John Stott believed strongly in mutuality and reciprocity within the global church. Though a son of the Western church, Stott, like the apostle Paul, was passionately committed to the worldwide body of Christ. He not only knew and loved so many church leaders in many denominations outside the West, but he also wanted to enable their voices to be heard, to affirm their leadership, and to facilitate the development of their giftings, academically and spiritually. “We must be global Christians,” he used to say, “with a global vision, because our God is a global God.”
I have sometimes said that John Stott was both apostolic and Abrahamic. There was something apostolic about his evangelistic commitment to the gospel and to the faithful teaching of biblical truth. And there was something Abrahamic about his “all nations” perspective. Not only was he himself a blessing to many nations; he also modeled and taught the “obedience of faith” (to quote Paul) that characterized Abraham’s combination of faith demonstrated in works (Rom. 1:5, ESV; James 2:20–26).
So for John Stott, to strengthen the leadership of the church outside the West would be to strengthen global church leadership, including the West. He prayed and longed for the greater health and maturity of the worldwide church, including the West. So whatever he could do to strengthen the Majority World church, the whole body of Christ would benefit.
Stott recognized an additional benefit that would adorn the truth of the gospel. As the leadership of the global church outside the West was strengthened, resourced, and recognized, then the truly international, multicultural nature of the church itself would be far more visible ...1
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