Dr. MacArthur hit the ball out of the park with this book! Starting with the introduction, MacArthur brings hard-hitting and in-your-face theology as it pertains to defending the gospel agains the errors of post-modern weaknesses.
The premise of the book is that "Jesus is often portrayed as a pacifist, a philanthropist, or a docile teacher. Some prefer the meek and mild Jesus who heals the sick, calms fears, and speaks of peace and goodwill. These things represent a portion of the Messiah. But tragically, too many have never been exposed to the rest of him" (quoted from the back cover). MacArthur sets out to prove to his readers that Jesus was more often confrontational when truth was under attack, and that we, too, must not be afraid to defend truth. In fact, he asserts that there are times when it is "Wrong to be Nice".
LIKES: I truly enjoy the hard-hitting nature of this book. So often, Christians are seen as insensitive when it comes to positions on truth. We are labeled "intolerant" if we don't receive all views as simple variations of truth. In this book, however, MacArthur encourages believers to take a firm stand against false doctrines and errors because "nothing is more thoroughly evil than false religion, and the more false teachers try to cloak themselves in the robes of biblical truth, the more truly Satanic they are." (p.11) Christians are also told that we must "not judge, lest we be judged". But MacArthur attacks this heresy head-on, stating, "in order to obey that command ("do not cast your pearls before swine"), we have to know who the swine and dogs are. So an underlying assumption is that we must judge carefully and biblically." (p.145)
DISLIKES: The only thing I really disliked about this book is that the chapters are extremely long, averagine approximately 25 pages. Even the introduction is 19 pages long! The issue I have is not the amount of content, but that the content is packed into long chapters. Although there are subdivisions within the chapters, even the subdivisions are quite long. If you're someone looking to fill down time with reading a good book, just be sure you have lots of down-time if you're looking to fill the space with this one.
OVERALL OPINION: Overall, this book is a keeper and will remain on my bookshelf. If you like Dr. MacArthur's hard-hitting style, you'll love this book. It will encourage you to not only defend your faith before skeptics, but to defend the truth of the gospel that is missing even among Christian circles.
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