John Stott, world-famous pastor, theologian, author of numerous bestselling books and Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church in London, died July 27, 2011. He was ninety.
New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote (quoting Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center) that if evangelicals chose a pope, they would likely select John Stott. As a principal framer of the Lausanne Covenant (1974), a defining statement for evangelical Christians, Stott was at the heart of evangelical renewal in the U.K. for more than half a century. In 2005, he was honored by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World." His many books and sermons have inspired and transformed millions throughout the world.
John Robert Walmsley Stott, CBE, was born April 27, 1921, in London to Sir Arnold Stott, a leading physician, and his wife, Emily. His father was an agnostic, while his mother was a Lutheran who attended church at All Souls, Langham Place. He converted to Christianity at Rugby School in 1938, and after finishing there he went on to study modern language at Trinity College, Cambridge. After earning double firsts in French and theology, he transferred to Ridley Hall Theological College, Cambridge, and was ordained as an Anglican clergyman in 1945. Stott became a curate at All Souls Church (1945–1950) and then rector (1950–1975). He resigned as rector in 1975, although he remained in the church and was appointed Rector Emeritus. In 1974 he founded Langham Partnership International (known as John Stott Ministries in the U.S.), a ministry that seeks to equip Majority World churches for mission and spiritual growth. Stott finally retired from public ministry in 2007 at the age of eighty-six.
Stott's influence on evangelicalism throughout the world is extensive. He has written over fifty books, including various Bible studies and Bible commentaries. As Stott's main publisher in the U.S., InterVarsity Press enjoyed a wonderful partnership with the man they called "Uncle John." IVP associate publisher for editorial Andy Le Peau said that Stott's works were embraced for their "clear, balanced, sound perspective on Scripture and life. He was filled with a grace and strength that will be dearly missed in this era of extreme viewpoints and harsh rhetoric."
Stott is best known for his many books, especially Basic Christianity (InterVarsity Press), a clear statement of the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been translated into over sixty-three languages; The Cross of Christ (InterVarsity Press), which former InterVarsity Press publisher James F. Nyquist says "demonstrates the depth of Stott's understanding and lifetime commitment"; Christian Mission in the Modern World (InterVarsity Press), in which Stott makes the case that Christian outreach must encompass both evangelism and social action; Your Mind Matters (InterVarsity Press), a forceful appeal for Christian discipleship that engages the intellect as well as the heart; and The Birds, Our Teachers (Baker), a study on birds combined with biblical truths and personal anecdotes. InterVarsity Press has also published a biography of John Stott entitled, Basic Christian by Roger Steer. Stott was also the New Testament editor and a major contributor for the highly acclaimed Bible Speaks Today commentary series.
"We are deeply grateful for this long publishing partnership and friendship with one of the most influential and beloved evangelical leaders for the past half-century," said InterVarsity Press publisher Bob Fryling. "John Stott was not only revered; he was loved. He had a humble mind and a gracious spirit. He was a pastor-teacher whose books and preaching not only became the gold standard for expository teaching, but his Christian character was a model of truth and godliness. We will miss 'Uncle John' but we celebrate his life and writings as an extraordinary testimony of one who was abundantly faithful to his Lord Jesus Christ."