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The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling Paperback – October 25, 2014
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"This is a (nearly) pocket-sized summary of practical and biblical wisdom from one of the giants of evangelical Christianity in the last century―one of those books that takes an hour or two to read and months to digest. Besides, who doesn't want to buy John Stott's last book?" (Leadership Journal, September 2010,)
"While the writer's unadorned prose, threaded with biblical references, adheres to the essentials fo Christianity orthodoxy, his deep concern for the prophetic and evangelical dimensions of Christianity comes through loud and clear." (Publisher's Weekly, April 12, 2010)
"Stott's writing is still crisp, cutting, and insightful, and his life-long love and devotion to God comes through clearly in every word of this challenging and encouraging book." (Jeff Friend, Worship Leader Magazine)
"Dr. Stott has gone to be with the Lord but he has left behind for us a rich legacy of biblical expression. Read his final words in The Radical Disciple." (John Lathrop, The Pneuma Review, Spring 2012)
"This book will be a rich inheritance for the evangelical community for decades to come." (Brad Sumner, Mennonite Brethren Herald, May 2010)
"Considered a dean of evangelical leaders of the last half century, Stott still deserves to be heard when he speaks. He continues to be relevant in analyzing destructive philosophical and lifestyle trends. As he approaches the end of his own life, he has provoking, yet comforting thoughts regarding the deaths of believers . . . An emphatic yes for church and Bible-college libraries." (Church Libraries, Fall 2010)
"Knowing this is Stott's final book, especially poignant are final chapters on dependence and death. Readers will reap the fruits of the author's solid grasp of Scripture and life experience. Highly recommended for anyone desiring to live an authentic Christian lifestyle." (Neil Bartlett, CBA Retailers & Resources, August 2010)
"This slim volume is good reading, a lovely immersion into the truth of God's revelation in Scripture, full of wise words for those who find themselves on a pilgrimage through a dark world towards a City filled with divine light. The Radical Disciple is more like what I imagine he might say to a young friend who is accompanying him to the place of his retirement, and who has the chance to listen in on what Stott is most exercised to pray for when he thinks of the church he has served so faithfully for so many years. It isn't the final word, perhaps, but it's a timely one, and a word of wisdom worth heeding." (Dennis Haack, Critique, 2010)
"Stott's book is not a marriage book, per se. It is a discipleship book, but most of the chapters have direct application to marriage. If we become Christlike, we will be different in our marriages. As we understand, pursue, and develop other neglected aspects of discipleship―non-conformity, maturity, simplicity, balance, and dependence―we should become better marriage partners. Stott, writing as though this is his farewell book, offers wisdom from his long pastoral experience. His transparency about his own mortality―'As I lay down my pen for the last time at the age of 88'―brought me to tears in several sections." (Susan Olasky, World Magazine, June 5, 2010)
"Stott examines eight aspects of radical Christian discipleship. . . . Characteristically, he gives attention both to the need for personal spiritual discipline that helps the individual believer grow into the likeness of Christ and to the need for social action that gives evidence of conversion. . . . Stott left a precious gift to readers. Treasure it, and be changed by it." (Ken Camp, Baptist Standard, February 16, 2015)
About the Author
John R. W. Stott (1921-2011) has been known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). His many books have sold millions of copies around the world and in dozens of languages. Stott's best-known work, Basic Christianity, has sold two million copies and has been translated into more than 60 languages. Other titles include The Cross of Christ, Understanding the Bible, The Contemporary Christian, Evangelical Truth, Issues Facing Christians Today, The Incomparable Christ, Why I Am a Christian and Through the Bible Through the Year, a daily devotional. He has also written eight volumes in The Bible Speaks Today series of New Testament expositions. Whether in the West or in the Two-Thirds World, a hallmark of Stott's ministry has been expository preaching that addresses the hearts and minds of contemporary men and women. Stott was honored by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" and was named in the Queens New Years Honours list as Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1969, Stott founded the Langham Trust to fund scholarships for young evangelical leaders from the Majority World. He then founded the Evangelical Literature Trust, which provided books for students, pastors and theological libraries in the Majority World. These two trusts continued as independent charities until 2001, when they were joined as a single charity: the Langham Partnership. Langham's vision continues today to see churches in the Majority World equipped for mission and growing to maturity in Christ through nurturing national movements for biblical preaching, fostering the creation and distribution of evangelical literature, and enhancing evangelical theological education.
