The Living Church

Last week, I read John Stott’s new book, The Living Church.  He has served the All Souls Church in London for sixty years.  The inside of the jacket of the book reads as follows:

At the 150th anniversary of the dedication of his church, John Stott gave voice to his dream for All Souls, London, and all souls everywhere: "I have a dream of . . . a biblical church . . . a worshiping church . . . a caring church . . . a serving church . . . an expectant church."

I read this book not necessarily looking for something innovative or even unique.  I read this book because I have such a deep respect for Stott who has served with integrity and has given ministers across the globe an example worth imitating.  Stott has modeled what it means to do ministry with a keen mind and a tender heart. 

Given Stott’s reputation and his example, I read with respect his dream for the church everywhere.  The book is Stott’s clear reminder of what the church has been called to be.

The following are a few quotes which I liked in particular:

"Mission" arises, then, not from the biblical doctrine of the church in the world.  If we are not "the church," the holy and distinct people of God, we have nothing to say because we are compromised.  If, on the other hand, we are not "in the world," deeply involved in its life and suffering, we have no one to serve because we are insulated.  Our calling is to be "holy" and "worldly" at the same time.  Without this balanced biblical ecclesiology we will never recover or fulfill our mission.  (p. 54)

We cannot proclaim the gospel of God’s love with any degree of integrity if we do not exhibit it in our love for others.  Perhaps nothing is so damaging to the cause of Christ as a church which is either torn apart by jealousy, rivalry, slander and malice, or preoccupied with its own selfish concerns.  Such churches urgently need to be radically renewed in love. . . .  (p. 69)

In order to build bridges that are solid, we have to study on both sides of the canyon.  It goes without saying that we must study Scripture until we are really familiar with it.  But we must also study the world in which we live.  Nothing has helped me do this more than belonging to a reading group which began in 1972.  We met every few weeks, having read an agreed non-Christian book, to discuss its challenge to our Christian world-view.  I call this "double listening,"  listening to the word of God and listening to the voices of the modern world, its cries of anger, pain and despair.  (p. 100) 

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10 thoughts on “The Living Church

  1. Lord willing, I’ll be reading this soon. Thanks for shining a spotlight on it. Also, I’ve really appreciated your recent posts under the title of: If I Could Start Over. Thanks for taking the time to share your heart. -bill

  2. I really like that “both sides of the canyon” quote. I’ll tuck that one away for the future.

    And thanks for stopping by Seedlings and commenting about the editors/publishers blogs list. I really do feel that people are missing a golden opportunity. So I was glad to know you plan to be a pioneer! (I’m picturing you with a little pan for sifting the editorial streams. 🙂

  3. L.L.Thanks very much.As I mentioned to you in the comment earlier, I am glad you posted those links.  Very helpful and I look forward to exploring.Consider me with a pan.

  4. Jim, thanks for these GREAT quotes from John Stott. His textbook about preaching and also  "The Cross of Christ" have been such a blessing to me.  But I had no idea he’d been at All Souls for sixty years.  Wow.

  5. Thanks Jim, for your kind comment at my blog.
    I so much repsect John R.W. Stott, and these quotes give a glimpse why. He was important for me early on, and I can only wish I would have followed on at that time, much closer to him and the likes of him. No book ore reading of what he has written is ever a waste of time, and always a blessing.
    And the same goes for you and your blog, as well, Jim. I have been so lax in blog reading, but want to improve. This week between the cold weather up here, and cutting drastically back on caffeine, I’ve mostly slept. We do look forward to Spring, here.

  6. Frank,Thanks very much.  I also gained a great deal from Stott’s book on the cross.  I have read it a couple of times and was blessed with each reading.

  7. Dear beloved church pastor and peoples Nease Greetings to you in the most precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am pastor Nk Rao [Age31]. I belong to Andhra Pradesh state in India . I was called for the ministry in 1996.  This is my 12 years of my ministry.  I am proclaiming Jesus love.  I  having  2  hut churches . Around 50 people are attending.  I am leading orphanage. I have 16 Orphanage children. We picked them from the dustbin and railways stations. The children who became victims of fire.  I am feeding the orphans since 2 years. By God’s grace the Lord is leading my ministry in a marvelous way. The Lord has rescued has from the life realties. The Lord is using with his love and sprit and ministry.
    We are doing lot of ministry activities in the ministry.  I am ready to be in his Kingdom.                  
    Dear sarvent of God  I have 3 children. Among them are twins [Age 8 ]  And last baby Sara[ 6 ] The twins’ names are hepsiba and Beulah. My wife name is indu Mary. 
    Dear pastor  We are so happy to inform you that we are conducting 3 days bible seminar and 3 days Gospel meetings in villages. We are inviting for this crusade. The Lord leads you kindly come and deliver God’s word for the crusades. I am praying that your baptisms to the people by your hands and you will encourage us and pray for us .
    Dear ministry people We need your encouragements and fellowship in this end days. We are clanked in the blood of Jesus Christ. Even thou we are known to each other but we are one in Christ. We brothers in Christ.  We should join our hearts and hands to reach people with God’s love. I am inviting you as your brother and friend.  Kindly come and proclaim gospel in our midst. Our country loves country and People are very good.  I am praying that Lord will use you mightily in south India .  If it not possible for you as the world of God says the people who wanted to go sent then, kindly share this matters to your friends and church prayers. Kindly introduce us to your church members. Kindly help the orphans. Kindly help us to move forward in reaching people.
    I am sending the ministry Pictures and me  to you. Kindly see it. I am inviting whole-heartedly. We are all  pray for you and your family and your ministry. Kindly pray for us. We look forward to hear from you and I hope to talk to you soon and see you, I love your family and your friendship. God be with you and your family and you’re al things and
    Continue to pray for us as we pray for you. We love you and trust that you will revel in the faith and love our Precious Redeemer.
    Thanking you.
    In Christ We Excel.
    your brother and friend  in Christ’s
    Pastor Nakka kanakarao [RAJU}
    Cell 0091_9394067174
    "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things
    whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with
    you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." –
    Matthew 28:19-20