LONDON John Stott, a major figure in evangelicalism during the 20th century who helped frame the Lausanne Covenant and authored "Basic Christianity" and a series of other popular books, died July 27 at the age of 90.
An Anglican theologian, Stott's influence spread far beyond London, where he served as rector of All Souls Church for more than 20 years. His books were popular because they were both theologically sound and easily understood. Basic Christianity (1958) sold 2 million copies and was translated into more than 60 languages. Other popular titles included "I Believe in Preaching" (1982), "Issues Facing Christians Today" (1984), "The Cross of Christ" (1986) and "The Contemporary Christian" (1992). He said his goal was to "relate the ancient Word to the modern world." He wrote more than 40 books.
He became a rector in 1950 when evangelicalism had little influence in Anglicanism, and he helped spur its growth not only in that denomination but worldwide. He took sharing his faith seriously and encouraged church members to take a weekly training course in evangelism. In 1974 he chaired the committee that drafted the Lausanne Covenant, a landmark document passed by 2,000-plus Christian leaders gathering in the Swiss city. The document outlined shared biblical beliefs and underscored the need of Christians to cooperate in missions.
Stott's death sparked a round of tributes to him by Christian leaders on their Twitter accounts. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, called Stott "one of my closest mentors."
"I flew to the UK recently just to pray for him & sit by his bed. What a giant!" Warren wrote.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., wrote, "You cannot explain English-speaking evangelicalism in the 20th century without crucial reference to the massive influence of John Stott."Author and Christian apologist Lee Strobel called Stott a "giant of the faith and a gentle, sweet soul."
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