Charismatic Chaos(Zondervan, 308 pp.; $17.99, hardcover);The Gospel According to Jesus(Zondervan, 253 pp.; $10.95, paper);Our Sufficiency in Christ(Word, 282 pp.; $15.99, hardcover); by John F. MacArthur, Jr. Reviewed by Robert W. Patterson, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in America, and former associate to the executive director, National Association of Evangelicals.

At the Evangelical Affirmations conference in Chicago three years ago, historian Nathan O. Hatch observed that evangelicalism is by nature decentralized, competitive, and driven by men who can build large and successful organizations. A prime example of what Hatch was talking about is John F. MacArthur, Jr., a well-known evangelical personality in Southern California. Since being graduated with honors from Talbot Theological Seminary in 1970, this Conservative Baptist-minister’s son has built not just an impressive 4,500-member congregation (the independent Grace Community Church in Sun Valley), but an entire ministry empire that includes the Master’s College (successor to the former Regular Baptist-related Los Angeles Baptist College), the Master’s Seminary, and his daily I radio program, “Grace to You.”

Unlike many evangelical personalities, MacArthur has not channeled his energy onto the television screen. Instead, he has devoted himself to theological inquiry and the printed page. Charismatic Chaos, The Gospel According to Jesus, and Our Sufficiency in Christ, books published in the last four years, demonstrate that devotion. They also reflect a man unhappy with many currents within the church—whether the Pentecostals and charismatics, the theology of Dallas Theological Seminary, or the popular “designer” ...

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