On July 27th, 2011, God took to glory a great man of God and an outstanding church leader. If you have never heard of Rev. John R.W. Stott, then let me give you a glimpse of some of his international ministry work, which was truly only a very small part of his overall Kingdom service. Known by many close friends as “Uncle John,” he touched the lives of many church leaders, including some within Overseas Council. Although I did not know him personally, I do know several of his books and I certainly know of his ministry work.
FROM HIS MINISTRY WEBSITE
John Stott’s international influence is clear on a number of fronts. First, he was heavily involved in university missions. In the years between 1952 and 1977 John Stott led some 50 university missions in Britain, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Asia. He was even vice president of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students from 1995 to 2003. The level of his influence on North American evangelicalism is evident from the fact that he served as the Bible expositor on six occasions at the triennial Urbana Student Mission Convention arranged by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Second, Dr. Stott acted as chair of the drafting committee for the Lausanne Covenant at the International Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland. (See my blog of June 29 for more about the Lausanne Covenant).
Third, he helped to strengthen the evangelical voice in established churches. John Stott was committed to the renewal of evangelicalism in the worldwide Anglican Church. He founded the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC). His desire to strengthen ties between evangelical theologians in Europe led to the founding of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians (FEET) in 1977.
FROM THE WORDS OF ABRAHAM NAJJAR*, OC’s MIDDLE EAST REGIONAL DIRECTOR:
A Giant Has Left Us! I am utterly shocked and deeply saddened! I was a student at Damascus University when I heard Uncle John’s sermons on cassette tapes and read one of his books. Those items penetrated into my soul and changed my thoughts to be a firm follower of Christ. I did not know then that one day I was going to meet this giant (I am sure he does not like this word to describe him) and even have several meals with him in London. It was beyond belief when he accepted my and my wife’s invitation to spend few days with us at Schneller Institute, Beqaa, Lebanon and to accompany him on a bird watching trip in the Syrian Desert in 1997.
Uncle John has shaped my life and ministry in so many ways. He was so gracious to encourage and support an Arab Christian young pastor to purse PhD studies. A couple of weeks ago I completed writing a book on governance and leadership with a dedication to him. I will always in debt to Uncle John and will miss him greatly. His legacy of dedication to Christ, His Word, and His World will live forever.
FROM THE WORDS OF DR. ASHISH CHRISPAL, OC’s ASIA REGIONAL DIRECTOR:
Today was a day for giving thanks to the Lord for the great human life of Uncle John. For us as a family, and me personally, it is a tremendous sense of a loss of my spiritual father. I came to know him personally in 1978. We praise God for bringing him in our lives because that remains the foundation for what I can do today for God’s Kingdom. This is true of many Theological Educators of the Majority World.
He embodied a Christ like servanthood. I still cannot forget the times I used to come down from Aberdeen to consult libraries in London on an average of every four months. Each time on the day of my return to Aberdeen, I had privilege of having a high tea with uncle. He would have sandwiches ready and make soup for both of us and then spend time to find how I was doing. At the end we would pray and he would drive me to the station for my return journey. Such humility and care are the things I pray the Lord to give to each Christian leader in our world today. His last letter to me was when our second son went to be with the Lord. He was a pastor par excellance. My last meeting with him was with other Langham scholars when we had dinner with him in June of 2006. He remembered everyone by name and asked how each one was doing. He taught me how to do bird watching which has helped me learn to appreciate and admire God’s beautiful creation.