I lost a good friend and mentor to me and my uncle…may the
Lord truly open His loving arms to one of the few who truly honored and served
the Lord with such distinction and reverence, I miss you John, receive you
“The Christian Church has lost one of its greatest leaders: John Stott. Uncle John, as many called him,
went to be with his Lord on Wednesday, July 27th at 3:15 in London. He was 90
His life will be missed. But
his wisdom and love of God lives on through his books and teachings.
Several years back I wrote an
article on Mr. Stott’s influence in my life when I heard the news of his
retirement. I release it again in his honor. The article was entitled, Heroes.
Ok, I admit it! I am a fan.
But not in the traditional sense – one akin to rock stars, actors and sports
figures. Rather, I am a fan of people the Lord has used: intelligent,
God-saturated, and Christ-haunted; a life consumed by the radical
transformation of the Holy Sprit.
I remember as a teenager
hanging up pictures of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and passages from
the Bible all over my wall. Growing up in a Presbyterian church, but, later,
attending the Church of the Brethren, the folks I looked up to were the
Then I began to read.
It was in my late teenage
years that I began to soak myself in Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, and John
Stott, along with a long list of poets. Instead of putting posters on the wall
of these new fellows (why aren’t there any good posters of them out there
anyway?) I became a fan of their lives and ideas.
In a sense, these men became
Heroes are hard to come by
these days. People who are admired for noble qualities, exceptional
achievements, and courage- in word and deed- truly are a thing to behold.
So when I hear that one of my
heroes is to retire, my world stands silenced. I begin to ponder the beauty of
what the Lord has accomplished in their life. I sit grateful that I had the
opportunity to watch this hero interact with humanity; learning from his or her
integrity, listening to his or her voice, and pondering his or her life.
The hero I am referring to is
John Stott, British pastor, author, ornithologist, and Christian statesman. And
though he is retiring from full time ministry in July 2007 at age 86, this
champion of the Christian faith will remain as God made him to be – a humble,
hero, impacting lives through his many books, sermons, and interaction with
people and God’s creation throughout the world.
I must ask myself, what it is
that makes John Stott a hero of mine? Though I can rattle off a list of things,
one attributes come to mind: Knowing and Doing! John Stott not only taught us
what to “know,” but encouraged us to “do” what we know!
John Stott with Billy Graham
Born in 1921, educated at Rugby
and Cambridge, pastoring All Souls Church in London, and spending the remainder
of his life as iterant preacher, pastor, bird-watcher, and author, John Stott
has become one of the most influential and impacting men in the Christian world
today (even in the “secular” media he has garnered some attention –
Time Magazine and The New York Times).
In a day when the
celebrity-pastor is the norm, John Stott is a gentle reminder that the mark of
a man is not his fame or fortune, but the makeup of his character and the
quality of his life and work, stemming from an unwavering trust in the One he
serves- Jesus Christ.
True Stott has written over
50 books, many of them best sellers, but instead of buying the large house on
the hill and retiring, he has elected to use the resources to build a
Foundation (Langham Partnership) and promote missions throughout the world
through pastor training and support.
True John Stott has framed
some of the most important evangelical documents of the 20th century (Lausanne
Covenant, and Evangelical Truth), written commentaries, theological works, and
analysis of contemporary issues, yet what I marvel at is that his life never
became just about knowing things (though important knowing is). Rather, his
life has been balanced between the two worlds of ideas and action- knowing the
Christian life and living the Christian life. John Stott has showed us that
knowing and doing, understanding and living-out, are the two major components
of the Christian life; two sides to the same coin. His life is a reflection of
this balance (see the fine biography by Dudley-Smith to see how this balance
has fully played out).
Through most of my early
Christian life John Stott’s presence was through his books: The Cross of
Christ, Basic Christianity, and his commentaries.
But in 2005 that all changed.
After reading Evangelical Truth, I decided to reach out to one of my heroes-
thanking him for the book.
To my surprise he contacted
me back, via email. He had one of his assistants type up the email, but I was
thrilled to receive it nonetheless.
As one who served at Calvary
Chapel of Costa Mesa (along with another wonderful Christian leader, Chuck
Smith), I wanted to let him know that his books and witness for Christ are
I Thank You, John Stott
So, as you wrap up your full
time ministry this month, Mr. Stott, I, and millions of others, would like to
say, “thank you” for being a faithful man of God, being obedient to
the call Christ placed on your life, and teaching others to do the same.
May the Lord richly bless you
in your retirement!
And now, three years after I
wrote this article, I say, God bless you, John, for your life and ministry, our
loss is heaven’s gain.
I close with a moving
statement just issued by evangelist Billy Graham on the passing of John Stott:
“The evangelical world
has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close
personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to
Heaven,” he said from his home in Montreat, North Carolina.
I echo Mr.
From ASSIST News Service (ANS) – PO Box 609, Lake
Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA