I am not an avid follower of John MacArthur, although I have read and reviewed a couple of his books and have listened to some of his sermons over the years. However, I do recognize that he is a gifted Bible expositor, a well loved Pastor by many and, undoubtedly, one of the most influential Christian leaders in the United States and other parts of the world. And so, when I discovered that writer Iain Murray had written a biography of the beloved Pastor only a few years ago, I was glad to obtain a copy on my own and to review it. The book, entitled "John MacArthur - Servant of the Word and Flock" was worth my time.
First, Iain Murray is a gifted writer and crafts the details of John's life into a splendid tale. The book was relatively easy for me to read, and I finished it within a little more than a day of purchase. Next, it was not overly detailed, as by the author's own admission it was not his intention to write a complete chronicle of Dr. MacArthur's life. And by means of this reduced chronicle, it made the book easier to finish.
Like any good biography, the author recounts the events of the author's childhood and upbringing, including a little detail about his parents, including his father, Jack MacArthur, who had also been a Pastor and probably the most prominent influence on John MacArthur's ministry. The book does describe the events of his conversion, college years and Pastoral ministry at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where Dr. MacArthur has served as the Pastor for decades.
Iain Murray also takes the time to discuss not only controversial teachings that arose in the ministry over the years, but also some failed ventures in the church and trials along the journey. I was glad for his honesty. But, since Mr. Murray is a reformed minister himself, I do feel some of his agreements were a little bit quickly too affirming with some points of doctrine, rather than objective, while on others he states the areas he wishes Dr. MacArthur would change or emphasize more of in his teachings. However, this was not a serious enough issue to warrant not enjoying the work.
Whether one agrees with everything Dr. John MacArthur teaches or not, as even his own friends don't at times, it would be difficult to argue that he has not dramatically impacted the Christian world in one way or another. This biography will serve to give you a good glimpse into his life and may challenge you to delve more deeply into the Word of God, which he so passionately proclaims that you might grow into the image and the knowledge of God.