Orville Jenkins's Reviews > Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Good News by John F. MacArthur Jr.
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it was ok

This was bought for a group study I attend. This volume frustrated me in the same way MacArthur's books usually do. Each book I read frustrates me more than the last. He is so simplistic and ideological, he often misses the key point or heart of a passage. Especially stories. He treats a story as didactic teaching.

MacArthur seems so focused on ideological points that his rationalistic reductionism skews biblical passages to meet that need. One chapter is a diatribe on other religions and their universally condemnable character. It appears he has never actually had any interaction with devotees from another cultural setting. He easily dismisses the possibility of God’s working in any context other than the narrow historical cultural stream of the Hebrews.

This ignores the great prophetic tradition also celebrated in, for example, the powerful poetic proclamation of the biblical prophet Amos (Amos 9:7) declaring that Israel is no better than the other people God brought from the previous places where they used to live to the places where they then lived near the Hebrews. (See also Psalm 47:8.) It seems very odd that a Calvinist, who declares that God in fact predestines everything, would have so limited a concept of sovereignty that God could be understood to work in only one single cultural tradition in one genetic lineage in the whole history of the human race. The prophets declare otherwise, and Jewish scholars so declare also.

Sadly, MacArthur ignores the biblical declaration that God created and is still superintending the whole of the one human race we know today and is still free, indeed, to work out his own sovereign relationship and relation to any and all the ethnic groups of the world no matter how distantly removed from the mideastern-European stream of history. As Paul explains in his introduction to Romans, God has made himself known through all the cultures of the world’s nations.

MacArthur concludes this means they have been given only enough “light” to condemn them, and not enough light to enable response to the One True and Living God. How ironic, for a line of theology that declares that God is fully and totally sovereign over history. He belittles and dismisses relational missionary outreach methods that attempt to find insights in any people’s culture and religion that may provide a contact point through which the Living God revealed in Jesus Christ may be presented.

He lambastes Christian evangelists and theologians of other cultures like Indian Christian theologian Raymond Pannikar who points out many parallels in Indian worldview that can be used as a reference to positively declare the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. MacArthur sounds like the Judaizers that Paul the Apostle opposes, who want to make non-Jews come to Jesus only through the Jewish history and identity.

Paul presents God as fully sovereign before all the nations to meet people and call them directly wherever they are into life in Christ. MacArthur prefers to hold God himself captive from his own sovereign will among the nations, reducing God’s work to MacArthur’s ideological limitations. This book is way short of what he should be able to produce. The Good News of God's Kingdom is so much greater than MacArthur's ideology allows!

This book is way short of what someone of his age and experience should be able to produce. I cannot recommend this book.
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Reading Progress

July 30, 2019 – Started Reading
August 16, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 27, 2019 – Shelved

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