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By John F. MacArthur Jr. / Crossway / 1993
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Near the end of his ministry, Charles H. Spurgeon wrote a series of articles entitled "The Down Grade." He was warning the church of his day that Christianity was on the decline, and worse, the downward momentum seemed to be overtaking evangelicalism. Christian leaders were becoming worldly, spiritually cold, and tolerant of doctrinal error. So much so, that he feared the Church would eventually forfeit its testimony altogether. Sadly, his prediction came true, and evangelicalism in early twentieth-century England was decimated. Today, John MacArthur is sounding the same cry in Ashamed of the Gospel, bringing the same type of issues to the forefront of evangelical awareness. But while Spurgeon battles modernism—which led to a denial of doctrines fundamental to the Christian faith—MacArthur is primarily concerned with "pragmatism." Pragmatism ignores doctrine and focuses more on achieving "success" than on communicating God's Word unashamedly. Tragically, this theology: emphasizes church growth over church doctrine; makes entertaining congregations more important than feeding them spiritually; views truth as being secondary to "what works." The challenging message of Ashamed of the Gospel is one that today's Church dare not ignore. And it offers a warning that can make the difference for an entire congregation between walking in the light or living in the dark.