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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fond and moving farewell from an elder statesman: John Stott's challenging last will and testament
You wouldn't expect John Stott to change his tune in his 89th year. And of course he hasn't. The Radical Disciple is his 51st book - and while his thinking has developed and deepened over the decades, he has never changed direction. He's always faced Jesus - and he does so all the more eagerly in the twilight years before the eternal dawn.

VINTAGE PROSE AND...
Published on 22 Jan 2010 by Mark Meynell

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Occassional Errors But Easy To Read
Easy to read, one of the first books I read for my MA in Bible And Ministry. It prepared me for the lecture on discipleship but I disagree with some of his teachings, that might well be due to my strong Pentecostal stance though. It's ideas are simple, but for some reason, I find it more experience-based than Scripture-based.
Published 21 months ago by nowayout001


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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fond and moving farewell from an elder statesman: John Stott's challenging last will and testament, 22 Jan 2010
By 
Mark Meynell "quaesitor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
You wouldn't expect John Stott to change his tune in his 89th year. And of course he hasn't. The Radical Disciple is his 51st book - and while his thinking has developed and deepened over the decades, he has never changed direction. He's always faced Jesus - and he does so all the more eagerly in the twilight years before the eternal dawn.

VINTAGE PROSE AND PITHY CLARITY
If you're familiar with his writing and speaking, then you won't find anything surprisingly innovative or any marked departures - and much of what this book contains he's said before in other places. But that's not the point. What matters is that he has picked these characteristics of Christian discipleship to expound - despite calling them 'selective' and 'somewhat arbitrary' (p137). Each is touched on lightly and briefly, but with all the hallmarks of Stott's vintage prose and pithy clarity of thought still firmly in place:

- Non-Conformity: "we are neither to seek to preserve our holiness by escaping from the world nor to sacrifice our holiness by conforming to the world" (p19)
- Christlikeness: "we are to be like Christ in his incarnation, in his service, in his love, in his endurance, and in his mission" (p38)
- Maturity: "may God give us such a full, clear vision of Jesus Christ, first that we may grow into maturity ourselves, and secondly that, by faithful proclamation of Christ in his fullness to others, we may present others mature as well." (p53)
- Creation-Care: "God intends our care of the creation to reflect our love for the Creator" (p65)
- Simplicity: "All Christians claim to have received a new life from Jesus Christ. What lifestyle, then, is appropriate for them? If the life is new, the lifestyle should be new also" (p71)
- Balance: "We are both individual disciples and church members, both worshippers and witnesses, both pilgrims and citizens. Nearly all our failures stem from the ease with which we forget our comprehensive identity as disciples." (p102)
- Dependence: "We are all designed to be a burden to others... The life of the family, including the life of the local church family, should be one of `mutual burdensomeness.`" (p113)
- Death: "If we want to live we must die. And we will be willing to die only when we see the glories of the life to which death leads. This is the radical, paradoxical Christian perspective." (p135)

He chooses these because, as he reflects on western (which I suppose primarily means UK & USA Christian culture), he is anxious about their dwindling importance. We'd be utter fools to ignore the observations of so wise an elder statesman. Their challenge is straightforward and unavoidable - not least because John practises what he preaches. It is quite something, is it not, for a man in his 9th decade to be making an appeal for people to be radical?! Retirement is usually the time for conservatism and comfortable ease, not the prickly and disturbing calls for Christ-like discipleship.

The chapters are not even, in the sense of being similarly structured or equally expository:
- the Christlikeness chapter takes a topical approach, touching on various aspects of Christ's life and character we should emulate;
- the Non-Conformity and Creation-Care chapters are also topical, but show a sustained awareness of contemporary issues: hence his helpful articulation of 4 challenging trends in the former (pluralism, materialism, ethical relativism and narcissism) and 4 ingredients of the current ecological crisis (population growth, depletion of earth's resources, waste disposal and climate change). Not bad going for someone who's 89 in April.
- the Simplicity chapter is essentially a publication of a statement issued after a Lausanne consultation led by John and Ron Sider in 1980. The whole statement plus commentary is online at the Lausanne site and is called "an evangelical statement to a simple lifestyle". I'd not come across it before and was profoundly challenged by it.
- the Balance chapter is somewhat unexpectedly an involved exposition of 1 Peter 2:1-17 - but I'd never quite seen before the way Peter mixes his metaphors in the chapter and this was illuminating (as newborn babies we are called to growth, as living stones to fellowship, as holy priests to worship, as God's own people to witness, as aliens and strangers to holiness and as servants of God to citizenship).

