the hearers. Sinners are prone to reject the unfiltered gospel of Jesus Christ. At the very least, a watered-down version is preferable. The Bible warns, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3).

Charles Spurgeon fought a grueling battl
I started reading the 1st edition of this book, published in 1993. When I found out there was a third edition, published in 2009, I ordered it because of the promise of two new chapters that would take into account what has changed in 15 years. Macarthur's prophetic voice, while clear and compelling, eventually wore a little thin to me. I wish that he had at least one chapter entitled "And now for some good news" that would have talked about much of the course correction that I think has taken p ...more
Apr 17, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every Christian
Thank God for steadfast men of the Gospel like John MacArthur. His wisdom and discernment cut through today's "hip" manipulation and marketing tactics of the seeker-driven churches and remind us to be careful of fads and gimmicks. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of salvation and the dilution of that truth is often hidden behind visual aids, ridiculous secular-like dramas, sermon series based on "my favorite movies" and...well, you get the picture. Sometimes I've felt so out of place in c ...more
Rick Davis
Jan 03, 2012 Rick Davis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bible-theology
John MacArthur knocks this one out of the ballpark. In Ashamed of the Gospel, published in 1993, MacArthur discusses the market-driven church growth strategies that characterized the latter half of the 20th century. He shows that by having a pragmatic view of church growth, the church is placed on a slippery slope towards mushy doctrine and ineffectiveness in the world. I don’t know why I hadn’t read this book before, but I would say that it should be essential reading for today’s pastors. I wou ...more
Bill Nohmer
Nov 18, 2008 Bill Nohmer rated it it was amazing
Several years ago, I was asked to teach a college age class at the church I attend. The class was comprised of a half dozen or so college age young people. I inquired to know the spiritual standing of the class in order to formulate the curriculum. To my utter frustration, the minister who asked me to lead the class went down the line of the students and explained each was 'nowhere' spiritually.

I agree with John MacArthur Jr. that this situation is not limited to college age students. Our servic
Jan 31, 2014 Ed rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Even though this book was first published 10 years ago, the truths are still prevalent for today. Even more so! We can clearly see Pragmatism being practiced in our churches. It is amazing how things that brought people to Christ at one time are being reduced to present standards. I still use the same old tactics, soul winning, one-on-one personal witnessing. Telling the truth about hell to people and not watering down the truth. I appreciate John MacArthur's zeal and burden in reaching others f ...more
Aug 04, 2010 Joy rated it liked it
This was the first book I'd read by John MacArthur. It was written in
1993 and warns of the seeker church movement. Spurgeon warned against a similar movement in England in the early 1900s that he described as "down-grade", or what I would call a slippery slope. The message preached in churches was designed to attract crowds by being positive, lively, non-condemning. Can you imagine Paul following that course? The message of the Gospel was weakened, pastors did not teach doctrine, and a whole new
Jan 26, 2016 Hopson rated it it was amazing
MacArthur offers clear, compelling chastisement for many of the silliness run rampant in the church. He argues that the hyper-manifestations of the seeker-sensitive movement are actually indicative of being ashamed of the Gospel. Using Spurgeon's interactions in the Downgrade Controversy as an example, MacArthur diagnoses the sham of fluffy evangelicalism and challenges churches to preach and teach a clear, robust, unaltered gospel.

For Tim Challies' 2016 Reading Challenge, this is the book I re
Sep 15, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
This book discusses the problems of the modern American Church in terms of an overall weakening of the message in order to attract converts. The author criticizes the gimmicky, faddish practices of many churches that keep their members from growing spiritually. While I agree with the author's main points, I felt that the book merely scratched the surface. It was something of a jeremiad, but seemed to be somewhat low on substance, which was disappointing, since weak substance was one of the autho ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
When the church resorts to becoming entertainment to be "relevant"; when Scripture is "thrown in" almost as an afterthought, when the "sermon" comes off as an inspirational speech; when secular movie clips & quotes from the famous are used to drive home the point. . . It is because the church is ashamed of the Gospel. The Gospel-the POWER OF GOD unto salvation for all who believe!

