John Stott, The Living Church, p. 12
“For the church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community. For his purpose, conceived in a past eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build his church, that is, to call out of the world a people for his glory.”
John Stott, The Living Church, p. 19.
“We believe that the church has a double identity. On the one hand we are called out of the world to belong to God, and on the other hand, we are sent back into the world to witness and to serve.”
John Stott, The Living Church, p. 20.
And now he calls us to enter other people’s worlds, as he entered ours. All authentic mission is incarnational mission. We are called to enter other people’s social and cultural reality: into their thought- world, struggling to understand their misunderstandings of the gospel, and into the pain of their alienation, weeping with those who weep. And all this without compromising our Christian beliefs, values, and standards.”
John Stott, The Living Church, pp. 20-21.
“. . .what is God’s vision for his church? What are the distinguishing marks of a living church? To answer these questions we have to go back to the beginning and take a fresh look at the first Spirit-filled church in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Mind you, as we do so, it is essential that we are realistic. For we have a tendency to idealize or romanticize the early church. We look at it through tinted spectacles. We speak of it in whispers, as if it had no blemishes. Then we miss the rivalries, the hypocrisies, the immoralities, and the heresies which troubled the first-century church as they trouble the church today.”
John Stott, The Living Church, p. 21.