On Wednesday, July 27th 2011, we learned of the death of John Stott. Stott was a longtime pastor, teacher, and author from London who spent his life faithfully proclaiming the message of Scripture. His name may not be familiar to everyone, but his impact and influence on several generations of pastors, teachers, and theologians who care deeply for the centrality of the gospel message and the faithful preaching of the Bible for the life of the church cannot be overstated. In my view he was one of the three most important Christian teachers and preachers of the last century (along with J.I. Packer and Billy Graham). His passing into eternity with Christ is a time of joyous celebration for his life and service and for those of us who have been influenced by that work it is a time of thanksgiving for the way God used this servant.
In honor of John Stott’s life and recent death, and because there are many who have never explored the treasure chest of gems that flowed from his pen, we want to take this opportunity to strongly recommend two of his most important books. These are books that shine with the clear beauty of the gospel message. Read these books. Savor these books. Let them soak into your mind, heart, and life as they draw you back to the message of the Bible and the God that is its author.
This book is a short introduction to the major beliefs and message of Christianity. It may be an easier or more accessible book similar to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. It is great for unbelievers, new believers, or anyone else looking for a short and basic introduction to what Christianity is and teaches.
The Cross of Christ
This is by far Stott’s most important and influential book. It is longer and slightly more difficult (although it isn’t too difficult!) but it is one of, if not the, most important books on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross written in the last century. The book isn’t difficult to read, but it is weighty. It is a book to be chewed on rather than flown through. It is a great book for a Christian to read to be amazed at the amazing love and work of Christ in the gospel. Here are a few quotes from the book:
The message of propitiation is that “God himself, gave himself, to save us from himself.”
“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of the gospel is God substituting himself for man.”
These quotes alone are enough to make the book a treasure! As we (at FBC Henryville) go through the last few chapters of the Gospel of John during our Sunday Morning Worship Services, this would be a great book to read alongside our weekly sermons on the death and resurrection of Jesus!
Both of these books are available online, at Christian bookstores, or from the shelves of the pastors’ personal libraries. Take and read!