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The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ

The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ

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by John MacArthur

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Do you have any idea who Jesus really is?

“What you think of Jesus Christ will thoroughly color how you think about everything else,” writes John MacArthur.

This is a critical truth in the life of every believer. Our view of Jesus affects the way we view God, the world, ourselves, and every one of our decisions.

These days,


Do you have any idea who Jesus really is?

“What you think of Jesus Christ will thoroughly color how you think about everything else,” writes John MacArthur.

This is a critical truth in the life of every believer. Our view of Jesus affects the way we view God, the world, ourselves, and every one of our decisions.

These days, Jesus is often portrayed as a pacifist, a philanthropist, or a docile teacher. He strikes a plastic—and sometimes pathetic—pose in the minds of many. Some prefer the meek and mild Jesus who heals the sick, calms fears, and speaks of peace and goodwill. These things do represent a portion of the Messiah. But tragically, too many have never been exposed to the rest of him. They have never seen a full 360-degree view of the Savior. Until now.

Like an investigative journalist on a mission, best-selling author and teacher John MacArthur walks through the gospel records and shows you a remarkable and compelling picture of the Jesus you can’t ignore.

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Publishers Weekly

In 1897, author Charles Monroe Sheldon penned a volume titled "In His Steps" that went on to become an international bestseller. It is from this book that the popular WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) movement emerged. MacArthur, bestselling author, pastor of Grace Community Church and president of the Master's College and Seminary, begins with this notion and expands it to ask the question, "What didJesus do?" He acknowledges that knowing the mind of Christ can be a challenge, especially when confronting the widespread influence of secularism and irreligion. But he also notes that Jesus encountered the same kinds of challenges. By studying the gospels, a modern pilgrim can get a sense of how Jesus handled similar situations, and extrapolate from his example ways in which we, today, can live. "His [Jesus'] style of ministry ought to be the model for ours," the author writes. MacArthur insists that we can engage contemporary culture using the same techniques that Christ used to meet head-on the challenges of his day. (July)

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The Jesus You Can't Ignore

By John MacArthur

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 John MacArthur
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-7803-9

Chapter One

When It's Wrong to Be "Nice"

* * *

Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, "Beware of the scribes ..." Luke 20:45–46

Jesus' way of dealing with sinners was normally marked by such extreme tenderness that He earned a derisive moniker from His critics: Friend of Sinners (Matthew 11:19). When He encountered even the grossest of moral lepers (ranging from a woman living in adultery in John 4:7–29 to a man infested with a whole legion of demons in Luke 8:27–39), Jesus always ministered to them with remarkable benevolence—without delivering any scolding lectures or sharp rebukes. Invariably, when such people came to Him, they were already broken, humbled, and fed up with the life of sin. He eagerly granted such people forgiveness, healing, and full fellowship with Him on the basis of their faith alone (cf. Luke 7:50; 17:19).

The one class of sinners Jesus consistently dealt with sternly were the professional hypocrites, religious phonies, false teachers, and self-righteous peddlers of plastic piety—the scribes, lawyers, Sadducees, and Pharisees. These were the religious leaders in Israel—spiritual "rulers" (to use a term Scripture often applies to them). They were the despotic gatekeepers of religious tradition. They cared more for custom and convention than they did for the truth. Almost every time they appear in the gospel accounts, they are concerned mainly with keeping up appearances and holding on to their power. Any thought they might have had for authentic godliness always took a backseat to more academic, pragmatic, or self-serving matters. They were the quintessential religious hypocrites.


The ruling power these men possessed was derived from a large council based in Jerusalem, consisting of seventy-one prominent religious authorities, collectively known as the Sanhedrin. Council members included the high priest and seventy leading priests and religious scholars. (The number was derived from Moses' appointment of seventy advisors to assist him in Numbers 11:16.)

The Sanhedrin had ultimate authority over Israel in all religious and spiritual matters (and thus even in some civil affairs). The council's authority was formally recognized even by Caesar (though it was not always respected by Caesar's official representatives or his troops on the ground in Jerusalem). The council was a fixture in first-century Jerusalem, and it constituted the most important ruling body in all of Judaism until the destruction of the temple in AD 70. (The Sanhedrin continued to operate in exile after that for more than 250 years—though for obvious reasons, their power was greatly diminished. Persistent Roman persecution finally silenced and disbanded the council sometime in the fourth century.)

