John Stott and the Lausanne Movement: A Formative Influence

This article appears as a chapter in Regnum Books volume ‘The Lausanne Movement: A Range of Perspectives (Oxford: Regnum Books, 2014)’, and is published here with permission. The author is writing in a personal capacity and the views do not necessarily represent those of The Lausanne Movement. Learn more about the book from Regnum.

John Stott died on the afternoon of 27th July 2011, in the College of St Barnabas, a home for retired clergy in Surrey, England. Obituaries appeared in all four leading UK newspapers on 29th July, where he was afforded more space than is given to most cabinet ministers.

Few clergy become the subject of doctoral theses. John Stott’s life and work had, in his lifetime, already attracted over a dozen such theses; there will be more, and doubtless a stream of further biographies. As decades pass, history will unfold the extent of his influence on theological thinking, on preaching, on the tensions between the Gospel and culture, on the development of a Christian mind, on evangelical commitment to social justice, and supremely on world evangelization.

The calling, gifting, métier, of this unusually able man was unique. He had no peer and, as Archbishop Peter Jensen said in the thanksgiving service in Sydney Cathedral, we should not look for a successor. In Vancouver, Prof Jim Packer paid tribute to ‘a fifteen talent man’, and so he was.[120]

If we were to abstract two major foci of John Stott’s ministry, consistently served through seven decades, they would be the student world[121] and the training of pastors;[122] but to this must be added his contributions to Scripture Union,[123] Tearfund, the World Evangelical Alliance; his founding of the National Evangelical Anglican Council (NEAC) and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity; his concern that Christians speak into contemporary issues, including ecological questions; his model of preaching; and his extensive writing which merited its own published bibliography.[124] Alongside these lay his expert knowledge of ornithology, having personally sighted 2,500 of the world’s 6,000 bird species.

John Stott’s relationship with Lausanne,[125] particularly in the period 1974‑96 could well be described as reciprocal, even symbiotic. His multi-faceted ministry fitted the multi-faceted Lausanne aspirations which he had played no small part in fashioning. Lausanne channels and networks would become a major means through which he brought influence to the church globally.

In 2006, Doug Birdsall, Lausanne Movement Executive Chair, invited John Stott to accept a lifetime title of Honorary Chairman, which he did, with a sense of pleasure. It had been a consistent pattern to accept honorary titles only if he could maintain a lively link with the endeavour,[126] and he followed news of planning for the third Lausanne Congress with eager interest. Lindsay Brown,[127] who was appointed as Lausanne Movement International Director in 2007, and Chris Wright,[128] who followed in John Stott’s own stead as chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group,[129] were both old friends.[130]

Friendship featured highly in all John Stott’s ministry and dealings; he worked and he networked through friendship. This gift of friendship, combined with his interdisciplinary and enquiring mind, equipped him ‘to bring traditional Christianity to bear on science, medicine, contemporary thinking about war and nuclear deterrence, and such large questions. He was perhaps uniquely able to convene that largely private discussion [among] the upper echelons of science and medicine and the armed forces … as he laboured mightily to bridge the Christian faith community and the hottest of emerging issues’.[131]

Billy Graham and John Stott served together on a CICCU[132] mission in 1955, John as Billy’s chief assistant missioner. Three years earlier, John Stott had himself been the missioner. The story is told of how they would go round and round in the revolving door of Cambridge’s University Arms Hotel, where they were both staying, each deferring to the other, neither wanting to get out first! This well-rooted friendship drew John Stott into the early stages of planning for the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization, held in Lausanne, and from which city the Movement would take its name. Lausanne was soon to have a lion’s share of his time.

