Thursday, September 03, 2009

World War Two

Seventy years ago, Britain declared war on Germany and the Second World War began. For six years, the world would again face turmoil and suffering with armies, navies and air forces battling for supremacy. In a coincidence, it just so happens that I've been reading Timothy Dudley Smith's first biography of John Stott: The Making of a Leader, and it turns out that as the war began, Stott, then a schoolboy at Rugby, declared himself to be a pacifist.

This was not in an attempt to avoid his duty, nor to be safe from mortal harm. Rather it was a principled stand which long pre-dated the war. His position as a prospective ordinand for the Church of England also ensured that he would not be called up, despite having previously attested.

Yet the most interesting part of the story was that his decision caused a major family row, and led to a breakdown in communication with with father for several years. You see, his dad was a distinguished doctor, who had high hopes of a great career for his only son, whether medicine, or with John's talent for languages with the diplomatic service. Even more so, given that Arnold Stott, John's father, was a high ranking officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps, having also served in the first world war.

What a blessing John Stott has been to the church, turning down the British Diplomatic services to instead be an ambassador for the King of Kings. Through the dark days of the war, he continued to organise camps for boys, many of whom went on to be preachers and pastors.

What can we achieve in our generation to help and equip succeeding generations stand firm in the faith? The battle is real, and the call is clear. Will you respond to the call to arms?

1 comment :

  1. i've always liked Stott too and since i'm "anti-war" myself i have another reason to like him.