John Stott Goes Home

I always admired John Stott. He was the perfect picture of the scholar Christian gentleman. He was a man for all seasons—a true renaissance man. More than that, he was a pastor/priest not only to his church but to a generation. Although a scholar, he wrote mostly for the layperson. In doing so, he touched more people than he ever would have in an ivory tower somewhere. Now he belongs to the ages. We will miss him. We are the poorer for his passing. There are not many John Stotts around today.

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3 Responses to John Stott Goes Home

  1. frthomas says:

    Darrell,

    I think, in view of the ongoing discussion that occurs on this site, it would be helpful to say more about the terms “Christian gentleman” and “renaissance man.” I totally agree that he was both and will remember him as such. Could you flesh out what you mean by the terms?

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  2. Darrell says:

    Tom,

    Those are very good questions. A “renaissance man” is normally referring to someone whose breadth of knowledge is far-ranging and not concentrated in one or two areas. It is someone who appreciates the arts in their best presentations. It is someone who understands that everything is art and science but mostly art. They are always learning and fear no area of knowledge just like a true explorer fears no cave or uncharted territory. They are very knowledgeable about many things but never take themselves too seriously and wear their expertise lightly and humbly. They are at home and comfortable whether talking to the mechanic or the college professor. They know along with Hamlet that, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    John Stott certainly fit the description. Along with his earned degrees, he held six honorary doctorates. But few knew that he was also an acknowledged authority on ornithology and a very gifted photographer.

    As far as “Christian gentleman” I think it refers to a sort of chivalrous notion of a quiet strength and kindness. Perhaps a poet/warrior image is apt. Of course, at one time Stott was a pacifist. I don’t know if he remained one his whole life, but when I say “warrior” I don’t mean anything violent—I mean the courage and steadfastness of an individual to persevere in the face of opposition and little support. He was strong in ways that were the opposite of violent—it was the power of a deep conviction and faith that God was his strength and protector. Therefore, he was at peace and worked peaceably with others. He had nothing to prove.

    I find myself far, far from these ideals. But he modeled them well and we have much to learn from him.

    Tom, what would you add as far as these descriptions?

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  3. frthomas says:

    Darrell,

    A great articulation of the terms. I cannot think of anything to add. Thanks… I will save your wording for future reference.

    Fr. Thomas

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