The gospel accounts of Christ's crucifixion refer about a dozen times to the Sanhedrin as "the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders" (e.g., Matthew 26:3; Luke 20:1). The high priest presided over the full council, of course. The chief priests were the ranking aristocracy of the high-priestly line. (Some of them were men who had already served as high priest at one time or another; others were in line to serve a term in that office.) Virtually all the chief priests were also Sadducees. The elders were key leaders and influential members of important families outside the high-priestly line—and they were predominantly Sadducees too. The scribes were the scholars, not necessarily of noble birth like the chief priests and elders, but men who were distinguished mainly because of their expertise in scholarship and their encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish law and tradition. Their group was dominated by Pharisees.

So the council consisted of a blend of Pharisees and Sadducees, and those were rival parties. Although Sadducees were vastly outnumbered by Pharisees in the culture at large, the Sadducees nevertheless maintained a sizable majority in the Sanhedrin, and they held on to the reins of power tightly. The status of their priestly birthright in effect trumped the Pharisees' scholarly clout, because the Pharisees were such devoted traditionalists that they bowed to the authority of the high-priestly line—even though they strongly disagreed with practically everything that made the Sadducees' belief system distinctive.

For example, the Sadducees questioned the immortality of the human soul—denying both the resurrection of the body (Matthew 22:23), and the existence of the spirit world (Acts 23:8). The Sadducean party also rejected the Pharisees' emphasis on oral traditions—going about as far as they could in the opposite direction. In fact, the Sadducees stressed the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) almost to the exclusion of the rest of the Old Testament. As a result, the powerful messianic expectation that pervaded the teaching of the Pharisees was almost completely missing from the Sadducees' worldview.

The two groups also held conflicting opinions regarding how ceremonial customs should be observed. Both Sadducees and Pharisees tended to give more attention to ceremonial law than they did to the law's moral ramifications. But the Pharisees generally made ceremonies as elaborate as possible, and Sadducees tended toward the opposite direction. In general, the Sadducees were not as rigid as the Pharisees in most things—except when it came to the issue of enforcing law and order. As long as the Sadducees enjoyed a modicum of power that was recognized by Rome, they were fiercely conservative (and often harsh) when it came to the implementation of civil law and the imposition of punishments and penalties.

But in most respects, the Sadducees were classic theological liberals. Their skepticism with regard to heaven, angels, and the afterlife automatically made them worldly minded and power hungry. They were much more interested in (and skilled at) the politics of Judaism than they were devoted to the religion itself.


Nevertheless, it was the Pharisees, not the more doctrinally aberrant Sadducees, who became the main figures of public opposition to Jesus in all four New Testament gospel accounts. Their teaching dominated and epitomized the religious establishment in first-century Israel. They were the spiritual descendants of a group known as the Hasideans in the second and third centuries BC. The Hasideans were ascetics, devoted to Jewish law and opposed every kind of idolatry. In the mid-second century BC, the Hasideans had been drawn into the famous revolt led by Judas Maccabeus against Antiochus Epiphanes, and subsequently their teachings had a profound and lasting impact on popular Jewish religious culture. Hasid is from a Hebrew word meaning "piety." (The modern Hasidic sect, founded in the eighteenth century, is not in any direct line of descent from the Hasideans, but their beliefs and practices follow the same trajectory.)

The word Pharisee is most likely based on a Hebrew root meaning "separate"—so the name probably underscores their separatism. Indeed, Pharisees had an ostentatious way of trying to keep themselves separate from everything that had any connotation of ceremonial defilement. Their obsession with the external badges of piety was their most prominent feature, and they wore it on their sleeves—literally. They used the broadest possible leather straps to bind phylacteries on their arms and foreheads. (Phylacteries were leather boxes containing bits of parchment inscribed with verses from the Hebrew Scriptures.) They also lengthened the tassels on their garments (see Deuteronomy 22:12) in order to make their public display of religious devotion as conspicuous as possible. Thus they had taken a symbol that was meant to be a reminder to themselves (Numbers 15:38–39) and turned it into an advertisement of their self-righteousness, in order to gain the attention of others.

