Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Death of John Stott

John Stott

John Stott was a British evangelical, he was totally different from the typical Bible thumping Jerry Fallwell. He never condemned anyone for their views or their life style. He was soft spoken and had a reasoning demeanor. I read two of his books, early in my Christian walk. One of them was on the sermon on the mount. I think it was called Christian Counter culture. The other was about Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I must say the latter book held me back from receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, by teaching--wrongly I feel--that it is not a second separate experience from being born again. I don't hold that against him and aside from that, his Sermon on the mount book was a really fine and thoughtful exposition.

Here's what Nicholas D. Kristof said said as a tribute to Stott
in New York Times Sunday Review, July 30, 2011

Partly because of such self-righteousness, the entire evangelical movement often has been pilloried among progressives as reactionary, myopic, anti-intellectual and, if anything, immoral.

Yet that casual dismissal is profoundly unfair of the movement as a whole. It reflects a kind of reverse intolerance, sometimes a reverse bigotry, directed at tens of millions of people who have actually become increasingly engaged in issues of global poverty and justice.

This compassionate strain of evangelicalism was powerfully shaped by the Rev. John Stott, a gentle British scholar who had far more impact on Christianity than media stars like Mr. Robertson or Mr. Falwell. Mr. Stott, who died a few days ago at the age of 90, was named one of the globe’s 100 most influential people by Time, and in stature he was sometimes described as the equivalent of the pope among the world’s evangelicals.

Mr. Stott didn’t preach fire and brimstone on a Christian television network. He was a humble scholar whose 50-odd books counseled Christians to emulate the life of Jesus — especially his concern for the poor and oppressed — and confront social ills like racial oppression and environmental pollution.

“Good Samaritans will always be needed to succor those who are assaulted and robbed; yet it would be even better to rid the Jerusalem-Jericho road of brigands,” Mr. Stott wrote in his book “The Cross of Christ.” “Just so Christian philanthropy in terms of relief and aid is necessary, but long-term development is better, and we cannot evade our political responsibility to share in changing the structures that inhibit development. Christians cannot regard with equanimity the injustices that spoil God’s world and demean his creatures.”

Mr. Stott then gave examples of the injustices that Christians should confront: “the traumas of poverty and unemployment,” “the oppression of women,” and in education “the denial of equal opportunity for all.”

For many evangelicals who winced whenever a televangelist made the headlines, Mr. Stott was an intellectual guru and an inspiration. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, who has worked heroically to combat everything from genocide to climate change, told me: “Against the quackery and anti-intellectualism of our movement, Stott made it possible to say you are ‘evangelical’ and not be apologetic.”

The Rev. Jim Wallis, head of a Christian organization called Sojourners that focuses on social justice, added: “John Stott was the very first important evangelical leader to support our work at Sojourners.”

Stott graduated form Cambridge and worked on the premise that faith and intellectual go together. His father was a Harley Street Consultant (a high priced doctor) who wanted his son t be a diplomat (Eternity).

Eternity: Remembering John Stott
Stuart Barton Babbage

John Stott was pre-eminently an evangelist to students around the world and in commentaries he wrote as a gifted expositor of the word of God. It is instructive to compare Billy Graham’s autobiography with Timothy Dudley Smith’s massive biography of John Stott. Billy Graham’s autobiography is graphic and revealing; by contrast John Stott’s biography is reticent and discreet. We learn much about John Stott’s bird watching, nothing about his role as Chaplain to the Queen and the names of individuals, high and low, whom he met and ministered to.
Many of the things Stott said those two books I read stuck with me. Even though I wound up disagreeing with his views on the Holy Spirit, I still feel that he was a very positive and important influence upon my early walk with Christ. He's gone home.


Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I shared the Times article with several people, I thought it was great!

Fortunately, both you and Stott were wrong about the Holy Spirit. There's no such thing! ;-)

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

it says it in the Bible.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Touché, sir, touché. ;-)

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...