Archive for February 2nd, 2014

Master's Plan Coverspine.indd

 (Available at Amazon)

This book answers the question of what is the church and how to do church. The strength of the book is that it sticks to the Scripture for the answer. It’s important that if the church is God’s institution, one must consider first what God has revealed His will from His Word before any other consideration. The author, John MacArthur, has a reputation of being a solid expositional Bible preacher who desires to be faithful to the Word of God in his teaching. This work is a fine example of him applying it to the question of the church. Yet the book is not a dry academic exercise: I felt that among all of MacArthur’s work, this one seems to me to be the most pastoral. There are bits and pieces of information given throughout the book that gave a window of the life of Grace Community Church, the church where MacArthur has pastured for over forty years. It was also an encouraging work for me to read as a Pastor who desires to please God in how I lead the church. Other members of the church will benefit from reading it as well.
The book is divided into three parts followed by the appendixes. Part one of the book explains the anatomy of the church in terms of the illustration of a human body, with a chapter on the skeletal structure, then one on the internal system, the muscle and the head of the church. Part two looks at the dynamic of the church. Among the chapters I appreciated in this section is MacArthurs’ look at the epistles to the Thessalonians for a biblical model of doing church and the chapter on the marks of an effective church. Chapter thirteen has a wonderful section on the shepherd and the sheep. It is one of the most detailed explanations about sheep I have found in my reading and it certainly illuminates the Bible’s motif of sheep/shepherd. It’s clear John MacArthur has done his homework. Finally, part three looks at the qualities of an excellent servant with three chapters.
The bulk of the appendixes is devoted to the topic of Elders and Deacons of the Church. John MacArthur puts a lot of emphasis on the moral and spiritual qualification of the leaders of the church (Elders, Pastors, Deacons) and rightly so, since this is the emphasis in the New Testament. The appendix on church discipline and restoring a believer is one that the church sorely needs to understand and apply today. If I have one minor criticism of the book it comes from the observation that the appendix makes up nearly half of the book. Maybe it’s better that the publishers call them chapters instead of appendixes given how some of them are longer than the chapters? Excellent work.

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