The historian Josephus was the earliest secular writer to describe the sect of the Pharisees. Born within four or five years of Jesus' crucifixion, Josephus records that he was the son of a prominent Jerusalem priest (a Sadducee) named Matthias. Beginning about age sixteen, Josephus studied with each of the three main sects of Judaism—the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. Not fully satisfied with any of them, he lived in the desert for three years and followed an ascetic teacher (whose rough, spartan lifestyle was in some ways reminiscent of John the Baptist, and undoubtedly very much like the desert-based Essenes who originally hid the Dead Sea Scrolls). But then after his desert sojourn, Josephus returned to Jerusalem and pursued the life of a Pharisee. His life was severely disrupted, of course, by the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Josephus subsequently became a Roman loyalist and wrote his history at the behest of the Empire. Most scholars therefore believe he deliberately slanted portions of his history in ways he knew would please the Romans. But he nevertheless wrote as someone with inside knowledge of the Pharisees, and there is no reason to doubt any of the details he gave in his descriptions of them.

Josephus notes that the Pharisees were the largest and strictest of the major Jewish sects. In fact, he says the Pharisees' influence was so profound in early first-century Jewish life that even the Pharisees' theological adversaries, the Sadducees, had to conform to the Pharisees' style of prayer, Sabbath observance, and ceremonialism in their public behavior, or else popular opinion would not have tolerated them.

So the Pharisees' clout was palpable in Israel's daily life during Jesus' lifetime—especially with regard to issues of public piety like Sabbath regulations, ritual washings, dietary restrictions, and other issues of ceremonial purity. These things became the emblems of the Pharisees' influence, and they made it their business to try to enforce their customs on everyone in the culture—even though many of their traditions had no basis whatsoever in Scripture. Most of their conflicts with Jesus centered on precisely those issues, and from the very start of His public ministry, the Pharisees set themselves against Him with the fiercest kind of opposition.

There were some exceptional Pharisees, of course. Nicodemus was a prominent "ruler of the Jews" (John 3:1). He was evidently a member of the Sanhedrin, the governing religious council in Jerusalem (cf. John 7:50). "This man came to Jesus by night" (John 3:3), evidently for fear of what his fellow Pharisees would think if they knew about his sincere interest in Jesus. In stark contrast to most of the Pharisees who approached Jesus, Nicodemus was making a genuine inquiry, not merely putting Jesus to the test. Therefore Christ spoke to him candidly and straightforwardly but without the kind of severity that colored most of Jesus' dealings with Pharisees. (We'll examine Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus more closely in chapter 3.)

All four gospels also mention a wealthy and influential council member named Joseph of Arimathea, who became a disciple of Christ ("but secretly, for fear of the Jews" says John 19:38). Mark 15:43 and Luke 23:50 both expressly identify Joseph as a member of the Sanhedrin, and Luke says Joseph "had not consented to their decision and deed" when they conspired to murder Jesus. It was of course Joseph who secured Pilate's permission to remove Jesus' body from the cross, and he and Nicodemus hastily prepared the corpse for burial and deposited it in a sealed tomb (John 19:39). There is no record in the New Testament of any direct encounter between Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea during Christ's earthly ministry. Apparently Joseph kept his distance, not even approaching Jesus at night the way Nicodemus had done. This was not because he had any fear of Jesus, but he feared what the other Jewish leaders might say, do, or think of him if they knew he was secretly a disciple of Jesus.

As a rule, then, Jesus' interactions with the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and leading priests were marked by acrimony, not tenderness. He rebuked them publicly and to their faces. He repeatedly said harsh things about them in His sermons and public discourses. He warned His followers to beware of their deadly influence. He consistently employed stronger language in His denunciations of the Pharisees than He ever used against the pagan Roman authorities or their occupying armies.

That fact absolutely infuriated the Pharisees. They gladly would have embraced any messiah who opposed the Roman occupation of Israel and affirmed their pharisaical traditions. Jesus, however, spoke not a word against Caesar while treating the entire religious aristocracy of Israel as if they were more dangerous tyrants than Caesar himself.

Indeed, they were. Their false teaching was far more destructive to Israel's well-being than the political oppression of Rome. In spiritual terms, the self-righteousness and religious traditionalism of the Pharisees represented a more clear and present danger to the vital health of the nation than the tightening political vise that had already been clamped on Israel by Caesar and his occupying armies. That is saying quite a lot, given the fact that in less than half a century Roman armies would completely lay waste to Jerusalem and drive Israel's population into a far-f lung exile (the Diaspora) from which the Jewish people have not fully emerged even today.

