April 1, 2010

Book Review: The Truth War

Wow, that doesn't sound controversial at all, does it?

I finally finished John MacArthur's The Truth War this week. And yes, to say the book is controversial is quite the understatement.

Using Jude as his jumping-off point, MacArthur shows how what he calls the truth war - the responsibility of all Christians to stand and fight for the truth - is not an esoteric idea, but rather a part of our day-to-day lives and every bit as important now as ever. That is, modern Christianity has become dangerously postmodern and relativistic, and it is up to Christians to fight these untruths, to "earnestly contend for the faith." He also shows how this began from the moment Christ ascended, and we are still to battle against false teachings today, just as the Apostles did, even among themselves.

MacArthur spends most of the book talking in terms of general principles, but there are a few times he gets down and calls out specific popular teachings and teachers. There were several times, even when I agreed with what he said, I found myself thinking, "I wouldn't say that out loud!" But then I realized, that was the problem. We've been conditioned not to say these things out loud, and as a result false teachings and false teachers have been given free reign.

Some quotes:
Both right doctrine and right living are absolutely essential and totally inseparable for the true child of God. That is the consistent teaching of Christ Himself. "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

Those who do depart from the faith, like Judas, simply demonstrate that they never had true faith to begin with.

We don't need an enlightened guru to open the mysteries of the faith for us (cf. I John 2:27). The truth was entrusted by God to the whole church - intact and "once for all." It came by revelation, through the teaching of the apostles as preserved for us in Scripture. Jude speaks of "the faith" as a complete body of truth already delivered - so there is no need to seek additional revelation or embellish the substance of "the faith" in any way.

Don't forget that every writer in the New Testament at one point or another touches on this issue of false teaching inside the church.

Christians today often actually seem more distressed about believers who think the Truth War is still worth fighting than about the dangers of false doctrine.

Contemporary evangelicals have almost completely abandoned the noble practice of the Bereans, who were commended for carefully scrutinizing even the apostle Paul's teaching.

The long struggle between truth and falsehood is one of the central themes of all history. It has been a long, protracted, uninterrupted state of siege - and we are still in the thick of the battle.

Why is it so vital to fight for the truth? Because truth is the only thing that can liberate people from the bondage of sin and give them eternal life.

Scripture draws the line with ample clarity: we're commanded to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; but we're forbidden to pick fights with one another over secondary issues.

Even in the worst of times, we can be certain that nothing is happening that wasn't already foreknown by God.

False teaching is the deadliest and most abhorrent of evils, because it is always an expression of unbelief, which is the distillation of pure evil.

Whenever the people of God have sought peace with the world or made alliances with false religions, it has meant a period of serious spiritual decline, even to the point where at times the truth seemed almost to be in total eclipse.
My moods affect my reading, so it took me a while to get through this, even though it isn't a large book. I probably ran through 8 fiction books in the same amount of time. Some times I was in the mood for non-fiction and tore through whole sections, sometimes I needed a break and got some fiction in. But it's an excellent read and I highly recommend it.

I bought the book myself and I'm sharing this out of the goodness of my heart.

3 comments:

  1. How interesting...Thanks for sharing. I do agree as a christian I am surrounded by many false teachings and have to be careful who's teachings I take to heart to make sure they line up with gods word. Have a great weekend!

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  2. I haven't read this and I've actually never heard of it. I'll have to add this to my ever growing must read list.

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  3. this sounds good :) I'm still Trying to get through The Shack, but once i'm done this may be next!

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