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Basic Christianity

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  9,686 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Who is Jesus Christ? If he is not who he said he was and if he did not do what he said he had come to do the whole superstructure of Christianity crumbles in ruins to the ground Is it plausible that Jesus was truly divine? And what might this mean for us? John Stott presents his clear classic statement of the gospel
Paperback, 179 pages
Published November 30th 2006 by IVP Books (first published January 1st 1958)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  9,686 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: godreads
The mission : to find a book explaining Christian belief which makes the least bit of sense.

First attempt : Mere Christianity by C S Lewis. I think we know how that one went.

Second attempt : Basic Christianity by John Stott


The foreword of this tells me there are few landmark books that everyone in the world should read – "this is one of the few". This is the 50 year anniversary edition of the book originally published in 1958 and "in the 21st century you cannot afford to ignore this book!" Ok
Brandon Yoder
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read maybe three or four really good books, besides the Bible, that have helped me in my walk with Christ. Tozer's "Pursuit of God", Lewis's "Mere Christianity", Bonhoeffers "Cost of Discipleship" and now Stott's "Basic Christianity".
I was hesitant to read this book at first, thinking it would be a re-hash of so many books I've read already on this topic. I was wrong. Stott has a very direct way of explaining his points and backs up each claim with scripture, which I believe is a bit diffe
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have to admit I was disappointed with this book, especially after it came so highly recommended by many of today's top theologians and apologists. I did not see where Stott offered much insight and there were times when I think he took too much license when explaining the Bible.

I suppose it was written for new believers or curious unbelievers.

I give it a "meh."
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I'm only 50+ years late to the party, but this is excellent. Clear, winsome, and surprisingly comprehensive. This must still be one of the go-to-books for anyone wanting an introduction to the Christian faith.
Morris Nelms
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Good for what it is.
I would cautiously recommend it to someone who has just become a Christian and knows nothing about the faith.
I guess the title is accurate, although it is slanted in favor of the Evangelical Protestant perspective entirely.
I dislike the author's insistence that one use a modern translation of the Bible.
It's as if the Protestant church has decided to bury the KJV as fast as possible. Sorry, I still prefer it.

May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a good book teaching what Christians should know. I especially enjoyed the last two chapters.
Like with Packer's Knowing God, this book deserves a high rating in part because of the high quality of writing. Also like with KG, it took a while for me to get interested. Some parts toward the end sounded Arminian and Baptist.

Rick Warren wrote the forward in one edition.


Chapter 1: The Right Approach
Ps. 32:9: don't be mindless like a mule—use your mind

Part 1: Christ's Person
Chapter 2: The Claims of Christ

Chapter 3: The Character of Christ

Chapter 4: The Resurrection of Christ

Part 2: Man'
Essie-Marie W.
Nice and concise little book that gives what it advertises - the basics. Recommend to anyone who wants a bird's eye view of what Christianity is all about: Jesus.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: devotional
There is one concept in John R W. Stott’s classic devotional-apologetical work, Basic Christianity that I wish I had used to assure believers over my entire ministry. Stott writes, “Do not be in too great a hurry to discover God’s will for your life. If you are surrendered to it and waiting on God to disclose it, he will make it known to you in his own time.” (p. 113) So many times in my ministry, I have tried to provide guidance for people who were certain that they needed to accomplish some gr ...more
First sentence: 'In the beginning God,' the first four words of the Bible are more than an introduction to the creation story or to the book of Genesis. They supply the key which opens our understanding to the Bible as a whole. They tell us that the religion of the Bible is a religion of the initiative of God.

Premise/plot: Basic Christianity by John Stott is a Christian classic for a reason: it is GOOD. It addresses the basics of the Christian faith: what sets Christianity apart from every othe
Susan Kendrick
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
So straightforward; I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
J. Amill Santiago
Solid 3.5 out of 5. As the title suggests, Stott explores the basic tenets of Christianity in a similar fashion as Lewis did in Mere Christianity. I definitely think Lewis' work is superior—as attested by its wider popularity—but this one is more theological and biblical than Mere Christianity. Lewis' work is perhaps more philosophical in nature. The last few chapters of the book, particularly those that deal with the atonement and the centrality of the cross are worth the entire price of the bo ...more
Alan Castro
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for all believers.
August Bourré
Earlier this year, at the age of 68, my father became an Anglican priest. He's never attended seminary or any other formal training, but he'd been serving as a lay reader and extremely dedicated volunteer to an extremely tiny and aging rural congregation, helping to keep it alive and even building it up.

I'm not a religious person (I have that same vague attraction to mystery and 'spirituality' that so many of us can't define and can't easily reconcile with the rest of our outlook, but it's never
John Brackbill
No doubt I have significant differences with John Stott's theology on several points, but not much of that came up in this book though enough did for me to make it a four star rather than the five that it certainly was on the whole (e.g. use of images in worship, images of hell being symbolic rather than literal in Bible, and themes of limited atonement). Thankfully his seeming openness to an annihilation view of hell did not come out (I have read quotes about this tentative position from his co ...more
Jon Beadle
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Well written, but lacking the real imaginative heft of Mere Christianity. Reading modern apologetics (as opposed to Justin Martyr, Boethius, Augustine) often feels like witnessing someone spread butter across too much bread.
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I needed to take this in small doses as Dr. Stott is an extremely intelegent man and digestion of his thoughts helps. I'd put this with Lewis's Mere Christanity as they sort of compliment. (I like Lewis best if I need to choose, but also like Dr, stoot. they both humble me.)
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 100-books, religion
Clearer and more straightforward than Lewis's Mere Christianity, and more biblically grounded, but not nearly as delicious a read.
Joshua D.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic short introduction to Christianity. Excellent to use with someone investigating Christianity or to ground the new believer. It’s also an excellent refresher for the mature Christian.
Robert D. Cornwall
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to hear John Stott speak. The host was a Presbyterian Church that featured speakers both conservative and liberal. There was a large crowd that night, and I sat with a church member in the balcony. I don't remember the message, but I seem to remember it being solid evangelicalism. It was conservative but generous. I belive that describes Stott fairly well. He was conservative, but as a British evangelical, he lacked the political aggressiveness that ha ...more
Victor Mejia
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What are the basic beliefs about Christianity? Do you know these and are you able to articulate them to someone? In “Basic Christianity”, John Stott covers what the Christian faith is all about and urges readers to begin a rewarding and life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. This book, first written in 1958, is the first volume in the IVP Signature Collection which features special editions of iconic books.

