I will be the first to admit that I’m a fan of the great Anglican pastor, writer and apostle to the university student, John R.W. Stott. When I was in college I began reading his books, listening to him speak — my first opportunity was a summer missionary in Europe at EuroFest 75 — and even writing him personal letters.
When Stott wrote a piece once and I responded, I sent it to him; he asked me to consider adjusting it some. Which I did. When he got to TEDS one time to address us in chapel, he looked me up, gave me a hug and said, “Thanks.” So, when I saw that this aging apostle to the universities had written what amounts to a testament for pastoral ministry, I had to get it and read it. (I could have put this in my Books of the Year.)
I’d love to hear from you what you have learned from John Stott. What are your favorite books of his? What did you learn from him most?
I’ll start with this then give the book a push. I heard him once say that a person’s calling was to go wherever his or her gifts could be exploited the most. Wow did that idea settle into me.
The new book is called The Living Church. John Stott is a diamond cutter. He opens up a text, looks it over carefully, then with one gentle tap the text falls open before our eyes. This book does this on the following themes, and if you are a pastor, this book is a great little survey of pastoral theology.
The essentials are studied through Acts 2:42-47.
Worship is biblical, congregational, spiritual and moral.
Evangelism’s theology, structures, message, and life.
Ministry is both for the Twelve (Word-based) and Seven (Social-based).
Fellowship is our common inheritance, service and our mutual responsibility.
Preaching is both contemporary and biblical, tentative and authoritative, pastoral and prophetic, studied and gifted, and passionate and thoughtful — and I see I have reversed his order of words in each.
Giving — ten principles.
The impact is like salt and light.
And he appeals to Timothys in our world today.
Three appendices: one why he is still in the Church of England, his “I have a dream” speech, and some reflections of an octogenarian.
My next post on the wisdom of Anglicans will be a brief review of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Tokens of Trust.