Sad news over the weekend that John R.W. Stott has died at age 90. Nick Kristof in the Times has a nice column remembering the great theologian. In this time of great craziness in the world and American politics, remembering Stott is like glimpsing the still small voice, the calm center, the big picture, and restores to me the line in my favorite Eliot poem: “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well, by the purification of the motive in the ground of our beseeching.” Remembering John Stott reminds me that there is sanity in the world, and sanity in religion. I read Stott in college and he helped form my faith. I still believe I am an evangelical Christian, as I learned what that meant from people like John Stott and Jim Wallace. What passes for evangelical Christian in the mainstream press and particularly in politics today, I barely recognize and have no affinity for or connection with. If religion seems crazy to you, if it’s most omnipresent practitioners like Palin and Bachman drive you crazy and make you think religion is absurd and Christians are crazy, you would do well to read some John Stott, and learn what Christianity actually is. You may or may not believe or agree with it, but you will understand that the Palin’s and Bachman’s of the world don’t practice Christianity, and are nothing more than a modern day Elmer Gantry.
Thank you John Stott, for your wonderful books and scholarships. The world is a better place, and closer to Christ, for your work. Godspeed.