John Stott was a firm believer in mutuality and reciprocity within the global church. Although a son of the Western church, Stott, like the Apostle Paul, was passionately committed to the worldwide body of Christ. Not only did he know and love so many church leaders in many denominations outside of the West, but he also wanted to allow their voices to be heard, to affirm their leadership and facilitate the development of their gifts, academically and spiritually. “We must be world Christians,” he said, “with a worldview, for our God is a God of the world.”
I have sometimes said that John Stott was both apostolic and Abrahamic. There was something apostolic about his evangelistic commitment to the gospel and to the faithful teaching of Bible truth. And there was something Abrahamic about his “all nations” perspective. Not only was he himself a blessing to many nations; he also modeled and taught “the obedience of faith” (to quote Paul) that characterized Abraham’s combination of faith demonstrated in works (Rom. 1:5, ESV; James 2:20-26).
Thus, for John Stott, strengthening the leadership of the church outside the West would amount to strengthening the leadership of the world church, including the West. He prayed and longed for greater health and maturity in the global church, including the West. So whatever he could do to strengthen the majority world church, the whole body of Christ would benefit.
Stott recognized an additional benefit that would adorn the truth of the gospel. As world church leadership outside the West was strengthened, resourced, and recognized, the truly international and multicultural nature of the church itself would be much more visible…
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