Dr. MacArthur was in an interestingly difficult position, not because he wanted to take a stance for the truth of Biblical doctrine, but in that he wanted to also distinguish between righteous defense of the truth and needless contention or even disagreements among brothers on smaller, less-clear issues.
This book does have some repudiation of other religious texts, but it’s much more necessary here in the context of discernment, which is another major topic of the book.
This book was actually a motivating call to action for me. And it starts with the most important truth. Jesus Christ, God in flesh, came down to Earth to free mankind from its sin by dying on the cross and being resurrected on the third day.
MacArthur spent a significant amount of time seeming to shift from a firm declaration of truth, and justification of why the truth must be defended. The book spends the bulk of it’s time explaining that one can not stand for truth by avoiding possibly contentious doctrine.
This is the great challenge facing Christianity today in my thinking. I imagine many Christians such as myself feel torn between wanting to stand for Biblical truth but not being lashed out at simply for stating my beliefs and standing by them. The big take away is, so long as you lovingly and patiently defend the truth, you can actually rejoice in persecution as it sets you apart. I certainly don’t mean to say one can stand on a street corner shouting at people with megaphones, and I don’t believe that’s what MacArthur is stating either. I believe he advocates for the patient but firm contribution to discussions without sidestepping culturally charged issues. It is here I always find myself conflicted.
If I were to post a blog on how I feel that chicken was best and listed my reasons, I might receive some response and even some polite discourse. If I then post that I don’t eat pork, and I don’t like the food, I may have some people shrug and call me weird. I might have some disagree, but in this we allow a person to have their point of view. But point at a sin that the Bible clearly speaks against, and watch how many people call me narrow minded even as they narrow-mindedly call me any sort of name they can think of.
The simple truth is anyone willing to stand up for what he or she believes in must also be willing to endure anger, hostility, or even down-right hate. Christianity demands even more foreknowledge because it takes such a clear stand on several issues. This book explains that refusal to avoid these uncomfortable conversations only contribute to the degradation of the faith. If Biblical truth is to be upheld, it must start at the pulpit and extend through the congregation, and Christians should never compromise or alter God’s word for the sake of political correctness or inclusion.
That statement alone could lead to a lengthy debate, so I just state that once more everyone has a right to their own decisions, but they are also subject to the consequences of those decisions.
Once more, neither I nor MacArthur endorse needless argument for the sake of argument. Neither does MacArthur endorse resentful arguments over issues on which scripture isn’t clear.
What I wish this book had was more actionable information on how to go about it. I wish there was a section on social media. I wish there was more direction in those areas, and I hope MacArthur speaks to that in other books.
This book was a motivating call to action even though I wish it had more actionable information. I always enjoy MacArthur’s exegetical insight, especially because it is (almost) always based in scripture.
Thanks for reading,