How the Church Preserves Our Humanness in a Dehumanized Society

By Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspectives Ministry

In his 1982 book I Believe in Preaching, John Stott wrote these prophetic words:

It is difficult to imagine the world in the year 2000, by which time versatile microprocessors are likely to be as common as simple calculators are today.

[This will lead to] the probable reduction of human contact, as the new electronic network renders personal relationships ever less necessary.

In such a dehumanized society, the fellowship of the local church will become increasingly important—whose members meet one another, and listen and talk to one another in person rather than on screen. In this human context of mutual love, the speaking and hearing of the Word of God is also likely to become more necessary for the preservation of our humanness, not less.

(My thanks to Matt Smethurst for sharing this quote on Twitter.)

After reading this quote, I did some research, and it wasn’t until 1993 that electronic mail was first dubbed email. I literally had the first home computer of anyone I knew in 1985, to facilitate my writing books. Our church got our first one the following year in 1986, and I was the go-to person to explain it to everyone on staff, because I was the only one who had ever used a computer!

Yet Stott wrote this in 1982? Stott was on the shortlist of people who deeply influenced me. A godly brother, with profound insights into God’s Word, who encouraged a generation of us and beyond in believing, teaching, and preaching God’s word, and living a life honoring to Jesus that would make our preaching of the Word credible and eternal in impact.

If John Stott had never written anything besides The Cross of Christ, his entire life would’ve been more than worth it. His first books that powerfully influenced me as a young Christian, and then as a young pastor, were Basic Christianity, Your Mind Matters, and Between Two Worlds. I would say that after C. S. Lewis, A. W. Tozer., Francis Schaeffer, Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, Eugene Peterson, and a few others, he certainly is in my top 10 of all time writers and Christian leaders.

I can’t put into words my degree of nostalgia in seeing the name John Stott, much less reflecting on his words. Here are some quotes from a list of 160 John Stott quotes:

“Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.”

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.”

“Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”

“The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought.”

“If we truly worship God, acknowledging and adoring his infinite worth, we find ourselves impelled to make him known to others, in order that they may worship him too. Thus worship leads to witness, and witness in its turn to worship, in a perpetual circle.”

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