The radical disciple

Dear Friends,

Any book from John Stott’s pen is worth reading, and his latest work (and probably his final one, given that he is now in his eighties) certainly does not disappoint. In The Radical Disciple, he focuses on “eight characteristics of Christian discipleship which are often neglected yet deserve to be taken seriously”. As with everything Stott has written, he takes care in the choice of every word, not least in the title. As for ‘disciple’, he explains his wish that “Christians were self-consciously disciples of Jesus, and took seriously their responsibility to be ‘under discipline'”. As for ‘radical’, he points out that the word comes from the Latin for ‘root’: he is concerned for a discipleship that goes right down to the root of our being.

Then, putting the two words of the title together, he observes with deceptive simplicity and searching profundity: “Our common way of avoiding radical discipleship is to be selective; choosing those areas in which commitment suits us and staying away from those areas in which it will be costly. But because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority.” Ouch! How many of us feel the sting of those sharp, yet kindly meant, words? We have a lot to learn from this humble and gracious Christian leader who has shown us what it is to be a radical disciple.

Yours in Christ,
Chris Hobbs