Watch at the link below an excellent presentation made by my dear friend and former WVI colleague dr. Femi Adeleye, coordinator of Langham Preaching Africa.
This blog post was prompted by a recent text written on his blog by my virtual friend Carson Clark, who argued, controversially, as he often does, that ‘it seems to him’, ‘Christians need to stop affirming the centrality of the cross’.
Intrigued? Good. Here is Carson’s (I believe) convincing argument:
In the christian life it shouldn’t be the crucifixion, then the rest of Jesus’ story around it. Instead it should be the crucifixion alongside everything else. This alternative framework in no way mitigates the importance or necessity of the crucifixion. It’s not removing the crucifixion from the center. It’s rather putting the putting the other elements beside it in the center.
And he concludes:
I propose a substitution. Instead of the “centrality of the cross,” I suggest the “centrality of Christ”–all of His story recorded in the New Testament, including His incarnation, life and ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension as well as His anticipated Second Coming. Surely the Bible’s entire redemptive narrative points to, culminates in, and centers on Jesus.
On his Facebook wall, Carson invites me and our common virtual friend Charles Twombly, to comment on this, and also includes in the discussion John Stott’s book The Cross of Jesus Christ and his relationship with Orthodoxy.
Here is my response. After a short comment on James R. Payton’s book Light from the Christian East. An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition, I write:
Returning to your initial discussion on the evangelical ‘centrality of the cross’. I have to say I fully agree. Let me translate here what I have written on my blog on my own theological identity (the text there is in Romanian and I have never translated it; maybe I should). What I do there, among other things, is to present modified definitions of Bebbington’s four descriptions of evangelicalism. Here is how I redefine crucicentrism.
Trinitarian Christocentrism – a theology rooted in the reality of the Holy Trinity, made accessible to us in the person of Christ, the son of God – fully God and fully human, who was revealed to us through his incarnation for us in history, through the virgin Mary; through his sinless life; through his sacrifice in our place on the cross; through his resurrection which overcame death; and through his ascension, which made possible the coming of the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ is ever present in and with us,in order to sanctify and transform us, as members of his mystical body, the Church, according to his image.
I admit it is quite convoluted, but, as you can see, my main contention is that the entire work of Christ, the Son of the Father, from his incarnation in the power of the Spirit, to the sending of the Spirit following his ascension – not just the redemptive sacrifice on the cross – should be at the centre of our theology.
Charles responds too to Carson’s invitations, commenting on Stott:
Danut knew “Uncle John” better than I did (being one of his “boys”), but we’re both strong admirers, I’m sure. Stott must be measured in terms of his time: he worked within the limits of his experience (as we all do).
While studying theology at Cambridge, he basically skipped the lectures and studied on his own since he was out of sympathy with many of his teachers. A shame in a way, since CH Dodd and Charles Moule were among them.
Eastern Orthodoxy wasn’t on his radar, I’d guess, even though there was a thriving interchange between Orthodox and Anglicans in England in those days, represented most especially by the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius.
Interestingly, Michael Harper (a one-time curate of Stott’s at All Souls) moved on to be a major leader in Britain’s charismatic movement and then moved on again, years later, to become an Antiochean Orthodox and prominent in the “move East” of Brits and others. Not sure Stott paid much attention to either of these.
I think he had the “English disease” when it came to theology. Despite his great book on the cross, his interests and reading were almost wholly exegetical (as represented by the books in his study, which I examined–see next paragraph). Historical or systematic theology was not high on the priorities list.
My most precious memory of him was the forty-five minutes he gave to me in ’73 when I visited his townhouse and discussed with him my possible call to the “priesthood” (a term he didn’t like). He is a great hero to me, though I’ve moved in different directions.
I must confess I have the same feelings as Charles for ‘uncle John’. I have great respect and admiration for him, but I have moved theologically in a quite different direction than him.
Here is what I have added, in response to Charles’s comments:
Yes, Charles, as a Langham scholar, I had the undeserved privilege to meet uncle John a number of times in my life, twice of these in his home close to All Souls in Langham Place, which was my church during my theological studies.
The first time I have visited him together with another Langham scholar, my friend Silviu Rogobete, who wrote his PhD on Staniloae’s ‘ontology of love’.