The book is thought provoking. It drives home the point that salvation is a work of God; through Jesus Christ. N
Feb 15, 2015 Eunice rated it it was amazing
A great book on the counter-cultural gospel of the Bible as opposed to "consumeristic" techniques to bring people to church. Read this with a pinch of salt as the author's views are very strong, but overall it is a very timely GOOD, hard message that we as believers all need to sit with & reflect on.
Oct 30, 2016 Selina rated it really liked it
Written in the 90s but still applies today where many churches have become ashamed of the gospel and are peddling self-help psychology and entertainment lite instead.

MacArthur suggests that if we find ourselves in churches like these to come apart and be separate. We may find ourselves persecuted for speaking out but then Jesus' church was never bound by satan and his trickster wolves anyway.
Sep 04, 2008 Kingsdaughter rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book. Pastor MacArthur is not afraid to address issues confronting the church today. A must read for those who are dissatified with the direction the church is taking. I do not know where my stars went but I give it 4 stars.
Clement Lee
Aug 24, 2013 Clement Lee rated it it was amazing
Excellent expositions on various Holy Scriptures by Mr MacArthur! He sets forth Scriptural truths plainly against the Pragmatism philosophy so sadly rampant in many churches today. Besides the argument against pragmatism, I enjoyed the frequent quotes from Spurgeon and the informative appendices.
Jun 03, 2013 Bill rated it it was amazing
MacArthur at his best. Poignant, hard-hitting, no nonsense. Although he goes down the path of Calvinism farther than I am willing to follow, his observations about the trouble with user-friendly Churchianity are right on target.
Sep 16, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soteriology
Like Machen's Christianity and Liberalism or Packer's Fundamentalism and the Word of God, MacArthur's references remain frozen, purposefully dated, to show the timelessness of the gospel.
Jun 21, 2013 Charlie rated it it was ok
A vague, meandering rant against a host of presumed ills of the contemporary church. The many fine scriptural expositions are weakened by the lack of focus and the author's habit of blaming church decline on a few pet peeves.
Highest recommendations. Scary accurate portrayal of the state of the church (particularly in the U.S.). I'm thankful that ultimately the promise of Matthew 16.18 is true even in the face of the "Baal of pragmatism."
Aug 16, 2012 Wesley rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio version. Great book on the shallow methods of reaching the lost that have plagued evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Shows the impact it has had on our culture and the Gospel.
Jan 09, 2011 YoungBishop rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Covering how the modern Church has turned from the saving Gospel; a repetition of a "Down-Grade Syndrome" in Spurgeon's days. Talks about seeker-sensitive and pragmatic methods in drawing souls to the church but not making part of the Church. Great book!!!
High Pointe Baptist Church
Warnings about how professing evangelicals are tempted to marginalize or dilute the gospel, particularly in recent years
Jan 09, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Charismatics, evangelicals
Shelves: christian-books
Excellent book this was a real eye opener for me! Everyone who goes to a charismatic church needs to read this book.
Aug 30, 2014 Ann rated it it was amazing
A book I wish every professing believer would read, particularly if they are burdened about the authenticity of Scriptural preaching and teaching.
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John F. MacArthur, Jr. is a United States Calvinistic evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You and as the editor of the Gold Medallion Book Award winning MacArthur Study Bible. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and ...more
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“Excellent ministers cannot be those who yearn for earthly applause. Neither can they be lovers of earthly comfort. The life of ministry is not a life of leisure.
No ministry of any value comes without pain. I often encounter young men headed for the ministry who are looking for a church without problems, a ministry without challenges, a congregation that will make life easy. There is no such place for the faithful preacher of the Word. The notion that ministry can be both effective and painless is a lie. You will encounter hardship if you preach the unadulterated Word. And when adversity strikes, you have two choices. You can endure and remain steadfast, or you can compromise. The faithful minister holds the line for the truth. You cannot do that and escape suffering (2 Tim. 3:12).”
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