In reading thisbook and I believe it is one that should be read over and over, you will not only learn from and about a master disciplemaker, you will not be the same as you take to heart his words. I will highlight some of those words from Stott himself.
He states very pointedly that our role is not to make Christianity relevant but rather to demonstrate its relevancy. That strikes a strident chord because I have become more and more convinced over the years that the more we attempt to make Christianity relevant, the more irrelevant we make it. However, Stott’s says that he fosters the concept of “double listening.” He says he is convinced that much good Bible teaching does not reflect double listening hence the preaching becomes sterile. By double listening he means, first, listening to the Word of God and second, listening to the world. While admitting the change in his ministry when he actually embraced double listening, he also reminds us that the first level of listening to the Word must always have priority because the authority of the Word is so connected with the authority of Christ that both stand together. Stott shares his testimony of realizing his failure to listen to the world and how starting a small reading group of professionals in London broke the ice. But he admits that was not an easy learning experience for him. But he became more and more convinced of the importance of the relation of Scripture to culture, which he calls “a vital question.”
His challenge to develop a Christian mind has not only challenged me conceptually over the years, but his writings and modeling how Christians can and should deal with the contemporary issues have been tremendously impacting on my life and ministry.
He frequently reminds us that developing a Christian mind often involves dealing honestly with doubts. He says however, doubts should be transient while questioning should always be a permanent part of discipleship.
I would ask, what does bird watching, failing eye sight, humility, and Christian thinking, and discipleship have in common? The answer is John Stott.
In thisbook, he includes his famous Keswick sermon on Justification from Romans 5. What a basic and powerful message. That is worth the purchase of the book itself, especially with so much controversy over that topic today.
In The Last Word, Stott sets forth a fourfold challenge that has driven his own ministry and involvement in training/discipling Christians over the years. 1. Interpret the Bible, 2. Understand the modern world, 3. Living as a radical disciple, 4. Reach out in mission, so that faith, conduct, and mission blend together.
Related Book Reviews:
Basic Christianity: The Inside Story of John Stott
John Stott at Keswick: A Lifetime of Preaching