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Stephen N. Williams

WWJSD - The global ministry of John Stott.

The global ministry of John Stott

Well, a remarkable man and a remarkable ministry. In 1999, Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith published the first volume of a biography of John Stott.1 The sequel takes us to the edge of the subject's eightieth birthday, which he celebrated in April 2001. In this second volume—its chronological outline is modified by the need to follow certain broad trajectories in describing the ministry—the biographer picks up the story in the early Sixties, with Stott established as the Rector of All Souls' Church in London.

Under his leadership and expanding staff, the congregation of All Souls' increased in numbers and strength, creative initiatives, and cultural diversity. Those who have mainly encountered Stott outside the United Kingdom will not always appreciate how his international leadership developed out of dedicated, unremitting labor and commitment to the congregation in his care. That leadership itself emerged as he became widely known both through independent travel and through association with Billy Graham in the decade of the World Congress on Evangelism at Berlin (1966). Even those rooted in the United Kingdom may be surprised to learn just how much Stott participated in official and unofficial discussions on various questions that exercised the Anglican Communion. But was his an "Anglican identity," as many supposed during this decisive period in British evangelicalism? Two events highlight this question.

The first is the well-known public disagreement with Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the Second National Assembly of Evangelicals in October 1966, on the question of the nature of evangelical unity. Any summary description of what the disagreement was about risks being an interpretation, for, as the biographer makes clear, the background and the story of the disagreement are themselves matters of disagreement.2 Timothy Dudley-Smith disclaims the interpretation that Lloyd-Jones explicitly appealed to evangelicals to leave the major denominations and form a united church.3 But he finds ...

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