John Stott, RIP (1921-2011)

Christianity Today is reporting that John Stott passed away this afternoon at the age of 90. His death comes after “complications related to old age.” In his final hours, family and friends gathered to him to listen to Handel’s Messiah one last time. He passed away at 3:15pm London time.

It is be difficult to overstate the influence that John Stott has had on generations of evangelicals. He combined a pastor’s heart with an academic mind and was prolific in both his preaching and his books. In the coming days you will hear testimonials from evangelicals worldwide who have been shaped by his ministry.

His defense of penal substitutionary atonement in The Cross of Christ has stood the test of time and is perhaps more relevant today than ever. His book Between Two Worlds has to be the most important book on preaching written in the latter half of the twentieth century (if not the most important one of the whole century).

I heard Dr. Stott preach in person only one time. It was about ten years ago at a small church in Dallas, Texas. He preached at a service that combined congregations from two different churches that were located right next door to each other. One was an evangelical Episcopal church, and the other was a charismatic church. His text was Acts 2:42-43:

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

I still remember the basic outline of the sermon because it matched the structure of the text. It was a model of faithful, biblical exposition, and in that moment I caught a glimpse of his life’s work. Would that all preachers would leave behind such a legacy of compelling, biblical preaching. He was a model for all of us. Thank you, Lord, for John Stott.

6 Responses to John Stott, RIP (1921-2011)

  1. Matthew July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    I am presently in Krakow, Poland attending and IFES meeting. John Stott was very involved in putting the IFES basis of Faith together. This early Afternoon I went into the Bookstall to look for his Last Book I heard was to come out. About two hours later, his going to be with the Lord was announced. This Man changed by life. He gave me passion for inductive Bible study and Expository preaching. Uncle john, Rest in the Lord, we will be faithful to what God taught through you.

  2. Aaron July 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    You are correct, Denny: his influence cannot be overstated. And yet there are so many in the church today who are unfamiliar with his preaching and writing. O, that this would change! I, too, have only heard him preach once in Chicago in 1995. It was on the three crucifixions of Gal. 6:14; Jesus’s own, the world to me, and I to the world. He will be missed but is wonderfully rejoicing in the presence of his Savior.

  3. Sue July 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I too have cherished memories of John Stott speaking at my university.

  4. donsands July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    “The Cross of Christ” is such an incredible teaching of God’s truth. Stott was a light in a dark world, and a wonderful ensample for us all of what a disciple of Jesus looks like.

  5. Jan July 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    What a sweet way to leave this life, to be gathered with your family and listening to “Handel’s Messiah.” He finished well!

    I will always be grateful for his book, “The Cross of Christ” as it had such a profound influence in my spiritual walk. Can you imagine all of the people he is meeting at this moment who are now in heaven because of his life and ministry?May his life continue to be an example to all of us.

  6. David McKay July 29, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    The proper epitaph to write for a Christian believer is not a dismal and uncertain petition, ‘R.I.P.’ (requiescat in pace, ‘may he rest in peace’), but a joyful and certain affirmation ‘C.A.D.’ (‘Christ abolished death’)

    Stott, J. R. W. (1973). Guard the Gospel the message of 2 Timothy (40). Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity Press.

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