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Bibliophilial Reminiscings

1988 was a big year for me. For starters, that was the year I got married; a rather life-changing event, that was. Then, as if I wasn’t in enough turmoil, John MacArthur published The Gospel According to Jesus. I had already been listening to Grace to You daily for a few months, getting my first—in my entire life!—taste of expository preaching. I loved it, and was being fed like never before. I had been a Christian for about three years, but had as yet not done any serious theological reading. My entire library fit in one cardboard box, and excluding textbooks from my one year at a Lutheran Bible School, contained two Christian books—two of those cute little gift-size hardcovers by Charles Swindoll. Then John MacArthur started talking about his new book, and I immediately bought it. I had been a voracious reader before, but this was the first serious Christian book I had ever read. It was a new birth, of sorts. Every Christian book I’ve bought since then is a godson of that one, and has been measured by that standard. In the following years, I bought every major MacArthur book published, and read them fanatically.

Then came the internet. You see, I never had a computer until about 1999/2000, and the one I got then was an antique hand-me-down with Windows 3.1 and (I think) a hard drive measured in megabytes, and no modem. It was just a fancy typewriter and electronic toy (I got my Minesweeper time down to five seconds). I didn’t get the internet until I upgraded in 2003, and that’s when my library exploded. It is amazing to me how little I knew of Christian authors before I came online. But then, before the internet, all I had was Christian radio and local Christian bookstores, and frankly, neither are very helpful. Giving my bookshelves a quick once-over, I see only a few non-MacArthur theological books that predate my internet days: Strong’s Concordance, Berkhof’s Sytematic Theology, Hans Neilson Hauge by A. M. Arntzen, Pilgrim’s Progress, a few Lutheran texts, and—hang on—The Works of James Arminius and Finney’s Systematic Theology (there are a few others I’ve gotten rid of, and, I’m sure, some I don’t see). So probably ninety-plus percent of my theological library was MacArthur.

Then, as I said, came the internet. I found lots of people who liked MacArthur, and they liked people like Sproul and Piper; and MacArthur, Sproul and Piper, et. al., liked all these authors that I’d never seen in bookstores with names like “Doves’s Nest” and “Rainbow Shop,” and things really got out of hand. Most fiscally devastating of all, somewhere in there came Banner of Truth and Iain Murray, and I became mesmerized by all those dead guys.

I have continued buying MacArthur just as faithfully as before, but now, with all those distractions, I have two or three unread MacArthurs on my shelf. I’ve been itching to read him again, so when The Jesus You Can’t Ignore arrived last week, I knew it had to be next. And just cracking the cover and reading the Prologue and Introduction was like coming home to a man who, though I’ve met him but once for all of about thirty seconds, really is a father in the faith.

Tune in tomorrow . . .

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#1 || 09·10·21··18:56 || Victoria

Well David- I cut my theological teeth on dear Johnny Mac in my 20's, and I was hooked too.

I am now 60+ and am convinced that no one on the planet can do better than him!

He is 10 years my senior but is truly my father in the faith!

#2 || 09·10·21··20:11 || David

   Wow, you’ve been there almost from the beginning, then. I agree, there’s none better.

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