Evangelicalism lost a wonderful teacher, pastor, theologian and author when John R.W. Stott passed away in Lingfield, Surrey in the south of England yesterday at the age of 90. Wolfgang Saxon wrote an excellent obit for The New York Times.
The religion scholar Michael Cromartie once said that if evangelicals could elect a pope, they would be likely to choose Mr. Stott. Though less known in the United States and hardly a household name outside the evangelical sphere, Mr. Stott, an author, preacher and theologian, was often compared to the Rev. Billy Graham, his American contemporary.
But while Mr. Graham’s influence is rooted in a rousing preaching style and a personal magnetism that has filled stadiums, Mr. Stott’s relied on a proliferation of books — grounded in learning but accessible to all — and the evangelical organization he founded, Langham Partnership International, named after its cradle, All Souls Church at Langham Place in London’s West End.
“We must be global Christians,” he once wrote, “with a global mission, because our God is a global God.”
John Stott’s writings were instrumental in my spiritual growth and theological development. I appreciated his biblical commentaries, one of the favorites on my bookshelf is his commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans entitled Romans: God’s Good News for the World. Many were introduced to Gospel through his classic work Basic Christianity. Stott wrote something in his book The Cross of Christ which seems appropriate to mark his passing from this life to the next:
Jesus Christ has not only dethroned the devil but dealt with sin. In fact, it is by dealing with sin that he has dealt with death. For sin is the ‘sting’ of death, the main reason why death is painful and poisonous. It is sin which causes death, and which after death will bring the judgment. Hence our fear of it . . . Now that we are forgiven, death can harm us no longer. So the apostle [Paul] shouts defiantly: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Amen and amen… well done good and faithful servant. He will be missed.
Cross-posted at Caffeinated Theology