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John Stott: The Radical Disciple

There are a number of things that impressed me about this book. First, was Stott’s assessment of the “Christian scene in the world today,” in chapter three (pg. 38). He described it as “growth without maturity” (pg. 38). Stott then cited other Christian leaders whose remarks supported his assessment of the situation. This lack of maturity manifests itself in doctrinal shallowness and aberrant behavior. Stott reminds us that the mission of the church is not just to make converts but rather to make disciples, who are mature in Christ.

The second thing that impressed me about this book was Stott’s vulnerability in chapter seven.  In this chapter he recounts a fall that resulted in him receiving a hip replacement. He found himself helpless on the floor and dependent on others. The aftermath of the accident and his subsequent surgery took its toll on him. He experienced disorientation and hallucinations (pg. 103). He was also moved emotionally. His usual calm reserve gave way to times of weeping (pg. 103-104). I was impressed that a man of the spiritual stature of John Stott would publicly admit this. It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of but he did not have to volunteer this information. He did it to help teach us a lesson about dependence.

The last thing that I will say about this book is that John Stott knew that this one would be his last. The notes on the back cover describe it as “his farewell address to the worldwide church.” In chapter eight he states “the end is in sight” (pg. 128), and on page 130 he mentions “reflecting on death and seeking to prepare for it.” The postscript of the book is titled “Farewell.” Like Paul of old he knew that his pen would soon be stilled and so for one last time he writes to pass on some parting instructions to encourage and instruct succeeding generations of believers. The last line of the postscript is “Once again, farewell!” (pg. 137).

The apostle Paul wrote that God gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11). John Stott was without question one of the teachers that the Lord gave to the body of Christ. Dr. Stott has gone to be with the Lord but he has left behind for us a rich legacy of biblical exposition. Read his final words in The Radical Disciple.

Reviewed by John P. Lathrop

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Category: Living the Faith, Pneuma Review, Spring 2012

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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