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Minister’s Letter – John Stott and the importance of Church

Minister’s Letter – John Stott and the importance of Church

I am reading Stott’s The Living Church, both with our church staff team and the Rector’s reading group. Chapter 1 pulls no punches on the importance of meeting together.

“We are not only Christian people” he writes, “we are church people. We are not only committed to Christ, we are also committed to the body of Christ … I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an unchurched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person”. Yikes! Stott doesn’t leave you guessing as to what he thinks about the importance of church attendance! 

Why is church so important? Stott’s answer took me by surprise. I thought he might speak about its importance for Christian growth, but he speaks about the importance of church to God. He says “The church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God, it is not a divine afterthought. For his purpose is not just to save isolated individuals but rather to build his church. Indeed, Christ died for us, not only ‘to redeem us from all wickedness’, but also ‘to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good’ (Titus 2:14).”

If you’re here today, then I’m preaching to the converted! Perhaps Stott’s words can serve to encourage us as we remain committed to meeting together.

Martin Kemp