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My only carp would be on the chapter concerning activism relating to overpopulation and climate control ( global warming) of which he seems to use dated information regarding statistics of overpopulation. His argument based on pro climate agenda is controversial and its conclusions and still debated and inconclusive.
Stott shares his views on issues relevant to today's Christians including pluralism, materialism, ethical relativism, narcissism and how Christians should respond to each. He provides a clear and compelling rationale for why Christians should desire to become Christlike and that it cannot be done on one's own but requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Stott describes today's Christian scene as "growth without depth" and encourages us to long to be close to Christ by studying the Word, worshipping, praying, living Holy lives, living simply, serving others and caring for creation.
Near the end of the book, Stott writes poignantly about his growing dependence on others and occasionally weeping that proves to be both liberating and healing. This comes as quite a surprise to Stott, a former graduate of the Rugby School who was taught to live by the philosophy of the "stiff upper lip" i.e. that one should not express emotions. Dependence on others, Stott explains, is integral to the Christian life, and is a surprising source of comfort and joy that is counterintuitive to the self-help, individualistic mindset of today, a point that the Rev. Jason Pankau more fully articulates in his book Beyond Self Help.
Stott concludes with a chapter on the Christian perspective of death. Death, says Stott, is required to experience the abundant life that only comes from taking up one's cross as Jesus did.
In conclusion, this is a powerful, wise and timely book that I highly recommend. It will help Christians see why they need to make the effort to be close to God and to grow Christlike character that will unite the body of Christ and show all people throughout the world that God loves them and sent Jesus to die for them so that they might have everlasting life.
He begins by explaining that by "radical disciple," he wants to emphasize the teacher-student relationship between Christ and the Christian, as well as the necessary deep-rootedness of commitment that Jesus requires from His disciples (14-15).
First, Stott argues that we have not exemplified nonconformity. Rather, we have sought escapism or conformism, Nonconformity is "a call to engagement without compromise" (19).
Second, Christlikeness. Stott argues that The Westminster Shorter Catechism is not strong enough - what God has called us to is to become like Christ. We are to be like Him in being incarnational, servants, loving, patience in enduring, and like Him in His Mission (31-34).
Third, maturity. Stott argues the greatest problem of the modern church is "growth without depth" (38).Maturity comes as one gets a clear portrait of Jesus through prayer and study of the Scripture (48).
Fourth, Creation care. Stott explains tat both dominion and being created in the image of God bear on our stewardship responsibility to care for the Creation, as well as the Scripture's teaching that the Creation will be restored on the last day - not destroyed. (I found this the weakest chapter because he does not explain how to care for the Creation.)
Fifth, simplicity. Not asceticism, but biblical simplicity. Rather that explain this briefly as Stott does with his other chapters, he prints the entire document, An Evangelical Commitment to Simple Life-Style (65-82). This would ave served better as an appendix; in the body of the book, I found myself going from listening to a kind teacher to slogging through a marsh.
Sixth, balance. In this chapter, Stott examines six metaphors that Peter uses to describe the disciples, and Stott shows that each is a balancing act as they all work together (97-98).
Seventh, dependence. This is the humility to accept that w not only need God but we need each other, both in understanding, and in emotional and physical well-being. (102).
Eighth, death. Stott examines the relationship of the fact of death to salvation, discipleship, mission, persecution, martyrdom, mortality, and the necessity of death if we are to live (133).
Stott's book covers a great deal of necessary material for the 21st century Church, though I would wish it had some expansion, and some additional editing. Also, in looking for the books that Stott quotes, I found that most of them are out of print, though somewhat available through the usual sources.
I hope Stott will write more on these issues or that others will take up his mantel and continue to show how we might become the radical disciples Christ has called us to be.
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