Wednesday, 3 August 2011

John Stott 1921-2011

Last Wednesday at the evening celebration at Keswick we were told of the death that afternoon of John Stott. I'm not posting a full tribute to John, I never met him and never heard him preach or teach. For tributes see here - at the All Soul's web site; here - LICC web site; or here - Langham Partnership International web site.

In my opinion John Stott has been the most significant evangelical leader of the twentieth century and I want to offer a few comments of thanks for his ministry.

John Stott: a careful bible student - John Stott's contributions to the Bible Speaks Today series should be well known and well used by preachers and bible teachers. They display a slow and careful reading of the text of Scripture, set in its context and then applied to our lives today. Stott regularly pursues words through lexical study and concordance study to bring a full and clear sense of the word into his exposition of the passage.

John Stott: a reader of our culture - John Stott promoted double listening, a listening to the Bible as God's word and also a listening to the world, the culture so that the preacher might speak God's word into their culture with precision and power. The Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other is a lesson we need to learn.

John Stott: passionate about mission - all his life John Stott served in the church, but he cared not only for the church but for the world. His influence in the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC), his work with the Langham Partnership and the Lausanne Congress display a care for all people, in all places to hear the good news of Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

John Stott: a faithful church servant - John Stott served in the church and was committed to the denomination into which God called him. He courageously, and wisely, stood up against calls to separate from the CofE and so encouraged others to continue to serve within such denominations.

John Stott: the evangelical leader - I think my favourite book of Stott's is Evangelical Truth, Stott accurately describes the evangelical heritage of the CofE, and with necessary changes also the CofS! Sub titles 'A personal plea for unity' Stott writes:
Today, however, many of us evangelical Christians acquiesce too readily in our pathological tendency to fragment. We take refuge in our convictions about the invisible unity of the church, as if its visible manifestation did not matter. In consequence, the devil has been hugely successful in his old strategy to 'divide and conquer'. Our disunity remains a major hindrance to our evangelism. (page 141)
O for a leader to speak these words with power into the lives of evangelicals in our day.

It is good for us to give thanks to God for such servants as John Stott has been among us. But we will best remember John Stott by our faithfully serving the same Lord as he served in all his ministry and life.

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