- What an illuminating interview with John Stott. It is a great service to readers to glean his wisdom, to remind us of the basics of evangelicalism. As a worker in a local ministry that connects Christians to the poor, I concur with his statement about the disparity between God's concern for the poor and our own. Such concern "is not really on our evangelical conscience yet." A remedy, he says, is to spend time among those living in oppressive poverty. One does not have to travel far. In every town and city there is an oppressed, elderly, disabled poor person, who needs the love of Christ--within ten minutes of where we work or live. One person can start a quiet revolution of loving neighbors as Christ has loved us.
I have had a profound respect for Dr. Stott for more than 25 years. However, I was disappointed that he could not espouse the traditional position of the church on the matter of eternal punishment. Granted, it is a difficult and disturbing doctrine. Stott says his suggestions of annihilation are "tentative" because of "the awkward texts on both sides of the debate." Might the same be said on other well-established doctrines, such as the full deity of Christ or the Trinity.
- It helped me a great deal to see that John Stott is an agnostic on eternal conscious torment for unbelievers. No one who has ever suffered from severe depression, that is, "conscious torment," could conceive of God condemning someone to "eternal" conscious torment versus missing eternal life. Even though we cannot stand the thought of complete annihilation, it seems more just to us mortals who have lost unsaved loved ones. I'm sure the fact that Stott's parents were not Christians has influenced his thoughts on this knotty issue.
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