Today I want to open up the Comments to anyone who wants to record memories of John Stott, and you can also drop links to obituaries and memorials about this great man’s ministry. Perhaps you want to comment on what you have learned from him, which of his books has been most influential, or some personal experience.
I hope to get a post up soon about one of my favorite books by Stott. Until then, I’d love it folks would offer comments and links. There is an official site for John Stott, and I do hope you can visit it. Already there are hundreds of comments.
But first, and Kris has asked me to add this, a story of mine about Stott from One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow:
It was the summer of 1975. Kris and I were in Belgium at a huge Christian event called EuroFest. I was sitting at a panel discussion and someone I admired, a British pastor and minister to college students all over the world, John Stott, was one of the panelists. A long-haired young man to my right asked John Stott a question we were all facing and that we all face: How can I discern the Lord’s will for my life?
John Stott made an observation that clarified my dream for me, and I’ve pondered his answer over and over in my life. I’ve used his answer in countless talks and conversations. Here are his words as I recall them: “Here’s how to determine God’s will for your life: Go wherever your gifts will be exploited the most.” I can recall the moment as if it was yesterday.
I saw these two links yesterday — floating my on my Google+ feed.
Third Way.Some people might say that your commitment to the justice of God, expressed in social terms, had led to a watering-down of your commitment to the gospel.
I think that’s rubbish, honestly. I don’t think they can produce any evidence to substantiate that idea. I remain committed to evangelism. I have had the privilege of leading more than 50 university missions all over the world, and they spanned a period of 25 years, until I felt I was a little out of touch with the student generation, and too old.
I can honestly say that my social concerns have not in the very least diminished my zeal for evangelism. If anything, it’s the other way round. What people could say is that I talk a lot about social action but don’t do much about it. And that is true, because my calling is to be a pastor, and although I disagree with polarisation between these two, I’ve often said I do believe in specialisation.
Acts 6 is the obvious biblical basis for this: the apostles were not willing to be distracted from the ministry of the word and prayer. In fact, the seven were appointed to handle the care of the widows. Both those works are called diakonia, ‘ministry’; both required Spirit-filled people to exercise them. Both were necessary, but one was social, the other was pastoral.
The Guardian, by David Turner: “Stott, radical in his conservatism, could not be pigeonholed. He was deeply committed to the need for social, economic and political justice and passionately concerned about climate change and ecological ethics. He regarded the Bible as his supreme authority and related its teaching to all areas of knowledge and experience. He insisted that Christians should engage in “double listening” – to the word of God, and to the world around them – and apply their biblical faith to all the pressing issues of contemporary culture. He himself researched, preached and wrote on a wide range of matters – from global debt to global warming, from the duties of the state to medical ethics and euthanasia. This was the kind of evangelicalism he embodied.”