John Stott, the greatly-loved British pastor, author, and evangelical leader, died earlier this week at the age of 90. In reading some of the tributes published about him, I was struck by the repeated references to his humility, a character trait that seems in short supply today. Through his more than 50 books and hundreds of sermons, and through his friendship with leaders around the world, he helped shape the global evangelical movement.
I never read anything by John Stott that did not bring me great spiritual profit. Of his many books, here are three that were especially influential in my life:
Basic Christianity. I love this book because it explains in simple, thoughtful, and very biblical terms, “This is what Christians believe.”
Betwen Two Worlds. I regard this as one of the two or three best books on preaching I have ever read. Stott shows how the preacher must live “between two worlds,” the world of the Bible and today’s world, and through the spoken word, bring them together. A masterful work.
The Message of the Sermon on the Mount. I believe an earlier version of this book was called “Christian Counter-Culture.” I remember taking it with me on a missions trip (I believe it was my first trip to Haiti in 1986) and being blown away. He forever banishes the notion that Christians are like the world. This is a truly radical book in the best sense of the word.