As he nears his eightieth birthday (he was born in 1921), John R. W. Stott gives the worldwide evangelical communion this latest gift as one of its elder statesmen. This pithy book offers us what he calls a "little statement on evangelical faith," a faith that he has done more to promote than anyone else in this century save Billy Graham.
Stott articulates these commitments in what is, indeed, a "personal plea" marked by both the strengths and, to some extent, the limitations of the evangelicalism he has represented and fostered. It stands as an important text both for what it says and for what it signifies: both as a helpful teaching of Christian truth and as an illustrative token of a particular "take" on Christian truth.
In his characteristically square-edged and lucid style, Stott affirms three core commitments of evangelical Christianity. Then, in the manner of many theologians today, he finds a Trinitarian link with this trio. Thus he suggests that evangelicals might profitably "limit our evangelical priorities to three, namely the revealing initiative of God the Father, the redeeming work of God the Son, and the transforming ministry of God the Holy Spirit. All our other evangelical essentials," Stott asserts, "will then find an appropriate place somewhere under this threefold or Trinitarian rubric."
Stott proceeds to deal first with the revelation of God found in the Bible, particularly as it testifies to Jesus Christ. Stott patiently defines "revelation" in its typical categories of "general" and "special" revelation, and then devotes most of the chapter to discussing the inspiration and authority of the Bible. He dedicates this longest of chapters to the Bible because, he writes, "the primary question in every religion ...1
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