Wednesday, November 08, 2006

John Stott Praying for Apologists

Jeff Clinton's posting the following quote from John Stott's Your Mind Matters prompted me to take the thin volume from my shelf and thumb through it once more. As Jeff points out, though over 30 years old, Stott's petition is as timely today as when originally penned. I wonder, then, why we don't hear it uttered more frequently in our churches. The kind of laborers Stott prays for are not the kind that usually come to mind when we ask the Lord to send workers into his harvest :
I pray earnestly that God will raise up today a new generation of Christian apologists or Christian communicators, who will combine an absolute loyalty to the biblical gospel and an unwavering confidence in the power of the Spirit with a deep and sensitive understanding of the contemporary alternatives to the gospel; who will relate the one to the other with freshness, pungency, authority and relevance; and who will use their minds to reach other minds for Christ (52).
I was surprised to see that my copy of the book is clean, free from any underlining or marginal scribbles. That probably means that I first read it prior to getting into the habit of marking books up as I read them or I just thought it was all so good that I would have marked everything! Here's another of Stott's many noteworthy thoughts concerning why the fact that human reasoning is fallen is no excuse for failing to engage people intellectually in our evangelism:
It is quite true that man's mind has shared in the devastating results of the Fall. The "total depravity" of man means that every constituent part of his humanness has been to some degree corrupted, including his mind, which Scripture describes as "darkened." Indeed, the more men suppress the truth of God which they know, the more "futile," even "senseless," they become in their thinking. They may claim to be wise, but they are fools. Their mind is "the mind of the flesh," the mentality of a fallen creature, and it is basically hostile to God and his law.

All this is true. But the fact that man's mind is fallen is no excuse for a retreat from thought into emotion, for the emotional side of man's nature is equally fallen. Indeed, sin has more dangerous effects on our faculty of feeling than on our faculty of thinking, because our opinions are more easily checked and regulated by revealed truth than our experiences (16).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I affirm Stott's concern. The church of Jesus Christ doesn't need men simply pursuing an intellectual endeavor. She needs men of God, passionate for the truth of the gospel and willing to stand firm for truth for Christ's sake. We must equip ourselves to not only defend the faith, but take it to an unbelieving world.