John Stott on God’s Word

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.”
― John Stott

How has the Word of God changed you?

For more on John Stott see:

John Stott on the Christian Community

John Stott on the Holy Spirit

Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

Are You Committed?

“Jesus never concealed the fact that his religion included a demand as well as an offer. Indeed, the demand was as total as the offer was free. If he offered men his salvation, he also demanded their submission. He gave no encouragement whatever to thoughtless applicants for discipleship. He brought no pressure to bear on any inquirer. He sent irresponsible enthusiasts away empty. Luke tells of three men who either volunteered, or were invited, to follow Jesus; but no one passed the Lord’s test. The rich young ruler, too, moral, earnest and attractive, who wanted eternal life on his own terms, went away sorrowful, with his riches intact but with neither life nor Christ as his possession…The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half built towers—the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called “nominal Christianity.” In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism…The message of Jesus was very different. He never lowered his standards or modified his conditions to make his call more readily acceptable. He asked his first disciples, and he has asked every disciple since, to give him their thoughtful and total commitment. Nothing less than this will do”

John Stott

For more posts about John Stott see:

John Stott on the Christian Community

John Stott on the Holy Spirit

Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

John Stott on the Christian Community

“The invisible God, who once made himself visible in Christ, now makes himself visible in Christians, if we love one another.  God is love in his essential being, and has revealed his love in the gift of his Son to live and die for us  Now he calls us to be a community of love, loving each other in the intimacy of his family –especially across the barriers of age and sex, race and rank–and loving the world he loves in its alienation, hunger, poverty and pain.  It is through the quality of our loving that God makes himself visible today.  We cannot proclaim the gospel of God’s love with any degree of integrity if we do not exhibit it in our love for others.”

John Stott

For more posts about loving one another see:

Little Children, Love One Another

Love One Another

By Our Love

 

 

 

John Stott on the Holy Spirit

“Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible.  There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from His fruit, and no effective witness without His power.  As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead.”  John Stott

This quote pretty well sums up all we have been discussing this month about the Holy Spirit.  For more about John Stott, see these posts:

How Should We Then Live? –A Quote by John Stott

How to Read Scripture (according to John Stott)

Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

 

How Should We Then Live? –A Quote by John Stott

“Can a married woman still live as though she were a single girl?  Well, yes, I suppose she can.  It is not impossible.  But let her feel that ring on the fourth finger of her left hand, the symbol of her new life, the symbol of her identification with her husband, let her remember who she is, and let her live accordingly. Can a born-again Christian live as though he were still in his sins?  Well, yes, I suppose he can.  It is not impossible.  But let him remember his baptism, the symbol of his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and let him live accordingly.”

John Stott

For more on baptism see these posts:

Baptism, A New Beginning

The Freedom of Baptism

Spiritually Reborn in Baptism

 

 

How to Read Scripture (according to John Stott)

“The way we understand Scripture will affect the way we read it … Because Scripture is the Word of God, we should read it as we read no other book — on our knees, humbly, reverently, prayerfully, looking to the Holy Spirit for illumination.  Because Scripture is also the words of human beings, we should read it as we read every other book, using our minds, thinking, pondering and reflecting, and paying close attention to its literary, historical, cultural and linguistic characteristics.  This combination of humble reverence and critical reflection is not only not impossible;  it is indispensable.”

John Stott

For more about reading the Bible see:

Martin Luther on Reading the Bible

 

 

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:

https://www.crossway.org/books/stott-on-the-christian-life-tpb/

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.

The Wondrous Cross

In my last post, I wrote about John Stott, and his belief in the doctrine of the atonement as central to our Christian faith.  Some theologians today wish to downplay Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, even going so far as to call it “divine child abuse.”  (this reveals an improper understanding of the trinity, but that’s for another day).  Seems like many hymnists over the years disagree with this viewpoint, because there is an abundance of Christian songs which celebrate the cross.

Isaac Watts wrote one of them in 1707 — When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.  Watts is known as the father of English hymnody.  He broke tradition by publishing a book of hymns.  Most English churches at that time used only the Old Testament Psalms in public worship, but Watts believed that Christians should be able to celebrate all the aspects of the gospel proclaimed in the New Testament as well.  Below is a quote from the preface of Hymns and Spiritual Songs, in which he defends his view:

“Many Ministers and many private Christians have long groaned under this Inconvenience, and have wished rather than attempted a Reformation: At their importunate and repeated Requests I have for some Years past devoted many Hours of leisure to this Service. Far be it from my Thoughts to lay aside the Psalms of David in public Worship; few can pretend so great a Value for them as my self . . . But it must be acknowledged still, that there are a thousand Lines in it which were not made for a Saint in our Day, to assume as his own; There are also many deficiencies of Light and Glory which our Lord Jesus and his Apostles have supplied in the Writings of the New Testament; and with this Advantage I have composed these spiritual Songs which are now presented to the World.”

And here is his famous hymn about the wondrous cross:

For more hymns by Isaac Watts:

O God Our Help

Joy to the World

 

The Glory of the Cross

Recently I’ve been reading a book about John Stott (I’ll be reviewing it later this month).  Stott (1921-2011) was an English Anglican priest, well known as a leader in the worldwide evangelical movement.  The book gives an overview of his life, but primarily deals with his theology.  The chapter I’m reading right now explains his view of the atonement, and how crucial the cross is to a right understanding of the Christian faith.  Some theologians seek to downplay the need for a sacrifice to atone for our sins, but Stott believed it to be central (so do I). That idea brought the hymn, In The Cross of Christ I Glory to my mind.  Stott certainly gloried in the cross.

This hymn was written by another amazing English Christian, John Bowring (1792-1872).  Bowring was a gifted linguist, translator and scholar.  He had a distinguished career in politics and diplomacy.  This hymn, written when Bowring was only thirty, focuses on the crucified Christ.  It has been suggested that Galatians 6:14 is its’ basis:

Far be it for me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”

Listen to the words this morning and glory in the realization that Christ gave His life for you!

For more about the cross and the crucifixion see these posts:

Were You There?

In the Direction of the Cross

The Cross of Christ