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Fool's Gold
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God's Word makes it clear that not everything that glitters is gold. In this uncompromising book, John MacArthur and the contributors lay a foundation for biblical discernment and use these principles to assess several current Christian trends. Readers will find honest, biblical analyses of some of today's most popular Christian books, music, and ideas. They will be equipped with a foundation for biblical discernment that will enable them to make careful distinctions in their thinking about truth.
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4 Stars
It seems there is never a shortage of controversy when it comes to the Christian Life. Each person has his own idea about what it should look like, how someone should act, what things should be done and which things ought not be done. Herein lies much of the problem: each person has his own idea…. Christians claim that the Bible is the source for their ideas, but with so many differing opinions, how is one to know which ones to believe and which ones to reject? How are we to discern Truth in this age of error? Recently, we have seen an influx of watered-down preaching, best-selling books and market driven church programs that too many Christians are embracing without evaluating them in light of what Scripture teaches. We accept too much with too little discernment. But, God’s people are called to sift through the various trends to determine which ones are good, and which ones should be left alone. John MacArthur and staff of Grace Community Church have assembled a collection of articles addressing some of the most prominent trends in the Christian life today. Broken into four sections, this book seeks to develop a strategy for practicing discernment. The first section deals with promoting discernment in an age of blind acceptance. Dr. MacArthur opens this section with a call for Biblical Discernment. He decries the state of evangelicalism and its lackadaisical approach to Truth. He writes: Doctrinally speaking, today’s church is in a similar position to the California gold rushers of 1850 [having to discern between real gold and fools gold]. Spiritual riches are promised at every turn. New programs, new philosophies, new parachurch ministries – each glitters a little bit more than the last, promising better results and bigger returns. But, as was true in the mid-1800s, just because it glitters doesn’t mean it’s good. He goes on to discuss discernment, giving a clear definition and the beginnings of a paradigm for developing discernment, which includes testing everything, clinging to what is good and shunning what is evil. The next chapter, “Plexiglas Preaching – The Devastating Consequences of a Watered-Down Message”, is self-explanatory. Dr. MacArthur takes aim at weak, shallow, seeker-friendly “talks” that is passed off as preaching. He lists and explains 15 consequences that result from this type of preaching (interestingly, this list was originally 61 points long, but he combined and eliminated all but the most crucial ones). The second section examines some of the best-selling books on the market today, including “The Purpose-Driven Life”, “The New Perspective on Paul”, “Wild at Heart” and “The Revolve New Testament”. Everyone with a pulse has heard of “The Purpose-Driven Life”. Nathan Busenitz examines this fastest-selling non-fiction book in history to the Word of Life – and assesses how it measures up. Chapter 4 is about the “The New Perspective on Paul”. It teaches that we have misunderstood Paul’s teachings about salvation. The proponents claim that the historic Reformed understanding of Pauline soteriology (particularly justification by faith) is fundamentally flawed. They would have us believe that first-century Judaism has also been misinterpreted and misconstrued by NT scholars for hundreds of years, and therefore the church’s understanding of what Paul was teaching in Romans and Galatians is seriously inaccurate. Phil Johnson examines those claims in light of Scripture. “Wild at Heart” claims that God is wild, and therefore, we, as Christian men, should regain our “wildness”. This book basically gives men permission to pursue their lusts. It is seriously erroneous in a number of areas including the Scriptural view of the Scriptures, of man, of God and of Christ. Daniel Gillespie examines these issues. When the Word becomes a tabloid, it looks like “The Resolve New Testament”. Published by Thomas Nelson, it broke all kinds of sales records. Throughout its pages are top-ten lists, call out boxes and beauty tips. Unfortunately, “The Resolve New Testament” abandoned the integrity of the New Testament in trying to be relevant to its target audience. It actually is laced more with environmental, humanistic teachings than with Scriptural application. Rick Holland originally published this article in PULPIT magazine. Unfortunately, many believers have been deceived by these, and other extremely popular publications. These chapters will help in developing ones discernment, not only for each of these books, but also for others. They give good examples of the kind of things to look for when reading “Christian” materials. Part three takes a look at some trends within the church, such as Contemporary Worship Music, Invitations and Altar Calls, Politics and Consumerism. John MacArthur addresses the content of Worship Music (not the music itself), with the conclusion that Contemporary Worship has left the church without very much substance to sing. With a few exceptions, modern worship no longer focuses on the deep truths of Scripture, but surfacy, feel-good lyrics that leave the worshiper full of emotion, but not truly worshipping. “Invitations and Altar Calls”, a chapter by Carey Hardy, examines the appropriateness of invitations and altar calls at the end of the service. Are we misunderstood when people “come down to the front to receive Jesus”? This chapter warns of the false security given to those who walk the isle. The chapter on politics addresses the false idea that we are “commanded to be salt and light”. Jesus actually says, we ARE salt and light and that should impact the lives of others. The church has received not a few black eyes under the rally cry that we’re to be salt and light. This slogan is used to condone all manner of participation in politics, such as boycotts, protests and petitions. Phil Johnson examines Matthew 5:16 for some answers about what Christian political participation should look like. Kurt Gephards addresses the issue of American Consumerism in Chapter 10: Choking on Choices. To quote the introduction: This chapter…is not a challenge to swelling credit card debt or shrinking offering plates, overdressed parishioners or underpaid pastors. In fact, it is not primarily about money, but rather about the heart of the worshiper. Sadly, marketplace consumerism has been imported into God’s church as Christians enjoy the power of product choice. Because they fail to discern what is truly valuable, too many Christians are exchanging eternal riches for temporal pursuits. Finally, part four is about pursuing discernment in our daily lives. A chapter titled “Hills to Die on: A Doctrinal Framework for Developing Discernment” and the other titled, “Keeping the Faith: A practical Plan for Personal Discernment” lay out a simple plan for learning how to be a discerning believer. It is absolutely imperative that we, as believers, learn to distinguish between truth and error. There are many wolves in sheep clothing that would have us believe that what they offer is truth, when if fact, it is deceptive, destructive lies. Read 'em & Reap!- Brad
  • Type: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 158134726X
  • SKU: 9781581347265
  • Publisher: Crossway