Originally posted to Amazon.com Nov 1, 2005
Very Important work in the Cheap-Grace vs Lordship Debate
John F. MacArthur is one of the chief proponents of the the modern Lordship movement within western evangelicalism today. This book in particular is considered by many to have been the opening salvo that opened the modern debate. It has led to a great deal of discussion and debate on the issue, particularly with Chuck Swindoll, who is one of the proponents on the “only Grace” side.
In a nutshell, the argument is that “Cheap-Grace” has pervaded modern Christianity with an “easy-believism” that in effect teaches that one can pray a prayer, appropriate Grace positionally and then effectively continue to live their life as before and still be a saved Christian.
MacArthur takes issue with this and argues in effect that genuine faith must have tangible results or else the experience is suspect. The Church is remiss in holding out false hope to those who have not genuinely repented.
While many may be tempted to look at this book and the debate that has ensued as a new development it is hardly that. Antinomianism (grace apart from the requirement of the law) has been around from the earliest Christian days and there have always been pendulum swings that go back and forth.
The bottom line is that there is an element of mystery to Christology (study of the person and work of Christ) and Soteriology (study of salvation) that relies completely upon Christ (grace alone) and if it is genuine must effect some change of heart and action (Faith leads to works.)
You’ll be well equipped then to understand the debate, process the arguments and teaching and digest them for a practical response in your own life and faith. It certainly is an important question for Christians and churches to wrestle with and on that hopefully will result in sober thinking and living of one’s life and faith in Christ.
4 stars given not because the work isn’t good and important, but simply because this reviewer believes that dogmatic teaching of this sort requires some ability to step back from the material and acknowledge some mystery to the debate. Beware the proponents on either side who become so caught up in the argument and winning that they are not able to concede a need to see the other side and maintain some humility.