Thursday, May 17, 2007

John Stott Announces Retirement

John Stott, one of the most beloved and respected pastors in the evangelical world, has announced plans to retire from public ministry. He'll speak at one last conference in July and then move to a retirement community for Anglican clergy in southern England. Stott is 86 years old.

I had the opportunity to hear Stott back in the mid 1990's at a church in Dallas, Texas. He preached a memorable message from Matthew 11:25-29 where Jesus offers comfort to the weary. Afterwards, me and a friend--like star-struck rock-n-roll fans--waited in line for the chance to shake his hand and greet him.

Rev. Stott's books are a treat to read. He has a wonderful gift in bringing out the most important point in a passage or doctrine, and explaining it in a unique and edifying way. A good example of this is a recent release, The Incomparable Christ. Probably his best known work is Basic Christianity, while The Cross of Christ is his magnum opus. Any Bible commentary with Stott's name on it will be profitable reading.

I really enjoy his short book, Evangelical Essentials, which outlines in Trinitarian form the common ground of Christians. In the preface of that book, Stott writes:
As I approach the end of my life on earth, and as I complete more than sixty years of privileged Christian discipleship, I would like to leave behind me, as a kind of spiritual legacy, this little statement of evangelical faith, this personal appeal to the rising generation. Of course I have changed over the last six decades. Yet I hope these changes have been not the denial of anything I previously affirmed, but rather the enrichment of what was inadequate, the deepening of what was shallow, and the clarification of what was obscure. The great evangelical truths remain. This is how I would wish to be remembered and judged, as I prepare to stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Rev. Stott, whenever that glorious day comes, may you hear from Jesus, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

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