Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Review: The Radical Disciple by John Stott

With The Radical Disciple, John Stott pens his final chapters in a writing career and public life that has impacted countless Christian lives for generations now and will certainly continue to do so for generations to come. I cannot imagine what goes through an author's mind as they write their final words as Stott, at eighty-eight, knew this would be his last book after announcing his retirement from public ministry in 2007. Contained herein are not only his parting thoughts for the Christian church but also the last public sermon he ever preached (as well as the address of his study if you are so inclined to visit him).

And it is an odd thing to know this as a reader. Were it just another book somewhere in the mix of his library, I would be tempted to rush through it. After all, it is only 135 small pages. But knowing that this was the author's last—and knowing the author knew it too—I took my time, I suppose expecting a sort of swan song.

But instead, I found a simple picture of the author himself, and one of him pointing away from himself and to Christ. Much like its author, the book is humble in its brevity. These eight chapters on some of the more neglected spiritual disciplines often left me wanting more. I felt every chapter could have been several times their actual length—especially the one on Christlikeness—but John remained on task and to the point. There are no revolutionary ideas here. But the steady faithfulness of one believer translates into a simple final exhortation to radical discipleship, not of him but of Jesus.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Anyone who has enjoyed anything by John Stott, those looking for a book on Christian spiritual disciplines

This book was a free review copy provided by InterVarsity Press.

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