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Preacher, Writer, Friend
JOHN R. W. STOTT CBE (1921-2011)
Time Magazine named him alongside Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates in its “most influential people” list of 2005. He was once described by Billy Graham as the “most respected clergyman in the world today”. And his leadership of the evangelical movement helped move it from a rather narrow-minded fundamentalism after the Second World War, to the fastest growing section of global Christianity it is today.
John Stott, the former Rector of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, and one of the most significant Christian leaders of the 20th century, died on 27th July 2011 aged 90.
The work of Langham Partnership International (LPI, or John Stott Ministries in the USA) is perhaps his major legacy to the world Church. This strategic threefold initiative, now under the direction of Christopher J H Wright, works to strengthen the Church in the Majority World by (i) training preachers, (ii) funding doctoral scholarships for the most able theological thinkers so they will be equipped to teach in their country’s seminaries, and (iii) providing basic libraries at low-cost for pastors. John Stott’s own considerable royalties were all ‘recycled’ into the production and distribution of theological books for the global south.
John Stott’s remarkable ministry spanned the whole second half of the twentieth century, and even in his 80s he was making an impact on the twenty-first. John Stott was well known as a man of considerable intelligence and humble integrity. In his time at All Souls Church and in the various causes he was involved with, he contributed a renewed confidence, graciousness and intellectual strength to evangelicalism. Alongside Billy Graham, John Stott was a significant player in the Lausanne Movement which promotes worldwide Christian evangelism. He largely crafted its two major documents, The Lausanne Covenant (1974) and the Manila Manifesto (1989). George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, commented “John Stott’s contribution to developing a balanced evangelical faith and to a biblically rooted Anglican communion is probably without parallel in our generation.”
Classically evangelical, Stott emphasized the need for personal conversion, the authority of Scripture and the centrality of Jesus’ death for sinners. But he also emphasized the need for the Christian mind and stood against anti-intellectualism. Though a life-long evangelist, he refused to limit Christian engagement with the world to evangelism alone. He was passionately committed to the moral and social dimensions of the biblical gospel, including justice for the poor and the care of creation. David Brooks, New York Times columnist, wrote “To read Stott is to see someone practicing thoughtful allegiance to Scripture.”
He pioneered and advanced the renaissance of biblical expository preaching – that is, a method of preaching which follows the sequence of the text as it is given in a particular book of the Bible – throughout the evangelical world. John Stott asked that donations following his death might be given to the Langham Partnership, which he founded and which seeks to raise the standards of Biblical teaching and preaching around the world.
John Stott was the author of some 50 books, his farewell volume, The Radical Disciple, being published in 2010. His most significant books include Basic Christianity, The Cross of Christ, and Issues Facing Christians Today, along with many volumes in The Bible Speaks Today series. “His books have challenged and nourished millions of Christians into a balanced and thinking biblical faith,” said Chris Wright, Langham Partnership International Director. “His legacy through the global impact of the two organisations that he founded, Langham Partnership International and the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, is incalculable.” John Stott, who never married, is the subject of two major biographies, one published in two volumes by Timothy Dudley-Smith in 1999 and 2001, and the other, a more popular narrative, by Roger Steer, in 2009. Both are published by IVP.
“For the vast majority of people whose lives he influenced profoundly,” said Chris Wright, “he was simply ‘Uncle John’ – a much loved friend, correspondent, and brother, to whose prayers we will never know how much we owe. Like Moses, he was one of the humblest men on the face of the earth, and yet at the same time he was one of the truly great leaders God has given to his people. He was, for all of us who knew him, a walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus, whom he loved above all else.”
The list of movements and institutions he strengthened can be found in the biographical pages at www.langhampartnership.org and further information at the memorial website, www.johnstottmemorial.org.
Photographs are available on www.johnstottmemorial.org. Please acknowledge ‘Copyright: Langham Partnership International’
For more information contact:
Wendy Toulmin, AM, Executive Officer, Langham Partnership Australia
+61 416 126 368
Karen Stiller, Executive Director, Langham Partnership Canada
Victor Sun, General Secretary, Langham Foundation, Hong Kong China
+852 2369 8511
Tony Plews, Executive Director, Langham Partnership New Zealand
+64 (0)21 683 393
Cindy Crossley, Media Officer, Langham Partnership United Kingdom and Ireland
+44 (0)1243 536120
Ben Homan, President, Langham Partnership USA
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