Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John R.W. Stott, Eternal Memory! (27 April 1921 – 27 July 2011)

Today, one of the luminaries of the Christian Evangelical movement passed away. John R.W. Stott, rector of All Souls Anglican Church, Langham Palace in London, and an honorary chaplain to her Majesty the Queen, passed away from age-related complications. He was 90.

It has been said that if evangelicals could elect a pope, it would be John R.W. Stott. Christian workers from all over the world received training through his ministry organization, and he wrote one of the most influential Christian books of the last century. 

John Stott wrote a Christian classic, Basic Christianity, which gave a very simple to understand and cogent presentation of the Christian faith from an evangelical perspective. Christianity Today chose it as one of the 100 books that had a significant effect on Christians in the 20th Century.

I heard Stott speak once publicly at Bethel University (then Bethel College), in the mid 80's. I cannot honestly remember his topic, but I remember him being engaging and a very excellent speaker. 

John R.W. Stott represents the evangelical tradition within Anglicanism, and during his talk I remember him expressing his dislike for the Episcopal tradition of calling presbyters "priests." 

He also expressed in this talk a high view of scripture; during his talk he compared those who reject parts of scripture to someone trimming shrubbery. 

As an evangelical, Stott believed strongly in remaining in the Church of England, in spite of theological differences between the evangelical movement and the more liberal movements in the Church. 

Although conservative theologically, Stott emphasized the social aspect of Christianity as well, and the Lasaunne Covenant of 1974, which Stott co-authored, stressed evangelical commitment to social justice as well as evangelism. 

John R.W. Stott will be remembered as one of the most notable Christian voices in the 20th century, a man with a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others, and a loyal member and leader of the Anglican Church

Eternal rest, O Lord, grant to Your servant, John Stott, and may perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.

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