A Unique Gathering of People
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Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press
The church lies at the centre of God's purpose. Christ gave himself 'to purify for himself a people that are his own'. But when we think about church, there's the tension between the ideal and the reality. The former is beautiful: God's special treasure, the covenant community, a haven of love and peace. The latter? A motley rabble needing constant rebuke and exhortation. Here we focus on the ideal, on what God intends his church to be, while all the time keeping in view the reality, so that we can grasp the changes that need to be made.
[Re The Contemporary Christian] Vintage Stott, with all that that implies. As usual, we find him digesting and deploying a wide range of material with a symmetry matching that of Mozart, a didactic force like that of J C Ryle, and a down-to-earth common sense that reminds one of G K Chesterton. This is really a pastoral essay, a sermon on paper aimed at changing people... an outstandingly good book. ...an expository treat... Bible-based and well researched, intimate and magisterial in style. Passionately calm and generous to a fault, a beautifully written contribution to what Stott calls 'BBC':'balanced biblical Christianity'. -- Dr J I Packer * The Contemporary Christian - original book * Technology has enabled more voices to clamour for our attention than ever before, while at the same time, people's ability to listen carefully seems to have deteriorated like never before. John Stott's speaking and writing was renowned for two things in particular. He taught us how to listen attentively to God in order to live faithfully for God, and he to modelled how listen to the world sensitively in order to communicate God's purposes intelligibly. He taught us to listen. That is why it is such a thrill to see The Contemporary Christian carefully revived in a new format as this series for a new generation of readers. As we read, may we listen well! -- Revd Mark Meynell, Director (Europe & Caribbean) Langham Preaching, Langham Partnership and author of Cross-Examined and When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend [Re The Contemporary Christian] I was ten years into my ministry when The Contemporary Christian was published. I had already heard John Stott deliver some of the material in lecture form, but to have it in print was a real asset. It was a masterclass in presenting and applying the balanced biblical Christianity for which John Stott was renowned. It was extremely perceptive with its call for double-listening, and it was intensely practical, especially in the chapters on preaching and pastors. It was also unusually personal for John Stott, with his poignant appeal for 'young Timothys' which was penned as he celebrated his statutory 'three score years and ten', after which, he said, 'every new day is a bonus which I receive gratefully from God's hand.' I am so glad that these timeless truths are now to be made available to a new generation of 'Timothys'. -- Revd David Johnston, former Senior Minister at Hamilton Rd Presbyterian Church, Bangor, N Ireland I am delighted that a new generation will now be able to benefit from this rich teaching, which so helped me when it first appeared. As always with John Stott, there is a wonderful blend of faithful exposition of the Bible, rigorous engagement with the world and challenging applications for our lives. -- Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's Church, Oxford, conference speaker and author of the bestseller God's Big Picture (IVP) Imagine being a child overwhelmed by hundreds of jigsaw puzzle pieces - you just can't put them together! And then imagine a kindly old uncle comes along and helps you put the whole thing together, piece by piece. That is what it felt like reading John Stott's The Contemporary Christian. For those of us who feel we can't get our heads around our Bibles let alone our world, he comes along and, with his staggering gifts of clarity and insight, helps us step by step to work out what it means to understand our world through biblical lenses. It's then a great blessing to have Tim Chester's questions at the end of each chapter, which help us think through and internalise each step. -- Rico Tice, Senior Minister for Evangelism, All Souls Langham Place, London, and co-author of Christianity Explored I have long benefited from the work of John Stott because of the way he combines rigorous engagement of the biblical text and careful engagement with the culture of his day. The Contemporary Christian series presents Stott at his very best. It displays his commitment to biblical authority, his zeal for the mission of the church, and his call to faithful witness in the world. Stott's reflections here are a must-read for church leaders today. -- Trevin Wax, director of Bibles and reference at LifeWay Christian Resources, author of This Is Our Time and Eschatological Discipleship Inter-Varsity Press is doing a very good thing by bringing John Stott's The Contemporary Christian back into print-slightly modernized, helpfully rearranged, and broken into short, reader-friendly books. The result is a boon to a new generation of readers who will greatly benefit, as many have before, from Stott's thorough grounding in Scripture, unusual help for living the Christian life, and perceptive interaction with the contemporary world. -- Mark Noll, co-editor of A History of Evangelicalism John Stott's remarkable gifts are so evident here. He presents uncompromising truth with crystal clarity and sparkling turns of phrase. Here are Biblical truths for all-of-life discipleship. -- Glen Scrivener, evangelist, speaker and author, and Emma Scrivener, author, blogger and speaker In my formative years as a young Christian, I was acutely aware of the fact that I faced many challenges to Christian thinking and behaviour. Few writers helped me understand how I should respond to these challenges and think and live as a Christian as much as John Stott did. The challenges of faithfulness to God's way are more acute and complex today than when I was a young Christian. In this little book you find the essence of Stott's thinking about the Christian life, and it is refreshing to read again and see how relevant and health-giving this material is for today. I'm grateful to Inter-Varsity Press and to Tim Chester for making Stott's thinking accessible to a new generation. -- Ajith Fernando, teaching director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka It is always refreshing, enlightening and challenging reading from the pen of John Stott. I am totally delighted that one of his most significant works will continue to be available, hopefully for more decades to come. The way Stott strives to be faithful to the Word of God and relevant to his world-secularized Western society-as the locus for the drama of God's action, is exemplary, especially for those of us ordained to the service of the church in our diverse contexts. I highly commend the Contemporary Christian series to all who share the same pursuit-listening intently to God's Word and God's world, hearing and obeying God. -- Bishop David Zac Niringiye, author of The Church: God's Pilgrim People