England (MNN) — The Christian Church has lost one of its greatest leaders: John Stott. Uncle John, as many called him, went to be with his Lord on Wednesday, July 27th at 3:15 in London. He was 90 years old.
"The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors," said Billy Graham, paying tribute to Stott in a press release.
Stott pastored the All Souls Church on the outskirts of London from 1950 to 1975. It was the only church in which he served.
President of Cornerstone University Dr. Joseph Stowell says, "When you think of evangelism, you think of Billy Graham. When you think of preaching, writing, encouraging pastors, scholarship, exegesis, reliability, and moderation in the midst of crisis, you automatically think of John Stott."
Stowell says, "He could hold his own with the best of theologians, and yet he could speak a sermon in a church that would reach a whole cross-section of people who came off the streets of London to sit under his ministry."
As a pastor, Stott believed that a local church should be a primary agency of evangelism and that all its members should be involved.
While he was a friend of pastors, he was also beloved by young people.Stott spoke six times at Urbana, the world's largest student missions event between 1964 and 1979.
President of HCJB Global Wayne Pederson says Stott had an incredible impact on evangelism as chair of the Lausanne Theology and Education Group between 1974-1981. In 1974, "He was the main architect of the Lausanne Covenan. It's still being used today as the philosophy, theology and strategy for global evangelism."
Stott also spearheaded the drafting of the Manila Manifesto, a document produced by the second International Congress in 1989. It was an elaboration of the Lausanne Covenant.
Pederson says, "Many of us remember hearing his messages from Lausanne, where he poured out his love and his passion for Christ. I think his connection with Lausanne and the connection with the Urbana conferences–particularly with international students–is going to be the lasting hallmark of his life."
The World Evangelical Alliance says, "Although there are many of the 620 million evangelical Christians who have never heard of John Stott, almost without exception they will have been unconsciously changed through his presence in much of what they or their pastors have read from his pen. He will be greatly missed, but his ministry continues. The whole of the leadership of the WEA acknowledges with great thankfulness to God the legacy that John Stott has left behind to encourage and guide us."
Stott viewed his lifelong singleness as a gift from God. He wrote more than 50 books which have been translated into 65 languages. "Basic Christianity" was the best known, which has sold more than 2.5 million copies.
Stott also formed Langham Partnership International to see Majority World churches being equipped for mission and growing to maturity through the ministry of Christian leaders and pastors who sincerely believe, diligently study, faithfully expound and relevantly apply the Word of God.
While he was a great theologian and speaker, John Stott was also a kind, gentle man. Biographer Dudley-Smith wrote, "To those who know and meet him, respect and affection go hand-in-hand. The world-figure is lost in personal friendship, disarming interest, unfeigned humility–and a dash of mischievous humor and charm." By contrast, Stott thought of himself as "simply a beloved child of a heavenly Father; an unworthy servant of his friend and master, Jesus Christ; a sinner saved by grace to the glory and praise of God."
Stott died listening to Scripture and Handel's "Messiah."