Remaining Faithful in Ministry by John MacArthur: A Book Review
In all likelihood, the ministry God has called me to is very much on the front end. However, I think that is all the more reason to already think about being faithful and finishing well. I would assume that the best people to learn those kinds of lessons from are people who have been in ministry a long time or have already finished well. That is why I’m grateful John MacArthur has written Remaining Faithful in Ministry.
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. He has pastored this same church for fifty years! He has written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. He is also the president of Master’s Seminary and Master’s University. One would think that he has some very important things to say about remaining faithful in ministry.
In Remaining Faithful in Ministry, MacArthur takes the reader through 2 Corinthians 4 examining nine convictions of the apostle Paul that MacArthur believes kept him faithful to the end. MacArthur says, “But when people ask who has been my greatest influence and model for ministry, I have to say hands down it is the apostle Paul.” What you will find in this book is more of a look into 2 Corinthians 4 and the apostle Paul’s life rather than a look into MacArthur’s life and ministry.
MacArthur’s insights into this chapter in 2 Corinthians are valuable. They are encouraging. Many of them I found challenging—especially the last few chapters. Regarding suffering in ministry he says, “Those who don’t embrace their suffering are more likely to defect from ministry, fall on the hillside before they get to the summit, or abandon the faith altogether.” Regarding courage in speaking he says,
It is the very essence of faith to say, “I believe and so I speak.” If I truly believe something, I must say it, no matter if it brings persecution. Silence or compromise might mean a measure of comfort, acceptance, or even popularity. But it lacks integrity and smacks of cowardice and infidelity. Like Paul, the Reformers, and every faithful minister who has ever been used by God, we are bound to speak what we believe, no matter the cost. We must have that kind of courage.
In our age and cultural climate, these are challenging words indeed.
What I expected from this book was not what I received and I was somewhat disappointed. While we can—and I did—learn much from the apostle Paul, I believe some of the most powerful books regarding “how to’s” are ones that give many stories and examples. I was hoping MacArthur would give the reader many stories from his life and ministry. I was hoping he’d give lessons he’s learned through various situations and trials in his own life, but the reader gets almost none of these. I think stories throughout every chapter would’ve really added to this book. I know that sounds a little crazy since we’re dealing with the apostle Paul and how could one improve on that? But I do think many would appreciate more personal lessons from MacArthur’s own life.
I did still profit from this book and appreciated MacArthur’s insight. It is a short read, which I think adds to the benefit for busy ministers. I would still recommend Remaining Faithful in Ministry, just realize what you’re getting into before you begin so you don’t set yourself up for unrealistic expectations. MacArthur has so much wisdom and gives so much insight into 2 Corinthians 4 and the faithfulness of the apostle Paul. If you’re in ministry, do yourself a favor and pick this up for encouragement and edification. If you know someone in ministry, edify them by gifting this book to them.
You can pick up your copy of Remaining Faithful in Ministry on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for a fair and honest review.