There are a few, a very few, who deserve to be called a Prince amongst the people of God.  John Stott was one such.

We all see other people partially. I am not therefore going to try to give a rounded picture of the man. I am only going to mention briefly the areas in which his impact was strongest in our part of the world. But the source and nature of that impact was at the very heart of his whole ministry. It had to do with his treatment of scripture.

The thing for which we will mainly remember him was as one which expounded the Bible as God’s word.

All preaching worthy of the name Christian starts from the Bible. The Biblical preaching of my youth would start characteristically from a verse, sometimes taken out of context and used as a starting point for an extended Christian homily with exhortation.

Our first hand experience of John Stott was different. He took passages rather than texts and gave rigorous attention to the context and the meaning of the passage taken as a whole. And he spoke with such spiritual vibrancy that you could immediately tell that the biblical text was shaping and informing his faith and his walk with God. Here was a man with something to say, precisely because he took it from scripture.

The effects were profound. Not only did people come to know Christ through his preaching and not only were people built up in Christ. He modelled a preaching style which other could use as well. He was not the great orator who can only be admired but never emulated. He was a servant of the word which showed what can be done by faithful attention to the text of scripture. Obviously few had his intellectual and theological skills; nonetheless we could aspire to use his model.

His ministry had a multiplier effect. Read the rest of this entry »

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