National Influence

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lifeandpassion1_preachingWhen John Stott began his ordained ministry, evangelicals had little influence in the Anglican Church hierarchy. Through personal initiatives such as the revived Eclectic Society (originally founded in 1793), Dr. Stott sought to raise the profile and morale of young evangelical clergy. From an initial membership of 22 of his friends, the society grew to over 1,000 members by the mid 1960s. Out of this movement grew many initiatives, most notably the two National Evangelical Anglican Congresses of 1967 and 1977, which Dr. Stott chaired.

John Stott has played important roles in three areas of Christian life in England, serving the church, the university, and the crown. He served as chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council ( from 1967 to 1984 and as president of two influential Christian organizations: the British Scripture Union ( from 1965 to 1974 and the British Evangelical Alliance ( from 1973 to 1974. Dr. Stott has also served four terms as president of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship ( between the years 1961 and 1982. He was also an honorary chaplain to the queen from 1959 to 1991 and received the rare distinction of being appointed an Extra Chaplain in 1991.

John Stott was displeased by the anti-intellectualism of some Christians. In contrast, he stressed the need “to relate the ancient Word to the modern world.” This conviction led to his founding of The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity ( in 1982. This Institute “offer[s] courses in the inter-relations between faith, life and mission to thinking Christian lay people.” Stott served as its first director and then as its president from 1986 onward. He claims,

The key words in my thinking are “integration” and “penetration.” I think evangelical Christians, if one can generalize, have not been integrated; there is a tendency among us to exclude certain areas of our life from the lordship of Jesus, whether it be our business life and our work, or our political persuasion. That sort of integration is crucial to the Institute’s vision; the second is the penetration of the secular world by integrated Christians, whose gospel will be a more integrated gospel. (3)

In light of this work, David Edwards has claimed that, apart from William Temple, John Stott was “the most influential clergyman in the Church of England” during the twentieth century. Likewise, Alister McGrath has suggested that the growth of post-war English evangelicalism is attributable more to John Stott than any other person.

Part 4 of 7
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