Christian Themes

Basic Christianity is precisely what it promises: an overview of the premises of basic Protestant Christianity. It begins with the person of Jesus Christ and his claims and those of his followers. Having established what he feels is certitude regarding the claims of Christ, Stott turns to the question of sin and its profound role in human life. Evangelical theology does not skirt the problem of human wrongdoing, and Stott places sin firmly at the center of the work of Jesus Christ and also at the center of the transformation required of his followers. Because the human condition precludes any possibility of making up for sin on one’s own account, the question of an acceptable offering for sin arises. This leads to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the view that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross has fulfilled for all humanity the sacrifice necessary for sin. When the gravity of this self-sacrifice is understood, it will create in the believer a constant sense of gratitude and wonder. From this sense of gratitude and wonder should come a transformation of life, marked by humility, self-sacrifice, and joy. The life of the Church follows on this, as the Church is not only the acceptable sphere for faithful interaction, but also the outward and visible sign of God’s ongoing activity in the world.