This book written in 1994 by John MacArthur serves as a clarion call to the modern day church to return to the Bible. The author warns us that, despite the evangelical church’s commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures, we are in danger today of forgetting the equally important concept of the sufficiency of the Scriptures.
This departure from the sufficiency of the Bible is seen clearly in the way the modern church has determined its methods for doing ministry. That is, how are we to do to build God’s church? How are we to worship? How are we to do evangelism? How do we determine what we should preach? Assuming that we still believe that we should preach! McArthur warns that more and more the modern church has turned away from biblical methods for doing ministry and has turned to the world for answers to its questions of how we ought to do ministry.
One way many have been led away from seeing the Bible as sufficient is through the rise of the modern church growth movement. Church growth philosophy has led pastors and church leaders to look away from the Bible to business and marketing principles as the key to making the gospel relevant today. A second area of departure for the church has in recent decades is in the area of “Christian Counseling.” Most counselors have abandoned the Bible as a sufficient guide to counsel church members through their difficulties in favor of the world’s methods of psychology and psychiatry. McArthur warns that in looking away from the Bible and to the world for its methods the modern church has both feet firmly planted on a slippery slope that leads inevitably to the loss of the true gospel.
This book was used by the Lord in a powerful way in my life and in the life of our church almost a decade ago. We found ourselves at a crossroads; the church had become stagnant, our numerical growth had stalled. The question that confronted us then was, how should we respond? Should we follow the prevailing trends of church growth philosophy (that at that time seemed to work) or should we instead return to the Bible for the answers to how we are to build God’s church? By God’s grace we were led to do the latter, and Ashamed of the Gospel helped to galvanize our commitment to the absolute sufficiency of the Bible.
Since the writing of this book the trends in ministry have changed; the church growth movement has been replaced by the emergent church movement. Though the ideas and concepts have changed, the common denominator remains the same: the quest is still for relevance at the expense of the Bible. McArthur’s book still provides the antidote to this dangerous trend—the Bible is still, as always sufficient!
“For all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and training in righteousness that the man of God may be equipped, thoroughly furnished for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16,17
Pastor Ty Blackburn