John RW Stott – In memorium

John Stott, one of the most respected and influential Evangelical teachers of the modern age, died yesterday aged 90. In a 1992 article, John Piper said these words:

John Stott has served the church well as pastor, writer, Evangelical statesman, missions mobilizer, apologist. He made a profound impact on me in 1967 at Urbana and fanned the flames of my growing zeal for the word of God. He crafted the Lausanne Covenant which I admire. I recall Laurel Bissett’s testimony of how she was converted reading Stott’s Basic Christianity. That story could perhaps be duplicated a thousand times over. I love John Stott and thank God for his ministry.

Cranmer notes, ‘John Stott is often categorised as an “Evangelical”, a badge he wore with pride, but the popular definition is too narrow for his theology. His views on hell and soul annihilation, for example, would be at variance with the tenets of traditional Evangelicalism’. Although Evangelicals were divided over his teaching on Hell, one cannot deny the overwhelming influence Stott had on Evangelicalism, the direction he offered the movement and the firmness of conviction with which he led the church. Cranmer comments:

He helped to guide the Church of England through a period of turmoil which might well have ended in schism. But by his superintendence, inspection, diligence, visitation and investigation – all of those functions inherent in Episkope – he shepherded the flock towards peace and unity. And he taught – most excellently. And wrote – most inspirationally. He fed the Church like a true Elder, and was respected the world over for his moral character, holiness, faithfulness, and charisma.