3 Stars: Twelve Unlikely Heroes

A sovereign grace baptist non-denominational pastor, John MacArthur, spends a lot of time delving into indepth profiles of 12 biblical characters in this book. He expounds on each character, dedicating one full chapter for each biography: Enoch, Joseph, Miriam (sister of Moses), Gideon and Samson, Jonathan (King Saul's son), Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James (Jesus' brother), and Mark and Onesimus. This book serves as expanded biographies on each of these characters and concentrates more on making heroes out of men than on focusing our eyes on the Lord. It would have been most beneficial to have more of a God-related and gospel-related focus.

The book is a long, expanded, drawn out look into biblical characters. The biblical material for some of these characters is quite limited, so the author does not always stay on main character as the topic. For example, Enoch is only mentioned in a couple of bible passages. So, how does MacArthur dedicate an entire chapter (about 10% of the book) to Enoch, when very little is written about Enoch? He fills in the paragraphs with extra material having only a light correlation to Enoch. This extra filler material has little relevance to Enoch. The author spends an entire section telling us that Enoch has a nature like ours. But this is a given, because Enoch was also a man. Every single human being shares a similar "human nature". Why do we need 6 lengthy paragraphs on Enoch being a man like us? This is not relevant material and without all this "filler material" this chapter would be a short page or two. Next, MacArthur launches into the fact that Enoch walked with God. Since this is all the Bible says, MacArthur expands about 30 long paragraphs to tell us what walking with God is about. It may be beneficial to hear about walking with God, but it has no direct relevance to Enoch's biography. All the author's additional "filler material" really makes this more of "sermons on Enoch" rather than "a biography."

Reading this book was like reading a term paper where the student took a subject that rendered only 2 paragraphs and blew it up and filled it with extraneous material to expand those 2 paragraphs into a 15 page paper, except the author continuously loses the main subject - the characters of Enoch, Miriam, etc.

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review. I always give brutally honest reviews and attempt to critically point out parts of the book that may not agree with the Bible and so not appeal to others. I want you readers to be able to confidently choose a book based on the stars I give it, because I know you have limited money, time and energy to read. So let's make the most of our lives and discern and choose the very best books wisely.

1 comment:

  1. This is exceptional. MacArthur, who I once knew personally, has moved into the club or prolific writers. Add the Reformed intellectual disease, and you have a man driven to write and thrill readers. The problem is, if these men do not come up with new and novel twists on the truth, they do not sell books. It can all be read in the Bible. Thus, they become gurus as people read their expanded version of Bible truth, and these sheeple go about quoting the guru as if it were God speaking. Bah.

    I took the liberty of posting your review to my in my online journal, Blessed Quietness Journal here

    A response from Jackie would be appreciated. The post will be dropped if it is objectionable.