I love a simple, yet profound, challenge for my Christian life. I love a devotional work with enough bite to deliver that challenge. John Stotts final volume is just such a work.
He covers eight areas that he feels are some neglected aspects of our calling. Short, sweet, and inspiring, these chapters carry more punch than their size suggested.
His first chapter entitled Noncormity was extraordinary. In only eleven pages he wove the ideas of escapism and conformism being forbidden, the failure of pluralism, materialism, and relativism, and ugliness of narcissism in a meaningful way. He explained how self-love is a sign of the last days. The next chapter on Christlikeness was moving in that he wrote from the perspective that God wants his people to become like Christ, for Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.
In the chapter on maturity he answers the question about what is the best description of Christianity today. What is that answer? Growth without depth. Wow! Could it be better stated? That whole chapter was memorable.
I really couldnt connect on the next two chapters, but the rest of the chapter more than compensated for the two I felt of little worth. After these two, he got back on track.
The final two on dependence and death were as compelling as any I have read. Dependence, even in a declining health situation, can be a good thing. His own suffering punctuated the words that made sense even if we must begrudgingly admit it. His chapter on death would not have meant as much written by a young man. He would die within two years of writing this chapter. He stared down death as one safe in Jesus and I was moved as I read it.
Reasonably priced, not too long, but a real spiritual treatI recommend this as a treasure.
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John Stott was a pretty big name and having read several of his works and been both impressed and influenced by them, I was saddened by his death last year. I believe that this is his last book and he explores various issues that he sees to be neglected by many who call upon the name of Christ.
If you are unfamiliar with Stott, this would be a good first read, as it is short and to the point and not overly complicated. I really appreciated his thoughts in chapter 4 on "Creation Care" and that is certainly an area that many Christians are waking up to. That being said, for long-time Stott fans, this book feels somewhat lacking due to its brevity. It has the look and feel of one of those inspirational books you might buy for a recent high school grad but it didn't seem to be marketed that way. Putting a positive spin on it, I could see this being useful for discussion groups of various ages.
In "The Radical Disciple" John Stott calls for those who call themselves Christians to recognize the distinctiveness of "discipleship" for the true follower of Christ.
I had forgotten the compelling nature of John Stott's writing. By the end of the second sentence of chapter one Stott had my attention. Words like radical, non conformist, sacrifice, and holiness are the easiest to assimilate into daily living. "Escapism" and "conformism" are more typical of many well meaning Christians today. Stott points to another kind of conformism in chapter two, a conformity to Christ likeness. He goes on to provide the Biblical basis, some New Testament examples, and the practical consequences. Insightful instruction.
Chapters four and five "Creation Care" and "Simplicity" left me unsettled. I am going to have to revisit my personal Christian world view in light of today's environment of political mistrust, international unrest, and religious division. The chapters "Dependence" and "Death" are important and soul searching.
Stott's writing is clearly Biblical and cross cultural. John Stott's life exemplifies "The Radical Disciple" he writes about.
A Complimentary Review Copy of the book was provided by Inter Varsity Press.