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Christian Basics: An Invitation to Discipleship Paperback – November 1, 2003
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From the Back Cover
Christian Basics is a classic introduction to the Christian faith and a refresher course in Christianityís essentials. Respected author John Stott answers questions such as:
What is Christianity all about? The essence of the Christian faith is not a creed, a code of conduct, or a collection of worship services. Christian Basics explains how Christianity revolves around the person of Jesus Christ and our relationship to him.
What does a Christian believe? Christian Basics presents summaries of Christian beliefs, structured around an affirmation of the three Persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
How do I live as a Christian in a complex world? Jesus summed up Godís moral law in terms of love-not sentimental or selfish, but strong and sacrificial. Christian Basics explains how to build up your spiritual strength through a disciplined life in the Spirit.
This accessible guide includes end-of-chapter discussion questions, group activities, and suggestions for further reading and Bible study.
Rev. Dr. John Stott has an international ministry as a gifted preacher and biblical scholar. He lives in London, England, and is the author of many books, including Understanding the Bible. Stott is one of the most highly respected Bible expositors of our time.
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Using it right now as a basis for confirmation for my son and it is opening doors to education and information that I do not have the adeptness and depth to provide.
The book is separated into three sections, Christians Beginnings (briefly mentioned), Christian Belief, and Christian Behavior. The book clearly accomplishes the task of the title, a concise explanation of Christian Basics. It is not a theology or doctrinal book, but it does summarize well the basics. It would be a great resource for a Sunday school class or teen group, and at the end of each chapter there is opportunity for homework assignments. There are some noticeable differences in his theology and methodology, but nothing that cannot be sorted out with proper discussion. In fact, I enjoy reading other ideas because they help to refine my thinking and theology. Sunday school classes are great opportunities for such discussions; participants can discuss the differences and identify why they agree or disagree (stating biblical reason and/or verses). If participants are unable to do this, well, it would be obvious that some more teaching is would be helpful
On page thirty-one Stott writes, “The Father has accepted the Son’s sacrifice for our sins. he has publicly demonstrated his approval of it by raising him from the dead and setting him at his right hand. (p. 31) This confirmation that Stott has drawn can be used to encourage believers in the finished work of Christ. It also demonstrates the power of God, and placing Christ at the right hand reveals that Jesus is who He claimed to be.
It is always helpful when an author provides an outline and listing within each chapter. This helps each reader to understand what each section is about and leaves opportunity to return to meaningful sections of the book. While teaching in a class or Bible study the teacher can say turn to page eighty, point number three, “The session and return of Jesus.” One can recognize how the outline can be helpful for quick referencing in a teaching scenario.
There were a few meaningful passages that deserve recognition. On page seventy-five Stott writes, “Jesus was extremely self-centered in his words, but absolutely unselfish in his deeds. He sounded proud, but he was humble.” (p. 75) The Scriptures clearly demonstrate the humility of Jesus, but what a noted contrast. Jesus claimed greatness and power (rightly so), yet His actions demonstrate meekness and humility. What Stott has written is a great reminder of who we are following, and who we are to imitate.
The section on The Work of the Holy Spirit (p. 86-91) was an excellent read and brought comfort. Stott writes, “Jesus universalizes and internalizes the presence of Jesus.” (p. 87) The implication is that Jesus was limited to one location at a time, but now, as a result of the Spirit we are always in the presence of Jesus. A reality that Christians cannot afford to neglect. Stott continues, “the indwelling Spirit actively assures us of God’s love and fatherhood… the Spirit, our first installment of our salvation, assuring us that the fullness will in due course be ours as well… His ministry is not only to show Christ to us, but to form Christ in us… if the Holy Spirit is the primary author of Scripture, he is its primary interpreter to.” (p. 89-91)
John Stott clears up exactly what is vital for Christians to believe and do to truly be Christian. He defines the Trinity, Person by Person, explains the basic sacraments, tells why prayer and Bible reading are important, etc. In the end, there is a section of prayers to get you started in making this basic habit a part of your life.
**** For both new and old believers, this book will be helpful. It could also be an evangelism tool to show the "lost" the true path in an easy to follow manner. ****