Edinburgh 1910 – Learning from History

The major missions’ conference in Edinburgh, in June 1910, convened by John R. Mott, a visionary from the U.S. Mid-West with a deep passion for evangelism, was a remarkable gathering by any criteria. But from the outset it was flawed through a well-intentioned decision. In a move to gain the participation of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Thomas Davidson, and John Mott agreed that matters of doctrine would not be discussed. This was a costly error of judgement. Mott opened his final address: “The end of the congress is the beginning of the conquest”, and participants streamed out on this stirring note, resolved to give their best energy to the glory of Christ in world evangelization. The two world wars would have a huge bearing on mission strategy. But the decision to include the Archbishop on the terms required was regarded by Stott as of more profound and longer-lasting significance.[133]

Central questions on the content of the Gospel, the theology of evangelism, and the nature of the church, were conspicuous by their absence. As a result, Edinburgh 1910 proved a lost opportunity to engage with the critical theological challenges of the day. Theological liberalism was to dominate in university faculties and in seminaries for the next several decades. As a result, mission became sidelined in the church.[134]

The World Council of Churches, constituted in 1948, traces its roots back to Edinburgh 1910. But there is a sense in which the Lausanne Movement is the ‘spiritual legacy’ of that conference, taking forward John Mott’s true aspirations.

In 1974 clear action was taken in the formation of the programme to reclaim what had been intended. This can be seen in the strength of the speaker list, and also in John Stott’s first plenary address, on ‘The biblical basis of evangelism’.[135] Thirty five years later, in 2009, the matter was still clearly on his mind. Doug Birdsall and Lindsay Brown conferred with him on several occasions as the Congress was being planned. He said he felt ashamed that leaders in his own communion refused to discuss doctrinal issues for fear of division. It had rendered John Mott’s rallying cry as delegates left Edinburgh severely weakened. “You cannot speak of the gospel of Christ and the mission of the church without reflecting on biblical truth,” he said.

Lindsay Brown’s closing address in Cape Town would leave no doubt about the clarity of vision and hope for Lausanne.[136] The Congress was to sound ‘a ringing reaffirmation of the uniqueness of Christ and the truth of the biblical gospel and a crystal-clear statement on the mission of the church – all rooted in Scripture’. To launch a movement without biblical consensus was, he said, ‘folly’. The Cape Town Commitment drew evangelicals together around its biblical indicatives before moving on to its Gospel imperatives. John Stott was actively engaged with Chris Wright on the way those biblical indicatives were crafted.[137] But let us not rush ahead.

1974 – A Congress and a Covenant

From the 1974 Congress a winsome phrase – ‘the spirit of Lausanne’ – emerged. No one could be precise about its provenance, whether from Billy Graham (who himself was not sure), or simply as a phrase that was mused on by someone, repeated, liked and then adopted. The ‘spirit’ was exemplified by (i) prayer, (ii) study, (iii) partnership, (iv) hope and (v) humility. One could say that John Stott embodied it. He often referred to the phrase, and used it as a reference point for the Movement as it developed. Each of its components was, for him, of personal concern. To borrow Peter Kuzmic’s quip in 2007, John Stott ‘war ein Lausanner’.

John Stott’s reputation for clear theological thinking, his breadth of sympathy within the evangelical tradition,[138] and his gracious dealings with those of different persuasions, made him an obvious first choice to lead the process of crafting the Lausanne Covenant, which issued from the 1974 Congress.

The Lausanne Covenant was adopted as a basis for hundreds of collaborative ventures over the rest of the century, and came to be regarded as one of the most significant documents in modern church history.[139] Social justice, too long identified as a concern only for adherents to a ‘social gospel’ was now declared a biblical responsibility for evangelical Christians. This proved a watershed moment for the church. Realizing the seriousness of the Lausanne Covenant, John Stott worked on an exposition and commentary, published in 1975. It would, he sensed, be critical for the Covenant to be read and studied by individuals and groups.[140] His Preface is modestly written, and does not record the intense pressure of working through nights to ensure that all comments received from the participants were read and given proper consideration. It was a mammoth operation to translate them in a timely manner, but vital for the voices of the whole evangelical Church to be heard.

The name ‘Covenant’ was carefully chosen. This was a covenant with God himself, and a covenant between those who wanted to adopt it. The banner on the stage, in six languages, had proclaimed ‘Let the Earth hear His Voice’, and for that to happen, the whole evangelical church needed to work together.

