Thursday, July 28, 2011

John Stott

The Christian blogosphere has exploded with tweets, Facebook messages and blog posts celebrating the legacy of the undoubted leader of British evangelicalism for the last fifty years. John Stott died yesterday at the age of 90, surrounded by family and friends as they listened to Handel's Messiah and 2 Timothy being read.

I only heard him preach once, just over five years ago, when he came to Belfast. Despite being frail, it was still incredible to hear his faithful teaching and passionate engagement with the text of Scripture and the congregation gathered before him. Nevertheless his legacy far exceeds his parish ministry in his one and only parish, All Souls Langham Place, through the Langham Partnership, his international speaking tours, and perhaps best known of all, his prolific writing ministry.

For many years I've appreciated his books, particularly his work on The Bible Speaks Today commentary series, as well as Basic Christianity and The Cross of Christ. In the past, I've reviewed some of his works, including The Cross of Christ and The Last Word, and have read something from his pen in each of the last five years, as well as the first volume of his weighty biography.

While there is a sadness at having lost such a godly gentleman, it is, as Mark Meynell commented, bitter-sweet, because of the unshakeable hope of the gospel. Truly 'Uncle John' was trusting in the Lord Jesus for salvation, and we can confidently say that he is at home with the Lord, in the joy of his Master.

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