Thursday, July 28, 2011

John Stott, 1921-2011

It was my junior year in high school. My YoungLife leader approached me not long after Christmas and asked me if I wanted to be part of a discipleship group. What would it involve? Scripture memory. Weekly meetings. Accountability with friends and my leader. And weekly reading assignments. Those assignments included the book pictured at the left: Basic Christianity.

I cannot remember a book that better summarized the essentials of my faith - the beliefs that are common to true Christian faith. Through the course of the book, Rev. Stott walked through how Christ was the perfect expression of God, visiting the earth. Then, using the Ten Commandments, he showed how all of us fall short of God's perfect standard and thus are desperately in need of reconciliation. He then explained what Jesus accomplished on the cross to bring us back to God. Finally, he showed us how we should respond.

Yes, this book outlined the basic gospel, the good news that brings us all back to God. In YL, we use this basic outline to share Christ with kids. Although I can't prove the timeline (it predates me), I suspect that it was a factor in the development of the Four Spiritual Laws pamphlet.

John R.W. Stott died yesterday at the age of 90. What a legacy he leaves for us. I was reading tonight about the great things Rev Stott did to shape the evangelical church in the 20th century. He was such a leader and his influence on me stands beside other 20th century greats like J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, Jim Rayburn, Bill Bright, and Billy Graham.

Thank you, John Stott. I look forward to meeting you in person one day, when we both stand in the presence of our Father. Yes...thank you.

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