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John Stott is one of the world's leading and most loved Bible teachers, preachers, writers, pastors and mission-leaders. He is the author of many books including the best-selling "Basic Christianity". He is Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, President of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and Founder-President of the Langham Partnership International. He was awarded the C.B.E. in the Queen's 2006 New Year honours.
Preface: Disciples or Christians?
Let me explain and justify the title of this book, 'The Radical Disciple'.
First, why `disciple'?
It comes as a surprise to many people to discover that the followers of Jesus Christ are called `Christian' only three times in the New Testament.
The most significant occurrence is Luke's comment that it was in Syrian Antioch that Jesus' disciples were first called `Christians' (Acts 11:26). Antioch was known to be an international community. Consequently its church was an international community too, and it was appropriate that its members were called `Christians' in order to indicate that their ethnic differences were overcome by their common allegiance to Christ.
The other two occurrences of the word `Christian' supply evidence that it was beginning to come into common currency. So when Paul was on trial before King Agrippa and challenged him directly, Agrippa cried out to Paul, `Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?' (Acts 26:28).
Then the apostle Peter, whose first letter was written against the background of growing persecution, found it necessary to distinguish between those who suffered `as a criminal' and those who suffered `as a Christian' (1 Peter 4:16); that is, because they belonged to Christ. Both words (Christian and disciple) imply a relationship with Jesus, although perhaps `disciple' is the stronger of the two because it inevitably implies the relationship of pupil to teacher. During his three years of public ministry the Twelve were disciples before they were apostles, and as disciples they were under the instruction of their teacher and lord.
One wishes in some ways that the word `disciple' had continued into the following centuries, so that Christians were self-consciously disciples of Jesus, and took seriously their responsibility to be `under discipline'.
My concern in this book is that we who claim to be disciples of the Lord Jesus will not provoke him to say again: `Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say?' (Luke 6:46). For genuine discipleship is wholehearted discipleship, and this is where my next word comes in.
So, secondly, why `radical'? Since this is the adjective I am using to describe our discipleship, it is important to indicate the sense in which I am using it.
The English word `radical' is derived from the Latin word radix, a root. Originally it seems to have been applied as a political label to people like the nineteenth-century politician William Cobbett and their extreme, liberal and reformist views. But from this it came to be applied generally to those whose opinions went to the roots and who were thoroughgoing in their commitment.
We are now ready to put the noun and the adjective together and to ask our third question, namely why `radical disciple'? The answer is obvious. There are different levels of commitment in the Christian community. Jesus himself illustrated this in what happened to the seeds he describes in the Parable of the Sower. The difference between the seeds lay in the kind of soil which received them. Of the seed sown on rocky soil Jesus said, `It had no root.'
Our common way of avoiding radical discipleship is to be selective; choosing those areas in which commitment suits us and staying away from those areas in which it will be costly. But because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority.
Jesus is worthy to receive
Honour and power divine.
And blessings more than we can give
Be Lord for ever thine.
So my purpose in this book is to consider eight characteristics of Christian discipleship which are often neglected and yet deserve to be taken seriously.
Love the book and loved its author - a Godly man who is sadly missed.Published 14 months ago by Music Lover 48
After reading a lot of John Stott while studying, I have to say I found this to be one of his best. I enjoyed it from start to finish and will probably read from time to time just... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mrs V J Beattie
Its John Stott's last love letter to a love-starved nation. Easy to read and thought provoking. Its very helpful to my own preparation into the last lap of my life's journeyPublished on 8 Sept. 2013 by janet ferguson
t thought the writing was very clear and easy to read and the themes in the book were very practical and most though provoking. Read morePublished on 24 May 2013 by Yacco
In depth look into my spiritual growth. Step by step guide to reflect your current stage of your relationship with God.Published on 21 Mar. 2013 by Pearl lim
This is a true life story of a very lovable man who consecrated that life to the service of Jesus Christ. Read morePublished on 18 Dec. 2012 by Mrs. H. H. Bradshaw