PASTORAL REALITY WITH PERSONAL CANDOUR
But despite the chapters' varieties of style or approach, they are always biblical and theological, and yet also pastoral and real. It is so helpful to have thumbnail sketches of people he's been challenged or influenced by, some widely known, others not so, some British, most not. These ground the book.

What is new, perhaps, is that as the book draws to a close, Uncle John becomes increasingly candid. He's always been an honest and humble man, but no one could remain unaffected by the poignancy of the last 2 chapters particularly. I well remember that Sunday morning in 2006 (described in chapter 7) when he was getting ready to preach at All Souls, but tripped in his flat and broke his hip, which resulted in an emergency hip replacement operation. We were involved in the All Souls week away down in Devon that weekend, but heard about it very quickly and we were all shocked. But it still didn't prepare me to read his own agonising account of that morning:
"I knew at once that I had broken or dislocated my hip, for I could not move, let alone get up. I was able, however, to push the panic button I was wearing and kind friends immediately came to my rescue...
... as this chapter progresses please do not forget my earlier experiences, spreadeagled on the floor, completely dependent on others. For this is where, from time to time, the radical disciple needs to be. I believe that dependence involved in these experiences can be used by God to bring about greater maturity in us.
...There is another aspect of the dependence which I experienced which was new to me, which I am tempted to gloss over, but which my trusted friends have urged me not to conceal. It is the emotional weakness which physical infirmity sometimes brings to the surface and which finds expression in weeping." (pp104-105)

There are few who would be prepared to turn so private and painful an experience into so public and challenging a lesson.

PARTING WORDS
This really is John's last book! His previous one - The Living Church: The Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor - was heralded by some as his last but he seems to have known that he had one more in him. But there really are no more - and he concludes the Radical Disciple with a poignant farewell to his readers.

However, it is fitting, I think, to see these last two books as of a piece. They have a neat symmetry to them, as he concludes a long ministry.
- In The Living Church, he expounds the key hallmarks of what constitutes Church life, in all its diversity, challenges and joys.
- In The Radical Disciple, he expounds the key hallmarks of a Christian's life, again in all its diversity, challenges and joys.

Of course, there will be things that people disagree with, no doubt. Some of the areas in the books are hot topics (e.g. Christians and the environment). And some have criticised what is seen as an obsession with balance when things are supposedly more complex or wrinkled. In neither of these books will we find in-depth analysis or argumentation to make his case.

But then why should we?! John has spent a lifetime doing just that, thinking, teaching and writing, often at great length and with great care (see this non-exhaustive bibliography). But these two books are more a summation, a last will and testament. They form a fitting conclusion to his legacy, one which it will probably take decades fully to appreciate.

It remains to be said that if this legacy is to be sustained and grow, then people need to give themselves to it deliberately. One way is for people to pray for and give to the Langham Partnership - for which he appeals at the end of the Radical Disciple - you can do that by going to the Langham Partnership site.
But the best way is surely for us to live just as we are called to in these two books... just as, in fact, he himself has sought to live.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seven good chapters, one great one, 9 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. N. J. Todman "mr_todtastic" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
If you have never read any of Stott's books before then this book, which marks the end of his writing, might be the best place to begin. This is a short, highly readable book, which challenges anyone who says they know Christ to live out their faith in eight distinctive ways. Seven of those I have seen covered elsewhere in more depth in Stott's other writings, but the chapter on "dependency" I hadn't. I thought it was profoundly moving and gave an insight into God's purposes for old age that might stop Christians trying to fight off "the seven signs of aging" and instead embrace the wonder of dependency in older age. For those twelve pages alone everyone should read this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 4 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
Thought provoking and challenging but easy to read and understand. Warning - not so easy to put into practice.
The book contains wise words from one of God's special people.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, 25 May 2010
By 
G. Felton (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
I throughly enjoyed reading this book. It is some time since I have read John Stott and I found this book significantly lighter than the magisterial Cross of Christ and less consuming than Issues Facing Christians Today. I too found the chapter on dependency challenging and humbling. All too often dependency is seen as negative, yet in the body of Christ there is no room for lone rangers.
I shall be recommending this book to my congregation as a book that will stir, encourage and provoke the people of God into an authentic relationship with Christ.
Thanks for the books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprised by Stott, 22 Aug 2011
By 
John Brand - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
I am not one of those many who have been hugely influenced by John Stott. I have appreciated the few of his writings that I have read, with his measured, precise turns of phrase and his ability to clearly explain and apply biblical truth. However, with his recent death, I decided to read this, his last written work, and confess to having been surprised by it on three fronts.

