Gordon in the News: last updated 08/02/2011

Remembering Dr. John Stott, Theologian and Christian Visionary of the 20th Century

July 28, 2011

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—The first time he spoke at Gordon College on April 30, 1976, the Reverend John Stott, British theologian and evangelical writer, discussed the importance of Christian leadership in a culture “heading for disaster but where few people offer any advice.”

“Wisdom is in short supply these days, but leadership applies to everyone here,” he told students during that convocation service as he outlined three marks of Christian leadership: vision, industry and perseverance.

Stott spoke only one other time on campus, March 3, 1994, but his influence through his scholarship, books, commentaries, audio lectures and international training can be felt in every part of Gordon College. From Gordon’s Office for Community Engagement and the Global Education Office (both of which draw from his work to shape their ministries) to countless classes and student groups that use his books and Bible studies, Stott’s nearly 70-year ministry helped shape the mission of Gordon.

He died Wednesday, July 27, at the age of 90 in his home in England.

“His work as a Christian minister who was both thoughtful in his theology and faithful in his calling has affected almost every Christian I know,” said Dr. Dan Russ, academic dean and director of the Center for Christian Studies. “Dr. Stott modeled for us at Gordon the value of rigorous study in the context of a vibrant Christian faith, and always with one purpose in mind: that others may know Christ.”

Stott was the author of over 50 books published in 65 languages, including Basic Christianity (1958), Christ the Controversialist (1970) and The Cross of Christ (1986). Roger Green, professor of biblical studies, assigns Stott’s The Cross of Christ each semester for over 100 students in his New Testament class. And Sharon Ketcham, associate professor of biblical studies and Christian ministries, uses Stott’s Between Two Worlds for her expository communication class.

His best-selling book in Gordon’s Bookstore is the 50th anniversary edition of Basic Christianity, with a forward by Rev. Rick Warren; and Rev. Stott remains a highly requested author in Gordon’s Bookstore by students and visitors alike.

These words of his—“In the end there are only two possible attitudes which Christians can adopt toward the world. One is escape and the other engagement”—guide the Office of Community Engagement. And many approaches to ministry on campus are based on Stott’s belief that “the world can be won for Christ by evangelism and made more pleasing to Christ by social action. People of vision need to become people of action.”

“Vision,” he told students and faculty at Gordon at that first convocation, “is deep dissatisfaction with what is, and a clear grasp of what could be. But without hard work and passion, the vision vanishes. If you persevere in these two areas you will succeed [as a leader].”

Listen to John Stott's chapel address at Gordon in 1976 >>


Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 38 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu


John Stott