The news today of John Stott’s death at 90 saddened me for a moment, but only that long, for I knew he had entered the full joy of the Lord having done all the Lord’s bidding. The Christianity Today obituary is moving and evokes good memory. His life example is a good instance of what I was saying in my last posting about paganism compared to genuine faith.
Though as a Baptist I and my wife have enjoyed our wonderful visits to Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London and the New Road Baptist Church in Oxford during a sabbatical stay, All Souls Langham Place also attracted us. But too late in his ministry, or off schedule, to hear John Stott, we nonetheless heard inspiring evangelical preaching by other staff pastors and enjoyed worshiping with a truly international congregation. More recently the ministry of the Langham Partners International made a strong impression on me; I thought how positive, resolute and effective their mission sounded!
On at least two occasions my ETBU travel study students accompanied me to worship there at All Souls, once in March 2003, another in May 2006; that last time, on a Sunday morning, we walked the half mile or so from our hotel on Gower Street and entered that church just next to the BBC buildings. There the worshipers clearly recognized their congregation’s place in its own domestic society but displayed numerous, lively, and colorful connections with Christians around the world–and there were many visitors–the Africans dressed brightly, impressively for worship! We enjoyed the tea and biscuits afterwards in the fellowship center, too, the opportunity to make new acquaintances, and to look at the books and tapes they offered. It was a privilege to share just briefly in the vibrant experience of that missions and ministry-oriented urban church. I am grateful to the Lord for all that, and for John Stott.