Wednesday, October 23, 2013

John W. Yates III reflects on working with John Stott

The Rev. Dr. John W. Yates III
SF's David Ould interviews at GAFCON 2013 John W. Yates III, rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas.  John Yates III reflects on what it was like working with John Stott (called the "architect of 20th century evangelicalism who shaped the faith of a generation") as his study assistant, as well as on his experience this week at GAFCON in Nairobi, Kenya.

You can listen to the interview at SF or below:

John Stott has been described as "an architect of 20th-century evangelicalism who shaped the faith of a generation."   More here:

The Rev. Dr. John Stott
John Stott was ordained in 1945 and went on to become a curate at All Souls Church, Langham Place (1945–1950) then rector (1950–75). This was the church in which he had grown up, and in which he spent almost his whole life, apart from a few years spent in Cambridge. 
While in this position he became increasingly influential on a national and international basis, most notably being a key player in the 1966-67 dispute about the appropriateness of evangelicals remaining in the Church of England.  
He was chairing the National Assembly of Evangelicals in 1966, a convention organised by the Evangelical Alliance, when Martyn Lloyd-Jones made an unexpected call for evangelicals to unite together as evangelicals and no longer within their 'mixed' denominations. This view was motivated by a belief that true Christian fellowship requires evangelical views on central topics such as the atonement and the inspiration of Scripture. Lloyd-Jones was a key figure to many in the Free Churches, and evangelical Anglicans regarded Stott similarly. 
The two leaders publicly disagreed, as Stott, though not scheduled as a speaker that evening, used his role as chairman to refute Lloyd-Jones, saying that his opinion went against history and the Bible. The following year saw the first National Evangelical Anglican Congress, which was held at Keele University. At this conference, largely due to Stott's influence, evangelical Anglicans committed themselves to full participation in the Church of England, rejecting the separationist approach proposed by Lloyd-Jones. 
In 1970, in response to increasing demands on his time from outside the All Souls congregation, he appointed a vicar of All Souls, to enable himself to work on other projects. In 1975 he resigned as Rector, and the then vicar was appointed in his place; he remained at the church, and was appointed "Rector Emeritus." 
In 1974 he founded the Langham Partnership International and in 1982 the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, of which he remained honorary president until his death. Following his chairmanship of the second National Evangelical Anglican Congress in April 1977, the Nottingham statement was published, which claimed, "Seeing ourselves and Roman Catholics as fellow-Christians, we repent of attitudes that have seemed to deny it." 
He wrote over 50 books, some of which appear only in Chinese, Korean or Spanish, as well as many articles and papers. 
One of these is Basic Christianity, a book which seeks to explain the message of Christianity, and convince its readers of its truth and importance. 
He was also the author of The Cross of Christ, of which J. I. Packer stated, "No other treatment of this supreme subject says so much so truly and so well." 

Other books he wrote include Essentials, a dialogue with the liberal cleric and theologian David L. Edwards, over whether what Evangelicals hold as essential should be seen as such. In 2005, he produced Evangelical Truth, which summarizes what he perceives as being the central claims of Christianity, essential for evangelicalism. 
Upon his formal retirement from public engagements, he continued to engage in regular writing until his death. In 2008, he produced The Anglican Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism with J. Alec Motyer

An introduction to his thought can be found in his two final substantial publications, which act as a summation of his thinking. Both were published by the publishing house with which he had a lifelong association, IVP
  • In 2007, his reflections on the life of the church: The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor.
  • In January 2010, at the age of 88, he saw the launch of what would explicitly be his final book: The Radical Disciple. It concludes with a poignant farewell and appeal for his legacy to be continued through the work of the Langham Partnership International.
You can also hear the interview at SF here.

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