Evangelical Pope

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During my years at Wheaton I had the honor of going to chapel three times a week. For most Christian schools this is a time to hear local pastors, or other professors, or listen to some ministry experience. At Wheaton we had the odd experience of sitting and listening to the top leaders in the Christian world come and share their wisdom with us. It was an odd point of the day. A little oasis in the middle of an academic life in which the words and hope of Christ were relayed to us by those who exemplified the Christian life in various ways.

The best speaker of all, and he spoke once a year, was John Stott. He has that peculiar British combination of extreme intelligence and wit, while also somehow coming off as an extremely humble and gracious man. His hour was usually spent giving a ten minute speech and then fielding questions from the audience, which always swelled a bit when he was there. His answers were to the point, insightful, and still humble, even as students tried to show their measure by asking what they thought were challenging questions. Others asked questions out of genuine wondering. No matter how the student came off John Stott answered wisely and graciously.

To this day he my model of a scholar/pastor whose heart for ministry is founded on his passionate love for the depths of the faith.

I say this because I was surprised to see David Brooks write on John Stott this morning, in the exact same tone I would use. We would do well to cast off the blowhards and seek those whose life and heart reveal Christ within, rather than vainglorious seeking after personal authority. Oh… an another thing, John Stott is very Pauline in another way. He never married, and so can devote his life to one service.

He’s not only a great leader and wise scholar, he’s a helpful voice to others who have dealt with the curse of singleness in a marrieds only Church. You’d think by his spirituality and his state in life he is Catholic. But he’s as Evangelical, more so, than anyone who claims leadership over that title.

Good man, wonderful man, the kind of man who makes being a Christian an honor and a goal. May he be blessed.

Thanks, David Brooks for telling the world of this man.

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