Friday, November 23, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heroes-John Macarthur****

Just finished Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur. As usual, MacArthur does an excellent job of telling stories from the Bible.

The Unlikely Heroes are ones we all recognize and think of as pillars in the faith; Encoh, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon, Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James, Mark and Onesimus. Of course, these men and women are a Who's Who of the Bible but MacArthur helps us see that none of them excelled out of natural graces. All of them were reliant upon the Spirit of God to become who they were and thus play their roles as Biblical Heroes.

MacArthur is a good story teller. He is a preeminent  Bible scholar and does a terrific job of putting us on the scene in these stories. We get a sense of the times and of the possibility that these heroes could easily have been failures. In fact, some of them did fail, initially, and only by God's grace were they restored and used by Him to great glory.

While I am always pleased with MacArthur's teaching from the Bible, I often find myself wanting just a bit more, not so much from what MacArthur says but from what he could dig out of Scripture if he had a more cohesive view. He talks about God's covenants and gives us great encouragement and hope in God's promises. That part is very encouraging. But his dispensational views keep him from seeing even more, deeper and glorious connections. I, and many other Reformed Christians, owe a great debt to MacArthur, who got us going down this path many years ago, but wish he would have come along with us in the glories of a full-orbed covenantal view of Scripture.

This book has the feel of a high school level Sunday school class. Most of the stories are familiar and he takes a fair amount of space to retell the Bible story before proceeding on to why the particular hero was unlikely. But I have been studying the Bible for many years and did not at all mind the Bible review. I also know that in much of our modern Bible illiterate culture, many folks will find these stories new and fresh.

A similar or follow-up book could be written with these and other heroes all shown to be types of Christ. The death and resurrection story is clearly a strong theme in the lives of these ancient saints but is not developed in this book. I would have like to have seen this developed in this book in order to reveal the comprehensive story of God.

Finally, MacArthur reveals that God is the true hero. He takes all of these men and women and uses both their talents and even their failings to do His glorious will on the Earth. That is a center piece in the story of God.

I recommend this book.

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