“The two chief characteristics of the false teachers are that they were troubling the church and changing the gospel. These two go together.
To tamper with the gospel is always to trouble the church. You cannot touch the gospel and leave the church untouched, because the church is created and lives by the gospel.
Indeed, the church’s greatest troublemakers (now as then) are not those outside who oppose, ridicule and persecute it, but those inside who try to change the gospel. It is they who trouble the church.
Conversely, the only way to be a good churchman is to be a good gospel-man. The best way to serve the church is to believe and to preach the gospel.
The devil disturbs the church as much by error as by evil. When he cannot entice Christian people into sin, he deceives them with false doctrine.”
–John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians: Only One Way (The Bible Speaks Today; Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 23-24.
“I remember some years ago visiting a church incognito. I sat in the back row. I wonder who’s in the back row tonight.
You know they often slip in there incognito. I’m not going to tell you the church. You won’t be able to identify it; it’s thousands of miles away from here.
When we came to the pastoral prayer, it was led by a lay brother, because the pastor was on holiday. So he prayed that the pastor might have a good holiday. Well, that’s fine. Pastors should have good holidays.
Second, he prayed for a lady member of the church who was about to give birth to a child that she might have a safe delivery, which is fine.
Third, he prayed for another lady who was sick, and then it was over. That’s all there was. It took twenty seconds.
I said to myself, it’s a village church with a village God. They have no interest in the world outside. There was no thinking about the poor, the oppressed, the refugees, the places of violence, and world evangelization.”
–John Stott, Ten Great Preachers: Messages and Interviews, Ed. Bill Turpie (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 117.
[HT: Mark Dever]
Filed under Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, John Stott, Prayer, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Church, The Gospel, Worldview, Worship
“Moved by the perfection of His holy love, God in Christ substituted Himself for us sinners. That is the heart of the cross of Christ.”
–John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 165.
“Only he who knows the greatness of wrath will be mastered by the greatness of mercy. All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to His, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it.
When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners’, then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.
The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross.”
–John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 109-110.
“Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible. There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from His fruit, and no effective witness without His power. As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead.”
–John Stott, The Message of Acts, Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 60.
“I am assuming that we are all committed to the church. We are not only Christian people; we are also church people. We are not only committed to Christ, we are also committed to the body of Christ. At least I hope so.
I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an unchurched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community.
For His purpose, conceived in a past eternity, being worked out in history, and to be perfected in a future eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build His church, that is, to call out of the world a people for His own glory…
So then, the reason we are committed to the church is that God is so committed.”
–John Stott, The Living Church (Nottingham, UK: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 19-20.
“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross… In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world.
But each time after a while I have to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness.
That is the God for me! He laid aside His immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in light of His.”
—John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 335-336.
[HT: Tony Reinke]