In a dark little chapel many years ago, a solitary schoolboy went in search of God and later gave his life to Christ. It turned out to be the most significant step he was ever to take. If it were not for Christ, he reflects, his would have been on the scrapheap of wasted and discarded lives. Instead, his life was used to lead countless others around the world to that same new life, and into a deeper understanding of the One who gave his life that we might live.
John Stott tells his spiritual story, and gives the reasons for his first life-changing step of faith. It was not so much that he found Christ, as that Christ, the relentless Hound of Heaven, pursued and found him. Not because the Christian faith is attractive, but because it is true. Not because he deserved to be saved, but because Christ took his sins, and ours, on himself. It is because the answer to the paradox at the heart of our humanness, because the key to true freedom and fulfilment, are to be found in Jesus Christ alone. And he who extends the greatest of all invitations to each one of us waits patiently for our response.
For more by John Stott, see John Stott Collection (7 vols.).
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“If we love Christ, it is because he loved us first (1 John 4:19). If we are Christians at all, it is not because we have decided for Christ, but because Christ has decided for us. It is because of the pursuit of ‘this tremendous lover’.” (Page 16)
“Why I am a Christian is due ultimately neither to the influence of my parents and teachers, nor to my own personal decision for Christ, but to ‘the Hound of Heaven’. That is, it is due to Jesus Christ himself, who pursued me relentlessly even when I was running away from him in order to go my own way. And if it were not for the gracious pursuit of the Hound of Heaven I would today be on the scrap-heap of wasted and discarded lives.” (Pages 12–13)
“So the second reason why I am a Christian is not that it is nice but that it is true.” (Page 33)
“We are not, therefore, to regard the cross as defeat and the resurrection as victory. Rather, the cross was the victory won, and the resurrection the victory endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated.” (Page 62)
“Here, then, are the three main relationships that Jesus claimed. In relation to the Old Testament Scriptures, he was their fulfilment. In relation to God the Father, he enjoyed the unique intimacy of sonship. In relation to human beings, he claimed authority to be their saviour and their judge. Three words encapsulate his claims—fulfilment, intimacy and authority. He claimed to be the Christ of Scripture, the Son of God and the saviour and judge of the world.” (Pages 43–44)
Why I Am a Christian is easy to read and presents the essentials of Christianity clearly. The book can be read devotionally by Christians with much profit. It can also be given as a gift to non-Christians interested in learning about Christianity
—The Christian Librarian
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