And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: Wayne Mack Maximum Impact

Wayne Mack. Living and Loving for God’s Glory. Phillipsburgh, P & R Publishing. 2010.  pp 301.


Wayne Mack has graduated Wheaton College (BA), The Philadelphia Seminary (Mdiv, Greek), and The Westminster Theological Seminary (Dmin-research project on marriage and family counseling).  He holds a position of being one of the charter members of NANC, the National Association of Nouthetic Counseling.  From 1958 through 1976 Mack served as a pastor.  Since 1976 he has consistently taught seminary level courses in biblical counseling. He has written over twenty books throughout his ministry including; Humility the Forgotten Virtue, Out of the Blues, and A Fight to the Death.[1]

Whereas many books help us in knowing what needs to be done in ministry, Wayne Mack’s Maximum Impact is more about telling us who we should be in ministry.  Though the book can be analytical at times, and does provide a few lists, it is most importantly a cache of wealth and wisdom to aid the counselor in remembrance to operate in love for the Lord and the counselee.  It serves well as a reminder that “without love, we are nothing.”


            Wayne Mack takes us through his tome as an exposition of 1 Corinthians 13.  Each aspect of love is exposited.  Additionally the remaining passages of the book of 1 Corinthians, are given as background to the main point, the application of real love.  We are reminded again and again that no matter what we do, if it is not out of a heart of love, we are working worthless works.   Mack reasons that: “Whatever unusual insight (knowledge) He may give to anyone is worthless unless the person possessing that knowledge dispenses it to others out of a real love for the people to whom he is ministering and, even more important, unless he does it because he is passionately in love with his God(17).”  Mack continues to set up the thrust of this book by stating: “…having a fruitful life and ministry is far more important for us to have lives that are permeated and motivated by real love than it is for us to be people who have great faith(17).”

            Mack does not diminish the role of faith in the believer, but rather addresses how love is a demonstration of faith by growing in the fruits of the Spirit.  Mack is agreeable when he shares how some serve out of duty, yet without love.  He relates how some people may give generously, but may do so without love.  Whatever our service may be within the church, if it is without love it is not sacrificial.  “Still further, Paul says that it is far more important for us to have lives that are permeated and motivated by real love than it is for us to be willing to suffer and even die and be martyrs for the cause of Christ (23).”

            Too often the “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 is read in a mundane, “I have heard this before” way.   Mack seems to realize this tendency of some people to gloss over the text; therefore, he takes time to focus on each adverb of the Biblical truth set before us by Paul.  In his usual style, Mack  writes in a way that you enjoy, as if for the first time, the truths of scripture. With challenging questions throughout, we are tested and trained with great seriousness.  One case in point is when he writes: “You have to ask yourself, ‘Have I done what He wanted me to do?  Have I loved and served Him in the way He deserves to be served (29)?’   Further questions, such as those for self-evaluation in each chapter’s conclusion, are quite necessary in their context.  The author agreeably works through the necessity of taking thoughts of the mind and applying them as actions of the heart.

            Mack makes an analysis of each facet of love in application.  Several statements throughout the book are worth noting as they give the reader an axiom by which to gain valuable direction in discipleship.  Mack reveals: “kindness may be defined as ‘love in working clothes (47).’  ‘Envy consists of a disposition of dissatisfaction or dislike over the fact or thought that someone seems to be ahead of us or above us or superior to us in honor, position, respect, success, possessions, or effectiveness (69).’  When it comes to bragging, Mack divulges: “The problem with our self-glorying is the problem with all sin; it is a good thing made evil because it is used not for it’s right end but to seek a wrongful end (92).”  He goes on to note that real love does not try to impress people with a litany of conversational topics such as our knowledge, possessions, skills, and accomplishments.  Out of the more extensive list on page 95 comes a series of applicable  situations in which no one can escape innocent.  Mack is not trying to condemn in his book, he is merely pointing out the deep need Christians have to rethink the way in which they operate under the name of Christ.

            When speaking on how love is not arrogant, Mack points out the Corinthians, “…acted as if they had generated their own abilities and therefore should be regarded differently from other people who may or may not have superior abilities (111).”  Mack teaches us the value of treating everyone equally.  This is a lesson that we may subtlety avoid, yet should take to heart.  Mack believes that such an attitude of the heart places us in the same danger that: “their arrogance was producing in them an attitude of self-sufficiency, complacency, spiritual indifference, spiritual pride, worldliness, compromise, and lack of zeal (112).”  Thus, Mack goes through each of the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians, outlining the residual entrapments to life that permeate the corresponding actions or thoughts.

            Page after page of Mack’s book offers insightful definitions of the biblical intent of each verse.  Properly following suit, a variety of concrete applications are illustrated.  Therefore, this book is quite advantageous to believers who want to make a maximum impact with the life God has given them.  Our world has too often shaped the church rather than the opposite.  Mack not only writes of the truth of scripture that we may glorify God,  he teaches that: “We should reflect on the fact that, according to 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, this is giving us another opportunity to develop the kind of love that will cause us to make a powerful impact on others in and out of our family for Christ (191).”  This is an agreeable tenant for the body of believers to rethink the purposes behind all ministries.  This appears to be a thread of responsibility that Mack finds in the scripture.  Several chapters hint at or directly conclude that one person’s sin affects the entire church.  This can be seen in the context of relating to others when Mack writes: “So when Paul says, ‘Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing [unrighteousness],’ he means that real love will not be glad in or take any joy in evil or unrighteousness of any kind (200).”  A further implied principal is that as believers who do love, we love for others to love.  True love for other believers will want to see them excel in the maximum impact that they are to have.  Stated in another way, if you are one who truly loves you will rejoice when others exceed your works of love for the glory of God.

            Throughout the book many assessments are made for the reader as to what the standard of love looks like.  Never are these held as legalistic mandates, for that would not incorporate love.  The truths behind real love are held before the reader as the revealed will of God for Christian living that is attainable by abiding in Christ.  Thus, love is a goal of great pursuit and enjoyment for those who are His.


Having read the book with great acceptance, this author agrees heartedly with Mack when he states…

“To pursue love means that you must want to be a loving person and you recognize love’s importance to yourself and others.  It means you are determined to show love even when it is hard to do.  In order to do this, you’ll have to spend some time considering just how to show love.  Pursuing love means that you are willing to discipline yourself to develop and manifest love.  Developing and sustaining this kind of love won’t come automatically or easy.  It will come as the result of a sustained, dedicated, and focused effort to follow the biblical directives delineated in this chapter.  It will be produced as we discipline ourselves for the purpose of acquiring the godly characteristic of love (1 Tim. 4:7) (287).”

There is a great value in this work. It has provided its readers with a reference point for all of ministry.  It humbly reminds us all to first have a love for God and to secondly put on the work clothes of love when dealing with others.  So impacting is this book, this author’s family is utilizing it for evening devotions.

[1] Many of these facts are taken from, accessed September 17, 2012.

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