The second time I have visited uncle John with another dear friend, the Orthodox Fr. Stelian Tofana, the most important Romanian Biblical scholar, who was supported financially by John Stott to spend two months at Tyndale House in Cambridge. One Sunday, since I was myself working on my doctorate at London School of Theology, uncle John suggested that I should bring Fr. Stelian to meet with him.
Besides these visits, I have listened to him many times preaching, both in Romania, before the fall of communism, and after, when I translated for him during his visit at Emmanuel University in Oradea, where I was teaching, and many other times at All Souls.
I was always fascinated with his sermons. He impressed me as a person who was coming from the presence of God – that is what I would call a prophet. He was clear, warm and confident in his sermons. When he preached at All Souls, the church was absolutely full – sanctuary, balconies and the hall downstairs.
I must confess I was never attracted by his books. They seemed to dry to me compared with his live sermons. I think he could have done better with a less stiff editor (whoever that was).
Although he was very knowledgeable theologically, uncle Stott never pretended to be more that a Bible teacher. I tend to agree. This was not a statement of humility (although he was a very humble man), but one of reality.
I never got the impression that Stott was interested at all in Orthodox theology or, as Charles rightly says, generally in systematic or historical theology. We all have our blind spots, don’t we?
Scot McKnight about John Stott’s annihilationism, the thing that ‘shook evangelicalism’. Stott was the the first evangelical leader to pint out to the the strange interest, if not love, that evangelicals have for hell.
One may require a little bit of psychoanalysis in order to understand that.
The complex and often ambiguous relationship between Gospel and culture was discussed a lot since the beginning of the Christians Church and continues to trouble many Christians, as a recent debate among Romanian evangelical, around the legitimacy and compatibility of pos culture – whatever we mean by that, and the Christian ethos.
The Willowbank Report, an important Lausanne Movement document, in which the hand (and mind) of John Stott is very obvious and which I have translated into Romanian about 30 years ago from the French translation, remains a standard for all those interested in this topic.
You may read the text online HERE. I could also sens anybody interested a copy of the text in .mobi, which could be read on a Kindle. Just ask
Howard Snyder, whom I had the privilege of meeting in person two years ago in Bethlehem, has written a very hearty text on Stott’s celibacy. You will find many gems in this text. I also hope that some of my friends, men and women who, Uncle John, expected to get married, but did not, will find comfort and encouragement in their faithful following on Christ in their unmarried state.
Here is the first part of Snyder’s text:
Occasionally over the years I’ve heard people question John Stott’s sexual identity, since he never married. That the question would even be raised says more about current culture than about Stott.
Anglican churchman John Stott was the leading evangelical figure of the 20th century. Pastor, preacher, and teacher; author of many books; the genius behind the Lausanne Covenant. The man of whom New York Times columnist David Brooks once wrote, “If evangelicals chose a pope, they would likely select John Stott.”
Roger Steer’s 2009 biography, Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott (IVP) clarifies many things about this remarkable man, including the question I raise here. Stott was born in 1921 and died in 2011, and Steer’s biography was written with Stott’s consent and collaboration.
Gist of the matter: Stott wanted to be married, but the right person never came along. Twice he had girlfriends, but neither relationship led to the altar. Continue reading “Howard Snyder – John Stott’s Celibacy”
With John Stott’s. commendation.
About three years ago, during one of the meetings of the Lausanne Theology Working Group, I had the privilege of spending a few days in Lebanon with Peter Harris, founder of A Rocha – a Christian organisation dedicated to the care of creation, whose passion for the a Christian view of ecology impressed me a lot.
Since then, I have made a priority that care for creation become an important component of the strategies for my work in World Vision in all the countries where I work.
If you have never thought carefully about your responsibility for God’s creation and have been brain washed by the perverted abusive view of creation promoted in the West, including the Christian West, this si for you.
I have expected a biography of John Stott that goes beyond eulogy. So, here it is.
It may not be the definitive one, but it surely deserves the attention of those who have had the privilege to meet and respect ‘uncle John’.
This is an article that I think all Christian singles past 25 should read.
Packer’s tribute to John stott at the memorial service on 5 August.
