One of the joys of the internet is that anybody can write a book review. One of the dangers of the internet is that anybody can write a book review. No matter how unqualified the reviewer may be in comparison to the writer---and today is no exception to that issue. After all, John MacArthur has spent more time preaching through the New Testament than I’ve been alive.
Nevertheless, the book was put out there for review, so I’m going to take a look at MacArthur’s The Truth About Grace.
First note: this book is part of a series of short books published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Currently, there are three titles in the series. These are The Truth About: Grace; Forgiveness; and The Lordship of Christ. Each one is taken from previously published material of other books. That actually makes sense: the diversity of MacArthur’s prior books gives snippets about these subjects. Now, those are compressed into small volumes.
That is a critical note: these are small volumes. The whole series is, even though I’m just reviewing one. If you pay the cover price of $12.99, you might feel cheated. However, checking an online price or two shows the price somewhere less than half of that for either print or e-book, which makes much more sense.
To the content of The Truth About Grace: the claimed intention of this book is to make accessible Biblical teaching about the matter named in the title. This leaves the reader expecting a clearly-worded, easy-to-grasp explanation of the subject matter. In the case of “Grace,” MacArthur has hit that goal.
He does so by explaining his terms well, and then explaining the terms he used for definition if necessary. The reader is not left with “oh, grace means unmerited favor” but instead is given what “unmerited favor” means in view of Scripture. MacArthur does so without being condescending.
One area that will stir up a few will be MacArthur’s explanations of sovereign grace. If you swim in American Evangelical Christian seas for your theology, you are not going to be surprised that MacArthur connects his understanding of grace with the term Calvinism as well as connecting it with the Bible. He shows no fear of presenting that view of grace as not too be preferred but to be held as the only correct one. That may stir a few folks, but that is his view and he presents it well in the material selected here.
The greatest potential for this book, though, is blunted slightly by the lack of discussion questions or any form of study guide. This would make an excellent 5-7 week discussion starter for a small group or one-on-one Bible study, and I know that value added by the teacher developing their own questions would be good. However, a few starting points would make a nice addition to this text.
In all, I would recommend this for use in discussion groups or for individual learning. It will fit that bill nicely.
Note: free book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for the review. No demand was made that the review be positive. Of course, I picked a book I thought I would like.