John Stott, R.I.P.

by Michael Potemra

John Stott was one of the most treasured and respected leaders of the global Evangelical movement. When my girlfriend and I heard him preach at Calvary Baptist Church here in New York City half a dozen years ago, he was already in his 80s, but — though he appeared physically frail — his energy as a preacher of Christ was undiminished. An Anglican clergyman, he played a key role in keeping alive Evangelical vigor in the Church of England in some of that Church’s feeblest decades. (Indeed, one of the things he said at Calvary Baptist that impressed both me and my girlfriend the most was that it is very difficult — I forget, he may even have said “impossible” — to be a Christian without the church. This is not a sentiment I have heard stressed very often in U.S. Evangelicalism, and I am not even 100 percent convinced that it is correct, but I think it stands as a refreshing corrective to much of today’s conventional wisdom about religion.)

He leaves behind many books that are very useful and uplifting to Christian readers seeking to deepen their understanding of the Bible; they are intelligent but written for and easily accessible to the non-scholarly reader. (I recommend especially the commentary series “The Bible Speaks Today,” the books whose titles begin The Message of . . .)

John Stott, dead at 90. R.I.P.

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