The Covenant, in the words of Chris Wright, was ‘prophetic in the sense of speaking in a way which applied the Word of God to the realities of the hour. And it retains its relevance and challenge now and indeed for generations to come’.[141] He concluded: ‘May these creative combinations of confidence and humility, of human energy and trust in God, of vision and realism, of joy in the Lord’s doings and grief over our human failures, of strategic thinking and the Spirit’s leading, of global vision and local action, of words and works – always remain characteristic of the Lausanne Movement as they are of its Covenant.’

In July 1989 John Stott led the crafting team for the Manila Manifesto in the second Lausanne Congress (Lausanne II in Manila, as it became known). Its 31 clauses built on and elaborated the Lausanne Covenant. This second Congress took place a month after what the Chinese government termed the ‘Tiananmen Incident’, and just three months before the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. It drew 3,000 participants from 170 countries including Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but sadly none from China. This gathering was the catalyst for over 300 strategic partnerships and new initiatives, in the developing world and elsewhere.

In 1984, five years before Lausanne II, John Stott published a new and ground-breaking book, Issues Facing Christians Today. This covered nuclear issues, pluralism, human rights, industrialization, sexual issues … It became a handbook for pastors and thinking church members. It was, Stott said, his contribution to the ‘catching-up process’ since the Church was ‘recovering from its temporarily mislaid social conscience’. The Lausanne Covenant was continuing to create waves in the 1980s, reawakening a social conscience which had lain dormant in many quarters for perhaps two generations. The Lord Jesus had commissioned the apostles to teach new disciples ‘everything’ he had commanded them. This had plainly not been done. Indeed, the Great Commission seemed, in evangelical circles, to have eclipsed the Great Commandment. In God’s grace, John Stott and the Lausanne Movement would become a means of re-establishing this significant aspect of Christian duty.

Establishing a Movement from a Congress

After the 1974 Congress, 70% of participants urged that a Continuation Committee be established, to build on what had been achieved. In January 1975 this group, appointed by the Congress, met in Mexico City with Bishop Jack Dain in the chair. There was considerable support for Billy Graham to become President of the new Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE), as it was then named. John Stott urged that this not happen or that there be several Co-Presidents. Billy Graham had already articulated his preference that the Movement adopt a narrower brief of what we could call ‘proclamation evangelism’. If this were followed, the Movement would reflect neither the scriptural mandate of the church to be salt and light, nor its historical roots. On the strength of their twenty-year friendship, John Stott, hating discord, felt the need to speak. Jack Dain was in agreement with him, while others could not bring themselves to voice anything other than blind allegiance to Billy Graham, given his worldwide stature. Some saw the disagreement as a power struggle between these two global leaders. But when John Stott spoke with Billy Graham in his room before breakfast the following day, Billy Graham immediately acknowledged his mistake in yielding to pressure to accept the role.

John Stott was asked to be on the drafting committee to prepare a statement on the progress of the meetings, which was accepted with only minor amendments. He described this in his diary as ‘a helpful note of unanimity on which to conclude a rather traumatic conference’.[142]

When the Committee met the following year in Atlanta, four functions were identified to achieve the Movement’s aim: Intercession, Theology and Education, Strategy, and Communication. A working group for each was set up, and all four of these groups remain to this day. John Stott became Chairman of the Theology and Education Working Group (later called the Theology Working Group).

As a backdrop to his preparation of IssuesFacing Christians Today, Stott continued to make Lausanne consultations a priority. Not only was he present, but frequently in the chair. He edited the papers from all the consultations up to Lausanne II, published in 1996 under the title Making Christ Known: Historic Mission Documents from the Lausanne Movement 1974-1989. As is clear from the contributors, Lausanne had the standing (helped, no doubt, by Stott’s own presence) to draw the sharpest evangelical thinkers globally.

