Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Review: “Issues Facing Christians Today” By John Stott, 2006, Zondervan, 516 pages.

Overview—Give a brief overview of the book, including its theme, perspective and approach.

In this encyclopedic volume, Stott gives us a solid discussion of a number of contemporary issues in four main categories: contextual, global, social, and personal. He investigates topics Christians has faced for centuries (war and peace, marriage and divorce) as well as those of recent development (environmentalism, biotechnology). Though Roy McCloughry and John Wyatt lend a hand, Stott's' fingerprints are all over this compendium. First the issues are explored and then a biblical response is given. The issues are bracketed with a discussion of Christian social involvement at the beginning, and a call to leadership at the conclusion.

Critique—Offer a brief critique of the book, including elements of strength and weakness.

"Issues Facing Christians Today" is one-stop-shopping for those seeking an overview in Christian ethical thought applied to concrete problems. Ever the diplomat, Stott's perspectives are balanced and insightful. He does not settle for knee-jerk responses from the right or left. Instead he sensitively, courageously, and biblically calls Christians to response. The volume (at over 500 pages) is certainly comprehensive. If there is a lack, it would be a desire for more depth – but the chapter notes provide ample resources for further investigation.

Application—Offer some specific application to your own ministry— demonstrating the value and relevance of the material in this book.

Addressing these issues in public ministry will help people to "Think Christianly" about current issues. Bringing these ideas into preaching will also show how relevant Christianity is to everyday life. This volume will serve as a ready resource for referencing info on a plethora of issues. But the most challenging chapter for me was the conclusion: "A Call for Christian Leadership". This chapter (suitable for publishing as a stand-alone pamphlet) targets five essential ingredients for leadership: Vision, Industry, Perseverance, Service, and Discipline. As a call to repent of the twin sins of pessimism and mediocrity, this was a call to evaluate and renew my own leadership style and passion.

Best Quote—Be sure to include the page number where the quote can be found.

p. 230: "Many people say they have never heard a sermon on work, even though they may have been a member of their church for many years. Yet the congregations of our churches are composed of people who are workers, either in paid employment or in some other context. Many of their deepest challenges emotionally, ethically and spiritually will be faced in the context of work. It is essential, then, that churches show that work is important by bringing it into the teaching of the church and by praying for those in the church as workers, and not simply as family members or for what they are doing in the church"


Jane said...

If you have not already lent this book, can I borrow it? Jane

tom said...

I'll bring it to you in GA.