Evangelism Plus: John Stott reflects on where we’ve been and where we’re going
If this is the face of Evangelicalism then I rejoice … here are some parts I felt were necessary for us to hear:
“An evangelical is a plain, ordinary Christian. We stand in the mainstream of historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity. So we can recite the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed without crossing our fingers. We believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.
… Christ and the biblical witness to Christ. But the really distinctive emphasis is on Christ. I want to shift conviction from a book, if you like, to a person. As Jesus himself said, the Scriptures bear witness to me. Their main function is to witness to Christ.
… Pride is the ever-present danger that faces all of us. In many ways, it is good for us to be despised and rejected. I think of Jesus’ words, “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.”
… “growth without depth.” None of us wants to dispute the extraordinary growth of the church. But it has been largely numerical and statistical growth. And there has not been sufficient growth in discipleship that is comparable to the growth in numbers.
… True mission that is based on the example of Jesus involves entering another world, the world of another culture. Incarnational cross-cultural mission is and can be very costly. I want to say, please realize that if God calls you to be a cross-cultural missionary, it will take you 10 years to learn the language and to learn the culture in such a way that you are accepted more or less as a national.
… I believe that evangelism is specially through the local church, through the community, rather than through the individual. That the church should be an alternative society, a visible sign of the kingdom. And the tragedy is that our local churches often don’t seem to manifest community.
… we need to go beyond evangelism. Evangelism is supposed to be evangelicals’ specialty. Now, I am totally committed to world evangelization. But we must look beyond evangelism to the transforming power of the gospel, both in individuals and in society.
… My hope is that in the future, evangelical leaders will ensure that their social agenda includes such vital but controversial topics as halting climate change, eradicating poverty, abolishing armories of mass destruction, responding adequately to the AIDS pandemic, and asserting the human rights of women and children in all cultures. I hope our agenda does not remain too narrow.”
John Stott on Christ and the Bible
If this is the face of of Evangelicalism, then I … (no comment). I’m allergic to scholastic bone-picking and especially on the statements of one well-respected Evangelical statesman whom I believe is known for his carefully chosen words and deep thought. Reading Stott’s interview showed me an evangelicalism that I’m happy to engage with (and participate in) but the comment on “very dangerous ground” in Dr. Mohler’s piece was simply uncalled for and to me plain disrespectful. My prayer is this kind of narrow evangelicalism will not get rooted in Malaysia and Asia (as well as globally).