John MacArthur has edited a book called, "Fool's Gold: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error.," that raises some issues that too many have ignored and feared to bring up. First of all, nobody wants to read about the importance of discernment. Discernment means that someone is wrong and needs to be correct. That strikes of intolerence, bigotry, and divisiveness. These serve as three of the greatest sins in our culture today.
Secondly, MacArthur and the contributing authors, call persons and books out. Perhaps the most interesting sections of the book regarded discernment at a Christian bookstore. I worked at a Christian bookstore and I could not agree with him more. MacArthur find particular distaste for Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life," John Elderedge's "Wild at Heart," the Revolve Biblezine, and other books and products one could find easily at most Christian bookstores. The point of this section shows that most Christians are so ignorant of the faith they believe that most of what they find at a Christian bookstore is orthodox and provides valuable help for their spiritual life. In reality, MacArthur points out, Christian bookstores are full of products that present erroneous doctrine. Serious discernment is needed as we shop.
Thirdly, MacArthur deals with issues that many Christians wish to avoid. One interesting chapter dealt with altar calls and their dangers. Although I find good reason to have an altar call at the end of each service, some of the book's critique is helpful and insightful. But it was the chapters on politics and on consumerism interesting. For one, these are the things that the Emerging Church are protesting against Evangelicals. Emergents criticize Evangelicals for being too married to the Republican Party and find the Religious Right to be particularly dangerous to the gospel. There is some merit in such a critique, however, Emergents are guilty of the same sin on the other end of the spectrum. They refer to themselves as "Progressive Evangelicals" and "Red-Letter Christians."
But the discussion on consumerism I found quit insightful. The book points out the dangers of treating church like the mall. We come to the worship seeking entertainment and seek churches most appealing to us. The book argues that such erroneous view is dangerous. We do not attend worship to be entertained but to worship.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Although I wish there was a chapter on Joel Osteen and other televangelists, I found it quit thorough and appropriate. At times, the authors seem nickpicky with some of their criticisms, but overall, the authors provide an insightful look on various issues.
Most importantly, we must heed the purpose of the book: Christians must become more discerning in their faith. So much rotten false teaching in our Church today is a direct result of our members not practicing discernment. The gospel is something that we should not trivialize or minimalize. Yet, that is exactly what the Church is doing.