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Our Sufficiency in Christ [Paperback]

By John MacArthur (Author)
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Item description for Our Sufficiency in Christ by John MacArthur...

One of America's most respected pastors looks at how true spiritual resources have been displaced by mysticism, pragmatism and psychology, and gives the church a renewed understanding of what it means to be complete in Christ.

Publishers Description

Christ's divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness. --2 Peter 1:3

Pure Christianity needs no embellishment whatsoever. We find complete sufficiency in Christ and His provision for our needs.

But too many Christians have bought in to the notion that all the spiritual resources we gain at the moment of salvation are not adequate to meet the real needs in today's complex world. So they look for something more--an emotionally exciting and self-edifying experience not found in God's Word. This failure to understand the sufficiency of Christ has opened the door to all kinds of worldy influences, causing many modern believers to mix biblical truths with seemingly helpful man-made methods such as mysticism and psychology. As a result, they wallow in a watered-down, pseudo-Christanity that has been drained of its vitality, effectiveness, and security.

In this book John MacArthur exposes the main ways Christians have displaced their spiritual resources and explains how to avoid making the same error. It will make you newly aware of how completely God provides--and give you a renewed understanding of what it means to be "complete in Christ."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   282
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.49" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 10, 1998
ISBN  1581340133  
ISBN13  9781581340136  

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More About John MacArthur

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John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master's College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.

Alistair Begg serves as the senior pastor of Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1975 and served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. He has written several books and is heard daily on the radio program Truth For Life. He and his wife, Susan, have three grown children.

Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks ( Dever has authored over a dozen books and speaks at conferences nationwide.

Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan. He serves as a council member at the Gospel Coalition and blogs at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. He serves as Chancellor's Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and is a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. He is the author of several books, including Just Do Something, Crazy Busy, and The Biggest Story. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children.

Sinclair B. Ferguson (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of systematic theology at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and the former senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He is the author of several books, the most recent being By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. Sinclair and his wife, Dorothy, have four grown children.

Michael J. Kruger (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the president and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kruger is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America and also serves as the pastor of teaching at Uptown PCA in Charlotte. He blogs regularly at and tweets at @michaeljkruger.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues. Both can be accessed at

Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. He is an editor of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and also hosts the weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Carl R. Trueman (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is the Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary and pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Ambler, Pennsylvania. He was editor of Themelios for nine years, has authored or edited more than a dozen books, and has contributed to multiple publications including the Dictionary of Historical Theology and The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology.

Nathan Busenitz (PhD, The Master's Seminary) is assistant professor of theology at the Master's Seminary. He previously served on the pastoral staff of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. He is the author of numerous books and a regular contributor to the blog Preacher & Preaching.

Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.

Derek Thomas (PhD, University of Wales, Lampeter) is the Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta and minister of preaching and teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. His many books include Calvin's Teaching on Job, and he serves as the editor for reformation21, the e-zine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

John MacArthur has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Large Print Originals
  2. Comentario MacArthur del N.T.
  3. Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith
  4. MacArthur New Testament Commentary Serie
  5. Proclaiming the Gospel
  6. Shepherd's Library
  7. Truth about
  8. Verdad Sobre

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Discipleship
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Fundamentalism
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Protestant

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Our Sufficiency in Christ?

Christ is the only answer  Nov 19, 2008
Well written, short book with only 12 chapters. Clearly describes that Jesus Christ is the God. Good book to read. For more information on sufficiency in Christ please refer to the original text - the Holy Bible.
Is the Christ Enough?  Oct 22, 2008
John MacArthur's book on the sufficiency of Christ is an important book for pastors and laypeople. It is more relevant today than when it was released in the early 1990's.

MacArthur shows how modern evangelicalism is moving away from the doctrine of Christ's sufficiency and toward the embrace of pseudo-psychology, church growth strategies, charismatic excess, and fascination with spiritual warfare. His call is for a return to the traditional understanding of Christ being all we need for salvation and for life's issues.

