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Publication Date: 2007
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In an age of open-mindedness, many believers accept too much with too little discernment, resulting in great confusion and compromise. But God's Word makes it clear that not everything that glitters is gold. False teaching is at every turn, and the temptation to embrace it is great. As God's people we are called to sift through the overwhelming number of traditions and trends and use the truth of Scripture to determine which are the true treasures-and which are "fool's gold."
General editor John MacArthur and the contributors of this uncompromising book define the principles of biblical discernment and use them to address several contemporary Christian issues. They provide straightforward, biblical critiques of some popular but unfortunate Christian trends, such as watered-down preaching and doctrinally questionable best-selling books. Dr. MacArthur ends with a practical plan for cultivating discernment in the Christian life.
It is the duty of every Christian-not just pastors and elders-to follow the biblical command to cling to what is good and to reject what is not. This book will equip you with a foundation for biblical discernment that will enable you to make careful distinctions in your thinking about truth.
I dont think I said the word aloud when I finished reading Fools Gold?, but it may have slipped out. John MacArthur is the general editor of this new book from Crossway, and contributing authors are several of his ministry associates.
The theme of the book is spiritual discernment; not set forth in a didactic way, but in a series of topical snapshots. Section one lays the foundation for the chapters to follow: a call for biblical discernment, and the consequences of a weak proclamation of Christianity. MacArthur makes the point that discernment is not just the responsibility of pastors and Christian leaders, but of every Christian. He covers the favorite verse of many in todays church: Judge not, lest ye be judged. (Matthew 7:1) and compares that with 1 Thessalonians 5:21: Test everything. In the second chapter he lists fifteen negative effects of superficial preaching, whittled down from an original list if sixty-one! My only reservation is with the twelfth point, and his comment about the difficulty of exercising church discipline where there is no commitment to the authority of Gods Word. Im not sure that very many churches even practice biblical church discipline, according to the teaching of Matthew 18:15-19. Perhaps a brief exposition of this passage, and an example of how this is practiced in his church is in order. The final two chapters of the book, A Doctrinal Framework for Developing Discernment and A Practical Plan for Developing Personal Discernment are excellent. I particularly appreciated the exhortation on page 201: Discernment is not enough apart from obedience.
The rest of the book is a series of chapters looking at current doctrinal trends in the church and in Christian books. The contributors cover such things as altar calls, contemporary worship music, Wild at Heart and The Purpose Driven Life, as well as politics and consumerism. This is a must-read, written in a clear, straightforward style. I have already loaned out my copy to two people, and one of my pastors is referring to it in the college Bible study he teaches. I heartily commend it to you. Pam Glass, Christian Book Previews.com
Reba Grider4 Stars Out Of 5August 28, 2009Reba GriderIt is an interesting and true that many Christian books may well be less than Biblical in the author's application of scriptures.
Rob McMichael5 Stars Out Of 5March 21, 2009Rob McMichaelA very good book. MacArthur's style is so easily recognizable; and this is good. He seems never to drift from a Biblical standard in his writing (and, editing in this particular work) nor candid remarks about the Church, contemporary Christian living, or Christian culture. Although I did not agree with every word or every concept, MacArthur, (et al) poignantly reacts to some modern works and movements in our modern society, thereby informing Christendom about some very dangerous movements, books, etc. He rarely pulls punches, and this work is no different. It is refreshing to read an author who writes from the heart and uses frank discussion woven through Biblical precepts. Some chapters may be difficult for some to read through without thinking of ways of countering his arguments; however, one cannot dismiss the integrity with which this book is written. I especially liked Daniel Gillespie's chapter (5) on John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart": an onerous book that provides an insufficient view of Scripture, and paints God as Someone Who is not 'in control'. Also, the chapter by Nathan Busenitz (3) about the ubiquitous Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" was a thoughtful assessment of this rather weak and superficial (Warren's) book. As a whole, "Fool's Gold" more often than not discusses the pros & cons of each topic in a clear, objective style. Very recommendable.
Anna Edwards5 Stars Out Of 5June 26, 2008Anna EdwardsThis is an amazing resource for anyone wondering what is wrong with books like The Purpose Driven Life, Wild at Heart and The Revolve New Testament. With so many of our churches turning "seeker" friendly and buying into many emergent thinkers, John MacArthur continues to uphold the TRUTH with another great book. I HIGHLY recommend this!!
Cassie Hale1 Stars Out Of 5September 10, 2007Cassie HaleThere were many sections I appreciated, but I least appreciated the section on modern worship. All worship was at one time, modern. I think it's sad to discredit the sincerity of so many believers. Again, MacArthur usually goes to far in this sphere of Christendom. I think more praise and worship choruses today are more praiseworthy than some hymns. Some are lifted entirely from Holy Scripture. As far as repetition, there is a lot of repetition and hymns AND in the Bible.
David D. Flowers4 Stars Out Of 5June 9, 2006David D. FlowersIf there is a book that the church needs to read before they pick up another, this one is it. MacArthur puts together a wonderful thought-provoking book concerning the lack of discernment by the church today. I'm so heart sick to see how many Christians buy into every new book and trend that attracts the masses. Much of the church has not hidden the Word in their hearts and have been led astray by an "American pop-culture gospel" which is no Gospel at all. Get this book and you will find that it points you to the Scripture... as every book should do. God's Word ought to be the centerpiece to all that we do as a church. MacArthur really shows his love and respect for the Word of God. However, I would like to point out something in the book that I thought was off base. In chapter 4 Phil Johnson discusses 'New Perspective Theology.' He really pushes N.T. Wright into a category that he doesn't belong. I believe New Perspective Theology is misrepresented by Mr. Johnson. His case sounds good, but he doesn't present New Perspective Theology in full. N.T. Wright is only trying to broaden our understanding of "justification by faith." A closer study of first century Judaism will prove that. Mr. Johnson defends the understanding of "justification" taught by Luther and the reformers years after Paul. It is peculiar that he doesn't mention Luther's view on the book of James. It certainly would not have helped his case. If the truth be known, Luther's understanding of "justification" comes amidst the Catholic teachings (legalism) concerning indulgences and such. Luther had a particular axe to grind with the gospel presented by the "church" of his day. We certainly owe a lot to Luther, but we better recognize that the buck doesn't stop with Luther. Luther's agenda is no secret. We want to understand "justification" the way Paul intended us to, not through the eyes of Luther and the reformers.