A touching obituary for John Stott, written by Paul Zahl, courtesy of the This New England blog at the Providence Journal (RI):
The English minister John R.W. Stott, who died this week, seems to have been the real thing. Not a figure of scandal, not a figure of greed, not a figure of hypocrisy, not someone trying to do a number on you.
Rather this man seems to have walked his whole life in the steps of Jesus.
He lived for the last 35 years in a two-room garage apartment above the rectory of an exceptionally busy Church of England parish in downtown London. He traveled all over the world encouraging simple Christians, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, and always traveled second-class, in “the back of the bus”.
Rarely appearing in clerical garb except when strictly required by the occasion, his personal habits were simple, quiet and modest.
He was also the author of dozens of books, a chaplain to the Queen of England, and doubly cherished for having turned down a bishopric in the Church of England.
He always counseled people of traditional theological principles to stay in the old Church, no matter how mixed and distressed it could become, rather than thumb their noses and start something new.
This was because Stott thought that you can accomplish more by helping from within. This ”gentle persuasion” of John Stott’s was rooted in his character, which was unconsciously humble in every way you could see.
One of my readers reports that when Stott came to dinner in his rectory, the first thing he would do was play with the children. And mean it!
Our sons have never forgotten what they would later call ‘the John Stott factor.” By this they meant his kind persona, which was as interested in them when they were six, as he was interested in their parents and other elders.
The man never made distinctions between people. Therefore everyone who met him, from two to toothless, loved him.
We should probably study this man’s life. He never married yet had hundreds of children. He took no money from anything he did but was a rich man.
He wasn’t angular in controversy — no killer of churches! — but had rock-like convictions. He had authority coming out of every pore, but never took authority.
John Stott would say it all came from The Master. Wherever it came from, the world could use more of what he had.