Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Today the Lausanne Movement mourns the death and celebrates the life of its Honorary Chair John Stott. Surrounded by friends at the time of his passing, Stott is now in heaven with his Lord and surrounded by the saints who have placed their faith in Christ.
Stott was the most unifying leader in global evangelicalism for several decades. He reached millions with his theological works, sermons, devotionals, and Bible study materials. He was the primary architect of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant, a watershed document in church history. In recognition of his “services to Christian scholarship and the Christian world,” Stott was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 2005. But as a man marked by uncommon humility, the Rev. Dr. John R. W. Stott CBE was known by friends simply as “Uncle John.”
Throughout his long and fruitful life, Stott defended the historic teachings of the church in a careful and irenic manner. He galvanized evangelical renewal within the Church of England from his parish at All Souls Langham Place in London. Through the Langham Partnership he encouraged emerging scholars, developed preachers, and helped develop libraries for preachers and teachers around the world.
Perhaps more than any other person in the last half century, John Stott restored confidence in the authority of the Bible and in the centrality of biblical preaching and teaching. He inspired many evangelicals around the world to make a robust and clear affirmation of biblical truth while at the same time emphasizing that this must be backed up with a distinctive, godly, Christian life.
For all of us who were together in Cape Town for the Third Lausanne Congress, we will remember the moving tributes given to the two giants of the Lausanne Movement, Billy Graham and John Stott. They were personal friends who loved and admired one another, and they were the defining figures of global evangelicalism in the last sixty years.
Today “Uncle John” went home to be with the Lord. He is now with the One who he served all his life and in whom he had total confidence.
John Stott impacted the church around the world in many ways. Perhaps his greatest contribution was to articulate clearly and to defend robustly the evangelical faith which he always understood to be biblical faith, grounded in the New Testament. The Cross of Christ was central to the message. Stott preached the cross as the sole means by which men and women could be made right with God. Evangelicalism was to Stott an expression of historic, orthodox Christianity.
The resurrection of Christ was the great hope of his life and for all mankind, and the hope for life beyond death. This is the great reality he is now experiencing as the reward and vindication for all he preached and lived for during the many years of his ministry in London and around the world.
Perhaps more than any other person in the last century, John Stott restored confidence in the authority of God’s word and in the centrality of biblical preaching and teaching. He inspired many evangelicals around the world to make a robust and clear affirmation of biblical truth while at the same time emphasizing that this must be backed up with a distinctive, godly, Christian life.
He was able to hold together, in constructive biblical tension, a passionate commitment to evangelism along with a profound commitment to ministering to the needs of people in the context of suffering and brokenness. This is best expressed in the Lausanne Covenant, the defining evangelical document of the 20th century.
Everywhere John Stott traveled to teach, he encouraged “double listening.” This was a listening to the voice of the spirit of God through his word, and listening to the voice and the needs of our broken world.
Stott is known for his love for the Majority World and for students. He gave himself tirelessly to assisting and encouraging pastors and students in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the South Pacific and the Middle East. He leaves friends everywhere. Of course, his friends and his hosts knew that he would always want to take advantage of bird watching whenever the opportunity presented itself!
The church in England and around the world is richer for his great life. His simple lifestyle, his powerful preaching with its precision of thought and expression, his books written with such depth and clarity, have touched thousands and thousands around the world
We are saddened by his departure, but strengthened with the knowledge that his great confidence and his lifelong hope in Christ has now been made real to him, and his life’s work has been vindicated.
Daniel 12:3: And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
We were blessed to be impacted by a man we loved so much. The church is richer for his great life. Let’s seek to honor Christ, and also to honor John Stott through a life that is lived for the glory of God and for the good of the church and the world.
Sincerely in Christ,
S. Douglas Birdsall, Executive Chair
Lindsay Brown, International Director
The Lausanne Movement
PS from Doug: In my last conversation with him a few weeks ago, we were talking about The Cape Town Commitment. When I called Uncle John, one of his long time friends, Philip, was there reading the Commitment to him, line by line so that he could take it all in. During the course of our conversation, he said to me in a weak but clear voice, “Chris (Wright) did a masterful job in writing this with his team. And, you seem to have achieved an astonishing degree of unity with this new Lausanne document.”
That was a joy to him. His desire was that The Cape Town Commitment would be made available together with The Lausanne Covenant and The Manila Manifesto. We can also honor his life by redoubling our commitment to the unity and integrity of the church and to the evangelization of the world, as expressed by these three great documents.
- John Stott Dies Aged 90 – Full news release
- The Lausanne Covenant – John Stott was the chief architect
- Commentary and Exposition of the Covenant (LOP 3) by John Stott
- Listen to comments from Dr. Stott as he comments on the final draft of The Lausanne Covenant at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization.
Audio recording in the original English plus interpretation into German, Japanese, Indonesian, French, Spanish and Chinese at the Billy Graham Center Archives
- Listen to an audio recording of Dr. Stott from 2010 as he shared his support for Cape Town 2010.
Audio recording plus subtitles available through automatic translation.