Jacob Sweeney’s favourite biography

Posted in Blog, Books

If you want to know about Evangelicalism as a movement you have to become familiar with John Stott. I was first introduced to him years ago through his magnificent work, The Cross of Christ. Few books are mind-altering or paradigm-shifting. This one still is. I went on to read many of his other books – Basic Christianity, The Living Church – and his commentaries have helped refine my teaching for years. In short, I owe a great debt to the late John Stott. Despite reading many of his published works I still knew next to nothing about John Stott the man. I was delighted when InterVarsity Press published a biography of Stott by Roger Steer. Steer has written many other books and a few biographies. Previously, I had read his biography of George Mueller. It was excellent. He brings those same qualities into this biography of Stott. Steer has that enviable ability to take the minute details of a person’s life and make them interesting. I have no interest in bird watching. Stott loved it. Steer is able to weave in accounts of Stott’s favorite hobby in a way that makes them interesting. Rather than finding Stott to be some boring figure staring at birds we are presented with the image of a man who possesses a profound love for “the least of these” and astonishing attention to detail. Bird-watching serves to build up the picture of the man rather than merely provide an answer to Evangelical Trivial Pursuit. I had a professor at the Moody Bible Institute who would always remind us that every person is a deep well. We are a complex web of emotions, thoughts, motivations, influences, temperament and environment. A figure even of the stature of Stott is no different. Steer presents him honestly; warts and all. The split between Stott and Lloyd-Jones over Evangelical Anglicans is among the more sad accounts of Stott’s ministry. But it serves to remind us that Stott was still growing in his sanctification like all the rest of us. The author of Hebrews calls us to “remember your leaders…Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (13:7). John Stott is one that Evangelicals will be remembering for many years to come. He is an example of leadership and Christian confession that is to be help as an example to follow. Roger Steer has given us a gift in his biography of Stott. No doubt that there will be many to come in the ensuing years. This one is excellent NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I received a complementary copy of the aforementioned text for the purposes of review. I was not required to furnish a positive review.

This is a review of ‘Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott’ by Roger Steer which you can find at http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Christian-Inside-Story-Stott/dp/0830838465