Evangelicals around the world are mourning the death of John Stott, one of the architects of modern evangelicalism. Born on April 27, 1921, Stott became an iconic leader within the global evangelical church. He was ordained by The Church of England in 1945, after which he became a curate at the All Souls Church in London (Langham Place). In 1950, he became the rector at All Souls, and he spent the rest of his ministry life serving in that same church –over 60 years! Stott was a bachelor and leaves behind no immediate survivors (two sisters preceded him in death).
In addition to his pastoral ministry, Stott shaped many evangelical minds through his writing. I still recall the assignment to read his (1958) book, Basic Christianity, in Bible College. The stunning clarity of his work altered my understanding of my own faith in ways that continue to this day. Additionally, his magnum opus, The Cross of Christ (1986), and his Commentary on Romans (1994), helped me shape theological concepts and ideas with unparalleled precision. I also recall selecting his book, Between Two Worlds (1982) as one of my textbooks in a preaching class I taught on the college level in 1983 and 1984. This list only scratches the surface of his literary contribution, but these are the first four books that popped into my mind when I heard Stott died today. His writing was both deep and accessible - a rare combination.
Stott also produced a gold mine of quotes. I’m sure I’ve used a thousand or more through my 32 years of preaching. Here’s a sampling:
We must be global Christians, with a global mission, because our God is a global God.
I declare myself an impenitent believer in the power of preaching. The pew cannot rise higher than the pulpit.
Three basic convictions: 1. God wants his church to grow. 2. They grow by the Word of God. 3. The Word of God comes to people mainly, though not exclusively, through preaching.
We should not ask, "What is wrong with the world?" for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather, we should ask, "What has happened to the salt and light?"
Apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable.
Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.
Every Christian should be both conservative and radical; conservative in preserving the faith and radical in applying it.
Good conduct arises out of good doctrine.
I call on all of my Christian brothers and sisters to remember the life of this humble servant of the Lord, and join today in mourning his death. As I read the headline announcing Stott’s death, my heart pulsed with resolve to keep his passion for preaching, the centrality of the cross, and the ultimate purpose of the glory of God alive in my heart and ministry until the day of my own death.
Thank you John Stott for your life and your impact on millions, including me. Thank you for starting well, and finishing well. Thank you for your unflagging passion for preaching the Word of God. Enjoy the eternal reward you so richly deserve…because of The Cross of Christ.