This, the first volume of the first full length biography of John R. W. Stott, will set the standard of excellence for the many biographies which will follow. Timothy Dudley-Smith's excellent biography paints a complete portrait of the public and private life of one of the greatest Christian leaders of the last one hundred years. Dudley-Smith draws extensively from Stott's diaries, letters and books and from interviews with both friends and adversaries. He captures the formative experiences that have shaped the life and ministry of John Stott.
Arranged in sections covering ten year increments from the 1920s through the 1950s, the chapters within each section relate key friendships, public challenges and personal struggles. These engaging accounts bring into view a compelling story of the forces that have shaped and which drive Stott.
Far from the doting account of a saintly life by an admiring follower, Dudley-Smith frankly describes Stott's struggles and doubts as well as the excitement of his expanding ministry. Directness and sensitivity mark the recounting of Stott's lifelong rivalry with his sister and the years of alienation from his father. His concern for his local congregation at All Souls Church in London as he begins evangelistic tours of Great Britain, the United States, Autrailia and Africa reveal his pastor's heart and sensitivity.
The first volume of this biography projects a three dimensional picture of a man of God. Don't wait for the companion volume, not due out for at least another two years, before reading this book. This account of a contemporary Christian will hearten and challenge you.
Time discipline, God and principles drive the man. Meticulous attention to scholarship, biblical interpretation and evangelism characterize Stott's life. Even the Christian schoolboy camps he organized as a scholar and student were superbly run. Here is a great primer for Christian camp leaders. One doesn't usually think of the immaculately dressed and well spoken John Stott as a camper, but this book covers both his professional and personal life.
The book has extensive quotes from correspondents and writers, as well as Stott himself. As Buddism has the Dalai Lama, Christianity has John Stott. John Stott is one of the few who has the intellectual capacity, clarity of exposition and genuine enthusiasm to lead the thinking person to Christianity. This book shows that he's been at it since his conversion at Rugby School, during his student days at Cambridge and continuing through his long association with All Souls Langham Place, London and various Langham Partnership organizations.
Dudley-Smith describes how Stott received his call to ministry, diligently studying both the Bible and his academic books. Stott's avid enthusiasm for bird-watching, which has peppered his sermons on occasion, is woven into the book's fabric.
CICCU (Cambridge), OICCU (Oxford), Inter-Varsity and other Christian student organizations owe a debt to John Stott. Any student Christian leader can gain ideas and insights from this biography.
The many groups that use John Stott's numerous Bible study books would also profit from learning about the man, his motivation and his friends. In particular, his friendship with Billy Graham was described in some detail and together they helped evangelize the student world.
If you are considering being a pastor or missionary, you will learn what a Passion for Mission means from John Stott.
My one criticism is that Tim Dudley-Smith tends to write less efficiently than John Stott, some anecdotes are repeated. But this is a minor flaw and the writing is never weak from this great hymn writer. It is a very human account of a global Christian leader that deserves a larger audience. Take a Sunday afternoon and go to a quiet place like John Stott's Welsh retreat - the Hookses - and be inspired as you read this manuscript. When I bought this book I was stuck after the first chapter, but when I heard John Stott, in his 80s still going strong and speaking at a 30th anniversary John Stott Ministries dinner, I picked up the book again and once I was into chapter two (the chapters are long, but broken into subsections) I could not put it down.
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