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on August 9, 2013
I loved this book. John MacArthur is one of the great Bible teachers of our generation, in my opinion. The man does his homework and I now have a much clearer understanding of who I am in Christ. So often we call ourselves 'servants' - but we aren't ... we are His slaves - slaves who are dearly loved and also considered friends. We are slaves because we were bought for a price - not of gold or silver as in days of old, but with blood - Jesus' blood. Being bought makes one keenly aware of what our allegiance should be to Him - the lover of our souls.

"Servants are hired; slaves are bought."
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on January 5, 2011
In this eye opening new book by John MacArthur we have the chance to discover how "one word changes everything". MacArthur shows us how the Greek word for slave (doulos) has been incorrectly translated as servant in most English versions of the Bible. Our concept of slavery has been shaped and molded by modern times in the Western world and we find the idea distasteful, even appalling. But, as the subtitle The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ promises there are great rewards in being a slave to our King.

As I read about the Roman (and Hebrew) systems of slavery the New Testament came alive to me in a fresh way. A slave had all of his needs for food, clothing and shelter taken care of and all he needed to concern himself with was doing the will of his master. Isn't that exactly what Jesus tried to teach His disciples?

"So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:31-33 NIV

I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to know Jesus in a more profound way and to gain a deeper understanding of the Lordship of Christ. As for me, I was purchased with His blood and am forever His, more willing than ever to surrender to His will and His ways.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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on January 4, 2011
"True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him - submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost. In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ's slave."

John MacArthur is meticulous if nothing else. His attention to detail and his faithfulness to the Scriptures has been a hallmark for many years. This book, Slave; The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ, is no different.

From the start, Slave, identifies what it means to be called a Christian. "When we call ourselves Christians, we proclaim to the world that everything about us, including our self-identity, is found in Jesus Christ because we have denied ourselves in order to follow and obey Him. He is both Savior and our Sovereign, and our lives center on pleasing Him". That is indeed a good biblical explanation of what a Christian is. But is there a word that the Bible uses more than any other to identify the followers of Jesus? "In a word, we are His slaves".

One thing that I admire and and respect about John MacArthur is that he doesn't just say things for shock value. He says some shocking things, no doubt, but the motive has always been an obedience to the charge found in 2 Timothy 4:2 - "Preach the Word!" So when one is confronted with the truth that "the gospel is not simply an invitation to become Christ's associate; it is a mandate to become His slave", they are also given ample biblical and historical evidence to this "glorious reality". As MacArthur points out, "the truth of God's Word is always countercultural...To present the good news in terms of a slave/master controversial, confrontational, and politically incorrect. Yet that is precisely the way the Bible speaks about what it means to follow Christ".

There is a reason the Bible does just that and that is to exult Christ; He is Lord. MacArthur masterfully reveals the fact we are "His exclusive possession". As such, the disciples life should be marked by complete submission, singular devotion, total dependence, and personal accountability to Christ. "Whether or not our faithfulness is rewarded in this life doesn't really matter. One day we will stand before Christ to be recompensed in full. What a glorious day that will be!"

Slave is a excellent and thoroughly biblical work on the Lordship of Christ and the nature of the gospel as revealed in the doctrines of grace. "In order to fully grasp what it means to be a slave of Christ, we need to understand our previous slavery to sin - a universal reality". The ugliness of sin that pervades the lives the unregenerate is such that it is completely blinding. The promise of satisfaction that sin makes ultimately ends in condemnation. "The astonishing reality is that even if the sinner could change the condition of his heart - which Scripture teaches is impossible (Jer. 13:23) - no unbeliever would ever will to do so". But God..."in saving us from sin, God initiated and accomplished everything". As MacArthur titles chapter nine; Saved from Sin, Slaved by Grace.

The book then shifts to the worship inspiring truth that the Christian moves from slave to son because of "the marvellous doctrine of adoption". "The incomparable reality of adoption is this: If God is our master, then He is also our Father".

Slave closes by highlighting four compelling paradoxes; slavery brings freedom, slavery ends prejudice, slavery magnifies grace, and slavery pictures salvation. It ends the way it began - asking a question, what does it mean to be a Christian?

"The gospel message is not simply a plan of salvation; it is a call to embrace the person of salvation. And He is both Savior and Lord; the two cannot be separated. To truly come to Christ is to willingly surrender your heart, mind, and will - the whole person - to the Master..."He is the demanding Lord as well as the delivering Savior"".

Slave; The hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ is an excellent book for many reasons. But one reason stands far above any other. It magnifies Jesus, our Lord and Christ! I am certain that was the goal. I am equally certain it was accomplished. When I closed it's pages for the last time, I thought of those two little words at the end of the subtitle - In Christ. What a glorious place to be, and all "to the praise of His glorious grace" (Eph. 1).

Love in the Truth.
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on December 26, 2010
The back paper jacket to the book caught my attention: "A COVER-UP OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Centuries ago, English translators perpetrated a fraud in the New Testament, and it's been purposely hidden and covered up ever since. Your own Bible is probably included in the cover-up!"

WHAT? Are we to understand that Bible translators for centuries, hundreds if not thousands of highly-trained knowledgeable men of God, have kept a well-guarded secret about the true meaning of the Bible that only NOW Dr. MacArthur will be the one scholar who will bring us the real scoop?

Yes, this is exactly what the book would have us to believe, that the common Greek term "doulos" has been mistranslated in every major version of the Bible since the earliest of printed Bible translations. According to MacArthur, "doulos" should be translated primarily if not exclusively as "slave." Most modern translators (NASB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, ESV)as well as common Greek-English lexicons interpret the term in a variety of ways as, "servant," "slave," "bond servant," "bondman," or "attendant." MacArthur also states on pp. 29-30 that the proper meaning of the Old Testament's nearest equivalent term, "'ebed" has also been hidden by modern translators: "The King James Version, for example, never translates 'ebed as 'slave'---opting for 'servant' or 'manservant' the vast majority of the time. But contrast that with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament from before the time of Christ. It translates 'ebed with forms of 'doulos,' or 'slave' more than 400 times!" WHAT?? The LXX translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek, NOT to English! So MacArthur is leaping to an inappropriate conclusion about the meaning of the Hebrew in this case.

In fairness to MacArthur, whom I consider to be a scholar, I did appreciate his copious use of footnotes which were easy to find at the bottom of each page (although he quoted one source heavily---Murray J. Harris, "Slave of Christ"---23 times). And I thought that his historical look at ancient Near-Eastern slavery was interesting and informative.

My greatest problem with the book was that the author, MacArthur, took the ancient images of slavery and superimposed them onto modern Christianity with the intent to create the notion that our normative relationship with God and our service to God should be that of a slave to a master, instead of that of a child of God responding out of love and gratitude to an omnibenevolent (all loving) Father God. With this slave to master representation set into place, the author proceeded to promote his standard lordship salvation doctrine dressed in new clothes, slave garb. He even used much of the same argumentation as he used in "The Gospel According to Jesus." And, once again, he freely denigrated and caricaturized Free Grace theology, especially in chapter five.

For a further look at how lordship faith advocates often mischaracterize free grace theology, see the article "Grace Baiting" on the Free Grace Alliance web site.

Lordship Salvation

Secure Forever! God's Promise or Our Perseverance?

SIMPLY BY GRACE: An Introduction to God's Life-Changing Gift

In Defense of the Gospel
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