Godly Ambition: John Stott and the Evangelical Movement  -     By: Alister Chapman
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Godly Ambition: John Stott and the Evangelical Movement

Oxford University Press / 2011 / Hardcover

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Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 0199773971
ISBN-13: 9780199773978
Availability: In Stock

Publisher's Description

British Christian leader John Stott was one of the most influential figures of the evangelical movement during the second half of the twentieth century. Called the pope of evangelicalism by many, he helped to shape a global religious movement that grew rapidly during his career. He preached to thousands on six continents. Millions bought his books and listened to his sermons. In 2005, Time included him in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Alister Chapman chronicles Stott's rise to global Christian stardom. The story begins in England with an exploration of Stott's conversion and education, then his ministry to students, his work at All Souls Langham Place, London, and his attempts to increase evangelical influence in the Church of England. By the mid-1970s, Stott had an international presence, leading the evangelical Lausanne movement that attracted evangelicals from almost every country in the world. Chapman recounts how Stott challenged evangelicals' habitual conservatism and anti-intellectualism, showing his role in a movement that was as dysfunctional as it was dynamic.

Godly Ambition is the first scholarly biography of Stott. Based on extensive examination of his personal papers, it is a critical yet sympathetic account of a gifted and determined man who did all he could to further God's kingdom and who became a Christian luminary in the process.

Author Bio


Alister Chapman (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is Associate Professor of History at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, where he teaches modern European history. His publications include Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and The Return of Religion, edited with John Coffey and Brad S. Gregory.

Editorial Reviews


"Chapman's biography helps us remember Stott as immensely gifted, dedicated, and ambitious for God's glory. We learn more from this critical evaluation of his unexpected triumphs and excruciating failures than from merely laudatory obituaries."--Christianity Today


"Godly Ambition views the ministry of John Stott in historical perspective and puts it into its social context. The analysis recounts his well-known successes but, just as illuminating, his unreached goals and disappointments. The result is a judicious, fair-minded, and instructional look at one of the most remarkable Christian leaders of the past 100 years. It is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand contemporary world evangelicalism." --Timothy Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church


"Alister Chapman's well-crafted study expertly situates the career of John Stott, first in Stott's post-war efforts to revitalize evangelical forces in Britain's Anglican churches and then from the 1970s as a thoughtful leader of evangelicals around the world. Chapman's wide-ranging and empathetic effort to probe the 'godly ambition' of his title make this an important book for an exceedingly important figure in the modern world history of Christianity." --Mark A. Noll, author of America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln


"A fascinating, insightful, and thought-provoking analysis of the life of one of the seminal religious figures of recent years-and a riveting read, too." --Stephen Tuck, Fellow and Tutor in History, University of Oxford, and author of We Ain't What We Ought To Be: The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama


"John Stott has been a giant influence in the shaping of evangelicalism in the English-speaking world and far beyond. He embodies much that is most thoughtful and winsome in the movement. Godly Ambition will reward its readers on multiple levels. From John Stott's pacifism during his formative years to his global vision in his final days, Alister Chapman's account of his life will illumine the broader development of not only Stott but evangelicalism itself." --John Ortberg, Senior Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church


"The global Evangelical movement was moulded by a wide range of individuals in the later twentieth century. None was more important than John Stott, who by his lucid writing and strategic vision forged attitudes that were intellectually mature but still spiritually vibrant. Alister Chapman's account of John Stott's life is a probing appraisal of his significance that explains the trajectory of his career without diminishing his stature." --David Bebbington, Professor of History, University of Stirling


"John Stott is more than Anglican but not less. Earthed in his 'beloved' Church of England, his influence has percolated throughout the world-wide evangelical movement, through preaching, theological reflection, writing, statesmanship, and personal contact. Alister Chapman's profoundly perceptive biography combines erudition and concise comment. With full access to Stott's private papers, he writes out of a hinterland of historical perspective, comprehensiveness and scholarly critical distance." --The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne


"For scholars, Chapman's book is the starting place for any future studies of Stott (there will be many) and a template for how to write a good biography that balances appreciation for the subject without resorting to hagiography."--Themelios


"This book is a splendid success. It is admirably concise, pithily written, and based on a wealth of manuscript and relatively obscure printed sources. It adroitly avoids hagiography on one hand and debunkery on the other, and is a model of engaged, sympathetic yet critical scholarship which is sure to find a wide readership. It is only to be regretted that Stott himself did not live to see it published."--Reviews in History


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  1. Rev Andy Bawtree
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A window on John Stott and his world
    March 14, 2012
    Rev Andy Bawtree
    Quality: 5
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    Meets Expectations: 4

    This book doesn't have the attachment that Tim Dudley-Smith has to Stott but being of a different generation Chapman nevertheless provides an insight to both the Church of England and Anglican Communion over the last 60 years in general and Anglican Evangelicals in particular. Stott's passion for Jesus and His kingdom shines through this concise work. The willingness he shows to change course for the sake of the Gospel in a changing world is a model for all Christian leaders worldwide, for whom John Stott gave his time and energy. Moving beyond the British Isles and English speaking churches from the beginning of his ministry, Stott truly is a giant amongst 20th Century Christian leaders. The fullness of his legacy and witness to the possibilities of what God can do on this celestial ball will only be known at the end of time, before then thousands if not millions of Christians have benefitted from John Stott's Godly ambition.

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