Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review: Slave - The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ

By John MacArthur
212 pages, Thomas Nelson Publishers

I got this book free from GTY about six months ago, and just yesterday found time to pick it up and read it. To tell you the truth, I was a bit skeptical about it, as I am about any book that claims to discover 'new' and 'hidden truth'. I saw the book trailer before the book actually came out and read some interesting discussions on it so I had some insight as to what it was about. I don't believe, as the subtitle suggests, that MacArthur was discovering a new truth that has been hidden for generations. He simply explains that this truth isn't presented clearly or consistently in our English Bibles, with which I agree.

This book is about one word, doulos (slave in Greek), and the relationship to God we have as a result of that one word. The book came about as a result of John's reading a book by Murray J. Harris called Slave of Christ. John was fascinated by the number of times the word doulos is used in the New Testament to describe believers. So in this book, MacArthur shows us what the cultural and logical implications of the word 'slave' brings to our relationship with Christ.

I whole-heartedly agree with MacArthur that we are slaves of the Lord, and that He alone is our Sovereign Master. I enjoyed reading what MacArthur has discovered about slavery in the Roman world as well as slavery in the Old Testament Israelite culture. It truly is encouraging to see all the nuances that this one word brings out in our relationship with Christ. This book is easy to read, and keeps the reader interested right up to the last pages.

To preface what I'm about to say, let me tell you that I believe in the total depravity of man, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. I do not hold to unconditional election or limited atonement. I do believe in the doctrine of election, but not to the Calvinist extreme. I also believe that salvation is not limited to a specific number of people, but is available to all.

Now, I do want to take time to note that MacArthur takes considerable time in this book to promote "the doctrines of grace." I disagree with MacArthur on the points of unconditional election and limited atonement, which he cleverly renames as "sovereign election" and "particular redemption." This isn't the place to fully discuss "the doctrines of grace" (Calvinism), but suffice it to say that I believe MacArthur's arguments for sovereign election and particular redemption are lacking.

This book is very helpful in debunking some modern myths of Christianity and getting back to a New Testament, apostolic understanding of what it means to be a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. I recommend this book, but be fore-warned that there is a strong Calvinist bent in this book (as there is in most of MacArthur's books). If you can get beyond that, this book will be encouraging and uplifting as you see what the believer's true identity in Christ is.

No comments:

Post a Comment