Tuesday, August 02, 2011

John Stott

Like many others in the bibliosphere, I too heard Stott preach and read his books and mourn his passing. I always looked up to him and felt more than anything that he spoke with dignity of others, and presented a dignified image of evangelicalism. Here is a post which discusses his views on the ordination of women.
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,

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.”

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.


Mabel said...

"Christianity has been a vehicle of oppression for many". My brother and 6 of his classmates were kicked out of an Anglican school in HK when they were 17, right before their final college entrance exam. What were they guilty of? holding Bible Studies during lunch time, outside the school. The school priest said only a priest can evangelize. The incident was known as the St Paul's 7. St Paul's Co-educational college was and still is one of the best high school in HK. John Stott, in his last book, The Radical Disciple, devoted a special coverage to my brother Daniel Lam, as an example of a Radical Disciple. Daniel died in a plane crash while coming back to the US from Siberia. John Stott and his friend Daniel finally met in heaven.

Theophrastus said...

At the risk of self-promotion, I would like to mention my post here.