The book is laid out in four parts: Who Christ is, What we need, What Christ has do
Glenn Crouch
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I read an earlier edition almost 40 years ago - so I thought I would take the opportunity to re-read this book, as well as to take advantage of a newer edition.

For my tastes, this book doesn't seem to have aged as well as Lewis' "Mere Christianity" - which seems better each time I read it :)

I did find it a little "slow" to begin with, and recall having the same feeling decades ago, but was glad that I persisted as after the first chapter or so, it picks up nicely and is quite a good introduction
Todd Miller
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title speaks to its content. These are basic foundations of Christianity, specifically it is about Jesus Christ, who he was, and what he did at the cross. It speaks to the role of the trinity and each part played in the work of salvation by God the father, Christ the son, and the Holy Spirit. While there are some points I may not agree with, they are few. The main point is that this book gives a solid understanding of what Christianity is all about. Christianity is about God the father showi ...more
Bill Hooten
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John R. W. Stott has always been one of my favorite authors! In my opinion, he was the perfect combination of scholar and preacher, and had the ability to communicate both to the one who was doing the reading. I don't know that I had ever read this book all the way through before this, just parts of it here and there. I did that a lot, and that is something that if I had it to do all over again I would change. This book was extremely interesting, as I listened to it driving back and forth to the ...more
Janet Richards
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: church
I am reading several books to prepare for a Basics of the Christian faith book. I selected this book based on several recommendations. It is a good overall book, but with a Evangelistic bent. I was frustrated, however, upon finding several errors. One was a quote that proved to be completely wrong. The other was a few theological errors which was frustrating. The entire point of Basic Christianity is not introduce theology that is not very sound. This is a good book for someone who is already a ...more
Brandon Current
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read and Keep as Resource

Stott's short, well organized book forms an excellent introduction or much needed re-introduction to Christianity. He does well to begin the book by addressing the necessary frame of mind for the reader to benefit from the claims of the book. The statements he makes throughout are a bold and assertive presentation of Christian belief, but are made in a disarming, non-confrontational way. The tone is warm and friendly, which is uncommon for what is basically an apologetic
Ari DeBenedictis
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow this was really good!! I wish I read this when I first became a Christian because I think it did a really nice job of explaining who Jesus is, what the resurrection means, what sin is/how it is tied with the resurrection, and what it means to live a life for Christ. This book was different (and in a good way) from other Christian books that I have read because it was very factual and to the point. Most other books I've read are self-help books, or books that are good for reading once you hav ...more
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a classic. Stott has an easy to understand writing style, which is easy to digest for either the lifetime Christian or the new believer. Yet, he does not shy away from discussing Christian theology in a way that doesn't "dumb down" many of the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith. As a summary of the book says, this is a "sound, sensible guide for all who seek an intellectually satisfying explanation of the Christian faith." This classic exposition of the Christian doctrine sho ...more
Joshua Jacobson
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: principal-books
This is a rather bland and unimaginative packaging of standard Evangelical views on salvation. It appears geared toward the non-believer but does little to speak to the felt experience of a human being. It uses a strong dose of Christian and theological terminology which will likely miss the target audience. In all, this reads like a primer on Evangelical thoughts on salvation. It is not particularly insightful for those who have grown up in Evangelicalism, nor is it well targeted to seekers who ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent introduction to Christianity even for those who have been Christians a long time. This book really helped me to "see" Christ, particularly in the gospels, and brought home to me the point that we all must make a decision about what we will do with Christ and his claims. I particularly enjoyed the emphasis Stott puts on the cost of discipleship and the claims Christ puts on us. He talks unapologetically of our responsibilities and obligations as Christians, concepts that are not so comm ...more
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John R. W. Stott is known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist, and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). His many books, including Why ...more

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“Jesus never concealed the fact that his religion included a demand as well as an offer. Indeed, the demand was as total as the offer was free. If he offered men his salvation, he also demanded their submission. He gave no encouragement whatever to thoughtless applicants for discipleship. He brought no pressure to bear on any inquirer. He sent irresponsible enthusiasts away empty. Luke tells of three men who either volunteered, or were invited, to follow Jesus; but no one passed the Lord’s test. The rich young ruler, too, moral, earnest and attractive, who wanted eternal life on his own terms, went away sorrowful, with his riches intact but with neither life nor Christ as his possession…The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half built towers—the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called “nominal Christianity.” In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism…The message of Jesus was very different. He never lowered his standards or modified his conditions to make his call more readily acceptable. He asked his first disciples, and he has asked every disciple since, to give him their thoughtful and total commitment. Nothing less than this will do” 27 likes
“Many people visualize a God who sits comfortably on a distant throne, remote, aloof, uninterested, and indifferent to the needs of mortals, until, it may be, they can badger him into taking action on their behalf. Such a view is wholly false. The Bible reveals a God who, long before it even occurs to man to turn to him, while man is still lost in darkness and sunk in sin, takes the initiative, rises from his throne, lays aside his glory, and stoops to seek until he finds him.” 16 likes
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