(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

John Robert Walmsley Stott was born to Sir Arnold and Emily Stott on April 27, 1921. He was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he earned a double first (an extraordinary honor) in French and theology. While a student at Rugby, he had undergone a conversion experience because of the preaching of Eric Nash and determined to devote his life to the Gospel. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1945 and went on to become curate at the Church of All Souls, Langham Place, London, from 1945 to 1950, then rector there from 1950 to 1975, and then rector emeritus beginning in 1975. He was appointed a chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II (1959-1991). One of his major involvements in Christian action was through the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization held at Lausanne, Switzerland. Stott acted as chair of the drafting committee for the Lausanne Covenant, a significant milestone in the evangelical movement. As chair of the Lausanne Theology and Education Group from 1974 to 1981, he contributed greatly to the growing evangelical understanding of the relation between evangelism and social action. He has also been active in the Tear Fund, an evangelical British charity, for many years. He has written more than forty books, including Basic Christianity and The Cross of Christ (1986), and founded the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity in 1982. He never married. He was awarded the CBE in the New Year’s honors list, 2006.

Basic Christianity is exactly what its title suggests, an exposition of the central themes of Protestant Christianity. “Christianity is a rescue religion,” Stott declares midway through the book, but this is his theme in one form or another throughout. He begins with God’s central activity in creation. The Creation and God’s word given through the prophets and through Christ call for a response from humankind.

The proclamation of God’s word through Christ begins with what Stott calls Jesus’ “self-centered teaching.” He contrasts this to other great religious teachers. They proclaimed truth to be apart from themselves; Jesus called himself...

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(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Dudley-Smith, Timothy. John Stott: The Making of a Leader—A Biography, The Early Years. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999. The authorized biography of John Stott’s early years.

Dudley-Smith, Timothy. John Stott: A Biography of the Later Years. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001. The authorized biography of John Stott’s later years.

Stott, John R. W. The Cross of Christ. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986. A thoughtful, well-rounded approach to the central Christian dilemma of the death of Jesus Christ.

Stott, John R. W., and David L. Edwards. Evangelical Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1988. An informed, intelligent conversation between Stott and a “liberal” colleague on the essentials of the Christian faith: the authority of Scripture, the cross of Christ, miracles, and evangelism.