For an excellent, outside view of this recently departed minister of the Gospel, see:
Browsing around the web, I have learned that John Stott, retired pastor of All Souls Parish in London, England, has gone to be with the Lord.
As a college student, I was active in the Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship chapter at my Midwestern Alma Mater, and it was there that I first encountered Mr. Stott's little book _Basic Christianity_, one of many volumes which he penned. Hence, in 1972, when I went to England to visit my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and niece, I made it a point to take in a Sunday service at All Souls.
After emerging from the "chyube", I looked at street signs and maps, and probably looked like a typical, lost American tourist. But God sent two well-dressed Ugandan students who asked me where I was headed, and, when I explained my mission, they asked me to follow them to my destination. All Souls, a CofE parish, was probably the first heavily attended "Mainline" church I ever visited. Although clearly the crowd that Sunday was mostly local English people, there was a clear smattering of former colonials, like my guides, who had found there a church home away from home. On a summer Sunday, there was space only in the balcony for someone who arrived just a few minutes before the beginning of the service. I don't remember much of the service apart from the quiet dignity of "Low Church" Anglicanism, but the sermon has remained with me for almost forty years.
Mr. Stott preached on Gal 4:4-7. In clear, eloquent educated British English, he first noted the Trinitarian character of the passage. Having grown up among theological modernists and at that time new to Evangelicalism, I had heard very little doctrinal preaching before then; and after that one Sunday at All Souls, I was hooked. Mr. Stott expounded the Father's control of the flow of human history down to that "fulness of time" when Christ should come; the cooperation of the Trinity in our salvation; Christ's working salvation for us and granting us an "introduction to the Father" (a jolt, for among my new Evangelical friends, there was something of a "Unitarianism of the 2d Person" afoot); and the Spirit's application of divine grace to us, causing us once again to focus on the Father as we address hims as "Abba". How interesting that even when writing to a Gentile audience, the Apostle Paul should use his native Aramaic to express the fatherhood of God...
But that last sentence is myself. In he course of his ordinary pastoral duties, Mr. Stott showed this wet-behind-the-ears young American tourist the importance of the Trinity, how it is relevant to everything in the Christian walk, and began to make it understandable. Of course, there was not time on that one Sunday morning to review all that the Greek Fathers and Reformers had written on the subject, but never again could anyone tempt me to believe that the doctrine of God as three persons in one substance was not plainly taught in the pages of Scripture. This has informed my prayers and private worship, and when I seek a new fellowship after a move, I know what to look for.
Many of the tributes I have read this night were from people who knew Stott better than I ever could, and all noted that Stott was a humble, saintly, pious Christian prior to his being a powerful and thorough exegete and preacher. David Brooks, a secular Jew, opined that if we Evangelicals had a Pope, Stott would have been the man. Perhaps I cannot quite agree, but can understand why Brooks may have said such a thing.
Mr. Stott died at the age of ninety, after several years' retirement, "in good old age", as the Book says. But may God raise up more preachers like him.