Thursday, August 16, 2012

"The Truth About Forgiveness" by John MacArthur

If there is one thing that could heal virtually every church, every marriage, every marriage, and every relationship, it is forgiveness.  In his book, The Truth About Forgiveness, author and pastor John MacArthur tackles this important issue. The book begins with a heavy attack on the trend among evangelicals to use pop-psychology clouded with Christian language. MacArthur speaks boldly here and really calls Christians to task to rethink how they approach counseling and how they apply the Christian gospel. One of the points he makes here is that such an approach to Christianity confuses sin for a sickness, orientation, disease, or we are merely victims. He writes:

But assume for the moment that the problem is sin rather than sickness.  The only true remedy involves humble repentance and confession . .. - then restitution, and growth through the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, communion with God, fellowship with other believers, and dependence on Christ. IN other words, if the problem is in fact spiritual, labeling it a clinical issue will only exacerbate the problem and will offer no real deliverance from the sin. That is precisely what we see happening everywhere.

The sad truth is that disease-model treatment is disastrously counterproductive. By casting the sinner in the role o a victim, it ignores or minimizes the personal guilt inherent in the misbehavior. 'I am sick' is much easier to say than, 'I have sinned.' But it doesn't deal with the fact that one's transgression is a serious offense again a holy, omniscient, omnipotent God.

Personal guilt is for that very reason at the heart of what must be confronted when dealing with one's sin. But the disease-model remedy cannot address the problem of guilt without explaining it away. And by explaining guilt away, disease-model therapy does untold violence to the human conscience. It is therefore no remedy at all, but a disastrous prescription fr escalating wickedness and eternal damnation. -9-10

MacArthur is dead one and his critique of this "disease-model" approach to counseling and the Christian life is worth the price of the book itself. But from here, MacArthur moves from what he calls the "bad news" here to the good news: the gospel. By understanding we are sinners, we can now understand better the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ that though we are rebels, we can be forgiven. This dominates most of the book. MacArthur focuses on the cross, of course, and also highlights various stories in the Bible to illustrate the point. He spends some time on the Parable of the Prodigal Son which he rightly believes is a beautiful illustration of God's depth of love He has towards us and how that love leads to our forgiveness.

This all leads to the final chapter which discusses turning our vertical forgiveness to a horizontal one. It is not enough for the Christian to accept God's forgiveness, we must also forgive others. MacArthur does not attempt to uncover every stone and answer every question here, but he does offer a helpful framework on forgiving others.

Overall, this is a great book that remains brief but thorough. MacArthur has already written a book on forgiveness which looks more deeply at this issue. This is more of an introduction to the subject and is a helpful book to both scholars and lay people. If you want to know the truth about forgiveness, you will find it here.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze 

MaArthur Books:
Reviews - "The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness"  
Reviews - "The Truth About Grace" by John MacArthur
Reviews - "The Truth About the Lordship of Jesus" by John MacArthur 
Reviews - "Slave" by John MacArthur 
Reviews - "Slave" by John MacArthur Audio
Reviews - "The Gospel According to Jesus"  
Reviews - Hard to Believe  
Reviews - "A Tale of Two Sons
Reviews - "the Jesus You Can't Ignore
Reviews - Why One Way
Reviews - "The God Who Loves" 
Reviews - "Who Money Is It Anyway?"
Reviews - "Lord, Teach Me to Pray"
Reviews - "Our Sufficiency in Christ"
Reviews - "Fools Gold"
Reviews - "The Vanishing Conscience"
Reviews - "Can God Bless America" 
Reviews - "Twelve Ordinary Men"
Reviews-  "John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology"
Reviews - "Welcome to the Family"
Reviews - "The Second Coming"
Reviews - "God in the Manger"
Reviews - "John MacArthur Study Bible"
Reviews - "Found: God's Will"
Reviews - "Preaching the Cross"
Reviews - "Truth War"

MacArthur sermons:
Blogizomai - "Slaves of Christ" by John MacArthur
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | MacArthur: A Tale of Two Sons
Blogizomai - "The Greatness of Being a Slave" by John MacArthur
Blogizomai - Honoring God through Edifying Preaching by John MacArthur
Blogizomai - "The Theology of Christmas" (Philippians 2:5-11) by John MacArthur
Blogizomai - MacArthur & The Attacks on the Bible
Blogizomai - "It Pleased God": MacArthur on the Darkness and Drama at the Cross

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