Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dr. John R.W. Stott (1921-2011)

Very few of those of us who minister in the pulpit have the capacity to preach the truth of scripture and make adequate application to both our personal spiritual life and our public life and responsibility. 
John R.W. Stott was such a preacher. He was such an author. He was such a pastor. 
Although I never knew him, I've read his books and been blessed by his thoughtful insight.  I was saddened to learn yesterday of his death on July 27, at the age of 90. 
"InterVarsity staff, students, and alumni, are saddened to hear of the passing of John R. W. Stott, Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church in London and Urbana conference expositor from 1964 to 1979."
"According to the All Souls Church website, “John Stott died in his retirement home at St. Barnabas College at 3:15pm on Wednesday July 27th. He was surrounded by Frances Whitehead, and a number of good friends. They were reading the Scriptures and listening to Handel’s Messiah when he peacefully went to be with his Lord and Saviour.”"
"John Stott was the Bible Expositor at InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Missions Conferences in 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1976, and 1979. He had a long association with InterVarsity in the U.S., and with the other affiliates of theInternational Fellowship of Evangelical Students. He made his first visit to North America in 1956-57, speaking at campus meetings arranged by InterVarsity students at the University of Michigan, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Illinois. The title of the lecture series was, “What Think Ye of Christ?”"
"In 1950 InterVarsity Press published Becoming a Christian by John Stott. After that, InterVarsity Press became the major U.S. publisher of Stott’s books, including the classic Basic Christianity. In a statement on the IVP website, publisher Bob Fryling said, “John Stott was not only revered; he was loved. He had a humble mind and a gracious spirit. He was a pastor-teacher whose books and preaching not only became the gold standard for expository teaching, but his Christian character was a model of truth and godliness.”"
"Stott was invited back to the U.S. to be the Bible Expositor at InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Missions Conference. Thousands heard him at the Urbana conferences on the campus of the University of Illinois in 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1976, and 1979."
I share Nicholas Kristof's perspective on the significance of Dr. Stott's death, "... the Rev. John Stott, a gentle British scholar who had far more impact on Christianity than media stars like Mr. Robertson or Mr. Falwell. Mr. Stott,who died a few days ago at the age of 90, was named one of the globe’s 100 most influential people by Time, and in stature he was sometimes described as the equivalent of the pope among the world’s evangelicals."
"Mr. Stott didn’t preach fire and brimstone on a Christian television network. He was a humble scholar whose 50-odd books counseled Christians to emulate the life of Jesus — especially his concern for the poor and oppressed — and confront social ills like racial oppression and environmental pollution."
"“Good Samaritans will always be needed to succor those who are assaulted and robbed; yet it would be even better to rid the Jerusalem-Jericho road of brigands,” Mr. Stott wrote in his book “The Cross of Christ.” “Just so Christian philanthropy in terms of relief and aid is necessary, but long-term development is better, and we cannot evade our political responsibility to share in changing the structures that inhibit development. Christians cannot regard with equanimity the injustices that spoil God’s world and demean his creatures.”"
"Mr. Stott then gave examples of the injustices that Christians should confront: “the traumas of poverty and unemployment,” “the oppression of women,” and in education “the denial of equal opportunity for all.”"
"For many evangelicals who winced whenever a televangelist made the headlines, Mr. Stott was an intellectual guru and an inspiration. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, who has worked heroically to combat everything from genocide to climate change, told me: “Against the quackery and anti-intellectualism of our movement, Stott made it possible to say you are ‘evangelical’ and not be apologetic.”"
A quote from one of Stott's books that I've read has stayed with me for years, 'God delights to make Himself known'. I believe that. And I believe one of the ways He made Himself known was through the life and ministry of John R.W. Stott. 

No comments: