With an prologue and an introduction, this book feels a little like a heavy train trying to get moving from a complete stop. Finally, a few chapters in, it hit me and took off from there. I began making notes and sticking little paper flags in pages so I could refer back to interesting points. It is not a bad thing, though, MacArthur carefully takes time to defend his point of view and build a good foundation for the book in those early pages. He gives a great background to the problem with many churches today (to my satisfaction he sheds much light on the "Emergent Church"), especially so-called "seeker-sensitive" churches.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"A positive response to Jesus should never be taken as proof of authentic trust in Him. There is a shallow, fickle brand of 'belief' that is not saving faith at all."
"The gospel must be defended against lies and false teaching, and the fact that gospel truth often offends even the most distinguished religious people is never a reason for trying to tame the message or tone it down."
"Like many today who wrongly think fantasies are harmless if not acted upon, [the Pharisees] felt free to arouse and indulge in sinful appetites in the privacy of their own imaginations--as if their hearts were somehow exempt from the law's standards. Indeed, that very misconception lay at the root of all the Pharisees' errors. It was how they justified all their hypocrisy."
"For those who were not interested in hearing the truth, He did not try to make it easier to receive. What He did instead was make it impossible to ignore."
Do you find that last quote (or any of the others) hard to believe? Perhaps I would have before I read the book. However, MacArthur does such a great job of building his case and presenting the evidence, that it is easy to believe now--and difficult to view any other way. It was a fantastic book. It took me longer to get through than I wanted to, but I have been a little distracted these past couple weeks. I look forward to donating this one to my church library so that many others can read it!!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”