Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

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.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received this as a free e-book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.

From and Before God by Sugel Michelen–Book Review

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book — after all, why does a layperson need to read a book that is subtitled  “Practical Introduction to Expository Preaching.”  Well, there are a couple of reasons.  The author, Sugel Michelen says,

”  I hope this guide may be useful for Sunday school teachers, small-group leaders, or anyone who has the responsibility of teaching the Scriptures in any context.”

I will never write a sermon, but I do teach, lead and sometimes write talks on Biblical topics.  I indeed found this book helpful in explaining how to research and present material.

In addition, From and Before God will give readers an appreciation for the hard work a pastor puts in to prepare and deliver a sermon.  For example, did you know that:

“It has been estimated that a preacher uses as much physical energy in half an hour of preaching as someone doing eight hours of manual labor.”?

When a pastor enters the pulpit he knows (or should) that he is preaching “from and before God.”  It’s a daunting responsibility.  Michelen makes the point that preaching is proclaiming God’s Word, not a man’s opinions.  Part of the work is to teach members of the congregation how to properly study and interpret the Bible.  The only one in the audience who must be pleased by this work is God Himself.

Finally, this book will help readers understand and be able to identify good preaching.  This could prove to be crucial information for anyone involved in a call committee.

The author explains the theology reasons for preaching;  he then defines the nature, form and content of an expository sermon and why he considers it the best method of preaching.  Finally he guides the reader step-by-step through the preparation of a sermon, along with the finished product.  He also discusses delivering the sermon.

The book is peppered with interesting quotes by other teachers, preachers and theologians, and there is a lengthy list of further reading at the back.

VERDICT:  Five stars.  I strongly recommend it!

For another book about preaching, go to this post:

Letters to My Students Vol. 1: On Preaching by Jason K. Allen–Book Review

If you would like to purchase the book follow this link:


The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255