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The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor [Hardcover]

By John R. W. Stott (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   180
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.81" Height: 0.79"
Weight:   0.86 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2007
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830834869  
EAN  9780830834860  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A worldwide preacher, evangelist, and communicator of Scripture reflects on his more than sixty years of service, providing an in-depth look at his ecclesiology and his dream for the body of Christ in the world today. Original.

Publishers Description
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 churchReflecting on his more than sixty years of service at All Souls and a worldwide ministry that led Time magazine to acknowledge him as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World," Stott alerts a church that is in transition to the marks of a church that is living.The Living Church is the full articulation of Stott's dream for the body of Christ in the world today. To the people of God who inherit the global church he has helped to build for the past sixty years, he bequeaths this calling: There is such a thing as goodness: pursue it. The postmodern mood is unfriendly to all universal absolutes. Yet the apostle says there is such a thing as truth: fight for it. And there is such a thing as life: lay hold of it. May God enable us to make an unabashed commitment . . . to what is true, what is good, and what is real.

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More About John R. W. Stott

John R. W. Stott

The Reverend Dr. John Stott was Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place in London, England, and had a worldwide ministry as a Bible expositor, speaker, and writer.

John R. W. Stott was born in 1921.

John R. W. Stott has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Classics of Faith and Devotion

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
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3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology   [1097  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Uncle John delivers yet again  Nov 4, 2009
Drive down the main street of any town in this country and you will see a veritable pot pouri of Churches each offering some sort of reconciliation with God. No doubt each of these diverse Churches is run by people who have a definite view of how Church is to be done and are pretty confident they are doing it the right way. But what about God - what does he want the Church to look like?

I doubt there are few Christians alive today who are more qualified to exposit what God wants his church to look like than John Stott. The man, affectionately known to many evangelicals as "Uncle John" has been a tireless worker for the sake of the gospel for decades. He has published numerous books and commentaries, trained up countless Bible teachers and leaders, as well as having been the Rector for a very large inner city London Church (All Souls Langham Place) for a very long time.

Stott wrote this book because he observed that for many Christians, church has become a meeting to attend rather than an essential identity. This is because many feel that the church is out of tune with contemporary culture and that unless it comes to terms with change it faces extinction.

(Of course we know it will not die, for Jesus promised that even the powers of death will not overcome it. Yet statistics warn us of the predicament the church appears to be in.)

Christian bookshops have been flooded over the past number of years with books about how we should "do church", books like; The Purpose Driven Church, Seeker Churches, The Provocative Church, Liquid Church, Prevailing Church, Mission Shaped Church, Emerging Church, Emergent Church, The Responsive Church to name a few.

In this book Stott acknowledges that many people today are looking for a "fresh expression" of the church. His concern has been in this legitimate process of exploration they will not forget, let alone abandon, certain biblical and history proven marks of a living church.

His purpose in writing this book was to bring together a number of characteristics of a living church. By doing so he brings it home to us that these characteristics, being clearly biblical must in someway be preserved.

Stott begins by asking a basic question: What is God's vision for his church? What are the distinguishing marks of a living church? He then leads us through scripture to see that a living church has the following four characteristics (extracts inserted);

A living church is an apostolic church
A living church is a learning church, a church submissive to the teaching authority of the apostles. Its pastors expound scripture from the pulpit. Its parents teach their children out of the scriptures at home, and its members read and reflect on the scriptures every day in order to grow in Christian discipleship. The spirit of God leads the people of God to honour the word of God. Fidelity to the teaching of the apostles is the first mark of an authentic and living church.

A living church is a caring and sharing church
Stott corrects the common misunderstanding of fellowship. In common usage it means little more than some sort of fuzzy friendship, or superficial "mateyness";

If the first mark of a living church is study, the second is fellowship...Fellowship is the well know Greek word "koinonia" which expresses our common Christian life, what we share as believers.

A living church is a worshipping church
True worship is biblical worship, that is to say, it is a response to the biblical revelation. The truth is that it is impossible to worship an unknown god. For if we do not know him, we cannot worship him, and our so-called worship is bound to degenerate into idolatry.

We need to listen carefully to the biblical criticism of religion. No book, not even by Marx and his followers is more scathing of empty religion more than the Bible.

Too much of our worship is ritual without reality, form without power, fun without fear, religion without God.

A living church is an evangelising church
Those early Christians did not regard evangelism as an occasional activity. They were not content to organize a quinquennial mission. No their witness was as continuous as their worship. And the Lord honoured it. Converts were being added daily.

With his usual readable style combined with the wisdom that comes from many years of serving the Lord, Stott "unpacks" each of these characteristics along with some associated topics. Uncle John, in his 86th year, presents us with a book that is not only faithful to God's word, but is jam packed with practicalities of day to day ministry.

This book should be a compulsory read for all pastors and Christian workers. It is a book full of Stott's typical clarity and level headedness. As per usual Stott is very good at making the scriptures speak to our contemporary scene.

