Posted tagged ‘John Stott’

The cross is still the throne from which he rules the world.

March 12, 2012

John Stott:

“Any contemporary observer, who saw Christ die, would have listened with astonished incredulity to the claim that the Crucified was a Conqueror. Had he not been rejected by his own nation, betrayed, denied and deserted by his own disciples, and executed by authority from the Roman procurator?

Look at him there, spread-eagled and skewered on his cross, robbed of all freedom of movement, strung up with nails, pinned there and powerless. It appears to be total defeat. If there is victory, it is the victory of pride, prejudice, jealousy, hatred, cowardice, and brutality.

Yet the Christian claim is that the reality is the opposite of the appearance. What looks like (and indeed was) the defeat of goodness by evil is also, and more certainly, the defeat of evil by goodness. Overcome there, He was Himself overcoming. Crushed by the ruthless power of Rome, he was Himself crushing the serpent’s head. The victim was the victor, and the cross is still the throne from which he rules the world.”

The Cross of Christ, 227-28.

Witnesses Not Stargazers

February 27, 2012

Tim Keller got me reading John Stott’s Commentary on Acts, and man I’m glad he did. This past week, I preached on the kingdom of God from Acts 1, and I was created encouraged and helped by the insight and commentary of Stott, especially on Christ’s ascension and the mandate to witness in the power of the Holy Spirit. Commenting on Acts 1:9-11, John Stott wrote:

“There was something fundamentally anomalous about their gazing up into the sky when they had been commissioned to go to the ends of the earth. It was the earth not the sky which was to be their preoccupation. Their calling was to be witnesses not stargazers. The vision they were to cultivate was not upwards in nostalgia to the heaven which had received Jesus, but outwards in compassion to the lost world which needed him. It is the same for us. Curiosity about heaven and its occupants, speculation about prophecy and its fulfillment, and obsession with ‘time and seasons’ – these are aberrations which distract us from our God-given mission. Christ will come personally, visibly, and gloriously. Of that we have been assured. Other details can wait. Meanwhile, we have work to do in the power of the Spirit” (The Message of Acts, 51).

It is not for us to know the times and seasons the Father has fixed by His authority. But it is for us to know the power of the Spirit in testifying to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in word and deed. Those longing for the return of Christ are not those with prophecy charts in their hands but the gospel on their lips.

Thank You John Stott (1921-2011)

July 27, 2011

Few people have shaped evangelicalism more in the past 100 years than John R.W. Stott, and this morning he departed to glory with a legacy that will far outlast his lifetime.  I never had a chance to meet John Stott, but I felt that I came to know him through his writings in the many ways he came to meet me in the journey of my Christian faith.

In the early days of my studies, I benefited greatly from his classic book Basic Christianity, which I often kept several copies in my car to give away.  In the formative days of my preaching, his book Between Two Worlds was foundational to understanding and communicating God’s Word.  When I wrestled with the nature, extent, and purpose of Christ’s work on the cross, his book The Cross of Christ rocked my world and plunged me deeper into the glories of Calvary that I had ever been.  As I began to consider how to apply what I had been learning to the world around me, his book The Contemporary Christian was a faithful guide.

When I moved onto seminary, my first major topic of interest was understanding evangelical anti-intellectualism, what would you know, but John Stott had written a book on it (actually they are lectures put into a book).  In the following years, I began wrestling with evangelical mission, in particular the relationship of evangelism with social action.  Stott had two books that I referenced regularly, namely Christian Mission in the Modern World and Our Guilty Silence.  Though it is presented as a commentary, John Stott’s commentary on the book of Acts is incredibly helpful and insightful for the mission of the church, and from my reading of Tim Keller very instrumental in his thinking as well.

The are other books by Stott that I enjoyed, but these served almost biographically in my journey over the past ten years and proved to impact me in numerous ways.  I’m confident that I’m not alone in saying that God has used John Stott in big ways and small as a trustworthy guide in matters related to the gospel, the church, and the mission entrusted to us.  Stott was a faithful steward, and I pray that my generation will carry that baton in the shadow of this churchman, scholar, and missionary statesman for generations to come.  Thank you John Stott, for the way God used you to impact my life.

Below is a tribute from Langham Partnership, the ministry outreach of John Stott that has just been made available.

The Gospel and Satanic Oppression

March 21, 2010

Some very sobering words from the pen of John Stott:

The world’s opposition is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on ‘taking men alive’ and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advanced beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it.

–From “The Message of 2 Timothy” (The Bible Speaks Today series: London and Downers Grove: IVP, 1973), p. 126.

Pray that I/you wold:

1.  Clearly proclaim the gospel in its simplicity
2.  Boldly proclaim the gospel in spite of opposition
3.  Remain in the gospel as my only message to the world (and to myself)
4.  Give myself to the preeminence of the gospel call above everything else

Stott calls this “Satanic oppression” and I believe he is right.  The devil would want nothing more than for us to minimize the work of the gospel in our lives, to destroy it, to have us get beyond it, to ignore it, to change it, to be silenced as bad stewards of it, and simply pretend that it does not matter.