“Preaching is indispensable to Christianity.” ~ Stott
John Stott passed earlier today. He will be remembered as a towering figure, not only in Anglicanism but in the broader evangelical movement. Some will fondly remember his astute clarity that he brought to the subject of the cross and the atonement. Others will surely lament (celebrate?) his agnosticism toward eternal punishment. Of interest to readers of this blog is his clear stance on the need for biblical expository preaching.
When Stott wrote Between Two Worlds in 1982, very few could be held up as champions of biblical preaching. To be sure, almost no one was writing about it. But 1982 was not an awakening for Stott, he had always believed this about preaching. In 1961 he penned The Preacher’s Portrait which would set the discussion of preaching today in its NT context. He said, “We need, I believe, to gain in the Church today a clearer view of God’s revealed ideal for the preacher, what he is and how he is to do his work.” To that, we can only say that the need is still great. The abiding legacy of Stott to we preachers, I believe, is the need for clarity in preaching.
“It requires much study, as we shall see later, not only of God’s Word but of man’s nature and of the world in which he lives. The expository preacher is a bridge builder, seeking to span the gulf between the Word of God and the mind of man. He must do his utmost to interpret the Scripture so accurately and plainly, and to apply it so forcefully, that the truth crosses the bridge” (The Preacher’s Portrait, 28).