The Radical Disciple, Some Neglected Aspects of our Calling by John Stott, book cover

The Radical Disciple

 Some Neglected Aspects of our Calling

John Stott

In my personal library, I have several books authored by John Stott. Each of his books has nurtured my faith in some way through exposition and exhortation. John Stott through his writings has been evidence to me God still has godly men of integrity and Bible knowledge who prod the rest of us to keep up. A friend offered the opinion, everyone has a blind spot (including my friend and myself) and I agree. I am sure that John Stott is no exception to that general rule. If we limited ourselves to books by perfect men with perfect knowledge, we would have nothing to read. We do hope those we do read have some accurate knowledge, some spiritual wisdom, and the capacity to explain difficult things to us. John Stott is one of those author/teachers, offering those qualities. Whatever we read, should be read with our minds in gear to question the propositions in the writing, comparing them with the whole of Scripture which is the Authority, not a human teacher no matter how gifted.

The Radical Disciple, John Stott has said, is his last book. He was 88 years old when he completed this book, copyright 2010. I felt sad as I read what is called “his farewell address” because his writings have meant so much to me.

He wrote in the Preface, “So my purpose in this book is to consider eight characteristics of Christian discipleship that are often neglected and yet deserve to be taken seriously.” In his eight chapters covering eight Christian characteristics, he distills the essence of what it means to be an authentic disciple of Jesus--in only 142 pages.

The eight chapter headings are : 1. Nonconformity 2. Christlikeness 3. Maturity 4. Creation Care 5. Simplicity 6. Balance 7. Dependence 8. Death. A Preface, Conclusion, Postscript and Notes complete the book. In reading the scripture quotations, especially in context, we find the Bible does not present these as optional, but as who we are to become and how we are to conduct ourselves throughout our Christian lives.

These characteristics are presented in The Radical Disciple as brief exhortations to live up to our calling more fully than we have been, either as individuals or as congregations. In his conclusion, John Stott reminds us Jesus called us to practice his teachings: “Basic to all discipleship is our resolve not only to address Jesus with polite titles but to follow his teaching and obey his commands.” As he said in the Preface: “But because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority.”

This small book has a large message worth reviewing often for the purpose of examining our own commitment to radical discipleship.


Book Review
By Scarlett Stough
Title: The Radical Disciple, Some Neglected Aspects of our Calling
Author: John Stott copyright 2010
Publisher: Intervarsity Press
ISBN: 978-0-8308-3847-9