Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Living Church

I bought this book last year as I was doing a subject called "Being the Church" but I never got round to it. This year I am doing a subject that touches on the changing paradigm of the Church. This book was helpful in that Stott recognizes the movements about doing church and doesn't yell at them, but keeps a balanced view on what both the old and new forms of church should focus on.

Stott has 8 things that the church should hold on to, these are: core doctrines about Jesus, worship being what we do (not just what we sing), evangelism, the ministry of all believers (and not just the paid clergy), fellowship, preaching, giving and impacting the local community. I think that maybe each chapter was once a sermon, as they all stick closely to a biblical passage on that topic. (If they weren't sermons, each chapter could easily be turned in one.)

Stott doesn't address any movement in particular (old or new) and just lays out what he thinks the bible says about church. He treads a very balanced view of the church. He would make a statement in one direction but then warn about going too far and then pull you back a bit. I appreciated his balance and I think that is due to his years as a minister (I think it is something like 60 years).

Stott is easy to read and you can tell he has put a lot of time thinking about church. There are three appendices which are also worth a read, one of them: "Why I am still a member of the Anglican Church" is on Google books. You can also check out the table of contents and preface online.


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