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The Gospel According to Jesus: What Does Jesus Mean When He Says Follow Me? Paperback – 1 March 1994
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- Publisher : Zondervan; Revised edition (1 March 1994)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0310394910
- ISBN-13 : 978-0310394914
- Dimensions : 15.5 x 2 x 23.4 cm
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If you are someone who is worried about the lack of authentic Christianity around and feel there is a dissonance between the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ presented by certain preachers, teachers and lay people then you probably need to read this.
I wouldn't suggest it for newbies because unless they already have a good grounding it's probably a bit too academic for them.
That's another point to make - the author is an academic so don't buy it if you just want an easy read. This is challenging and may even help you deepen you understanding of the true nature of Christ and Salvation.
But I haven't reached the end of the book yet so I hope it doesn't make me want to eat my words! And I will not cheat by reading the last page, even for an Amazon review:)
For the Christian it give very good teaching on something which has crept into the evangelical church causing many false conversions and many only knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour but not Lord which has lead to all sorts of problems, the worst being someone not being a truly saved Christian. One of the best books I have read and will be getting more copies to give to others.
In Decisional Salvation, a person is considered saved at the moment they publically confess the belief
that Jesus died for their sins. The person does not have to do anything beyond this to be saved. The person's lifestyle beyong this is not considered critical. If the professing Christian brings forth little or no fruit, this is considered unimportant so long as they still believe in Jesus.
In Lordship Salvation, merely confessing Christ is Lord is not enough. The person has to walk their talk as well, as James 2:17 underlines. MacArthur uses James 2:19 to show that merely believing the correct things doesn't make a person saved, as even the devil believes the core truths of the gospel, but isn't saved! Furthermore, the Bible states even a professing Christian can still end up in Hell (Matthew 7:23), so merely believing Jesus is Lord and calling Him so isn't enough. These passages present what MacArthur concludes is a rebuttal of Decisional Salvation.
At this point MacArthur clarifies that he is NOT teaching works salvation, which would be heresy. He states that works do not save us. However, works ARE a good indicator of whether or not a person's profession of faith in Christ is genuine. MacArthur frequently distinguishes between mere professions of faith, where a person believes themself saved but isn't, and 'saving faith', which is the genuine article. Works are therefore visible evidence, the 'fruit' a genuinely saved person would bring forth (Galatians 5:22-23). MacArthur argues that if a person who calls themself a Christian but does not produce fruit, it is fair to assume they are not truly Christian. He invokes passages (e.g. Matthew 7:17, Luke 6:43) to show that fruitless 'Christians' will suffer damnation.
MacArthur believes several things distinguish genuine Christian living from the counterfeit: obedience (John 14:15, John 15:10), self-denial (Mark 8:34), growing in holiness (Hebrews 12:14) and perseverance (1 Corinthians 9:24). Living your life devoid of these symptoms should act as a warning sign to any professing Christian that they may not possess genuine 'saving faith'.
The book is incredibly challenging, and well worth a read to anyone who takes their faith seriously.