But as profound and far-reaching as the holocaust of AD 70 was for the Jewish nation, a far greater calamity was looming in the institutionalized self-righteousness of the Pharisees' brand of religion—especially their preference for human traditions over the Word of God. That led to a spiritual disaster of eternal and infinite proportions, because most Israelites in that generation rejected their true Messiah—and multitudes of their descendants have continued the relentless pursuit of religious tradition for almost two full millennia, many refusing to give any serious consideration to the claims of Christ as God's Messiah.

The Pharisees' legalistic system was in effect a steamroller paving the way for that tragedy. The apostle Paul (a converted Pharisee himself ) was describing pharisaical religion to a T in Romans 10:2–3, when he lamented the unbelief of Israel: "I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God."

The Pharisees did indeed have a kind of zeal for God. On the surface, they certainly did not appear to pose as great a threat as the Roman armies did. In fact, the Pharisees were genuine experts when it came to knowing the words of Scripture. They were also fastidious in their observance of the law's tiniest external details. If they purchased seeds for their herb gardens, for example, they would meticulously count the grains in each packet and measure out a tithe (Matthew 23:23).

To the eye of a superficial observer, the religious culture the Pharisees had cultivated in first-century Israel might have appeared to represent a kind of golden age for Jewish law. It was certainly not the same variety of overtly false religion we read about so frequently in the Old Testament—those repeated epochs of backsliding and idolatry with golden calves, Asherah worship, and worse.

No one could accuse a Pharisee of any overtolerance for pagan beliefs, right? They were, after all, strongly opposed to every expression of idolatry and totally committed even to the incidental minutiae of Jewish law. Plus, for safety's sake they had added many surplus rituals of their own making, as extra shields against accidental defilement. If biblical law demanded ceremonial washings for priests offering sacrifices, why not add extra washings for everyone, and make them an essential part of common daily routines? That is precisely what they did.


