Apr 302010
 

I’m reading John Stott’s last book…last as in final, not most recent.

The beloved Anglican wrote this from the nursing home he now lives in and it’s contents include his instructions for the disposition of his library when he dies.

These are Stott’s last thoughts that he wanted to share with the church he has served so well.

It’s called “The Radical Disciple” and that is a perfect description of Stott’s pilgrimage.

It’s a great little book, full of wisdom and love written with the winsomeness that is part of all Stott has done.

The book is intended to help us live likewise.

Unfortunately, I’m not John Stott.

I’m not a radical disciple…sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m a disciple at all.

I despair of ever being Stott-like, let alone Christ like.

The downside of reading a lot of books about great men of God is that they are constant reminders that you are not one of them.

If I wrote a final book it would be called “The Guy Who Barely Made It and Got In Smelling Like Smoke”.

Not really…even though it would be true from my perspective.

From God’s perspective the same blood covers me and brother John and he has given me the same robes of righteousness that Stott will soon be clothed in.

That, my friends, is stunning truth.

The ground is level at the foot of the cross.

That… is the Gospel.

No one preached it better than Stott, nobody needs to hear it more than me.

It’s truth…it’s true for you as well…even if your walk looks more like mine than Johns.


  No Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Michael,

    You’ve penned a beautiful, exquisite meditation that’s moved me deeply. Bless you, my brother.

    I met John Stott once. One of the most humble men I’ve ever met.

    I think I can safely say that he wouldn’t want you to emulate him — but to rejoice in Christ’s righteousness for you — as you so well said, we’re all the same in the Gospel.

    One reason I feel a strong bond to him is that as an Anglican, his anthropology (view of man) is synonymous with Calvinist and Lutheran views — “we’re all beggars.”

    His idea of “radical conservatives” is one that’s been in his writings for decades. I’m anxious to read this final book.

  2. Thank you, Lutheran.

    It’s a wonderful little book…but knowing it’s the last one has made it hard for me to get through.

    I would have liked to have met him…just to say thank you.

  3. Michael,

    Yes. I’ll probably shed some tears when I read it. I just found it in our local library system!

    I was involved in an InterVarsity group in college, and their publishing arm carried his books
    and he sometimes spoke at their national conventions.

  4. Good commentary Michael, I’m right there “smelling like smoke”.

  5. Praise God!!! the only smoke He chooses to smell on us is the sweet aroma of our prayers.

    Like you Michael, not what I generally smell of myself, but that is the Good News. Not my righteousness, but His. Again, PRAISE GOD in His Son Jesus!!!!

  6. Just ordered up Stott’s book from the library as well. And if I might make a reading suggestion – “Sin Bravely; An alternative to a purpose driven life” by Mark Ellingsworth
    Based on Luther’s idea of “sinning bravely”, understanding that all we do is marred by sin. As he says in the book, it is not permission to sin, but rather that even in our best of intentions we have selfish motives. Even if the motive is to be pleasing to God, it is “I” want to please God. While I don’t completely agree with him (he almost, if not, tries to turn it into a form of political activism), There is much to be gained, if from nothing else the plethora of Luther quotes he uses.

  7. Sorry brain not fully up to speed yet, it’s “Sin Bravely; a joyful alternative to a purpose driven life” by Mark Ellingsen

  8. Dewd,

    Your book suggestion has made my day! Thanks. Where did you find it?

    I found this summary of it on my library site — can’t wait to read it —

    Introduction: Why it’s more fun to be brave in your sinning — Rick Warren and American Christianity : what’s good and what’s bad — How purpose-driven living can lead to a life that’s all about you : the burden of self-centeredness — An Augustinian re-education about sin : relevant genetic data — A introduction to brave sinning : a God-centered life — Brave sinning makes for a joyful life! : neurobiological data — How brave sinning could change American life — Conclusion: Sin bravely!

  9. “Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not be wished to be looked upon as a sinner, or to be one. For Christ only dwells in sinners.”

