Contend Earnestly: Christian Mission in the Modern World

Monday, February 02, 2009

Christian Mission in the Modern World

It's been a while since I have read John Stott, but this was definitely a book that will make me read more of him. This book is a necessity for anyone that considers themself a missiologist or is wanting a deeper look into what it means for us Christians to be in the world. Stott hammers away in only 190 pages so much depth that any review will leave the subject at hand wanting in a desperate way. It is still hard to believe that this was first written in 1975 as he hits some people today straight between the eyes with his theological and practical conclusions (myself included).

Stott hits on five subjects and really pinpoints them further for great discussion.

The Five Subjects that he hits are:

1. Mission

Stott breaks down the two movements that are most abused, which are evangelism only ministries and social action only ministries. After breaking down why neither of these are correct, he blends the two to show the biblical aspect of how these two need to work together, not separate.

2. Evangelism

Stott lays out what must be considered in evangelism. He shows the priority, the meaning and then unpacks what must be included while presenting the gospel according to Christ and the apostles.

3. Dialogue

In this chapter, Stott again shows the two extremes in dialogue. One where the dialogue is so open that you can't tell that a Christian is in the conversation and the other being where the Christian believes that no dialogue should be had with other religions. Stott shows a balanced view to this and gives great examples how this can work and has worked.

4. Salvation

Stott works to find the biblical answer to what this term means in the Scriptures. He works through what salvation truly is and the areas of difference within this. Some of these would be salvation from political oppression, salvation of sickness and poverty, etc. Then Stott answers the question of salvation theologically and shows why salvation is more than just what we see, but is really the salvation of what we don't see. Namely, salvation from God's wrath in regards to hell.

5. Conversion

In this chapter Stott gives a precedence for conversion to the Christian faith. He fights against the universalists and also those who believe that there is no need to be converted to Christianity because Christ can be found in other religions as well. After this defense, Stott then shows what one is converted to when converted to Christianity.

This book is so well rounded and Stott unpacks the extremes in each case above to even the heretical. He then gives the biblical reasons to balance the extremes or to deny the heretical and comes to conclusions. The arguments are very well thought out and linear so that the reader can follow very easily and understand the concepts and defenses put forth by Stott. I would urge any pastor or missionary to pick up this book. This book is something that would have helped the start of my study on the church's mission before going to deeper studies that I have already looked at. I would hope that people that are in the emergent circles (Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, etc) and also in the IFB circles would pick up this book to see their errors in the thought of Christian mission. Overall, this "introduction" is a great balanced approach to our mission as Christians as we work, minister, educate and evangelize the world as we know it today. Whether one is abroad or in their own back yard, this book lays a great foundation so that one sees their errors of extremism in any of the above named topics. Highly Recommended.

Buy at:

InterVarsity Press

Westminster Books


Anonymous said...

great. i have a few of stott's books on my shelf but not this one. i will look out for it. thanks.

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