Excerpted from The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur Copyright © 2008 by John MacArthur. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of the Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. In more than four decades of ministry, John has written dozens of bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, and Slave. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
HarmoniousGlow More than 1 year ago
Warning: "The Jesus You Can't Ignore" is not an easy book to read. If you're one of those Christians who preaches a spreading of the Gospel through "love," friendship and tolerance, you won't like what John MacArthur has to say. In fact, you may quickly develop a hardened heart and attitude similar to that of the Pharisees that Jesus and MacArthur preach against. Regardless, I still recommend you read this book. You may not like it, but it may be something you need to hear. MacArthur's writes to confront that part of the church that has become too tolerant in fear of conflict. While his book starts out slow, covering obvious points, it quickly becomes more intriguing. I'm sure I'm not the only one with questions about the proper way to witness to non-Christians and the proper way to stand up for what the Bible clearly says is wrong, such as homosexuality. MacArthur draws on examples from the Gospel when Jesus confronted the Pharisees and their false teachings. Discernment is the Christian's duty, MacArthur writes, and thus we have a duty to discern when it's the right moment for righteous judgment. Jesus did not preach to please. To the contrary, he spoke the truth, even though he knew it would push many of his followers away and incite conflict with the false teachers of the day. Jesus was about truth. It's certainly a controversial subject, but it's worth a read if you're willing to accept it rather than reject it as "judgmental." Unfortunately, MacArthur does not spend much space relating Jesus' confrontations to modern times, and that will allow skeptical readers to toss aside what MacArthur has to say. Personally, I was left wanting more. How can I apply this to how I treat my non-Christian friends? How can I apply it to how I stand up for the truths found in the Bible? I guess I'm going to have to do my own truth searching now. Hopefully, you will too.
The_Observer More than 1 year ago
Jesus is often portrayed as a meek and nice guy, while His confrontations with the religious people are played down. However, there were times when Jesus was not someone who only played nice. In his book, MacArthur discusses the times when Jesus openly opposed the teachers of the Law and Pharisees regarding the hypocrisy of their faith. The book is based roughly on the sermon of Jesus recorded in Matthew 23 and critique of the Evangelical Manifesto. There is certain truth in the book - we should be aware of what and Who we believe in and be able to defend our beliefs if there is a need for it. That said, however, I disagree with the premise of the book that we should always be in attack mode. Besides, in Matthew 23 Jesus was not talking to representatives of other religions, He was talking to the true wolves in sheep's clothing - hypocrites, people who pretend to believe one thing and yet do something completely different. In Pharisees case, they pretended to be godly, but in reality they were extremely selfish. I do believe that the main reason He clashed with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law was because they confused FAITH and RELIGION. Now that is an argument that I agree with. I would recommend that book to others if they want to learn about the true Jesus. I would probably mention, however, that it is important to remember that while Jesus did oppose false teachings, He did so with wisdom and when necessary. MacArthur does mention that, but it gets sort of lost in the initial thoughts of militarism.
MichelleAlbertson More than 1 year ago
By the title of this book, I was pretty excited to see what was in the pages. However, once I started reading, I was a little bit disappointed at how difficult it was to understand. I could hardly get through the introduction because a lot of the words I didn't understand and had to look up in a dictionary. The idea behind the book is great and the information is wonderful, but I had a hard time getting through the book easily. The content was good though -- a book about how Jesus isn't just the nice, passive teacher we always think of. He was often confronting people and we need to see the entire Jesus, not just the peaceful and good-natured Jesus we expect.
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LauraN More than 1 year ago
This book looks at the ministry of Jesus, especially his interactions with the Pharisees and Scribes, mainly pointing out His insistence on teaching the truth even when it was in contradiction to what the religious leaders were teaching. In fact, especially when it was in contradiction to what they were teaching. It is hard to hold onto the idea of the meek and mild Jesus if you read the gospels very much at all. This book took that even deeper. I will not read the Sermon on the Mount the same way again. MacArthur presents the encounters of Jesus with the multitudes and specifically with the members of the Sanhedrin and shows how Jesus never watered down his message or tried to make it more palatable. He told them what they needed to hear and often in a confrontational manner because it was the way they needed to hear it. Throughout the book, and especially in the Epilogue, MacArthur addresses concerns that we aren't perfect like Jesus and that he is not telling us we should be belligerent about everything. He is stressing that the truth of the gospel cannot be corrupted or twisted just to make people comfortable. He references the writings of Paul and the Revelations of John as further evidence that false teaching is not to be tolerated. The structure of the book, each chapter focusing on one or two encounters and how it was initiated by Jesus, keeps drawing the reader in, building up to the inevitable ending. The writing was easy to read but never condescending. Terms and traditions that need to be understood are explained well. Attitudes and responses are reflected in the words he uses. The Bible is the source for everything he presents. I recommend this book for personal study and even for group study to discuss how we are to stand firm in our faith and address the internal threats of false teaching.
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JoshKing More than 1 year ago
