Thursday, 28 July 2011

The faithful preacher/teacher

As a Christian teenager in the 1970s there were two writers who had a major influence on my discipleship, C S Lewis and John R W Stott. Over the years I have continued to read both authors’ works and greatly valued their wisdom, insight and passion to share the love of God and the good news of Jesus Christ. Lewis died in 1963 but his influence is still profound and I am sure the same will be true for John Stott who died yesterday at the age of 90.

Many fitting tributes to John Stott have already been posted and many more will be published over the coming weeks. From a personal perspective I particularly valued his expository preaching which I was privileged to hear in various settings. What I most remember about this preaching was that I was challenged and inspired to go back to the scriptures and to study harder to mine the deep riches they contain.

John Stott wrote some 50 books and I mention four that had a particular influence on me at various stages of my own journey of faith and ministry:
  • Basic Christianity
  • I Believe in Preaching
  • Issues Facing Christians Today
  • The Cross of Christ
I also valued John’s Bible commentaries and the dialogue he engaged in with David Edwards entitled Essentials: A liberal-evangelical dialogue.

For me the most impressive aspects of John Stott’s life and ministry were his graciousness and humility. I remember John’s address at NEAC 3 in 1988 when, among other things, he responded to the then Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie’s address to the conference. John spoke with an authority that came not from a revered position of power but from a deep wisdom rooted in the Bible and with a profound grasp of the issues facing Evangelicalism and the wider church at the end of the twentieth century.

When I heard the news of John Stott’s death these words came to mind as a prayer of thankfulness:
Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy lord.


Nancy Wallace said...

"Well done thou good and faithful servant..." I remember hearing those words in a sermon John Stott gave in All Souls, Langham Place, where I was a member back in the late 1960s. I too owe much to his teaching/preaching/writing ministry. R.I.P. and R.I.G. John!

Tim Chesterton said...