The church lies at the centre of God's purpose. Christ gave himself 'to purify for himself a people that are his own'.
But when we think about church, there's the tension between the ideal and the reality. The former is beautiful: God's special treasure, the covenant community, a haven of love and peace. The latter? A motley rabble needing constant rebuke and exhortation.
Here we focus on the ideal, on what God intends his church to be, while all the time keeping in view the reality, so that we can grasp the changes that need to be made.
This is in a series of short books which have been produced from John Stott's 'The Contemporary Christian'.View the range here.
Imagine being a child overwhelmed by hundreds of jigsaw puzzle pieces - you just can't put them together! And then imagine a kindly old uncle comes along and helps you put the whole thing together, piece by piece. That is what it felt like reading John Stott's The Contemporary Christian series. For those of us who feel we can't get our heads around our Bibles let alone our world, he comes along and, with his staggering gifts of clarity and insight, helps us step by step to work out what it means to understand our world through biblical lenses. It's then a great blessing to have Tim Chester's questions at the end of each chapter, which help us think through and internalise each step.
-- Rico Tice, Senior Minister for Evangelism, All Souls Langham Place, London, and co-author of Christianity Explored
I am delighted that a new generation will now be able to benefit from this rich teaching, which so helped me when it first appeared. As always with John Stott, there is a wonderful blend of faithful exposition of the Bible, rigorous engagement with the world and challenging applications for our lives.
- Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's Church, Oxford, conference speaker and author of the bestseller God’s Big Picture (IVP)
[Re The Contemporary Christian] Vintage Stott, with all that that implies. As usual, we find him digesting and deploying a wide range of material with a symmetry matching that of Mozart, a didactic force like that of J C Ryle, and a down-to-earth common sense that reminds one of G K Chesterton. This is really a pastoral essay, a sermon on paper aimed at changing people... an outstandingly good book.
...an expository treat... Bible-based and well researched, intimate and magisterial in style. Passionately calm and generous to a fault, a beautifully written contribution to what Stott calls 'BBC':'balanced biblical Christianity'.