I learned that John Stott, leader of the modern evangelical Christian movement, passed away today. We - Evangelicals - grieve; but not as those who have no hope.
Many others have, and will have, much more enlightening and helpful things to say about John Stott, but my response is more personal. I can't say that I read everything that Stott wrote - far from it. But that which I did read from Stott was very, very good. I was impressed by the trajectory of his ministry. He, as an Evangelical, stayed within the existing Anglican communion and helped to fan a flame of revitalization and restoration within that movement.
I was able to meet him on one occasion while I was studying in England. While we lived there, we decided to make All Souls, Langham Place our 'home-away-from-home' church. Stott, former Rector at that church, came back to preach a brief two or three message series there during our own tenure. After one of the services, I was able to shake his hand and converse Very briefly. I'll be honest, my motivation to stand in line was mostly to get a chance to meet a Christian 'celebrity.' But while I was there, I watched him greet old friends from his days at All Souls as a local pastor. I realized that this great intellect, devoted follower of Christ, and influential leader seemed very comfortable as a parish pastor. I was impressed by him even more. It came time to shake his hand, he realized that I was American and asked what brought me to London. I explained briefly and after expressing interest, he went on greeting his former flock. Even that small interaction gave me a taste of his grace, wit, and 'pastoral touch.'
I got a taste of Stott's capacities by association - the people who were around him. During our few months attending All Souls, we became acquainted with a gentleman who served as Stott's Administrative-Aide-Compainion and I was struck by Stott's personality by extention: if this very clever guy was paid by Stott to just stick around and keep Stott company, Stott must be a pretty clever guy as well. The current President of John Stott Ministries is semi-roommate of mine from college days: Ben Homan (former President of Food For The Hungry) is a rather bright and accomplished fellow. If Ben is leading that ministry; it has Christ-centered depth, purpose, and integrity.
As I said, there will many comments far more insightful, informed, and intimate on Stott's life. But, as for me, I remember meeting a good pastor.
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