I will spare you this time my usual apology for the texts of Mark Galli. It is past midnight here and I have said it all already (if in doubt, search for Galli on my blog).
I will just add a few quotes from a text you should read if you are,, even if to a little degree a ‘weary evangelical’. If you are not, don’t bother. It may trouble your senseless contentment. Continue reading “Mark Galli, John Stott and the Weary Evangelical”
The list I submit here, at the request of RomGabe, is highly subjective and does not involve any hierarchy. It is somewhat random in terms of order and may also exclude some valuable titles that did not necessarily resonate with me.
I have to also say that I do not particularly like John Stott’s writings. They seem somewhat dry to me (this may simply be because of the editors he used), especially when compared with the warmth of his live messages.
So, here are my favourites, for what it matters: Continue reading “My Ten Favourite Books by John Stott”
John Stott & Billy Graham
Miercuri 27 iulie 2011, dimineata devreme, a fost inaltat in slava robul lui Dumnezeu John Stott, la venerabila virsta de peste 90 de ani.
S-a nascut la 27 aprilie 1921 la Londra. Tatal sau era un medic agnostic, iar mama lui era o luterana credincioasa. La virsta de 11 ani a trecut printr-o experienta de convertire, in urma predicii capelanului scolii la care studia, numita Rugby School. Acelasi pastor a fost primul care i-a intreptat pasii pe cararea uceniciei crestine.
A studiat limbile moderne la Trinity College in Cambridge, cu specializari in franceza si teologie. A studiat apoi la Ridley Hall in Cambridge, pregatindu-se pentru slujirea pastorala in Biserica Anglicana. A fost ordinat in 1945 si a devenit pastor al Bisericii All Souls, din Langham Place, in centrul Londrei, in care crescuse ca copil. Stott a ales celibatul, pentru a-si putea dedica intreaga energie pentru slujirea Bisericii si a lui Cristos. Intrebat cindva peste ani daca are vreun regret pentru ceva ce n-a facut, John a recunoscut candid ca totusi regreta oarecum faptul ca nu s-a casatorit. Continue reading “Elogiu lui John Stott – UPDATE”
Nick Kristof, writes in the Sunday Review of New York Times a superb eulogy to the noble decency of John Stott as compared with bullies of the Religious Right in the US, like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Here is what he writes:
In these polarized times, few words conjure as much distaste in liberal circles as “evangelical Christian.”
That’s partly because evangelicals came to be associated over the last 25 years with blowhard scolds. When the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson discussed on television whether the 9/11 attacks were God’s punishment on feminists, gays and secularists, God should have sued them for defamation. Continue reading “Nicholas Kristof – An Eulogy to Stott and NonFundamentalist Evangelicals”
Here is the announcement on the funeral service for John Stott
Monday 1 August 2011, 12.15pm at All Souls, Langham Place, London.
I wish I could be there for a last good bye to this great man of God.
During the summer of 2001, while I was doing my PhD studies at London School of Theology, with support from Langham Scholarship, uncle John agreed to support an unusual project: providing funding for an Eastern Orthodox Biblical scholar from Romania for spending a number of weeks in doing research at the Tyndale House in Cambridge. Continue reading “Two John Stott Stories”
Multumesc lui Alin Cristea pentru link.
Observ ca pe acest clip apare si o fotografie a mea cu John Stoto, in timpul unui prinz la el acasa, in vara anului 1997.
Thursday 28th July 2011
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, remembers the life of the Revd John Stott, and has delivered the following tribute in response to news of his death last night.
‘The death of John Stott will be mourned by countless Christians throughout the world. During a long life of unsparing service and witness, John won a unique place in the hearts of all who encountered him, whether in person or through his many books. He was a man of rare graciousness and deep personal kindness, a superb communicator and a sensitive and skilled counsellor. Without ever compromising his firm evangelical faith, he showed himself willing to challenge some of the ways in which that faith had become conventional or inward-looking. It is not too much to say that he helped to change the face of evangelicalism internationally, arguing for the necessity of ‘holistic’ mission that applied the Gospel of Jesus to every area of life, including social and political questions. But he will be remembered most warmly as an expositor of scripture and a teacher of the faith, whose depth and simplicity brought doctrine alive in all sorts of new ways.
