“The Gospel According to Jesus”: A Review Article -- By: Homer A. Kent

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 10:1 (Spring 1989)
Article: “The Gospel According to Jesus”: A Review Article
Author: Homer A. Kent

“The Gospel According to Jesus”:
A Review Article

Homer A. Kent

The Gospel According to Jesus, by John F. MacArthur, Jr. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988. Pp. 253. $14.95. Cloth.

The author of The Gospel According to Jesus is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California, and is nationally known through his daily radio program “Grace to You,” and through his writing and Bible conference ministry. He is also the President of The Master’s College and Seminary. His dynamic style and clear exposition of Scripture have won for him a national radio following. The forceful and penetrating style of his preaching leaves one in no doubt about where he stands on any issue he discusses, and this characteristic carries over into his writing as well.

MacArthur’s topic—What is the gospel?—is a crucial one; therefore, any serious discussion of it is almost certain to create controversy. Ever since those early days in the church at Antioch, Christians have been deeply concerned about exactly what is required in order for a person to be saved (Acts 15:1–2). Because the issue strikes at the very heart of the Christian faith, it is emotionally provocative as well as intellectually challenging.

Since it became known to what was thought to be a very limited group that this reviewer would be writing this article, he has received phone calls, letters, written materials, and many questions, some coming from persons who wanted his opinion without reading the book themselves. At a recent Bible conference when one session was devoted to an open forum where the audience could question the speakers, the first question had to do with MacArthur’s book, even though it was not directly related to the theme of the conference.

Inasmuch as most Christians would agree that the gospel has to do with the good news about the Person and the redemptive Work of Jesus Christ which sinners are called upon to believe, perhaps it would help to state the issue this way: What does it mean to believe the gospel? Here is where devout Christians begin to differ, and even strongly-Bible-centered believers choose opposite sides and start to label one another. Such descriptions as “Lordship Salvation” and “Easy-Believism” are bandied about, names which seem apt to the users but are usually regarded as inadequate or misleading labels by those to whom they are applied.

MacArthur does not shrink from confrontation. He names persons with whose writings he disagrees. He is careful to acknowledge his admiration and respect for many of these persons, and he does not discount all of thei...

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