    Letter from Martin Luther to George Spenlein, 1516, Letters of Spiritual Counsel

  10. From our vantage point, Stott has been a faithful man, therefore an example and encouragement to us. He is much more recognizable due to his fame. Yet there are men and women all around us who walk in equal, perhaps superior, faithfulness who are anonymous and overlooked. Their absence would not be a loss to the whole of Christendom, but devastating to those in their sphere of influence. We all bear a stewardship and God is acutely aware of our faithfulness in it. Thanks, Michael for the reminder today.

  11. Michael,”I’m not a radical disciple…sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m a disciple at all.

    I despair of ever being Stott-like, let alone Christ like”

    if i may 🙄 don’t try to be ‘like’ anyone – roll models are good to a point, but… IMO, we internalize Christ,and let Him make of us what He can – if He needs an Apostle Paul or a John Stott or a Chuck Smith, He’ll find one. I think what He’d say to each of us is something to the efffect: “I’ve already got one of those, so just concentrate on you and Me, kid.” 😉 that’s what i think – dunno

  12. Stott is a giant. He has been a huge force in my spiritual development. I absolutely love the guy.

  13. Lutheran-

    I found it at my library on the “new” shelf. That summary you posted even now reminds me just how good it was. Going to be one I add to my personal library. I had forgotten about the neurobiological data part. Latest studies show that doing/being involved/having purpose in something bigger than self (God, others) actually changes our brain chemistry and makes us happy. Dumps dopamine into the brain.One could even equate it to “being high on God”. Being someone diagnosed as Bipolar II, this had great weight with me, since brain chemistry/function is the issue. To me my own life is somewhat proof of it. Had I not known the Lord at an early age and active in fellowship and missions, I hate to think where I would be now. I screwed things up enough even with His influence. Can’t believe I forgot that. Well, not so surprised.

  14. Pastor FYI…you came out of the closet! Your link is showing 🙂

    Glad you’re here…and thank you for the kindness and grace and example you’ve extended me in private.

  15. It’s not private if you tell everybody 😉

  16. London…true…I’m good at bashing pastors when they do wrong (or are distrusted on my end)…

    I’m trying to repent in some areas and show some appreciation for the good guys…just want to affirm FYI because I believe he is the real deal. Not by his mere words…but by his actions when no one is looking.

    He (and Pastor Rolph’s) examples have spoken louder to me than any sermon they could ever preach.

  17. Dewd,

    I’m SO glad you found that book! God’s one-way grace is a radical thing — as one writer put it, it’s His ‘deep magic.’

    I’ve read that ‘God and the Brain’ book you referred to. It’s fantastic — not a theological treatise for sure (!), but great science. God bless you as you live with BPII. They’re finding out more and more these days about how very important brain chemistry is with regard to mental health.

    Would you mind sharing your email here, or alternatively, with Michael? I’d like to send you something privately. Thanks.

  18. You missed the point

  19. fyi,

    I echo your sentiment.

    John Stott has written 51 books. He was ordained as an Anglican priest/pastor in 1945.

    Even better than his books are seeing him in person, or hearing him! I know Regent in Vancouver has some of his lectures and I’m sure there must be others out there.

  20. Thank you Michael for this tip. I will have to get this last book and read it. I have only read Stott’s, “The Cross of Christ” and “Basic Christianity”. But, I very much enjoyed those…

  21. ordered it

  22. scottsevre@gmail.com

    already been identified from my photo by someone who hasn’t seen me in 25 years; know or am acquainted with several and have one blood relation who participate here; I am who I am, in Christ as he shapes and molds me so even bring on the debate 🙂 ; most any correspondence is welcome because to paraphrase Luther, it’s not good for those who suffer from depression to be alone with their own thoughts (mental illness especially, but really everyone IMO, but then I’m crazy 🙂 ) So unless you’re going to send me spam or “send this to 25 people and God will bless you e-mails” 😀
    – then any are welcome to write privately. It’s what we’re supposed to be doing, becoming knit together, thus becoming the “One Body of Christ”. Which does happen here. But one on one interpersonal takes it to another level. Which again, does happen here. But I’m talking in general. The “church” as a whole. Some is to be expected, the enemy is able to sneak his agents in and increase the leaven, be tares amongst the wheat. But I think what most here see and many elsewhere are seeing is a need for a fresh pouring out of God’s Spirit (Living Water) so that the wheat can be strengthened.

