Review of ‘The Challenge of Preaching’ by John Stott


John Stott, The Challenge of Preaching, abridged and updated by Greg Scharf (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015). Paperback Preaching is not the only thing pastors do, but it is one of the most important things—if not the most important thing. Pastors thus need to work at perfecting their craft through constant attention to proper exegesis and hermeneutics, effective introductions and conclusions, and helpful outlines and illustrations. Because it is so useful in all these regards, John Stott’s The Challenge of Preaching should find a prominent place in every pastor’s library. First published in 1982 as Between Two Worlds, The Challenge … Continue reading Review of ‘The Challenge of Preaching’ by John Stott

Mission: The Sixth Mark of an Ideal Church (Revelation 3:7–13)


Mission is the sixth mark of the church (Rev. 3:7–13). Before Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, he gave his disciples what we now call the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18–20). This commission consists of three elements: the fact of Christ’s authority, … Continue reading Mission: The Sixth Mark of an Ideal Church (Revelation 3:7–13)

Letters from Jesus (Revelation 2-3)


In Revelation 1, Jesus Christ appears in glory, standing in the midst of his churches. In Revelation 2–3, he writes letters to those same churches, filled with words of affirmation, correction, and promise.[i] Although originally addressed to churches in first-century Roman Asia, Jesus’ letters speak to issues faced by twenty-first-century American churches as well. Indeed, as John Stott points out, they identify “seven marks of an ideal church,”[ii] which make them perpetually relevant to each church in every age. Throughout Christian history, pastors have written letters of spiritual direction for entire congregations, as well as for individual seekers, converts, and … Continue reading Letters from Jesus (Revelation 2-3)

Review of ‘The Radical Disciple’ by John Stott


 John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2010). Hardcover / Kindle John Stott died in 2011, but his legacy lives on through his writings. The Radical Disciple is his final book, which he self-consciously wrote as a “valedictory message.” In eight short chapters, simply written but spiritually deep, Stott addresses “some neglected aspects of our [Christian] calling.” They are nonconformity, Christlikeness, maturity, creation care, simplicity, balance, dependence, and death. Stott’s concern throughout the book is the discrepancy between Christians’ stated beliefs and their actual behavior. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, … Continue reading Review of ‘The Radical Disciple’ by John Stott

Review of ‘Christ in Conflict’ by John Stott


 John Stott, Christ in Conflict: Lessons from Jesus and His Controversies, rev. ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2013). Paperback / Kindle  What is evangelical Christianity? Ask the average American, and they will probably answer with some variation on politicized religion of the right-wing variety. There is an element of truth to this. White evangelical Christians in America tend to be politically conservative, after all, voting for Republicans in large majorities. Then again, African American and Hispanic evangelicals, by contrast, tend to be economically liberal but socially conservative, voting for Democrats to a similar or greater extent. Worldwide, the politics … Continue reading Review of ‘Christ in Conflict’ by John Stott