The book opened with the Lausanne Covenant (1974) and finished with the ManilaManifesto (1989). Some papers, such as the 1977 Pasadena Statement on the Homogeneous UnitPrinciple (i.e. of church growth and evangelization) and the 1980 Evangelical Commitment to Simple Lifestyle, gained considerable traction. Shortly before his 87th birthday, John Stott surveyed his years in Lausanne, and looked forward in anticipation to what Cape Town 2010 would bring. He said he felt the 1978 Willowbank Report on Gospel and Culture merited more attention than it had been afforded.[143] This perceptive, urbane and erudite pastor, living just a few minutes from Oxford Circus, strove, as had his mentor the apostle Paul, with all the energy God mightily inspired within him, to preach relevantly, to apply the eternal to the temporal with skill, and to grasp what lay behind people’s responses to the Gospel. He worked to be anchored in the eternal Gospel, and, for each decade and each context, to apply it with intellectual and theological rigour, with perceptiveness, with cultural sensitivity – and with an eye to the future.

For as long as the Lausanne Movement was characterized by ‘the spirit of Lausanne’, John Stott sensed it was critically placed. Humility would always be needful. It was often said of Lausanne that its fruit ‘grew on other peoples’ trees’ and that it acted most effectively as a catalyst. It drew, and draws, from across the divides of secondary issues, so gathers the whole evangelical church. Within that, Lausanne can host smaller meetings for specialized mission agencies with expert knowledge in their fields –  Christians in the public arenas of government, business, academia – to shake salt and shine light – believers North and South, rich and poor, in nominally Christian cultures and as minority groups under oppressive regimes … Through such consultations, as leaders met face-to-face and got to know one another as friends, Lausanne would offer a unique means to share freely in the gifts Christ gives to his church.

A Pastor-Theologian

John Stott was one of the few true pastor-theologians. People mattered to him. We cannot strategize with integrity about world evangelization if we do not care about the people in our own town. John Stott was an integrated man. While a schoolboy at Rugby, he had founded the ABC Club as a way to provide a bath for vagrants. As a curate, he had taken boys from the poorer families in the parish for their first experience of camping. As a rector, he sometimes gave up his bed to homeless men, and slept on a camp bed in his study.

The term ‘glocal’, not coined until the 1980s, describes the way John Stott had lived since the 1930s. It was a core value for him. As one of the world’s most effective global public evangelists, he cared for individuals locally, whatever their status. While Lausanne would always function at a strategic level, among theological thinkers, it would be of no more worth than a resounding gong or clanging cymbal if the benefit of its networking did not touch down in real-life situations. At John’s funeral at All Souls’ on 8th August 2011, Toby Howarth, a former study assistant, related how he never tired of people wanting to talk with him, even after full days of ministry. When Toby broached this with him, wanting, as it were, to protect him, the reply came, “Toby, I remember that God made them, Christ died for them and the Holy Spirit lives in them. How can I not give them my full attention?”

Four decades before ‘Fresh expressions of church’ appeared on the curricula of theological colleges,[144] John Stott was already practising it. In 1958 the All Souls’ Clubhouse in Cleveland Street was opened, to welcome poorer families from the parish who would not feel comfortable in a church building. It was an inner-city church without pews, and a kind of forerunner of Chicagoland’s wealthier Willow Creek as a ‘church’ for the unchurched.

A Leader of Seminal Influence

Forming the influencers of the next generation is a serious obligation for the church. Pulpits in reach of major universities will always be strategic places for the Gospel. In London in the 1970s hundreds of evangelical students poured into All Souls’, including growing numbers from overseas, especially the former British colonies. Here they imbibed Scripture – and a model for the way it should be handled.

John Stott’s gifting as an expositor and writer with wide intellectual reach fitted precisely with Billy Graham’s aspiration for the 1974 Congress.[145] Invitations to speak at this Congress included some of the most able evangelical thinkers: Francis Schaeffer, Jim Packer, Samuel Escobar, Henri Blocher, the young Os Guinness, and the recent convert Malcolm Muggeridge. John Stott’s name had already become a byword for the diligent handling of Scripture and for a doctrine of Scripture as a touchstone for all human experience and enterprise. His seminal address on the biblical basis for evangelism, opening with the dialogue on meaning between Alice in Wonderland and Humpty Dumpty, established itself as a classic treatment of core Christian thinking.

