This book ranks somewhere in the bottom half of my top ten all time favorites. In terms of shaping my understanding of how the church is to unashamedly proclaim the gospel in the midst of our ‘seeker sensitive,’ contemporary church culture, it ranks first. Now in its 3rd edition, John MacArthur’s Ashamed of the Gospel continues to challenge pastors to fulfill their God-given calling by unashamedly preaching the word of God in the context of the local church. In a day when there is no end as to how pastors are taught to build their churches using this ministry or that one, Ashamed of the Gospel powerfully sets forth the God ordained means of true church growth and preservation: a man called and gifted of God, proclaiming the word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. No gimmicks required.
Here’s a small taste to whet your appetite:
“Evangelicals everywhere are frantically seeking new techniques and new forms of entertainment to attract people. Whether a method is biblical or not scarcely seems to matter to the average church leader—or church goer—today. Does it work? That is the new test of legitimacy. And so raw pragmatism has become the driving force in much of the professing church. When Charles Spurgeon warned about those who ‘would like to unite church and stage, cards and prayer, dancing and sacraments,’ he was belittled as an alarmist. But Spurgeon’s prophecy has been fulfilled before our eyes. Proclaiming the gospel message of redemption for sinners and teaching the Word for the maturing and holiness of believers should be the heart of every church’s ministry. If the world looks at the church and sees an entertainment center or country club, we’re sending the wrong message. If Christians view the church as an amusement parlor, the church will die. “ 3rd edition, pages 82, 83.
Having first read the book more than ten years ago, I try to read through it every couple of years to remind me of these things.
I have greatly benefited from the speaking and writing ministry of John MacArthur through the years, and while there are certainly points where I find myself at odds with his stated doctrinal positions, I heartily recommend this book as a stirring reminder to pastors of how to go about the privileged calling of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for Christians in churches everywhere to expect no less.