As an evangelical John Stott was also surprisingly progressive. Famously he incurred the ire of some evangelicals by coming out in support of the annihilationist view of hell as opposed to the classic conservative eternal-conscious-torment view. He was also reasonably progressive in supporting the ordination of women deacons and ‘presbyters’ (essentially local ministers), while not believing that they should be in a position of full headship over men.Another great post on Stott has been that of Nicholas Kristof. He writes,
I know that there are those who say that evangelical Christianity has lost its integrity. But it is not that simple. Christianity has been a vehicle of oppression for many, but it has also been a vehicle for the expression of empathy, for sharing one's worldly goods, and for loving one's fellow human being as oneself. Empathy, as part of our basic human nature, is found to a lesser or greater degree in everyone, animals included, but Christian teaching and example can serve to foster empathy and exend it.
Mr. Stott didn’t preach fire and brimstone on a Christian television network. He was a humble scholar whose 50-odd books counseled Christians to emulate the life of Jesus — especially his concern for the poor and oppressed — and confront social ills like racial oppression and environmental pollution.
“Good Samaritans will always be needed to succor those who are assaulted and robbed; yet it would be even better to rid the Jerusalem-Jericho road of brigands,” Mr. Stott wrote in his book “The Cross of Christ.” “Just so Christian philanthropy in terms of relief and aid is necessary, but long-term development is better, and we cannot evade our political responsibility to share in changing the structures that inhibit development. Christians cannot regard with equanimity the injustices that spoil God’s world and demean his creatures.”
Mr. Stott then gave examples of the injustices that Christians should confront: “the traumas of poverty and unemployment,” “the oppression of women,” and in education “the denial of equal opportunity for all.”