We give thanks to God for his life and for all that was given to us through his ministry.’
Rev. Stott served as a contributing editor for Sojourners magazine, when it was known as The Post American, and wrote this article for the November/December, 1973 issue of the magazine.
It seems to be a characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon mind to enjoy inhabiting the “polar regions” of truth. If we could straddle both poles simultaneously, we would exhibit a healthy balance. Instead, we tend to “polarize.” We push some of our brothers to one pole, while keeping the other as our own preserve.
What I am thinking of now is not so much questions of theology as questions of temperament, and in particular the tension between the “conservative” and the “radical.”
By “conservative” we are referring to people who want to conserve or preserve the past, and who therefore are resistant to change.
By “radical” we are referring to people who are in rebellion against what is inherited from the past and who are therefore agitating for change. Continue reading “John Stott – The Conservative Radical”
You will find collected at the link above Christianity Today’s coverage of Stott’s life and ministry.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
For all of us who were together in Cape Town for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, 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 for the last sixty years.
Today (27 July 2011) “Uncle John” went home to be with the Lord. (Read more) 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. Evangelicalism was to Stott an expression of historic, orthodox Christianity. Continue reading “Doug Birdsall & Lindsay Brown – John Stott, Home with the Lord”
27 July 2011
Dear Langham Scholar,
We are sure that, as a Langham Scholar, you would wish to be among the first to know that today at 3.15pm (UK time), John Stott went to be with the Lord. Close family and friends were with him during the morning, and they listened together with him to selections from Handel’s Messiah, including “I know that my Redeemer liveth”, and read through 2 Timothy. He died very peacefully during the afternoon. He had become very weak and weary in recent months and we thank God for a merciful and peaceful ending to his earthly pilgrimage.
During his lifetime, John Stott became known worldwide for the clarity, faithfulness and relevance of his writing and preaching, combined with extraordinary integrity and humility. Countless people around the world can testify to the personal encouragement they have received from ‘Uncle John’. As a Langham Scholar you are among the 300 men and women around the world in the Fellowship of Langham Scholars who are indebted to his great vision and commitment to the cause of theological education and godly leadership. Continue reading “Chris Wright – John Stott goes to be with the Lord”
Reiau aici si acesl text mai vechi despre John Stott, in memoria acestui mare om al lui Dumnezeu.
John Stott la All Souls
Curând după sosirea la Londra am dorit cu toţii să vizităm Biserica All Souls, ca să ne întâlnim din nou cu John Stott. Paul este cel care ne-a dus acolo, căci el se ştia foarte bine cu Stott. Nu-mi amintesc foarte multe lucruri despre acea slujbă. Ştiu că m-a impresionat foarte mult calitatea şi versatilitatea orchestrei, care putea cânta cu aceeaşi uşurinţă de la imnuri la negro spirituals şi de la muzică clasică la jazz. Predica „unchiului John” a fost la fel clară şi de solidă ca întotdeauna. Am fost uimit să văd că cu mult înainte de începerea slujbei nu numai sanctuarul bisericii, dar şi sala mare de la subsol, la care slujba se transmitea prin televiziune cu circuit închis, erau înţesate de oameni, mai ales tineri, dar nu numai, şi de cele mai diverse rase. Mi s-a spus că aşa este întotdeauna când predică Stott acolo. Continue reading “John Stott la All Souls”
Dat fiind anuntul legat de trecerea in glorie a robului lui Dumnezeu Joihn Stott, reiau aici povestea prime mele intilniri cu acest om special al lui Dumnezeu.
Prima întâlnire cu John Stott – Oradea, mai 1987
Numele lui John Stott era foarte cunoscut evanghelicilor din România în perioada comunistă. Prima lui carte tradusă în româneşte a fost Esenţialul creştinismului (Basic Christianity), o prezentare succintă şi clară a credinţei creştine, care a fost introdusă în ţară în mod ilegal şi distribuită probabil în mii şi mii de exemplare.
