As the news of the death of John Stott became known around the world, papers and blogs have been posting tributes and remembrances of his life and ministry, and attempts to analyze what effect he has had on Evangelicalism and Anglicanism. Some of this is surprising for American Episcopalians who haven’t been very familiar with his nuanced positions on things other than his objection to same-sex blessings in the church.
The New York Times piece reads:
““We must be global Christians,” he once wrote, “with a global mission, because our God is a global God.”
Beginning at the college campus level and branching out country by country, the Langham Partnership (known as the John Stott Ministries in the United States) grew into an organization comprising 5 national and 10 regional nondenominational movements.
Before then, through the Anglican Church, Mr. Stott had led a revival of evangelical Christianity in Britain, exhorting Britons to find personal salvation by repenting sin and accepting Jesus as their savior.
But he also demanded that evangelicals look beyond liturgy and Christian tradition and remain engaged in worldly matters — “to take more responsible attitudes toward economics, the arts, politics and culture in general,” as Mark A. Noll, a University of Notre Dame professor and scholar of the movement, said in an interview in 2007.
“And perhaps most importantly,” Professor Noll added, Mr. Stott became “a patron, mentor, friend and encourager of thousands of pastors, students and laypeople from the newer Christian parts of the world.” He became a bridge, Professor Noll said, “between the West and the rising Christian world.””
The Archbishop of Canterbury had this to say:
‘The death of John Stott will be mourned by countless Christians throughout the world. During a long life of unsparing service and witness, John won a unique place in the hearts of all who encountered him, whether in person or through his many books. He was a man of rare graciousness and deep personal kindness, a superb communicator and a sensitive and skilled counsellor. Without ever compromising his firm 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. But he will 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.
We give thanks to God for his life and for all that was given to us through his ministry.’
The Telegraph and Guardian have both posted their thoughts. The Telegraph’s column starts off by reminding readers that Time Magazine named Stott one of the 100 most influential people in the world back in 2005. The Guardian essay points out that though Stott was “radical in his conservatism, he could not pigeon holed”.