[John] Stott meant a lot to me, and in several respects.
First, he modeled intelligent preaching, preaching that implied that both preacher and congregation were intelligent people who were concerned to understand difficult and important matters, and that patient and skilled interpretation of the difficult and important texts of the Bible was not only possible, but to be expected from sermons on every occasion. Preachers I have heard since then, and that’s the majority, who fail to interpret the text intelligently, fail to treat their audiences as intelligent people, and fail to express themselves intelligently, earn either my pity (if they can’t help it) or my contempt (if they can). But they do not get a pass: John Stott showed us what could be done, and we ought to do it, even if few of us can do it so well.
Second, he showed that smart and educated people could be evangelicals and remain evangelicals. In my young adult years, many upwardly mobile evangelicals were hitting the “high road,” so to speak, on their way to Anglo-Catholicism, Catholicism, or even Orthodoxy, but Stott–whose church services at All Souls Langham Place were like InterVarsity meetings with robes–was irrefutably sophisticated and unapologetically low-church evangelical.
Read it all.
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