În primăvara lui 1987 am avut însă şansa de a petrece câteva zile extraordinare la Oradea, în prezenţa acestui mare om al lui Dumnezeu. Bănuiesc că ideea invitării lui în ţară a aparţinut lui Paul Negruţ, care era şi atunci pastor al unei biserici baptiste în Oradea. Sunt sigur că unchiul John n-a fost uşor de convins, dat fiind programul lui foarte încărcat. Ceea ce ştiu bine că l-a ispitit şi l-a convins până la urmă să vină a fost promisiunea unei calatorii în Delta Dunării, unde putea observa câteva dintre speciile de păsări pe care nu le văzuse niciodată. Se ştie că ornitologia este marele hobby al lui Stott. A şi scris cu ani în urmă o fascinantă carte despre păsări.
O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that your servant John R. W. Stott, being raised with him, may know the strength of his presence, and rejoice in his eternal glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Jonathan Anderson on Facebook.)
This morning, Rev. John Stott, one of the fathers of modern Evangelicalism, went to be with the Lord in Glory. May he rest eternally with the saints!
HERE you can find an official announcement on the Christianity Today site. There are so many accessing it at this time that you may not be able to connect until later.
Billy Graham on the death of The Reverend John R. W. Stott, July 27, 2011: “The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven.” (Posted on Facebook)
John Stott la All Souls
Curând după sosirea la Londra am dorit cu toţii să vizităm Biserica All Souls, ca să ne întâlnim din nou cu John Stott. Paul este cel care ne-a dus acolo, căci el se ştia foarte bine cu Stott. Nu-mi amintesc foarte multe lucruri despre acea slujbă. Ştiu că m-a impresionat foarte mult calitatea şi versatilitatea orchestrei, care putea cânta cu aceeaşi uşurinţă de la imnuri la negro spirituals şi de la muzică clasică la jazz. Predica „unchiului John” a fost la fel clară şi de solidă ca întotdeauna. Am fost uimit să văd că cu mult înainte de începerea slujbei nu numai sanctuarul bisericii, dar şi sala mare de la subsol, la care slujba se transmitea prin televiziune cu circuit închis, erau înţesate de oameni, mai ales tineri, dar nu numai, şi de cele mai diverse rase. Mi s-a spus că aşa este întotdeauna când predică Stott acolo.
Studentii romani la LBC – Absolvire 1994
In picioare, de la stinga la dreapta: Mircea Mitrofan, Silviu Rogobete, Geoprge Ille, Petru Bulica, Peter Cotterell (LBC Principal), Gina Bulica, Alex Nadaban, Dorin Axente, Corneliu Boingeanu, Daniel Bulzan
Jos: Alex Neagoe, Florin Rete, Cristian Sigheartau, Costel Gott, Marius Mazuru.
London Bible College
În septembrie 1993 am început un program de masterat în hermeneutică biblică şi modernă la London Bible College (LBC – o şcoală teologică evanghelică interconfesională asociată atunci cu Universitatea Brunel din vestul Londrei). Programul a început în ascuns, înainte de 1989 şi a continuat ca program la distanţă după căderea comunismului. Fiecare dintre cursanţi primea o serie de cărţi pe care trebuia să le citească până la sosirea profesorului din Anglia. Atunci câne venea profesorul, petreceam cu el două-trei zile într-o casă, ascultând preşegerile acestuia şi discutând despre subiectul prezentat. la plecare primeam o temă de eseu, pe care trebuia s-o predăm următorului profesor pentru a-I fi transmisă spre corectare, precum şi cărţile pentru următorul curs. Dintre cei 42 de cursanţi, împărţiţi în grupuri care se întâlneau în şapte oraşe diferite, circa 20 au terminat cursul în vara anului 1993. Şaptesprezece dintre aceştia au acceptat să meargă mai departe la studii în Anglia şi zece dintre ei primit până în prezent titlul de doctor în teologie. Despre acest program sper să povestesc mai multe altă dată.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Greetings in the name of our resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I trust you enjoyed a glorious Easter celebration.
I am writing to you on April 27th. Today is the 90th birthday of John Stott, the Honorary Chairman of The Lausanne Movement. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a happy birthday and in t hanking God for the model and impact of his remarkable like. (You may post a birthday message to him online here.) Continue reading “Honoring John Stott on His 90th Birthday”