    I would equate what I see and have seen for 35+ years in Christ to a crop ravaged by drought and disease and locusts. This can only happen as we change the priority of self to not less than, but the same as or equal in importance as others. As we get to know other disciples along the path, becoming intertwined in their life, thus knowing how to love them, and the natural progression becomes the uniting of the body. Whether at work, church, from a blog, or our literal neighbors, as we serve others we not only have the opportunity to know other “existing” brothers and sisters in Christ, but to demonstrate, as well as then share the Good News. Thus producing more members with whom we’re knit together. And as we accumulate other members we’re knit together with, we are united to those whom they’re knit together with as well. I believe this sort of interpersonal interaction can grow a root system so strong that it can allow the wheat to actually start choking out the tares. But most importantly, simply improve (make more abundant) the life of the wheat.

    Sorry 😛 Really only intended to give my email and encourage others to write if they wanted. Hopefully in all of that God had something to say 🙂

  23. 2nd Paragraph, 2nd sentence my last post should read “This fresh poring out of Living Water can only happen…..

    Crazy brain

  24. *pouring* 😀

  25. “You’ve penned a beautiful, exquisite meditation that’s moved me deeply. Bless you, my brother.”

    Amen, Lutheran.

    Thank you, Michael

  26. Michael,
    Thank you. I don’t even have the words to express how I’m feeling about this. Sadness knowing that this is Stott’s last work. Joy in knowing that less-than-disciples like me are covered in the same cleansing blood.

  27. Had the privilege of one face to face encounter with the great man… penetrating eyes and piercing words… suggested that perhaps the American church lacked the moral authority to bear the witness of the Christ to much of the unreached world.

    I bought everything he wrote… and will get this one too. We will lose him soon. We will miss him and his like… but God will raise more…

  28. This looks like a good book… I have a few of Stott’s books. The Cross of Christ is epic and continues to be a good resource. His book Basic Christian Leadership was valuable even though I interpret Revelation 2-3 much differently.

    ‘suggested that perhaps the American church lacked the moral authority to bear the witness of the Christ to much of the unreached world. ”

    I’ve been thinking along those lines as of late. It’s seems church is for everyone but God. We can’t even speak effectively and authoritatively to our own culture, let alone the unreached world.

  29. Well put Centy

  30. I had a long diatribe, so I deleted it, and offer this, I hope you all have a blessed weekend.

  31. brian,
    I probably use the delete button more than any other on the keyboard. You have a blessed weekend as well.

  32. Hey, where’s Open Blogging? I want to beat Bob and be first! 🙂

  33. BD,

    Great story.

    I met John Stott at one of the Urbana missions conventions. He was doing a “Q and A” session. A charismatic student was trying to trap him with a question about the BOTHS. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and smiled and then paused a bit before answering.

    Hard to beat a Christian spokesperson who’s articulate, full of conviction, bright,studied, and also humble.

  34. …better be quick on the keystroke Kev…I’m coffeed up and ready to be FIRST! 🙂

    …you, too, Bob S! LOL.

    Feel like the lady in the Mervyn’s commercial….”Open…open…….open…” 🙂

  35. “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.
    That… is the Gospel.
    It’s truth…it’s true for you as well…even if your walk looks more like mine than Johns.”

    Those are some very encouraging words…like water in the desert.

  36. Looks like you’ll be first Believe. I’m off to men’s breakfast and worship team practice. See y’all later.

  37. ….”a watched pot never boils…”

    Open…open…open.

  38. thanks Dread…

    you guys are funny lining up to be first…….. lol!!

    off to Riding for the Son (CMA) today…..and it’s a balmy 37 degrees outside…….

  39. Enjoy Cent! Tropical weather you’re having in your neck of the woods! 🙂

  40. By the way, today is free comic book day nationwide. I am about to leave with the kids to get ours; er, uh, I mean theirs.

    http://www.freecomicbookday.com/

  41. Lutheran…my oldest went to Urbana this year and is associated InterVarsity. Great group! We’re having their end of the year party at our place next weekend 🙂

  42. Hi Linnea,

    That’s great! IMHO, they’re the best of the college interdenom. groups — at least when I was involved, which was decades ago. Thoughtful and balanced.

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