While I am familiar with John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore is my first full-length read of his. I found him to be accessible, clear, and pastoral. In this book, MacArthur attempts to balance the contemporary views of Jesus as merely a good teacher and example, as one who is always meek and mild, as one who shies away from controversy, and as one who refuses to take doctrinal stances. Instead, Jesus was much more controversial than we often think, being a vigorous defender of truth. MacArthur’s work is bathed in Scripture and features clear, concise exegesis of many biblical passages. Each chapter is based on one event or personal encounter in the gospels, many of which are Jesus’ fiery confrontations with the Pharisees. The chapter on Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus in John 3 is especially poignant. MacArthur successfully builds his case that Jesus was a strong teacher and spoke harsh, sarcastic, and biting words when necessary in order to preserve the truth and integrity of his gospel message.
MacArthur’s writing is clear and biblical, and is widely accessible to many types of audiences. However, he explicitly addresses much of his biblical interpretation and personal criticism to a narrow group – those emergents and postmoderns who have hijacked or misinterpreted the Jesus of the gospels or who have selectively emphasized the “nice” side of Jesus. While these are not bad to criticize, and MacArthur does a good job of showing the fuller picture of Jesus’ hard teachings, his frequent jabs and applications to postmoderns grows tiring. More general application would have been beneficial.
All in all, this is a decent book that shows the biblical Jesus in a more accurate light than many postmodern contemporary writers who have hijacked Jesus and made Him in their own image. While MacArthur might swing the pendulum a little to far in the opposite direction, he provides a lot of food for thought.
Note: 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.
Another note: I am not off my blogging furlough, but wanted to get this review out of the way to make room for more free books.