John Stott continues to be a hero that each Christian ought to know … | The change
April 27th marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Christian leader John Stott, who has helped and encouraged so many people around the world, including myself.
John Stott was born in London in 1921. He was naturally gifted, had a brilliant mind, amazing memories, and extraordinary self-discipline. John was brought to a living faith in Christ through the sermon of Eric Nash in public school, and he was deeply committed to his new faith. In Cambridge, where he studied modern languages, John was intensely committed to the Christian Union.
He trained as an Anglican minister before becoming a curator at All Souls Langham Place in London, the church he attended as a child. Throughout his service, John stayed with All Souls; There he spent thirty years as pastor and rector and worked there for over thirty years as a writer, preacher and leader. John's passion for evangelism transformed All Souls and became a focus of evangelical ministry in London and beyond. A notable focus of John's sermon from the start was the way he preached not only the historical gospel, but the need for Christians to apply it in their daily lives.
John had many talents and his service and influence soon spread beyond central London. John has always had a keen interest in student evangelism and has preached on university missions around the world for a quarter of a century. He wrote extensively and authored Bible commentaries, practical guides for the Christian life, and important texts on how Christians should deal with the world. He wrote over fifty books and many articles, each characterized by his erudition, precise language, solid biblical foundation, and contemporary application. His books have been translated into many languages, the profits of which have been used to support theological education around the world. Three books in particular have proven to be extremely powerful: the basic Christianity that has led many to believe, the cross of Christ through the Atonement – one of my favorites – and topics that Christians face today that encourage Christians to deal effectively with the Deal with the world in which you are living in.
Over time, John became a national and international Christian statesman with a strong, if gracious, influence. In his own Anglican Church, he played an important role in moving evangelicalism from a minority to a mainstream element. He planned international meetings and chaired committees, including those for the important Lausanne Covenant (1974). Either through silent advice or open support, John has been involved in an extraordinary number of evangelical initiatives including the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, the conservation organization A Rocha, Tearfund, the Evangelical Literature Trust and many others.
John's ministry was truly global: he visited over a hundred countries, spoke, preached and encouraged and, where possible, took the opportunity for one of his joys – bird watching. He continued his international service well into the 1980s, when his health deteriorated. He died in 2011 at the age of ninety.
Capable of doing so much, John was helped by his own amazing self-discipline, by Frances Whitehead (his formidable and protective secretary), and by his purchase of a shabby cliff edge cottage in Wales – The Hookses – where he is retiring could. pray and write in peace. He also saw his uniqueness as something that made him free to serve the Church more fully.
I have had the privilege of meeting with Uncle John on many occasions. I was especially encouraged when he found me still on my feet as an evangelist, invited me to tea, supported my work, and encouraged me to deepen my knowledge of God through Bible reading and prayer. A cherished memory is how when I met him he characteristically hugged me, looked at me with his blue eyes and asked, “Brother John, are you still preaching the gospel?” To which he inevitably added, “This is the only thing what you gotta do! & # 39;
One of the fascinating and challenging things about John was the way he balanced things that could easily have been opposites.
Although John was extremely self-disciplined, he was also meek. He got up early – 5 or 6 a.m. – and devoted himself to prayer and reading the Bible. He seemed to live life with remarkable efficiency and never seemed to waste time. However, there was never a sense that he was a driven person whose projects require priority. With John, you always had the feeling that people came first.
Although John was an authority, he was also humble. He was one of the few Christian leaders known and respected worldwide: Time Magazine named him one of the "100 Most Influential People" in 2005. Yet you never felt superior or self-important with John. He listened graciously to other views and always seemed to have time for people. He also lived humbly; It is fascinating that the only property he ever owned was this tiny house in Pembrokeshire. With John, the idea of being a servant was not a cliché, it was the truth.
Although John was a deeply spiritual man, he was ultimately also extremely relevant. He was a man who let prayer and Bible reading shape everything he said, did, and was. There was no sense, however, that he was a religious mystic too sacred to cope with the mess of the world. With John, there was always a desire to be involved. He was a man who wanted to change the world for God.
John Stott was a remarkable man. Like many people, I look around the Christian world today, wishing we had His wisdom and authority to guide us. But when I think so, I can hear John's voice in gentle rebuke, reminding me that the hope of the Church of Christ is not in its leaders, but in Christ Himself.