There is nothing particularly new in this book. MacArthur's work shows that though most Christians affirm the sufficiency of Christ as a doctrine, they undermine their belief through unscriptural practices. MacArthur seeks to remedy this problem by merging belief in Christ's sufficiency with the practical side of ministry.

This is a helpful book with powerful illustrations, though MacArthur often spends more time bemoaning the problems within evangelicalism than he does offering solutions.
A Mixed Bag Full of MacArthur's Strengths and Weaknesses  May 1, 2008
John MacArthur's Our Sufficiency in Christ (1991) is, in many ways, a difficult book to review. It puts on display many of the gifted pastor/Bible expositor's commendable strengths -- but, unfortunately, also his worst weaknesses. The best parts of this book are very strong and convicting, indeed. The worst portions, however, are impossible to ignore, and work to the detriment of the book's message.

In this first major release after 1988's The Gospel According to Jesus made him a best-selling author, MacArthur expresses his concern that the evangelical church is losing its confidence in the sufficiency of Christ to meet the believer's needs. He identifies and critiques six factors that he believes are responsible for this decline: psychology, pragmatism, philosophy, legalism, mysticism, and asceticism. MacArthur's attacks on these elements, which he labels as components of an overarching "neo-Gnosticism," are mixed with defenses of the sufficiency of Scripture. This middle section of the book is preceded by a study on the Christian's inheritance in Christ and followed by chapters on sanctification, spiritual warfare, and grace.

Those two framing sections, as well as the chapters on Scripture in the middle section, are fine and edifying reading. MacArthur is always at his best when he tackles biblical themes; even if you disagree with him on certain theological points, as I many times do, you can appreciate his clearly heartfelt desire to stay faithful to Scripture and the labor he puts into his biblical studies. Chapter 2, on the Christian's inheritance in Christ, is a wonderful study that should encourage many. Chapter 4, on Scripture's sufficiency, is one of the better short treatments of the topic that I've read. The studies of sanctification, spiritual warfare, and grace should be of benefit to many Christians.

But a major part of the book lies in MacArthur's polemics against the factors that he believes are undermining Christians' confidence in their sufficiency in Christ, and it is here that the author runs into trouble. It's not that MacArthur is wrong to be concerned. Certainly, there are many excesses in the evangelical world even today (not to mention the late 1980s and early 1990s, the time period surrounding the publication of the book) where sound theology is deemphasized in favor of pop psychology, marketing-style approaches to the gospel, and other aberrations. The problem, rather, is that MacArthur goes beyond the excesses and wants to throw out the babies with the bathwater.

Consequently, MacArthur delivers overly simplistic analyses of the factors he identifies and is prone far too often to overstatement in defending his claims. For example, MacArthur unfairly caricatures and dismisses psychology as an ungodly discipline based on the theory of evolution. It is also deeply disappointing, to say the least, that he evidently does not see it as a field in which Christians can work for their Lord and Savior. Other caricatures set up by MacArthur ignore church history. Philosophy is portrayed as incompatible with Christianity, despite the fact that both apostles (e.g., Paul at Mars Hill) and important figures throughout church history (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) have used philosophy as a tool for communicating the gospel. The author's definitions of mysticism (as something irrational apart from, and often contradictory to, divine revelation) and asceticism (as a way to earn favor with God) disregard or misrepresent the motives of Christians throughout church history who were very much concerned with faithfulness to Scripture and chose their paths as a means of loving God, not seeking brownie points from Him.

Worst of all, in one case, MacArthur takes a dangerous tack in responding to a letter writer who disagrees with him. A woman whose son-in-law abused and threatened to kill his wife (i.e., the letter writer's daughter) wrote MacArthur arguing that while counseling needs to be grounded in Scripture, professional help is sometimes needed. MacArthur unbelievably goes on to use her in the book as an example of someone who denies the sufficiency of Scripture. Worse, he minimizes the seriousness of what the husband did. It is true, as MacArthur says, that someone who threatens to kill another person is disobedient to God. This is also a case where MacArthur agrees that some help is necessary for the husband -- but he still stops short of advocating professional help. A threat against someone's life demands a different, far more urgent response than the one that MacArthur provides. The reader can only hope that he gave such a response to the letter writer privately.

At the heart of MacArthur's concerns lies a controversy that has run among Christians for centuries: Are Christians in their conduct and ministry not to go beyond what is written in Scripture? Or are things not mentioned in Scripture permissible as long as they do not contradict Scripture? MacArthur apparently believes the former. People from different Christian bodies will disagree. (My own Anglicanism holds that something not mentioned in Scripture is permissible as long as it does not contradict Scripture.)

So Our Sufficiency in Christ is a mixed bag. It contains many valuable chapters, and the Scripture studies are worthwhile. The polemical chapters, however, contain many overgeneralizations and caricatures that reduce the book's value. I have given it three stars because it contains much that is good, but, sadly, a lower rating could be justified based on the book's weaknesses.
The Scriptures - Everything for life and godliness  Dec 25, 2007
In this book the Author reminds us that the Bible provides for the believer 'everything for life and godliness' 2 Peter 1:3, and instructs how to apply the riches of Christ that is our inheritance at Salvation. To be in Christ is to have: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption 1 Corth 1:30. His grace is supplied, we have every spiritual blessing. Eph 1:3.

The Author shows how major shifts in theology and practice have had various effects on the Church. In addressing Gnosticism, (defined as a heresy that causes people to seek hidden knowledge beyond what God has revealed in His word and through Christ.) John MacArthur shows how these old heresies are troubling the Church today, and are currently challenging the authority of Scripture and the Gospel. Modern believers are mixing God's word with psychology and mysticism. He writes that people don't go heretical all at once, "It is gradual. And they do not do so intentionally most of the time. They slip into it through soddliness and laziness in handling the word of truth.... a flashy new idea, along with a little laziness or carelessness or lack of precision in handling the truth of God."

This book covers many topics besides the ones we've listed. This book was clearly a great book for christian growth. Your faith will be strengthen. Recommended reading.
Our Sufficiency in Christ  Nov 22, 2007
What the fictitious Screwtape feared the most was `mere Christianity.' To it he wanted to contaminate with his concoction of `Christianity And.' As long as believers are convinced that `The Same Old Thing' was insufficient for true satisfaction, they would look for supplementary idols to fill their vacuum that only Christ can legitimately fill. And so the search is on. Instead of looking where the answers lie, Christians choose to look elsewhere for alternatives. But the alternates, by their very nature, are inadequate substitutes. MacArthur's thesis is that by denying the absolute sufficiency in all things spiritual that we have in Christ, we have embraced misleading, unsatisfactory, counterfeit and ultimately spiritually harmful surrogates. (pp. 15ff)
We have embraced the modern promotion of psychology, even in its evil step-daughter Christian psychology. We have sought after `how-to' philosophies of pragmatism; mysticism's Deeper Life and Charismatic offshoots; materialistic hedonism's siren of "have the best of both worlds"; legalism's do-it-yourself sanctification; asceticism's deny-every-creature-comfort to become spiritual; Quietism's passivity; Pietism's strenuous activity among other feeble attempts to add to our salvation that which only Jesus can provide. In contrast, MacArthur reminds us of the beautiful balance (Phil 2:12,13) we have in the Divine/Human cooperative of His sovereignty and our responsibility in the area of our progressive sanctification.
MacArthur's position is that Christ's power and person has provided perfect sufficiency for everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3; Col 2:8,9). In addition, His Scripture is totally sufficient to equip us thoroughly in the areas secular and Christian psychologies have attempted to usurp (2 Tim 3:16,17). Good Book, Thomas Hamilton

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