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.