John MacArthur

Book Notes

Our Sufficiency In Christ

(1991:Word Publishing)

p. 20 -- MacArthur condemns "your local Christian bookstore" for selling a "proliferation of so-called 'Christian' recovery books"; yet his own Church bookstore (the Book Shack) was at the time selling these same types of books (by such psychologically-oriented authors as Tony Campolo, Chuck Swindoll, R.C. Sproul, Josh McDowell, Tim LaHaye, Chuck Colson, H. Norman Wright, Henry Nouwen, etc.).

pp. 55-57 -- MacArthur's recollection of the court case involving the Nally suicide incident is quite different than that presented on his two-tape series, The Day God's Word Went On Trial. Why is there such a difference in the two accounts and which, if either, is the truth?

pp. 58, 67 -- Favorable references to "true psychology," "emotional illnesses," "alcoholic," and "certain [helpful] techniques of human psychology" (p. 58). Then later in Sufficiency (p. 67), MacArthur correctly states that "mental and emotional health" is not a Biblical concept. What does he really believe here -- is there such a thing as "emotional illness" (p. 58), or is there not (p. 67)?

p. 59 -- MacArthur states that the "supreme qualification for psychologists would be Christlikeness." This is utterly impossible. Since psychology is a false religion, this would be like saying, "the supreme qualification for a Hindu would be Christlikeness." How absurd! This obviously reveals MacArthur's lack of understanding on the issue of psychology and its deadly attack on the church.

     -- MacArthur also states, "The presuppositions and most of the doctrine of psychology cannot be successfully integrated with Christian truth." (Emphasis added.) Does he mean that some of it can? One wonders what parts of the "doctrine of psychology" MacArthur thinks can be "successfully integrated with Christian truth"?

pp. 69-70 -- MacArthur writes that he has "no quarrel with those who use ... social sciences as a helpful observer's platform to look on human conduct and develop tools to assist people in getting some external controls in their behavior. That may be useful as a first step to getting to the real spiritual cure." Is not the "first step" Christ and His Word? Anything added or used along side, especially the godless "social science" of psychology, only blurs the truth.

p. 70 -- MacArthur writes that he has "no tolerance for those who exalt psychology above ... the perfect sufficiency of our God," and has "no encouragement for people who wish to mix psychology with the divine resources." Yet at the time this book was published, MacArthur employed two Larry Crabb followers, John Zimmer and Gary Ezzo, in his Church's family ministries area (as well as allowing both to teach adult Sunday School classes). Does MacArthur want us to believe that the employment of two rank psychologizers is not "tolerance" and "encouragement"? [John Zimmer left the Grace Church staff in early-1992, and Gary Ezzo in mid-1993. However, Ezzo was a "lay elder" at Grace Church until the summer of 1995, at which time the Church was still teaching Ezzo's materials in certain classes and was selling his materials in its bookstore.]

p. 108 -- MacArthur states that "modern behavioral science, by comparison [to the Bible], is superficial -- and usually downright counterproductive." (Emphasis added.) If one really believed in the total sufficiency of Scripture (2 Pe. 1:3) wouldn't he instead say that the behavior sciences are always "down-right counterproductive"? Isn't it always counterproductive to access a false religious system?

pp. 120-121 -- MacArthur asks, "Are there no beneficial insights to be gained by looking at the observations of sociologists and psychologists? ... Useful, perhaps. Necessary, no." Do we see anywhere in 2 Peter 1:3 that any observation from a godless false religious system would be "useful" (of which psychology is clearly one of the many false religious systems available from which to choose)?

pp. 246, 261 -- MacArthur uses psychological language that has more in common with Larry Crabb's need theology than with Biblical terminology. MacArthur refers to the Apostle Paul's "deep hurt" because of the "rejection and emotional abuse" he experienced, and that people "were created for relationships" (p. 246). He also speaks of man's "deepest longings," his "most intense cravings," and our most "profound needs" (p. 261), as if these were legitimate. The way MacArthur uses these terms are self-centered and man-centered, not at all equivalent to godly cravings (cf. Psa. 42).

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 12/97