EFAC Australia

A great sadness has overcome the Evangelical world as we mourn the loss of one God’s great ones.
Of course, John would never have said that, as he always remained a humble servant of Christ, despite the accolades that came his way over many years. Yet we may truly say so, as he has been used by God to teach and preach the supremacy and all-sufficiency of Christ for our salvation, and taught us to glory in the Lord and not in human achievement.
John was, in his own words, ‘an ordinary Christian who struggled in his desire to understand, to explain and to apply the Word of God’. We thank God for this ordinary Christian who had an extraordinary effect on the world wide church, and we who follow him have been richly blessed by the legacy of his struggles to understand, explain and apply that living Word of God. The effects are many but I mention four.
1. His passion for preaching the Bible as it comes to us by sequential exposition, without avoiding the difficult verses, so that he might teach the whole counsel of God. His founding of the Bible Speaks Today Series, with his landmark commentary on Galatians in 1968, based on his sermons at All Souls Langham Place, has made the Bible accessible to countless numbers of Christians throughout the world.
2. His concern that Evangelicals stand firm within the Church of England, following the assaults of liberalism from within, led him to play a founding role in EFAC in 1961. While Martin Lloyd-Jones was encouraging Evangelicals to come out of the established Church and form a new body, John Stott stood firm (a bold stance against the Doctor!) and thereby encouraged Evangelicals not only in England but around the Anglican Communion to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
3. His passion for seeing Christian faith expressed in word and deed. Here his contribution to the Lausanne Congress in 1974, being the principal architect of the Lausanne Covenant, is incalculable. Not only did John clarify the primacy of evangelism as it is accompanied by social action, he was also instrumental in binding together Evangelicals of all persuasions in what is now known as the Lausanne Movement.
4. John was very aware of the privileges of his upbringing and his education and accordingly devoted much of his time (and royalties from his writings) supporting students and pastors in developing countries, the majority world. Langham Partnership International is the fruit of his endeavours to provide scholarships for young Evangelical leaders and to provide literature for pastors and theological libraries.
I thank God for John’s ministry to me as a teenager, not only through his many books which helped shape my Christian growth, but especially through his graciousness in taking the time to answer my no doubt irritating questions on one of his early visits to Australia. For those who had the pleasure of meeting him personally we share a rare privilege; and for those who did not, they still have the privilege of learning from this great one, through his many books and sermons. May God continue to bless this legacy for many years to come.
We thank God for this humble servant of Christ. May we all emulate his example of an ordinary Christian, seeking to know and apply the Word of God to all of life.
‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.’ (Psalm 116:15)

Glenn Davies is Bishop of North Sydney and Chairman of EFAC Australia.