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John Stott: ‘gracious and kind’

by Ed Thornton

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THE Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute yesterday to the Revd Dr John Stott, a former Rector of All Souls’, Langham Place, in London, who died on Wednesday, aged 90. Dr Williams described him as “a man of rare graciousness and deep personal kindness”, who “helped to change the face of Evangelicalism internationally”.
 
A statement posted on the All Souls’ website said that Dr Stott died in his retirement home at St Barnabas’ College, in Surrey, at 3.15 p.m. He was attended by Frances Whitehead, his secretary of more than 50 years, and close friends. “They were reading the scriptures and listening to Handel’s Messiah when he peacefully went to be with the Lord.”
 
The Archbishop said that Dr Stott would be “remembered most warmly as an expositor of scripture and a teacher of the faith, whose depth and simplicity brought doctrine alive in all sorts of new ways.
 
“Without ever compromising his Evangelical faith, he showed himself willing to challenge some of the ways in which that faith had become conventional or inward-looking. It is not too much to say that he helped to change the face of Evangelicalism internationally, arguing for the necessity of ‘holistic’ mission that applied the gospel of Jesus to every area of life, including social and political questions.”
 
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, said that Dr Stott’s influence “extended to every continent”, and that “his graciousness and profound faith have been an inspiration”. Dr Stott “was, above all, a friend of God”.
 
The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, wrote on his blog that he regarded Dr Stott as “an Evangelical Anglican statesman. . . His preaching and teaching defined Evangelical doctrine and teaching in the latter half of the 20th century.” 
 
Dr Billy Graham, the 93-year-old US evangelist, said: “The Evangelical world has lost one of its great spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisers. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to heaven.”
 
Along with his church and speaking ministry, Dr Stott founded several organisations and movements, including the National Evangelical Anglican Congress, which first met at Keele University in 1967, and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC).
 
The LICC’s director, Mark Greene, wrote to supporters on Thursday that Dr Stott “urgently saw the need to enable Christians to integrate their faith with their whole life — at work as well as in the neighbourhood, in the lecture theatre as well as in the sanctuary.” 
 
The aid agency Tearfund, of which Dr Stott was president from 1983 to 1987, issued a statement saying that Dr Stott’s “life and teaching was a prophetic challenge to us, and he insisted on keeping a commitment to a simple lifestyle for the sake of those who are living in poverty”.
 
The Radio 2 DJ Jeremy Vine, who visited Dr Stott three weeks ago, posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday, describing him as “a very great Anglican theologian” and “a very devout and gentle man”. 
 
The Revd Steve Chalke, founder of Faithworks, wrote on Twitter that Dr Stott had been “a good mentor to me” and “played a critical role as a Christian thinker . . . [and] against the trend, was clear about the need for social responsibility”.
www.johnstottmemorial.org

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