By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service
15 April 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS) — Commenting on the idea of “leaving a legacy,” Billy Graham once said, “Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”
Fortunately for the evangelical church, John Stott has followed his friend Mr. Graham’s advice. He has left the contemporary church a legacy: a host of books, sermons, and individual lives touched for God’s kingdom. We should be thankful that Stott’s time on earth was not wasted-it was spent in the pursuit of God. In one way or another, John Stott has exemplified what it is to be a follower and true disciple of Jesus Christ.
Born in 1921, educated at Rugby and Cambridge, John Stott was pastor at All Souls Church in London from the late fifties until the early seventies. He spent the remainder of his life as iterant preacher, pastor, bird-watcher, and author.
John Stott has become one of the most influential men in the Christian world today (even in the “secular” media he has garnered some attention-by both Time Magazine and The New York Times).
In a day when the “celebrity-pastor” is the norm, John Stott remains a gentle reminder that the mark of a man is not his fame or fortune, but the makeup of his character and the quality of his life and work. All of this stems from his unwavering trust in the One he serves: Jesus Christ.
|Cover of Radical Disciple|
So as I picked up John Stott’s recent book, The Radical Disciple, my heart sank. Not because the book is bad (it is absolutely a “must-read”), but because it is touted as his “farewell address to the worldwide Church.” In and of itself, this should cause great pause, with the end result being a run to the bookstore to pick it up and digest its contents.
Much can be said of Stott. I have written other articles expressing his influence on my life, but besides my personal interest in his life and ministry, I believe this new book should be required reading for all Christians. Why? Simply because it is hued from 70 years of ministry and Christian living, underlined with the same message Stott has always chimed: Jesus is Lord!
The short book is broken up into eight chapters: non-conformity, Christ-likeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death. As you can see by the topics, even as a man in his 90’s, John Stott is still relevant in subject matter and fresh in his approach toward a broad array of issues.
But even more insightful is the title, Radical Disciple. In the introduction, Stott clarifies the use of these terms by stating, “Let me explain and justify the title of this book, The Radical Disciple.”
“First, why disciple? … My concern in this book is that we who claim to be disciples of the Lord Jesus will provoke Him to say again: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say. For genuine discipleship is wholehearted discipleship.”
|Brian and Cailan Nixon talking with John Stott in Newport Beach, California|
“Second, why “radical? … because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority.”
A one-two punch. John is not candy-coating the Christian life. In two words he summarized the gist of the book: radical and disciple. The Christian is called to be a passionate follower of the One he or she calls Lord. Nothing less will do.
John Stott is still a man with a mission. As the book states, “Stott here conveys what he has displayed throughout his life: to follow Jesus is to let Him direct the agenda for our lives. We don’t set the parameters of His lordship or avoid the costs of our commitment. He calls. We follow.”
John Stott’s voice is still needed in the world. Listen to it with care.
Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, minister, and family man. You may contact him at www.briannixon.com
Republished with the permission of and our thanks to:
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