Not too long ago I wrote a brief list of pastors whom I admire. I learned today that one of them, John R W Stott, has entered into the church triumphant.
Stott (1921-2011) was an amazing man who was a gift to the universal church. As David Brooks noted, “If evangelicals could elect a pope Stott is the person they would likely choose.” His influence was significant.
Learning of his death was a moving moment for me because there is so much about Stott that I admire and wish to emulate in my own life.
Here’s a brief list:
- He was a gifted writer who made Scripture and theology sing. Two of his books exerted a special influence on my: Christian Counter-Culture (1978) and Between Two Worlds (1982). I also appreciated Basic Christianity as a primer on the Christian faith.
- He was committed to the church in the majority world. Stott was a global Christian who cared deeply that pastors and churches in the majority world were able to flourish.
- He lived simply. I am told that Stott lived simply and never took a second helping at a meal. He was keenly aware of the privileges he enjoyed and remained connected to his sisters and brothers in Christ throughout the world.
- He was irenic. There was a gentleness of spirit that marked him. He had firm convictions but unlike so many he never allowed vitriol to discolor the content of his case.
- He was bookish. He is one of the handful of pastors who I look to as a role model of being a pastor without being a corporate CEO type, or a salesman, or a politician. I work in a study not an office. I aspire to be a working theologian.
O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant John, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Psalm 46 Deus noster refugium
God is our hope and strength, *
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, * and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof rage and swell, * and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.
There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, * the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most Highest.
God is in the midst of her, therefore shall she not be removed; *
God shall help her, and that right early.
Be still then, and know that I am God; * I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our refuge.