In Manila in 1989, John Stott gave the first three expositions, covering Romans 1-5, on ‘Eagerness to preach the gospel’, ‘The world’s guilt’, and ‘Amazing Grace’. (He loved the Pauline epistles, and friends joked that he understood Paul better than the apostle understood himself!) Like the apostle Paul, he was ‘obsessed by the Cross’.

A Humble Disciple

John was a humble disciple of Christ. Each morning he would greet the three Persons of the Trinity in turn, seeking genuinely to live as a son of his heavenly Father, as a sinner saved by grace, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, his advocate and counsellor. He always said The Cross of Christ (1986) was his most important book. As he prepared for his death, he asked that the words on his headstone, following his name and years of service at All Souls’ should read: ‘Who resolved, both as the ground of his salvation and as the subject of his ministry, to know nothing except JESUS CHRIST and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).’[146]

In 2007, in an interview to mark the 25th anniversary of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, he was asked by Brian Draper how he would most like to be remembered. He was by this stage starting to speak slowly, and occasionally faltering, but there was no hesitation in the content of his response. “As an ordinary Christian, who has struggled to understand, expound, relate and apply the Word of God,” he said.

For over fifty years he read the whole Bible through annually, using Robert Murray McCheyne’s reading plan. “Nothing has helped me more than this,” he said, “to grasp the grand themes of the Bible.” It became his pattern to rise early to read and pray, and to listen to the BBC World Service news. Listening to God through Scripture should not be removed from world events. We must practise ‘double-listening’, he would say, so we can apply the Word to the world.

Dialogue with Roman Catholic and Other Traditions

John Stott was probably the widest-connected evangelical statesman in the twentieth century. In a personal capacity he regularly participated in dialogues, brokered discussions and attended major gatherings such as those of the World Council of Churches (WCC), either as an invited observer or as a responder. He was always prepared to learn from others, and was keen that the evangelical faith be both clearly represented and clearly grasped.[147]

When the Lausanne Movement was founded, John Stott had already engaged with the WCC in Uppsala (1968) as an observer and adviser, and in the same personal capacity, he took part in the WCC gathering in Nairobi (1975) as a responder.

Again in a personal capacity, he initiated the idea of formulating the Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mission (ERCDOM), which he co-chaired with Monsignor Basil Meeking of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. This dialogue took place in three meetings (1977-84). The text of the papers was published in a booklet,[148] and a report from the meetings appeared in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (January 1986).

To act in a personal capacity gave John Stott freedom. His name and profile naturally drew wide public attention to dialogues, unless they were held privately, but the distinction was always noted. ERCDOM’s existence was not confidential. In part, it was this which, at the 1980 World Evangelical Fellowship General Assembly, led to the surfacing of potential divisions among WEF members over links with Roman Catholics. In response, as a parallel endeavour, a task force was convened, to make an in-depth assessment of the defacto state of the Roman Catholic Church, its tenets of faith and the beliefs of its members across the continents.

In the early 1980s, at the invitation of a senior Anglican, David L. Edwards, John Stott agreed to a published dialogue between the two of them to explore the essentials of the Christian faith from both their perspectives.[149] Each of Stott’s responses, chapter by chapter, begins ‘My Dear David’ and is written in a consistently gracious style. Graciousness and a willingness to listen always marked his engagement with leaders of other Christian traditions.

Cape Town 2010

John Stott and Billy Graham both sent greetings to the third Lausanne Congress. John would have loved to be there, and briefly considered the possibility, despite his advancing frailty. He wrote:

I shall be very sorry to miss being with you in Cape Town. But I will be with you all each day in prayer, expectation and confidence as you plan to make known the uniqueness of Jesus Christ all over the world.

