Basic Christianity

Basic Christianity

3.9 11
by John Stott

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In this book, John Stott embarks on a compelling course of study that first defends the fundamental claims of Christianity and then defines the proper outworkings of these basic beliefs in the daily lives of believers. Here is a sound, sensible guide for those who are seeking an intellectually satisfying presentation of the Christian faith. // John Stott is known

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In this book, John Stott embarks on a compelling course of study that first defends the fundamental claims of Christianity and then defines the proper outworkings of these basic beliefs in the daily lives of believers. Here is a sound, sensible guide for those who are seeking an intellectually satisfying presentation of the Christian faith. // John Stott is known world-wide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of Scripture. His books have sold millions of copies around the world and in dozens of languages. He is Rector Emeritus of All Souls' Church, Langham Place, London, and founder of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. He was named one of The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.

Editorial Reviews

Baptist Sunday School Board
A sound, sensible guide for those who are seeking a more intellectually satisfying presentation of the Christian faith.
Christian Observer
A brief, well-written, clear presentation of the fundamental teachings of the bible regarding Christian belief and life.
Evangelical Quarterly
We cannot praise this little book sufficiently; we crave for it the widest circulation.
J. I. Packer
John Stott's disarming introduction to personal faith is a modern classic. Long life to it!
The Reformed Review
A trustworthy book on the most important subject in human life.
Theology News and Notes
It's insights are valuable and highly recommended for all.

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Hovel Audio, Incorporated
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Preface (from pages 7-9)

'Hostile to the church, friendly to Jesus Christ.' These words describe large numbers of people, especially young people, today.

They are opposed to anything which savours of institutionalism. They detest the establishment and its entrenched privileges. And they reject the church—not without some justification—because they regard it as impossibly corrupted by such evils.

Yet what they have rejected is the contemporary church, not Jesus Christ himself. It is precisely because they see a contradiction between the founder of Christianity and the current state of the church he founded that they are so critical and aloof. The person and teaching of Jesus have not lost their appeal, however. For one thing, he was himself an anti-establishment figure, and some of his words had revolutionary overtones. His ideals appear to have been incorruptible. He breathed love and peace wherever he went. And, for another thing, he invariably practiced what he preached.

But was he true?

An appreciable number of people throughout the world are still brought up in Christian homes in which the truth of Christ and of Christianity is assumed. But when their critical faculties develop and they begin to think for themselves, they find it easier to discard the religion of their childhood than make the effort to investigate its credentials.

Very many others do not grow up in a Christian environment. Instead they absorb the teaching of Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam, or the ethos of secular humanism, communism or existentialism.

Yet both groups, if and when they read about Jesus, find that he holds for them a fascination they cannot easily escape.

So our starting-point is the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth. He certainly existed. There is no reasonable doubt about that. His historicity is vouched for by pagan as well as Christian writers.

He was also very much a human being, whatever else may be said about him. He was born, he grew, he worked and sweated, rested and slept, he ate and drank, suffered and died like other men. He had a real human body and real human emotions.

But can we really believe that he was also in some sense 'God'? Is not the deity of Jesus a rather picturesque Christian superstition? Is there any evidence for the amazing Christian asserting that the carpenter of Nazareth was the unique Son of God?

This question is fundamental. We cannot dodge it. We must be honest. If Jesus was not God in human flesh, Christianity is exploded. We are left with just another religion with some beautiful ideas and noble ethics; its unique distinction has gone.

But there is evidence for the deity of Jesus—good, strong, historical, cumulative evidence; evidence to which an honest person can subscribe without committing intellectual suicide. There are the extravagant claims which Jesus made for himself, so bold yet so unassuming. Then there is his uncompromising righteousness and tender compassion, his care for children and his love for outcasts, his self-mastery and self-sacrifice have won the admiration of the world. What is more, his cruel death was not the end of him. It is claimed that he rose again from death, and the circumstantial evidence for his resurrection is most compelling.

Supposing Jesus was the Son of God, is basic Christianity merely an acceptance of this fact? No. Once persuaded of the deity of his person, we must examine the nature of his work. What did he come to do? The biblical answer is, he 'came into the world to save sinners'. Jesus of Nazareth is the heaven-sent Saviour we sinners need. We need to be forgiven and restored to fellowship with the all-holy God, from whom our sins have separated us. We need to be set free from our selfishness and given strength to live up to our ideals. We need to learn to love one another, friend and foe alike. This is the meaning of 'salvation'. This is what Christ came to win for us by his death and resurrection.

Then is basic Christianity the belief that Jesus is the Son of God who came to be the Saviour of the world? No, it is not even that. To assent to his divine person, to acknowledge man's need of salvation, and to believe in Christ's saving work are not enough. Christianity is not just a creed; it involves action. Our intellectual belief may be beyond criticism; but we have to translate our beliefs into deeds.

What must we do, then? We must commit ourselves, heart and mind, soul and will, home and life, personally and unreservedly to Jesus Christ. We must humble ourselves before him. We must trust in him as our Saviour and submit to him as our Lord; and then go on to take our place as loyal members of the church and responsible citizens in the community.

Such is basic Christianity, and the theme of this book. But before we come to the evidence for Jesus Christ's deity, an introductory chapter on the right approach is necessary. The Christian claim is that we can find God in Jesus Christ. It should be a help to us in examining this claim if we realize both that God is himself seeking us and that we must ourselves seek God.

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What People are saying about this

Nicky Gumbel
"John Stott's books have helped millions around the world to a better understanding of the Christian faith. I, for one, am extremely grateful for the way in which he explains complex and difficult issues with great clarity, insight and wisdom. Basic Christianity has become a classic of our time."
Nicky Gumbel, Vicar, Holy Trinity Brompton, and Pioneer of the Alpha course
Reverend Richard Cunningham
"Lucid, clear and compelling. After Mere Christianity, perhaps no other book has helped more people come to faith. I'm thrilled that this classic has been appropriately shaped and refreshed for a modern audience without losing any of its timeless charm and persuasive brilliance. Having led and organized university missions for over twenty-five years, I was sobered to be reminded of what a debt we all owe to this book and its author. 'Christ is Christianity,' and no other book exemplifies a Christ-centered apologetic more simply and clearly."
Reverend Richard Cunningham, director, UCCF: The Christian Unions
Dr. Michael Green Canon
"This was the classic forerunner of strong, balanced evangelistic books, and I am delighted it is being republished fifty years later. It led many to faith then, and it will again."
Ajith Fernando
"We can thank God that in the past few years those committed to Christian orthodoxy have been realizing the importance of the subjective and experiential aspects of the Christian gospel and using these in introducing Christianity to others. But the danger is that we can get so carried away by this that we forget the heart of what Christianity is all about. At such times it is good to go back to tried and tested expositions that have stood the test of time. And what better resource is there for this than John Stott's classic Basic Christianity?"
Ajith Fernando, national director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka
Anne Graham Lotz
"Anything John Stott says is worth listening to . . . anything he writes is worth reading. Basic Christianity is not only a classic must-read for every believer, it is truly a blessing preserved on the written page for the enrichment of this generation, and those to come."
James W. Sire
"[This slim volume] has introduced more people to Christ than any book I know other than the Bible."
James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door

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