John Stott, Evangelical Truth: A personal plea for unity, integrity and faithfulness (149 pages; Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity Press), 2003.
Another small book for review (only 149 pages) but absolutely packed with the essentials of the Christian faith and a plea for unity within evangelicalism. John Stott and his ministry is well known and well respected through the world. He has written many books, including The Cross of Christ, an essential read for anyone investigating Christ’s work on the cross.
Here, toward the end of his life, he is still coming out with gems which makes one think about the primary and secondary issues within the Christian world. Much debate is had over all sorts of issues and theological topics, many of which Stott believes should be discussed but maybe not so vigorously or with closed-hands.
Stott has five chapters, including the introduction and conclusion, and touches on three main areas; the revelation of God, the cross of Christ and the the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Within the introduction he gives a brief run-down of his definition of evangelicalism and pitches it against both the fundamentalists and the liberals. It is within this chapter that he also gives information about how evangelicalism has come about and the main historical turning points within the church.
The revelation of God chapter is based on the revelation of God through the Bible. He speaks of general and specific revelation, progressive and personal revelation, inspiration, authorship and authority are also defined. A debate regarding sufficiency and also inerrancy is touched upon, for which Stott makes his stand against using the word inerrancy.
Chapter three is the gospel. It is the message of the cross and very well explained by Stott. He also gives an explanation of what justification by faith means while also grappling with Christian discipleship and mission. It is the shortest chapter but also the most concise and straight-forward. It was good to hear the gospel again.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is the chapter that rounds off Stott’s trinitarian style. Assurance, holiness, purity, community, mission and hope are all topics that are covered. He really tells the reader of how the Spirit worked in the NT and also how it is continuing to work today. I think he does a good job at explaining the Spirit and his work.
In conclusion Stott summarises his arguments and pleads with the reader to be united with their brothers and sisters in Christ. He calls for Christians to endure hardship but also realise what the important and central doctrines and truths are. You can really see in his writing someone who has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the Gospel and wants Christians around the world to be united under that Gospel. He encourages all believers to lead with humility and to love one another with Christian love.