The Living Church
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
Reflecting 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.
"Young pastors with a love for Jesus' church will be blessed by this timely gift from one of the most important evangelical voices."
"I have relied on John Stott's books for decades as both guides to practice and nourishment to belief. Our church, Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, has attempted to incarnate all that I, and a generation or more of Christians, have learned from him. This new book promises to be just as helpful in navigating modern controversies and issues."
"While many high-profile churches come and go, All Souls, Langham Place, in the heart of London has maintained its spiritual vitality and mission commitment over many decades. Its effectiveness has depended not on a formula for success but on an unswerving commitment to fundamental biblical principles. The Living Church establishes the foundations for a biblically balanced approach to ministry that is comprehensive in its scope and expressed with John Stott's characteristic clarity. It provides a valuable resource for church leaders seeking to revitalize existing churches and for those birthing new faith communities."
"A gem of a book, which every committed Christian needs to read. Here is the heartbeat of a godly minister of the gospel."
"Inspiring and nourishing reading."
"Exceptional clarity, profound concern and strong counsel."
"The reader is given a vision for a church whose roots are deeply biblical and whose touch reaches a dying world."
"Vintage Stott: faithful, rigorous biblical exposition; crystal clarity; challenging contemporary applications with plenty of punch; great wisdom."
"Gold on every page."
"While Stott offers a special word to young ministers, his message is applicable to both clergy and laity of all ages."
"It is biblical. It is encouraging, and it is instructive. His insights are to be found on every page. He writes with conviction and candor, without rancor or provocation. And as a man in his late 80s, he demonstrates a joyful wisdom too rarely observed in aging pastors and scholars."
As the subtitle claims, these are the "convictions of a "lifelong pastor." Turning 87 in April, Stott, an inveterate list-maker, has had plenty of time to develop his convictions."
"Stott has earned a close reading through his more than 50 years of faithful service to the church. He understands the dangers facing the church and the urgent need for 'God's new community' to be biblically strong and outward looking. He seeks a biblical middle ground between emergent churches and those traditional ones that have become complacent."
"I'd like to be able to say that this is a book for pastors, but it's just as much for the flock as it is for their shepard. Stott takes his decades of experience in pastoral ministry and missions and whittles it down into basically an annotated outline of what the Church as a whole should look like. . . .a Survival guide of sorts, teachign what is vital to the life of the church."
"This short, well-organized book is perhaps most useful for those clergy and laity who are directly involved in ministry."
Preface: "Emerging Churches"
The Postmodern World
Acknowledgments and Abbreviations
1 Essentials: God?s Vision for His Church
A Learning Church
A Caring Church
A Worshiping Church
An Evangelizing Church
2 Worship: Glorying in God?s Holy Name
3 Evangelism: Mission Through the Local Church
Forms of Evangelism
The Church Must Understand Itself: Its Theology
The Church Must Organize Itself: Its Structures
The Church Must Express Itself: Its Message
The Church Must Be Itself: Its Life
4 Ministry: The Twelve and the Seven
An Every-Member Ministry
The Pastoral Ministry
The Example of the Apostle (The Shepherd)
The Invasion of False Teachers (The Wolves)
The Value of the People (The Sheep)
5 Fellowship: The Implications of Koinonia
Our Common Inheritance
Our Common Service
Our Mutual Responsibility
Some Practical Illustrations
6 Preaching: Five Paradoxes
Biblical and Contemporary
Authoritative and Tentative
Prophetic and Pastoral
Gifted and Studied
Thoughtful and Passionate
7 Giving: Ten Principles
Springing from the Trinity
Creating Equality According to Our Means
Careful Supervision and Friendly Rivalry
A Harvest with Symbolic Significance
The Result: Thanksgiving to God
8 Impact: Salt and Light
The Truths of Salt and Light
Weapons for Social Change
Conclusion: Looking for Timothys in the Twenty-First Century
A Threefold Appeal
Where Are the Timothys?
Three Historical Appendixes
Related in Different Ways to the Living Church
Historical Appendix 1: Why I Am Still a Member of the Church of England
Historical Appendix 2: I Have a Dream of a Living Church
Historical Appendix 3: Reflections of an Octogenarian