He continued his greeting with a reflection on the Movement since 1974, the growth of the church, his particular delight that the Congress was hosted in Africa, and then concluded: “As you will be studying Ephesians together, my encouragement to you echoes the Apostle Paul. ‘I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’”[150]

The Congress Programme Committee commissioned a special video tribute, reflecting his lifelong focus on Christ, from his conversion aged 16 at Rugby School through the legendary public schools’ evangelist, E. J. H. Nash, better known as Bash, a story he never tired of telling.

In late March 2011, around a month before John Stott’s 90th birthday, Doug Birdsall called him. By this stage, his eyesight was failing badly, and he had not been able to read for several months, and was very frail. Doug was in Boston, and had just received his advance copy of the newly-printed Cape Town Commitment. Frances Whitehead had received John Stott’s copy two or three days earlier, and had begun to read it to him.[151] When Doug Birdsall called, a friend, Phillip Herbert, picked up the phone. At John’s request Phillip was at that moment reading it aloud, section by section, picking up from where Frances had left off.

In the historic line of the Lausanne Covenant, evangelical leaders in 198 nations were working to discern what the Holy Spirit was saying to the Church now on each continent, and the evangelical faith was being articulated for the current generation. It would be widely adopted, as the Covenant had been, and no one knew more clearly than John Stott the critical importance of getting it right. He had been praying for the planning, for the Congress itself, and for the writing of the Commitment. His words on that call with Doug Birdsall were halting, but his heart was full. The Commitment was in his view ‘profound and beautiful’. He went on, “And in it, you seem to have achieved an astonishing degree of unity.”

There was a sense of the baton being passed on. As he had struggled over writing Issues Facing Christians Today, he had felt ‘caught between two worlds’ with the text of Scripture on one hand, and ‘space probes and micro-processors’ on the other. “They are centuries apart,” he wrote in the Foreword. “Yet I have sought to resist the temptation to withdraw from either world by capitulation to the other.” The Commitment, he sensed, stood with him, urging the evangelical church to fill the breach.

Each of the ministries and endeavours with which John Stott had been closely associated was part of the Cape Town Congress. All his concerns, in which he had yearned for evangelicals to engage, were clearly laid out – not just in a document but in a ‘Commitment’, firmly rooted in God’s covenantal love. He had heard plans for global consultations on major areas in the Commitment to take matters forward. No doubt there was a sense of completion as he listened to it being read, while sensing he himself would soon be with Christ.


[120] Both thanksgiving addresses are available on[121] From his undergraduate days in CICCU (Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union), John Stott maintained a close friendship with Oliver Barclay. He regarded Douglas Johnson, founding General Secretary of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (now UCCF), as the greatest single influence on UK evangelicalism, and was deeply committed to the global ministry of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), developing strong links with its first General Secretary, Australian Stacey Woods. Starting and ending in his Alma Mater, the University of Cambridge (1952, 1977), John Stott led many university missions in the UK and around the world. The IFES goal to make Christ known in every university in the world was, he said, ‘the most strategic work imaginable’.

[122]The Langham Partnership, founded in 2001, drew together earlier initiatives of the Evangelical Literature Trust and a scholarship fund for the (largely post-doctoral) training of non-westerners who would return to teach in seminaries in their home countries. To this was added ‘Langham Preaching’ which now trains preachers globally.

[123]John Stott served as President of Scripture Union England and Wales 1965-73. While not listing offices for each ministry, special mention must be made of Scripture Union (SU). EJH Nash of SU staff (more commonly known as ‘Bash’) ran the Iwerne Minster camps for public schoolboys, and it was through Bash that John Stott was converted to Christ and nurtured as a young Christian. He always maintained that the greatest spiritual influences on his life had been ‘Iwerne and the CICCU’.

[124] Timothy Dudley-Smith (Nottingham, UK: IVP), 1995.

[125] Often used as shorthand in speech and writing for the Lausanne Movement, formerly known and still registered as the LCWE (LCWE). It took its name from the Swiss city which hosted the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization, out of which the Movement grew.