In short MacArthur spends nearly 200 pages explaining why Jesus was not such a meek and mild personality, why in reality he was confrontational with some rough edges. I looked up several other reviews to see if my reaction to the book was off set. It was not. I found the book to be long and somewhat boring. Not that 200 pages are too long but the way it was written is a little dry. For the pastor or serious students this may be an interesting tool for preaching and biblical study but I would not recommend it for a lazy read. MacArthur's name and the title alone should stir some curiosity but the concept is not new or even unheard of. For my money Vintage Jesus by Driscoll is a better read. Enjoy. Complimentary copy provided by Thomas Nelson for review.
MSaff More than 1 year ago
Right from the beginning, MacCarthur shows through explanation, the lessons which must be learned from the 'Bold Confrontation of Christ.' This is noted prominently on the cover, as well as the title page. "The Jesus You Can't Ignore," by John MacCarthur, is a premier explanation of God's love for us. MacCarthur's depiction and clear cut explanation of Jesus' time on earth should convince even the hardest heart that He came to earth as the Savior of all mankind. I would venture to say that even the hardest heart would be transfixed and softened by the descriptions and the Scripture used throughout this Study Guide. If the Preface and Introduction don't convince the reader of the power of God, all they need to do is begin reading Chapter One, 'When It's Wrong to Be Nice.' This chapter begins with Scripture from Luke 20:45-46 - Then in the audience of all the people He said unto His disciples, "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the market, and the highest seats in the synagogues. And the chief rooms at feasts. (KJV). In this portion of the Scripture, Jesus is speaking of the Sanhedrin and the Sadducees, not to mention the Pharisees themselves. Jesus came to earth to teach and of course take away our sin. The question which arises here is whether we as sinners are going to accept Jesus as our Savior. In "The Jesus You Can't Ignore," the reader is confronted with the Truth. Jesus was not always kind or gentle in His teachings. Sometimes He needs to be blunt, as evidenced with His conversations, battles and confrontations with the Pharisees. MacCarthur explains how the religious leaders tended to add rites and rituals beyond what God intended, and when Jesus confronted them with it, the Pharisees rebelled. Such a waste on their part. I could go on for quite a long time, but, I strongly urge everyone to purchase and read/study the manuscript of John MacCarthur's "The Jesus You Can't Ignore."
jrforasteros More than 1 year ago
If you're a Christian and you're looking for a club with which to beat up another Christian, you're going to want to stick with the tried-and-true "Jesus-was-always-mean-to-the-Pharisees" model (patent pending). The argument goes something like this: Jesus reserved his harshest words for the religious leaders of his day. So if I can cast my enemies (er. rather. GOD's enemies. That's what I meant to say) as modern-day Pharisees, then I can use all the same rhetoric against them. I get a license to slay them with the Sword of Truth coming from my mouth. Every Christian - including me, I'm not proud to admit - uses this argument when it's time to draw lines in the sand. MacArthur is no different. If you're even moderately familiar with him, you know he thinks the Emergent Church (whatever that is) is the biggest threat to the survival of Christianity since the Russians (back in the good ole days, when they were Communists). This whole book is dedicated to providing theological proof-texts for MacArthur's rants against Emergent leaders like Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborn and Brian McLaren (all of whom he cites). In order to make his case, MacArthur begins by presenting one of the worst caricatures of Pharisees and Sadducees I've seen in a published text. His "research"* doesn't seem to have included any books on first-century Palestinian Judaism written since the turn of the twentieth century. For instance, he calls the Sadducees "classic theological liberals" - a gross anachronism, give that the Sadducees' interpretive methods were so conservative they were borderline reactionary. He then performs a similar parody of Emergents such that the two pictures are clear images of each other. The problem is that neither picture especially mirrors any sort of real persons either in the first century or the here-and-now. I don't think MacArthur's being intentionally malicious, however. As I moved through the book the book, MacArthur's method of interpretation became increasingly clear. He wrote this book not as a careful study of biblical texts to explore what a Scripturally-faithful response to people who made him uncomfortable might be. MacArthur's mind was already made up, and this colored his reading of Biblical texts, the nature of Pharisee- and Sadducee-ism and what it means to be Emergent. The three groups became whatever villains he needed them to be and the Scriptures said whatever he needed them to say such that God agreed with him about the evil of the villains. Blatant self-contradiction is clear throughout MacArthur's methodology. He reads texts however they'll most adequately prop up beliefs he already holds. Walter Brueggemann called this sort of theological engagement "dangerous certitude", and reading The Jesus You Can't Ignore is a great illustration of the truth of that phrase. Bottom Line: This book's not worth the few gems you can get out of it. Spend your time reading someone else.
gadfly1974 More than 1 year ago
John MacArthur has a bone to pick.with seeker-sensitive congregations, with Emergent Christians, with believers who emphasize orthopraxy at the expense of orthodoxy. However, I sense that the author has missed one important point: Jesus' strongest attacks were against the religious leaders of his day. The author himself may be railing against the specks in others' eyes while ignoring the plank in the orthodox church's eye. Despite these misgivings, MacArthur's expositions on Jesus' hard teachings are compelling and convincing. If you would like a well-researched, compelling argument against the frequent application of "cultural sensitivity" in Christian circles today, then I highly recommend this book. [Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.]
Marcin_Hartman More than 1 year ago
I am not sure if I am at all hyped by books which seem to have been written to prove others wrong. While there is a world of excellent historical and theological background provided by John McArthur, it is the actual vantage point - to show the post-modern proponents of the "softer" Jesus, His more confrontational face in the gospels - that makes me a tad uneasy. After all, Jesus is everything we read about Him. and more - at least to my, transforming but still human, mind. Once we get on board with this premise though, the book is indeed very well written and proves McArthur's point just right. It is a dissection of several gospel accounts that picture Jesus' conversations with the Pharisees. The author focuses on the how and the why of these confrontations, showing Jesus as uncompromising, direct and judgmental in His appraisal of the Pharisee's belief system and practices. While this is definitely understandable in the broader context of Jesus' ministry, I found another dimension lacking - namely, the accounts of Jesus' conversations with non-hierarchical Jews and non-Jews to show still another side of "the One we cannot ignore". Perhaps the author will do so in a book to come, which I would read with great interest to get a more balanced view of the Son of God as depicted in the gospels. I'm thankful to Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.
Steelsmitty More than 1 year ago
One of America's greatest modern preachers and possibly one of the greatest yet has served up another volume worth reading. Even though this book is a distillation of many of his sermons on the topic of Christ and His bold ministry confrontations it is an important work for me as I try to grow in Christ and grow in my understanding of Christ. The reader is brought face to face with a Jesus who does not receive too much press in our modern age. As you will learn in this book Jesus spent his whole public ministry confronting in very bold and even extreme ways the prevailing false views and practices of the spiritually elite in a way and style that we as moderns need not ignore and better off to embrace. I was personally challenged to rethink how and why I should be more bold and wise and yet at the same time mild and loving in my witness to the lost as well as to the church. This is one more book that will be added to my Christology section of the bookshelf and will be referenced again and again. Thank you Thomas Nelson publishers for making this volume available through your free book blogging service.
Tomster More than 1 year ago
MacArthur causes the reader to consider the true substance of the conversations Jesus Christ had with the religous leaders of the day, specifically the Pharisee, Sadducees, et al. MacArthur's premise is that what we believe about Jesus will color how you think about everything else. Too often today Jesus is identified as a pacifist, a philanthropist, or a docile teacher. MacArthur uses 218 pages (inclusive of Notes) to show Jesus' true nature revealed as one who declares truth without apology, with clarity and the offense of many who heard him. The subtitle reflects MacArthur's intent: "What you learn from the bold confrontations of Christ". The reader enjoyed reading the book. MacArthur is a favorite author of the reader and he uses his repertoire of high view of scripture and practical application that any reader can understand. MacArthur wrote eight easy-to-read-and-understand chapters to clarify that Jesus is not the meek and mild prophet, but rather a loving and yet bold confronter of all those who mislead people away from a right-standing relationship with God. The book was interesting to read. MacArthur used historical context to explain the passages that caused the reader to understand the setting of certain passages of the Bible. The reviewer does recommend the book to anyone seeking to learn. Note: Thomas Nelson provided the reader a complimentary copy of the book through the website of
StrategicLearner More than 1 year ago
John MacArthur joins others who have recently painted Jesus in a far different mode than most of us learned in Sunday School. Rather than the gentle and loving Jesus who demonstrated the power of non-violence, this Jesus is a rabble-rouser and a fighter. MacArthur focuses on those episodes of Jesus's ministry which show the passion and emotions of Jesus, the Man. This book fascinates me because the message is so different from the picture I have always had of a quiet, dignified, and almost passive Jesus. MacArthur examines Jesus and his work in the context of the times in which he lived and rightly points out that Jesus was essentially an outlaw, defying the nominal powers with a new and potentially world-changing message. I like this image of Jesus. The images of Jesus healing have the familiar feel of miracles, but with the edge of being done in spite of what the religious leaders of the time demand. This is a Jesus on the edge . . . and a Jesus worth following. Disclosure of Material Connection: 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."
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PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
As a blogger for I read John MacArthur's timely and bold book, The Jesus You Can't Ignore. In light of the new relativistic movements sweeping across many mainline, self-professing, contemporary "Christian" churches, MacArthur challanges the erroneous yet commonly held misconception that Jesus is all about permissivness and tolerance. Grounded with biblical support, MacArthurs points out and dispells the incorrect views held by so many modern churches, speakers and preachers. Futhermore, he likens these incorrect, anti-biblical beliefs to the false teachings of the hypocritical religious establishment as well as the false teachers that Jesus himself warned against. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did in fact condemn religious hypocracy as well as false teachers. Jesus did not tolerate false beliefs, neither did he engage in open, ongoing dialog as many modern churches wish to do with other religious faiths. Jesus firmly rejected false teachers comparing them to wolves in sheeps clothing. In this book, each chapter is devoted to a specific instance in the bible in which Jesus bodly confronted and condemned incorrect, ungodly and innacurate teachings. Hypocracy as well as traditions of men were condemned. Jesus was not concerned with sounding offensive nor with winning a popularity contest. Many sincere people who have not read the bible may be totally unaware of the Jesus that is actually depicted by the bible and how it contrasts to their own ideas. Furthermore, many people are satisfied having been supplied with a watered down, wishy-washy, non offensive picture of our Lord. Now is time to look deeply to see if you too have been brainwashed into believeing in a false water-downed, politically correct gospel. I'd challange any Christian or religious person to take another look into how the gospels really present Jesus. I reccomend this book for any sincere seeker. The views presented in this review are my own