Reckless Faith by John MacArthur

Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to DiscernReckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern by John MacArthur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would highly recommend this book for Christians to read. Though written in the 90’s it is perhaps even more needed today. The biblical illiteracy among American Christians is appalling and has resulted in a lack of discernment. We need to get back to the Word of God!

“Authentic faith can never bypass the mind.”
“When tolerance is valued over truth, the cause of truth always suffers.”
“The times of decline in the history of the church have always been marked by an undue emphasis on tolerance – which leads inevitably to carelessness, worldliness, doctrinal compromise, and great confusion in the church.”
“The mystic disdains rational understanding and seeks truth instead through the feelings…”
“Mystical experiences…are not subject to any form of objective verification.”
“Mysticism is therefore antithetical to discernment. It is an extreme form of reckless faith.”
“Evangelical mysticism attacks the objective interpretation of Scripture.”
“Mysticism further nullifies Scripture by pointing people away from the sure Word of God as the only reliable object of faith.”

“Discernment depends on a knowledge of Scripture.”

“Until Christians regain the will to test everything by the rule of Scripture, reject what is false, and hold fast to what is true, the church will struggle and falter, and our testimony to a world in sin will be impaired. But if the church will rise up and stand for the truth of God’s Word against all the lies of this evil world, then we will begin to see the power of truth that sets people free (John 8:32).”

“Modern church leaders seem obsessed with methodology, psychology, pragmatics, attendance figures, felt needs, popularity polls, and the like – all to the detriment of biblical doctrine. And when doctrinal understanding declines, real discernment becomes impossible.”

“Fellowship that ignores or glosses over the crucial doctrines of the faith is not Christian unity; it is ungodly compromise.”

“When doctrine is relegated to secondary status, it is inevitable that discernment will wane.”

“Many Christians have the misconception that to win the world to Christ we must first win the world’s favor. If we can get the world to like us, they will embrace our Savior.”
“If we can’t trust the preaching of God’s Word to convert the lost and build the church, how can we trust the Bible at all – even as a guide for our daily living?”
“An increase in biblical illiteracy leads inevitably to the rise of reckless faith.”
“The gospel is inherently offensive.”

“This unchanging view of truth is essential for true discernment. When the church loses its commitment to the inflexibility of truth, it loses its will to discern. It forfeits precise theology, precise morals, and precise conduct. Right thinking and right living therefore demand careful discipline and an unyielding commitment to the truth. Discernment does not survive in an atmosphere of doctrinal confusion. It will not survive where relativism is tolerated. And it cannot survive if we compromise with the world.”

“As knowledge of God’s truth ebbs, people follow more popular views, seeking feelings and experiences.”

“There is no valid explanation for why contemporary Christians are so undiscerning – but it reveals a spiritual apathy that is deadly evil.”

“Discernment will come only as we train our minds to be understanding in the truth of God’s Word and learn to apply that truth skillfully to our lives.”

Definition of discernment: “It entails the idea of making distinctions.”
“So discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. The discerning person is the one who draws a clear contrast between truth and error.”
“No one can be truly discerning without developing skill in separating divine truth from error.”

On judging: “What is forbidden is hypocritical judging and judging others’ thoughts and motives. But other forms of judgment are explicitly commanded. Throughout Scripture the people of God are urged to judge between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil.”
“…God requires us to be discriminating when it comes to matters of sound doctrine.”

“No human teacher, no personal experience, no strong feeling is exempt from this objective test.”
“Experience and feelings – no matter how powerful – do not determine what is true. Rather, those things themselves must be subjected to the test.”
“If our feelings determine what we believe, we cannot be discerning.”

“Modern evangelicalism, enamored with psychology and self-esteem, has produced a generation of believers so self-absorbed that they cannot be discerning. People aren’t even interested in discernment. All their interest in spiritual things is focused on self. They are interested only in getting their own felt needs met.”

“True discernment requires diligent study of the Scriptures.”

“…if a doctrine is essential for salvation, we can learn it from the Bible. The written Word of God therefore must contain all doctrine that is truly fundamental.”

“…the only merit God accepts for salvation is that of Jesus Christ; nothing we can ever do could earn God’s favor or add anything to the merit of Christ.”

“…truth must never become the slave of sheer emotion or unintelligible experiences.”

“Real love for God is inseparable from love of the truth. The heart that genuinely loves God will be inclined to truth (see 2 Thess. 2:10; 2 John 6). And true theological correctness is found only in an accurate understanding of Scripture (1 Tim. 6:3-4; Titus 1:9). Those determined to cast sound theology aside must also abandon Scripture (2 Tim. 4:2-3). Scripture and sound theology are not antithetical; they are indissolubly bound together. One simply cannot esteem Scripture highly yet scorn sound doctrine. One cannot love God and remain indifferent to His truth. Scripture is how He makes Himself known. So a sound understanding of Scripture is essential to a true knowledge of God.”

“…the truth of Scripture is too often set aside in pursuit of the emotional high of a mystical experience.”

“…a growing movement that is propagating extrabiblical revelations from God as the key to renewal in the church. Thousands of churches worldwide have embraced this new movement. People everywhere are listening for – and believe they can hear – the voice of God.”

“When knowledge of Scripture is at such an ebb, this is the worst possible time for believers to be seeking divine truth in dreams, visions, and subjective impressions.”
“…the extreme subjectivity that is introduced into doctrine and daily life when Christians open the door to private messages from God.”
“Those willing to heed inner voices and mental impressions may be listening to the lies of a deceitful heart, the fantasies of an overactive imagination, or even the voice of a demon. Once objective criteria are cast aside, there is no way to know the difference between truth and falsehood. Those who follow subjective impressions are by definition undiscerning. Mysticism and discernment simply do not mix.”

2 Peter 1 – “Peter is saying that the written Word is an even more reliable source of truth than his own experience.”


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