John Stott passed away on July 27, 2011 at the age of 90, and the world lost a great man and leader. A highly acclaimed Christian author, speaker, and teacher, the magnitude of Stott’s death rippled beyond the boundaries of the Christian community. It spread across secular, cultural, and national borders—only reinforcing his legacy as one of the most influential evangelical teachers of the past century.
With a conviction to “relate the ancient Word to the modern world,” Stott’s mission was to equip Christian leaders with a better understanding of the Word of God. Leaders could then guide others to a deeper, more authentic relationship with Christ. His ministry began in London at All Souls Church, where he headed several initiatives including children’s and homeless ministries. As the church grew, Stott began fostering Christian leaders on college campuses across the United Kingdom, eventually expanding internationally to Australia, Canada, and the United States.
Every Christian should be both conservative and radical; conservative in preserving the faith and radical in applying it.
With a passion and concern for reaching the world’s poor, Stott regularly traveled into several parts of the developing world. He epitomized Jesus’ teaching to “go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt 28:19).
We must be global Christians, with a global mission, because our God is a global God.
Author of more than 50 books, published in over 65 languages, including his best known work, Basic Christianity, Stott’s writings hold as much relevance today as they did when they were first written. In honor of this godly man, here are some of his lasting words:
His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us with no other choice.
“To preach salvation by good works is to flatter people and so avoid opposition. This may seem to some to pose the alternative too starkly. But I do not think so. All Christian preachers have to face this issue. Either we preach that human beings are rebels against God, under his just judgment and (if left to themselves) lost, and that Christ crucified who bore their sin and curse is the only available Savior. Or we emphasize human potential and human ability, with Christ brought in only to boost them, and with no necessity for the cross except to exhibit God’s love and so inspire us to greater endeavor.”
Sin and child of God are incompatible. They may occasionally meet; they cannot live together in harmony.
“The Church needs an instructed laity . . . who are growing in their knowledge of God and of His Word, and who are thereby able to resist the subtle encroachment of modern cults. Nothing can bring about this happy state of affairs but the solid, systematic, didactic preaching of the whole Word of God.1
It is not possible to be faithful and popular simultaneously. We need to hear again the warning of Jesus: ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you’ (Luke 6:26). By contrast, if we preach the cross, we may find that we are ourselves hounded to the cross.”2
Stott once wrote that, “We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” This is the mission he attempted to live out every day. It should be our mission as well.
- John Stott, The Preacher’s Portrait: Some New Testament Word Studies (Leicester: IVP, 1961), 21–23. [↩]
- John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Leicester: IVP, 1986), 347–48 [↩]
Jamie Born is the founder and lead writer of Word Bird Creative, a small business providing copywriting, editing and consulting services. She has an MBA from Trinity Western University, where she spent two years assistant coaching the women’s basketball team.