When I started this book, I really knew nothing about John Stott; by the time I finished, I had a good grasp of his life, his ministries, his preaching style (expository), his theology and view of Scripture, and along the way a better understanding of the world-wide evangelical movement. Author Tim Chester covers a great deal of material in a clear, engaging style. It’s not a difficult read.
I came away with admiration for Stott as a dedicated Christian who lived his faith to the fullest. His long-time secretary said working for Stott was like driving a car with an ambulance behind you, with light flashing and siren blaring. His sense of urgency and dedication resulted in a highly fruitful life. He was the All Souls Church in London for many years; he wrote books, he worked with university students, and he was actively involved in any number of networks and organizations, some within the Anglican church, others outside.
Stott considered Scripture to be the highest authority and when presented with differing interpretations, he sought balance by “double listening” — thoughtfully taking the good points from each view. He was an irenic personality who worked for peace and reconciliation between groups and individuals. Although he did not discount the religious experiences of others, he believed that study of the Word was the most important factor in determining correct theology. He was devoted to the church and saw it correctly as a disciple-making community.
Chester quotes Stott extensively, as well as other evangelicals of his era, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll wind up with a list of other books you want to read.
VERDICT: 5 Stars. Not only enjoyable, but challenging and informative. It’s part of a series, Theologians on the Christian Life, and so it may be interested in trying some of the other volumes.
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