The Rev. John Stott, one of the world’s most influential figures in the spread of evangelical Christianity over the past half-century, died Wednesday in Lingfield, Surrey, in the south of England. He was 90.
To this day I have zero interest in watching a preacher take his stand on top of the (closed) treasure chest of Bible sentences and eloquently talk about his life or his family or the news or history or culture or movies, or even general theological principles and themes, without opening the chest and showing me the specific jewels in these Bible sentences.
“all true Christian preaching is expository preaching. . . ”
And of course what God means is staggeringly important and glorious and horrible and tender and rugged and shocking and ravishing and relevant. And implications are crashing down on me every minute, and my heart is churning with shock and wonder and fear and hope and sorrow and joy and cries for help. This is what I have been waiting for all my life. Thank you, John Stott, for telling me what these words mean.
The evangelical cause around the world has reason to mourn John Stott’s death, but even more reason to praise the Triune God for a legacy that others can now reflect upon precisely because he does not seem to have been obsessed with it himself. In his final hours, according to the obituary, family members gathered around him listening to Handel’s “Messiah.” A completely fitting end to a wonderfully attractive life.
Far from eliminating work and excusing laziness, grace is the basis for vigorous and fruitful work, the work of scholarship, the work of meditation, the work of loving God, and the work of painful obedience in the world!
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