Thursday, 28 July 2011

John Stott (1921-2011)

Yesterday at 3.15pm John Stott, aged 90, went home to be with his Lord, whom he loved and faithfully served for so many years. He was surrounded by a number of close friends. They were reading the Scriptures and listening to Handel's Messiah when he peacefully went to be with his Lord and Saviour.

Whist we grieve the loss of this great and faithful servant of Jesus. We also rejoice that he has "entered into the joy of his master" (Matthew 25:23), having heard the words, "Well done good and faithful servant".

The church owes a huge debt under God to the ministry of this man who served faithfully for the whole of his ministry in All Souls church Langham place. His clear and faithful exposition of the Bible, both in the pulpit and in his books have greatly served the church, along with the many initiatives started by him. Personally, I have been hugely blessed by Stott's speaking and writing ministry. Listening to a cassette of a sermon of his on 2 Timothy 3:16, was a decisive moment for me in coming to the convictions I now hold on the authority and sufficiency of the Bible -convictions that have propelled me into gospel ministry- and I have been fed and nourished throughout my Christian life by his commentaries and books.

Stott described was converted in  1938 under the ministry of Eric Nash, who after a sermon from Pilates words "What then shall I do with Jesus, who is called the Christ?", pointed Stott to Revelation 3:20 and asked him, “Have we ever opened our door to Christ? Have we ever invited him in?” Stott recalls:

Here, then, is the crucial question which we have been leading up to. Have we ever opened our door to Christ? Have we ever invited him in? This was exactly the question which I needed to have put to me. For, intellectually speaking, I had believed in Jesus all my life, on the other side of the door. I had regularly struggled to say my prayers through the key-hole. I had even pushed pennies under the door in a vain attempt to pacify him. I had been baptized, yes and confirmed as well. I went to church, read my Bible, had high ideals, and tried to be good and do good. But all the time, often without realising it, I was holding Christ at arm’s length, and keeping him outside. I knew that to open the door might have momentous consequences. I am profoundly grateful to him for enabling me to open the door. Looking back now over more than fifty years, I realise that that simple step has changed the entire direction, course and quality of my life.

There is a growing number of articles and posts thanking God for the life of John Stott and outlining the impact of his life and ministry, here are just a few:
Update: There is now a new memorial website website dedicated to Stott's life and work.