On the death of Earnshaw-Smith the churchwardens made strong representations to the Crown, as patron, that their young curate should succeed him. For the next 25 years John Stott produced at All Souls a model of the life and witness of a local church which was copied eagerly across the world. He developed his own gifts as pastor and evangelist, preacher and expositor. It is hard now to realize how innovative was his approach, even while making every allowance for the privileged position held by such a church.
Soon he found himself responding to urgent invitations to employ these gifts on a wider canvas. His university missions, starting with Oxbridge but extending to many continents, showed how fruitful was his prayerful determination to reach the heart and will by first engaging the mind. It was while conducting a string of such missions in North America that he spent one Christmas with Billy Graham and his young family, cementing a relationship of mutual affection and respect that was to bear fruit in their partnership in Lausanne Movement, and prove lifelong.
Scripture was the basis of his teaching. To him preaching began with exposition and moved on to application in its God-given role of proclaiming Christ, calling to repentance and faith, and building up the church as a mature, worshipping, witnessing and serving fellowship. Half-reluctantly, faced with the pressures of the day, faithful exposition led on to a defence of the faith, and so also to proclaiming Biblical standards of morality and behaviour, courageous and indeed painful as such a role often proved to be. If forced to choose, he would style himself an evangelical who was also an Anglican; but he held steadily and with affection to the Biblical foundations of his Church, resisting calls (such as in the famous debate with his friend Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones) to leave. He resisted, too, with equal firmness what he saw as unbalanced emphases in the neo-Pentecostalism of the day.
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