I would also recommend this book to any Christian if they really want to get to grips with the big picture of what God's vision for his church is.
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Cliffnotes for the Church  Apr 1, 2009
This book is exactly what I had hoped for when I bought it - a concise yet thorough text on what the church is and what the church isn't. His thoughtfulness and awareness of the current church's issues is displayed on every page, and his prescription of change clear as he takes the reader through passage after passage of scripture.

As a Christian who longs to see a living church, Stott's writing rejuvenates me to focus even more in my life for His name's sake.
Foundational Contribution to the Pastorate  Jun 21, 2008
The Living Church is a very solid and welcome addition to the current world of books on the pastoral vocation. Instead of obsessing with image, size and relevance, Stott focuses on what things are necessary--biblically necessary--for a living church. Each chapter is devoted to a major theme of church life such as worship, evangelism, fellowship, preaching and so forth. I especially liked that he took every opportunity appropriate to note the foundational importance of right theology and doctrine to the life of the church. More and more, doctrinal orthodoxy is being exchanged for relevance under the guise of "mission." Stott, to be sure, uses the concept of mission, but places it squarely in the context of a solid view of the church of Jesus Christ.

Because Stott is concerned with the basics, the book will probably feel a little predictable from time to time. But, contrary to what you might think, that is a good thing. As Stott points out, the truth remains the same while the cultural contexts change over time. If we rightly concern ourselves with orthodoxy, some things will begin to sound the same. Novelty can be dangerous.

Stott's chapter on preaching is a great reminder to hold in tension what he calls "paradoxes." One paradox was the pastor's need to be "thoughtful and passionate." The pastor needs to be studious and responsible with the Word, and simultaneously passionate. We appeal to minds and hearts, and neglecting one for the other is less than what we ought to do.

I think this is a great, foundational reminder of the vocation of pastor and the character of the church of Jesus Christ in our world today.
the living church  May 2, 2008
For many years, John Stott has distinguished himself as a preeminent theologian and pastor. For 60 years, Stott has been rector at All Souls Church in England where he has initiated a dynamic ministry which now reaches internationally. Having authored more than 30 insightful and powerful books, Stott has recently released The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor. This promises to be an important and influential text for the leadership of the church as it seeks to move forward in its mission.

The book itself is well-written and accessible in style and length. It covers many of the challenges of the church, both locally and internationally. Chapter topics include: ESSENTIALS, WORSHIP, EVANGELISM, MINISTRY, FELLOWSHIP, PREACHING, GIVING, IMPACT as well as three historical appendices. Many cluster groups and pastoral ministry teams will find this a valuable course of study in evaluating and establishing a ministry which is faithful to the kingdom and relevant for today's world.

If the material in Stott's book has been said elsewhere then it is obviously being ignored, for the simple fact of the matter is that his reflections are quite timely to the current situation and needs of the Western church. No, he does not get bogged down in the many techniques and theories of church growth and community life (that is the very reason I chose this book - I avoid churchy how-to books like the plague they usually are). Stott's wisdom here is that he does stay rooted in the biblical text without losing relevance to a contemporary world (that is the very reason why I recommend this book).

One quote: "This is a splendid Trinitarian truth about the church, namely that it belongs to God the Father, has been redeemed by the blood of Christ his Son, and has overseers appointed by God the Holy Spirit. This fact should humble us" (83).
A call to the basics, offered with pastoral insight and wisdom  Jan 15, 2008
"I began this book with a preface which acknowledged that many people today are looking for a 'fresh expression' of the church," writes evangelical statesman John Stott. "My concern has been that in this legitimate process of exploration they will not forget, let alone abandon, certain biblical and history-proven marks of a living church."

John Stott, now in his eighties, has had a worldwide influence on evangelicalism through his writing and ministry at All Souls Church, Langham Place. Time magazine has recognized him as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World." He has had a massive impact on evangelicalism. When I heard that Stott had recently written a book articulating his vision for the global church today, I knew I would have to read it.

Stott is no curmudgeon. He is surprisingly open to newer forms of churches. "It seems to me that traditional and 'emerging' churches need to listen attentively to one another, with a view to learning from one another...We could both afford to be less suspicious, less dismissive of each other."

Stott argues that we need more churches that are radically conservative - "conservative" in the sense that they conserve what Scripture plainly requires, but "radical in relational to that combination of tradition and convention which we call culture." He then outlines and expounds a number of characteristics that must be preserved within an authentic or living church: worship, evangelism, every-member ministry, fellowship, preaching, giving, and impact on society.

Stott concludes with an appeal for Timothy's in this new century. Echoing the apostle Paul, he writes: "There is such a thing as goodness: pursue it...There is such a thing as truth: fight for it. And there is such a thing as life: lay hold of it." Ministry must integrate doctrine, ethics, and experience.

The Living Church includes three appendices: a paper outlining Stott's reason for remaining within the Church of England; part of a sermon from 1974 outlining his dreams for a living church; and some reflections offered after his eightieth birthday.

The Living Church is not trendy. There is little in this book that will seem new. It is instead a call to the basics, offered with pastoral insight and wisdom. It is a call to turn away from quick fixes and instead focus on the basics of church life. It deserves careful reading and application by all who share Stott's dream of a living church.

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