Friday, February 14, 2014

"Slave" by John MacArthur: A Review

Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in ChristTo be a Christian is to be a slave of Christ.  -212

That is how pastor and author John MacArthur's book Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ ends.  Christianity is defined by slavery to their Lord Jesus Christ.  That is anything but what the average believer hears on Sunday mornings or in popular Christian and spiritual books today.  We emphasize self-esteem, self-help, pragmatic theology, and church growth strategies rather than the call to be slaves of Christ.

This is not a new message of MacArthur.  A few years ago MacArthur preached a sermon on this subject and has sense opened the eyes of many believers around the world.  Here's the truth: those who embrace the gospel message are embracing slavery.  We are slaves of Christ.

Certainly this is offensive to our sensitive modern ears, but let us not think that somehow it wouldn't be equally offensive to the early Christians who lived in a culture where slavery was still being practiced.  What MacArthur is not saying is that slavery is biblical or should be legal, but what he is saying is that the the imagery of the slave adequately illustrates what it means to be a Christian.  When we embrace Christ as our Lord - and thus embrace the gospel - we enter the world of slavery with Christ as our Master.

MacArthur takes the time to offer the reader brief historical, cultural, and biblical survey of the issue.  He looks at Old Testament slavery and Greco-Roman slavery.  He survey's some of the cultural issues surrounding slavery and then adoption, economics, etc.  Though MacArthur does not go into great detail, he offers enough for the reader to understand why Scripture utilizes the slavery image to describe the gospel.

But MacArthur goes beyond that.  We are not just slaves of Christ, but we are at the same time adopted sons and daughters of God (see Romans 8 among other places), heirs with Christ, and we are considered friends of Christ (see John 15).  In other words, to be a slave of Christ, is to be a free son of God beloved by our Father and Lord.  How does this makes sense?  As MacArthur shows, only the gospel can explain it.

MacArthur rightly points out that Scripture reveals that all of us are slaves. We are either slaves of Christ or slaves of sin.  Admittedly MacArthur could have nuanced this a little more, but he does raise the issue.  I have found this truth particularly helpful in my own ministry.  Many who are repulsed by the idea of embracing Christ and becoming His slave fail to see that Jesus is calling us out of slavery to sin.  The question isn't if we slaves, but who or what are we enslaved to?

Let me ask you, what one thing that if you were to have, possess, or achieve would bring you joy, peace, contentment, and love?  Do you ever think that if you had that job or career you'd be at peace and in contentment?  Do you think that if you were married you would be happy and loved?  In your everyday life are you pursuing things that you believe that will bring you joy, peace, contentment, and love and yet when you possess them they seem to fail?  You might get married, but eventually you start fighting and suddenly you want out.  You might get that job, but your boss hates you.  You may be able to live that lifestyle, but now your over your head.  You might be considered beautiful by all of your peers, but guys treat you like meat.  It seems that we foolishly pursue things thinking that they will give us what we want and when we don't, we pursue them even more.

That is slavery.  And I have seen countless people pursue their slavery thinking that it will bring them freedom, but in the end, it always result in more bondage.

MacArthur doesn't explore this point in the sort of detail that I believe it warrants, He does raise it and it is something that everyone, believers and nonbelievers, should take more seriously.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  This is an issue that Christians need to take more seriously.  MacArthur certainly is right when he states, "To be a Christian is to be a slave of Christ ."  -212

I am a joyful slave of a benevolent Master named Christ.  Are you?

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

Sermons From MacArthur:
"The True Shepherd (Zechariah 11)": A Sermon Preached by John MacArthur
"How Long, O Lord?" (Isaiah 5-6): A Sermon Preached by John MacArthur
The First Sacrifice (Genesis 3:20-24): A Sermon Preachd by John MacArthur 
"Hope Through the Curse" (Genesis 3:14-15): A Sermon Preached By John MacArthur
"Declaring and Defending the Deity of Christ": A Sermon Preached by John MacArthur
"Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality": A Sermon Preached by John MacArthur
"Simultaneously Righteous and a Sinner" by John MacArthur
The Consequences of Non-expositional Preaching," by John MacArthur
"Slaves of Christ" by John MacArthur
Theology Thursday | MacArthur: A Tale of Two Sons
"The Greatness of Being a Slave" by John MacArthur
Honoring God through Edifying Preaching by John MacArthur
"The Theology of Christmas" (Philippians 2:5-11) by John MacArthur
MacArthur & The Attacks on the Bible
"It Pleased God": MacArthur on the Darkness and Drama at the Cross
"Your Best Life: Now or Later?" by John MacArthur
An Introduction & Explanation of the Sovereign Gospel by John MacArthur
On MacArthur:
Reformed in Grace But Arminian Everywhere Else: MacArthur on the Future of the YRR Movement
"John MacArthur" by Ian Murray: A Review
He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty 
John MacArthur on Why Every Calvinist Should be a Premillennialist
If God is Sovereign, Why Pray: A Few Voices Fromt the Past & Present - Part 1
If God is Sovereign, Why Pray: A Few Voices From the Past & Present - Part 2
A Retrospective on 40 Years: John MacArthur and Rick Holland
Questions and Answers with John MacArthur
Christ Is The Head of the Church: MacArthur, Huss, & History's Sea of Blood
Repost | MacArthur's Favorite Theologians
Theology Thursday | MacArthur and the Gospel
Theology Thursday | Theology and Ministry: An Interview With John MacArthur
MacArthur: How to Confront the Culture
Books From MacArthur:
"The Truth About the Lordship of Christ": A Review
"The Truth About Forgiveness" by John MacArthur
"The Truth About Grace" by John MacArthur
"Twelve Unlikely Heroes" by John MacArthur: A Review
"The God Who Loves" by John MacArthur: A Review
Repost | Proclaiming a Christ-Centered Theology
Weekly Recommendation - "The Gospel According to Jesus" by John MacArthur
Weekly Recommendation - "Slave" by John MacArthur
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