We often imagine Jesus as the ultimate peacemaker, as one who saw all sides and kindly overlooked differences of belief or practice. The Gospels say this was not so. Jesus drew sharp lines. He disagreed with many. He rejected being broadminded on a variety of topics. He engaged in vigorous debate, especially with several different groups of religious leaders. What conflicts did he have? He argued that we would experience a supernatural afterlife, that our natural existence is not all God has planned.He disagreed that human tradition should not supersede Scripture, our foundational authority. He clashed on whether the Bible was not an end in itself, contending that its purpose pointed beyond itself. He sharply articulated that God accept us by virtue of what we receive from him, not by what we do for him. These and other controversies clarify the core distinctives of the Christian faith which, John Stott boldly asserts, are nothing less than the distinctives of the evangelical faith. This text of Stott's classic, Christ the Controversialist, now edited by David Stone for the twenty-first century, was controversial when it was first published. It is no less controversial today.
Preface Foundations A. A Call for Clarity B. Why "Evangelical"? Chapters 1. Religion: Natural or Supernatural? 2. Authority : Tradition or Scripture? 3. The Bible: End or Means? 4. Salvation: Merit or Mercy? 5. Morality: Outward or Inward? 6. Worship: Lips or Heart? 7. Responsibility: Withdrawal or Involvement? 8 Ambition: Our Glory or Gods? Postscript: Jesus, Our Teacher and Lord Notes
"This is vintage Stott—clear, biblical, passionate, thoughtful and Christ-centered. A magisterial defense of biblical, historic evangelical Christianity. By brilliant analysis of the debates of Jesus with the Pharisees and Sadducees of his day, he highlights modern versions of the same distortions. Profound, lucid and compelling, this book is as relevant to current debates as when it was first published."
"Stott described the spirit of the age, but it is striking that, rereading the book over forty years later, it is even more relevant today. . . . So for a new day, there is still an urgent need to confront."
"This is, I believe, not only one of John Stott's finest books, but one of the most important to be written in recent decades. In a world which increasingly rejects the concept of truth, and a church often marked by doctrinal indifference, its appeal to submit to Christ's teaching concerning core convictions and his example in arguing for them is urgently needed."
"I vividly recall reading this book in its earliest version forty years ago, and it contained the stand-out set of arguments that persuaded me to commit my life to Christ later that year. Thank you, John, for all that has meant to me since."
"Every thoughtful Christian ought to read this classic exposition of evangelical essentials. Though written more than forty years ago, its central message stands and is needed today more than ever. John Stott expounds persuasively, generously, lucidly and with penetrating insight what it means to be faithful to Jesus Christ. This is a brilliant book."