During his nearly 70 years as an evangelical leader, John Stott rarely garnered headlines, cut across airwaves, or graced TV screens. But his ministry was ever-present, a fixture in the worlds of biblical interpretation and spiritual development that impacted thousands of evangelical leaders and laypeople alike. In many ways, the unfolding of Stott's 50 books and hundreds of sermons paralleled the quiet persistence of one of his great passions: bird watching. Those who knew him speak of a legacy that transcends his public role as pastor, author, and evangelical leader. And those who knew of him have also offered reflections on his life and ministry. In a roar of tweets, blog posts, newscasts, and columns, influential thinkers around the world remembered Stott's life. Christianity Today presents a selection of their comments below.
"The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisers. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to heaven."
Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance
"Uncle John was a great influence in my own theological development. His commitment to biblical orthodoxy, global mission and unity in the body of Christ were foundational in my own spiritual journey."
Professor of theology, Regent College
"I first met John Stott in the late 1940s at a youth camp and remember being impressed with how strategic and focused he was as a young assistant clergyman; we continued to communicate regularly through the years. I recall exchanging Christmas letters with him: he would write about birds and I would return his letters with stories about family dogs and we would rejoice in life together. John was an unusual sort of person, a ten-talent man of sorts. He lived under an extraordinarily firm self-discipline and brought a thoroughness of thought to every project he took on—and there were many. He had an unparalleled gift for setting things in order in his own mind and then articulating them to others."
Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
"He was a patron, mentor, friend and encourager of thousands of pastors, students and laypeople from the newer Christian parts of the world, a bridge between the West and the rising Christian world … But he also demanded that evangelicals look beyond liturgy and Christian tradition and remain engaged in worldly matters —to take more responsible attitudes toward economics, the arts, politics and culture in general."
International Director of Langham Partnership
"Like Moses, he was one of the greatest leaders God has given to his people, and yet at the same time, one of the humblest men on the face of the earth. He was, for all of us who knew him, a walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus, whom he loved above all else."
Pastor of The Falls Church
"I have had few heroes, but John Stott has indeed been not only a hero, but a teacher and friend to me, and so many of us. The last few weeks have been very difficult for him, and he was ready for this. Three old friends were at his bedside reading from 2 Timothy to him and listening to Handel's Messiah. When the chorus began to sing, 'I Know That My Redeemer Liveth,' 'Uncle John' slipped away."
Tyler Wigg Stevenson
Director of Two Futures Project
"From 2005 to 2006 I had the pleasure and privilege of serving 'Uncle John,' as he was known to friends around the world, as his study assistant. … It is John Stott the disciple of Christ that I mourn today, rather than John Stott the Evangelical statesman. For in my year with him he continually revealed the Lord to whom he had given his life, whole cloth. And the birds! A lifelong birdwatcher, his love for this slow, patient pastime was infectious. For my birthday he sent me and Natalie to an island to see the comical puffins, which he adored. And he was forever pushing the limits of his aging body along the beautiful cliffs of his beloved Welsh headlands, where gulls and ravens and gannets danced, in his eyes, to the glory of God."