“I remember some years ago visiting a church incognito. I sat in the back row. I wonder who’s in the back row tonight.
You know they often slip in there incognito. I’m not going to tell you the church. You won’t be able to identify it; it’s thousands of miles away from here.
When we came to the pastoral prayer, it was led by a lay brother, because the pastor was on holiday. So he prayed that the pastor might have a good holiday. Well, that’s fine. Pastors should have good holidays.
Second, he prayed for a lady member of the church who was about to give birth to a child that she might have a safe delivery, which is fine.
Third, he prayed for another lady who was sick, and then it was over. That’s all there was. It took twenty seconds.
I said to myself, it’s a village church with a village God. They have no interest in the world outside. There was no thinking about the poor, the oppressed, the refugees, the places of violence, and world evangelization.”
–John Stott, Ten Great Preachers: Messages and Interviews, Ed. Bill Turpie (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 117.
[HT: Mark Dever]
3 responses to ““A village church with a village God” by John Stott”
Wow… simple yet deeply thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing this.
I find this problematic in several ways. First, I can’t help but think that this is an uncharitable response to this Christian lay person. He has stepped up to pray in the absence of the pastor, perhaps a rare opportunity for him to lead his congregation in prayer. And second, God calls us to tend to love our neighbors. This prayers demonstrate love for God’s servant, the pastor, concern for a new young mother, and a plea for a “sick” woman. I find his prayer compassionate and focused.
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