Monday, July 26, 2010

The Jesus You Can't Ignore, by John MacArthur- An Honest Review

I did want to give this work a higher mark. I like John MacArthur, but I don't give someone a 5-star simply because I like them. If someone turns out a product they expect you to buy, be it a product of creativity or no, I expect the highest quality for my money.

Summary: 'The Jesus You Can't Ignore' by John MacArthur is intended to be a rebuttal and a stand against Ecumenical Evangelism, Evangelical Post-Modernism, and is a look at the confrontational side of Jesus that tends to be hidden, down-played, or completely denied in our modern churches today.

Theological and Topical Points: I was looking forward to this book, simply because I believe Jesus isn't portrayed as He fully was. Mr. MacArthur makes this point repeatedly, but his most powerful argument was in his introduction, instead of in the rest of the book. There are challenges, if you will, throughout the chapters, but these were far less than convicting, much less inspiring.
The gist of his argument against Ecumenical Evangelism is that Jesus was confrontational, even angry against hypocrisy, false teaching, etc. This needed to be said, and he makes some Biblical statements.

Writing Style and Product: Now we come to it. I do understand what Mr. MacArthur was trying to say, and what he was trying to accomplish with this published work. That said, I have to give this a 3 star, not because he was wrong, but to be utterly honest, because he was boring. It took me a while to finish this book and write this review simply because I was not interested in finishing it, even though I agreed with what he said. Much if the real "meaty" parts of the book were bogged down with complicated explanations, Biblical historical places, names, references, customs, and on the list goes. On, and on. Some of them had relevance, most didn't, and they sabotaged this work. Mr. MacArthur did the exact thing he was preaching against, polite reasoning. He was proving his points not Biblically, but with Biblical knowledge of Jewish customs and such. Many people I know would not read this book, simply because they are simple people and believe the Bible, well, simply. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that these "extras" drowned out everything else and took place of many powerful thoughts he could have communicated, as was clear in his introduction.

All in all, I wouldn't buy this book. It was helpful in certain areas, but I expected much of it to be more like his introduction: many more statements instead of a history lesson.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beyond Opinion, by Ravi Zacharias- An Honest Review

'Beyond Opinion' by Ravi Zacharias is a book intended to equip Christians to face the intellectual challenges of this age, both with their minds and their lives. It covers a wide scope of topics, ranging from Islam to Atheism.

Writing Style and Product: I thought the book itself was of fair quality. Though the cover may deceive some, the book isn't totally written by Ravi Zacharias himself (though he does contribute more than others,) but many chapters are written by members of his organization RZIM, each author specializing in said chapters. I thought I would not like reading so many different opinions at one time, but it flowed well, and the authors stood together as a unit. Each author was mature, professional, and skilled in talking about their subjects. Very well written.

Topics and Reactions: I would have to say that this book does not delve deeply into each belief system, but provides an overhead of the subjects today. It covers a variety of world views, and is not intended for the debate ring, but for the average christian who will face these general questions from an average non-christian.
This work did make me interested in many of the issues it addressed, such as Islam, Atheism, etc. and I will further my research to books specifying in these issues. It also peaked my interest in post-modernism, which I had not heard of up until this point.

Conclusion: Ravi Zacharias wrote about two christian points of view on apologetics: intellectual debate, and refusing to debate. He stressed that there needs to be a balance between these two extremes: living our faith so fully in Christ that others cannot deny it, and being ready to give an answer to those who ask. This is a message we all need to hear, myself included, as I was of the belief that "You may win the argument, but lose the soul". We do need a balance, and I would encourage any one to read this book to better understand apologetics, and to learn answers to those questions we avoid.