a wonderful life

This week we were saddened at the passing of perhaps evangelicalism’s number leading church statesman of the last half of the twentieth century: a pastor and teacher, prolific writer, expositor of scripture par excellence, theologian in his own right, who started the Langham Partnership International: John R. W. Stott.

My earliest memories of Stott go back to 1975 when as a young Christian attending Fort Wayne Bible College, I became aware of his writings. In depth from God’s word to the world, to us where we live today. Clear and compelling. A teaching which not only informed, but formed us in the way of Jesus.

Interestingly he remained celibate all his life, never marrying. He rather filled his life with the good works and tasks God brought before him. He loved birds and birding and became an expert on par with those world renowned in that field. And he started The Langham Partnership International which goes on strong to this day, equipping evangelicals who can be leaders in their countries.

As Christopher J. H. Wright chaired, and I believe was primary architect of The Cape Town Commitment* of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization , so John Stott chaired the committe and “was the primary architect of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant.”

Stott lived simply, and could spend much time alone writing from his cabin (birding on the side, I would believe). But he had many friends. He was able to remember their names, and even names of their family members, since he so faithfully prayed for them from his long prayer list.

If there’s one thing we need as evangelicals today over anything else, it is to follow the lead of this evangelical, who I believe was following Christ in the church. And I hope that the latest  from The Lausanne Movement, The Cape Town Commitment will help unite evangelicals today in a faithful following of our Lord in mission to and for the world.

*See Scot McKnight’s series on this.