First, I was surprised by the eight characteristics of Christian discipleship that Stott chose as those "which are often neglected and yet deserve to be taken seriously." Such a selection is always going to be subjective and personal, but I found it fascinating. Stott chooses Non-conformity, Christlikeness, Maturity, Creation-care, Simplicity, Balance, Dependence and Death. It made me wonder what my eight would have been and I must give some thought to it and perhaps return to it here on the blog at some point in the future.

Secondly, I was surprised by the way in which Stott weighted his chosen topics. I am not sure whether I ought to read too much into this but I was struck by the fact that while the average page count for the eight subjects was 12 pages, the chapter on simplicity took 20 pages, and came straight after 12 pages on Creation-care.

Thirdly, I was surprised that these eight characteristics were thought of as being the marks of radical discipleship. Stott says that his concern "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" He includes two telling quotes, one from a Hindu professor, who, identifying one of his students as a Christian, said, "If you Christians lived like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow", and the other from a former Arab Muslim who said, "If all Christians were Christians there would be no more Islam today." Challenging stuff.

But what struck me about the choice of these eight characteristics as being marks of radical discipleship was that I thought to myself that these (or, in my opinion, most of them at least) weren't radical, just intrinsic to being a disciple. I think the fact that Stott highlights them as being marks of radical, "deep rooted" discipleship, shows up the poor state of the Church today and the poor spiritual condition of the 'average' believer. That is not a criticism of Stott; it is a comment on Christians, certainly in the west. If I discussed this list with my Sudanese brothers, or if we were able to do so with first century believers, I doubt they would see them as being radical - just normal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christian conservation par excellence, 17 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
John Stott an octogenarian, by his own admission is laying down his pen after this book but what words of wisdom does he impart to us as a respected Christian activist. He is integrated in his faith in all things from creation care plus simplicity of living for the future to dependence and death which will really challenge the way we live today. A small book with a big punch I flew through it with lots of wow's and enjoyed it's beautiful commonsense which today in our world is not so common. Thank you brother John.

Lewes,
England
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Radical Disciple by John Stott, 29 Dec 2011
By 
D. P. French "David P French" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
This book is a joy to read. I like that the scriptures quoted are generally included within the text wherever any substantial argument is made from them. I love the lucid, logical, seemingly simple building of reasoning that then leads to clear and concise conclusions. The author leaves us in no doubt as to what his views are, but they are built on clear arguments from the scriptures and make sense. He is intensely honest by saying for instance words to the effect that he has picked what he regards as key elements of discipleship but that the list is not definitive and there are others the he could have chosen, but in the end these were his own critical selection. John Stott writes from a perspective of mature stature, provides great insight and is a phenomenal communicator. It is a truly great book that can be easily read in a day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Radical Disciple, 5 Sep 2011
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
John Stott has been a giant in the Christian world and this last book is a simple and fitting challenge to live out an authentic, meaningful Christian life - excellent!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Occassional Errors But Easy To Read, 24 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
Easy to read, one of the first books I read for my MA in Bible And Ministry. It prepared me for the lecture on discipleship but I disagree with some of his teachings, that might well be due to my strong Pentecostal stance though. It's ideas are simple, but for some reason, I find it more experience-based than Scripture-based.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Farewell, 5 July 2012
By 
G. J. Weeks (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Radical Disciple (Paperback)
This book was the octogenarian Stott finishing his written ministry two years before his death. His writing as ever carries the hallmarks of his ministry, Biblical, clear and profoundly wise. Apart from his seeming wholesale acceptance of man made global warming I have no critical comments, only admiration for the clarity and simplicity of his teaching. Best of all is the chapter on dependency. It is not easy to find good writing on the subject of ageing.
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The Radical Disciple by John Stott (Paperback - 15 Jan 2010)
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