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‘God’s friend’ John Stott is remembered

by
04 August 2011

by Ed Thornton

THE Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to the Revd Dr John Stott, the former Rector of All Souls’, Langham Place, in London, who died last week, 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 at St Bar­nabas’s College, Lingfield, the clergy home in Surrey, at 3.15 p.m. on Wednesday of last week. He was surrounded by friends, including Frances White­head, his secretary of more than 50 years. “They were reading the scrip­tures and listening to Handel’s Messiah when he peace­fully went to be with the Lord.”

Dr Williams 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.” Bishop Chartres said that 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 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 Langham Part­ner­ship International, which trains church leaders in developing coun­tries; the National Evangelical Anglican Congress, which first met at Keele University in 1967; and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC).

The director of the LICC, Mark Greene, wrote in an email last week: “He [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.”

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 BBC Radio 2 DJ Jeremy Vine, who attended a breakfast club at Dr Stott’s flat during the 1980s, wrote on the Bible Society’s website: “When­ever I spoke to him he downplayed every­thing about himself; his books had sold in millions, and yet, as far as I could tell, he never had or spent money. He seemed to own only one suit. . . he was extremely modest and felt great discomfort at even a single word of appreciation or praise.

“In our society there is something refreshingly counter-cultural when you find a person who ought to be famous, but doesn’t want to be.”

The founder of Faithworks, the Revd Steve Chalke, wrote on Twitter that Dr Stott had been “a good men­tor to me” and “was clear about the need for social responsibility”.

A funeral service for Dr Stott will take place at All Souls’, Langham Place, London, on Monday at 12.15 p.m. For details, visit www.johnstottmemorial.org.

Australian tribute. The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, in a tribute last week, called Dr Stott “a prince among the people of God”, writes Muriel Porter, Australia Corres­­pondent.

A funeral service for Dr Stott will take place at All Souls’, Langham Place, London, on Monday at 12.15 p.m. For details, visit www.johnstottmemorial.org.

Australian tribute. The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, in a tribute last week, called Dr Stott “a prince among the people of God”, writes Muriel Porter, Australia Corres­­pondent.

“The thing for which we will mainly remember him was as one who expounded the Bible as God’s word,” he said. “He spoke with such spiritual vibrancy that you could immediately tell that the bib­lical text was shaping and informing his faith and his walk with God.”

He modelled a preaching style that others could use, too, he said.

Dr Stott’s expositional commit­ment under­­scored the sufficiency of scrip­ture; his expositional method under­scored the clarity of scripture; and his expositional habit under­scored the authority of scripture, Dr Jensen said. “You were more inclined to say what a great passage than what a great preacher.”

Dr Jensen is to speak at a me­morial service for Dr Stott at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, to­day.

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