Book Review: “Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong” by John MacArthur (2009)

“A Biblical Response to Today’s Most Controversial Issues”

Image result for macarthur right thinking bookThis collection of essays by John MacArthur “and the Leadership Team at Grace Community Church” tackles many important and controversial topics by exposing them to a biblical worldview. Each chapter offers a biblical understanding of the given issue, supplemented by pastoral explanation, and then encourages the conscientious Christian reader to take his own wise and godly stance on that issue.

As a church leader who’s already wrestled in the past with many of the topics in this guide, I did not read every chapter in this volume. Some topics (like euthanasia or racism) are those with which I or my ministry have never personally struggled. Others (like divorce and birth control) are those on which I’ve already taken a firm and biblical stance. Some however were good for my general edification, for example the very first chapter, “Glorifying God in the Gray Areas.” In this particular chapter, MacArthur shares a slew of passages from Paul’s letters that support his seven principles for guiding one’s “gray” decisions:

  1. Edification – “Will it actively produce spiritual benefit?” (1Cor 10:23)
  2. Enslavement – “Will it lead to spiritual bondage?” (1Cor 6:12)
  3. Exposure – “Will it expose my mind or body to defilement?” (1Cor 6:19-20)
  4. Esteem – “Will it benefit others or cause them to stumble?” (1Cor 8:8-9)
  5. Evangelism – “Will it further the cause of the Gospel?” (1Cor 10:10:32-33
  6. Ethics – “Will it violate my conscience?” (Rom 14:23; Eph. 5:8-10)
  7. Exaltation – “Will it bring glory to God?” (1Cor 10:31; 2Cor 5:9)

I strongly believe that Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong would be an excellent primer for three groups of readers in particular: those new to the Christian faith, for example participants in a New Members class; those who are biblicly literate yet culturally unexposed (i.e. the “sheltered”); and church youth groups across the country. This would be a fantastic small-group study for youth groups and would also make an excellent resource for Christian home-school co-ops. It would help, please remember, if the readers have a relatively strong biblical understanding already, for while the biblical reasoning might be for beginners, the delivery might not always be so. The authors are, after all, seminary grads and pastors, and some have forgotten how to communicate to us lesser folk.

©2016 E.T.

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