[126]John Stott was also lifetime Honorary President of Langham Partnership and of CICCU.

[127] Former General Secretary of IFES, of which UCCF is the British affiliate and a founding member.

[128] International Director of Langham Partnership.

[129] Chris Wright also chaired the statement working group which brought together theCape Town Commitment. He consulted with John Stott about the way it would be crafted.

[130] While senior staff and board members of Christian endeavours often move, or are seconded, from one ministry to another, this is no more clearly illustrated than by Langham Partnership International, IFES, and the Lausanne Movement. Each owes a significant debt of gratitude to ‘Uncle John’; and their common values, not least of building and strengthening indigenous Christian leadership, has forged strong synergy among them around the world. In Lausanne 1974, according to the church historian Ian Rennie, over fifty percent of platform speakers had a background in an IFES movement. In 2010 the proportion was equally high.

[131] Prof Nigel Cameron in The Times (8th Aug 2011). He added: “It struck me then [in the 1970s], and does more forcefully now, how his network of personal friendships, which snaked across the face of the planet, was both embedded in his character, and was more than anything else the key to his astonishing influence.”

[132] Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union.

[133] See Foreword to Making Christ Known: Historic mission documents from the Lausanne Movement, 1974-1989. John Stott (ed), Paternoster, 1996.

[134] In 1919 we See by contrast, the resolve of undergraduates in Cambridge to maintain the centrality of the Atonement in their definition of the Gospel. This led Norman Grubb and fellow CICCU leaders to sever the CICCU’s links with the nationally-respected Student Christian Movement. Their firmness led within ten years to the birth of the IVF [now UCCF] in 1928, and to the founding of the InterVarsity Press (IVP) in 1936. This publishing house has, through the endeavours of evangelical graduates, given rise to sister publishers in over thirty nations, covering much of the world. The founding of Tyndale House, Cambridge, in 1944 is another direct outcome of the 1919 resolve. Under God, we now see evangelicals teaching in university theology faculties and departments across the UK and around the world. A further part of the 1919 CICCU legacy was the forming in 1947 of IFES, with affiliated evangelical student ministries now in over 150 nations.

[135] Much material is available online at All papers and responses appear in the compendium Let the Earth HearHis Voice, J. D. Douglas (ed), World Wide Publications, 1975.

[136]See full text in final section of Christ our Reconciler, J. E. M. Cameron (ed).

[137] Part I of theCape Town Commitment(entitled The Cape Town Confession of Faith) is formed around an expression of God’s covenantal love.

[138]Evangelical ‘breadth within boundaries’ continues to be a value of Lausanne.

[139]You can listen to John Stott’s presentation of The Covenant on the last full day of the 1974 Congress at (archive recordings). He and his drafting team, of Samuel Escobar and Hudson Armerding, assisted by J. D. Douglas and Leighton Ford, invited comments at each stage of the process. They received hundreds, from individuals and from national or regional groups. These were translated and all carefully considered – some, as he explains, cancelling others out. It was a finely-tuned and meticulous process. The Covenant truly reflected the mood of the Lausanne Congress as well as any single document could.

[140] This exposition and commentary has been republished in the Didasko Files series, 2009(

[141] From the Foreword to the 2009 Didasko Files edition.

[142] See the full story in Timothy Dudley-Smith, John Stott: A Global Ministry, Chapter 7. John Stott always maintained that evangelism be primary, but that the need to make a choice was very rare. Blair Carlson has now been appointed in the newly-created Lausanne role of Ambassador for Proclamation Evangelism.

[143]Personal conversation with the present writer Feb 2008. These papers are all available on

[144]This term was coined by the Archbishops’ Council. See Mission-ShapedChurch (Chair of the working group: Graham Cray. London: Church House Publishing, 2004). In recognition of massive changes in British culture, new-look ‘churches’ were beginning to spring up for sub-cultures with no means of engaging with mainstream churches or expressions of faith.

[145] At John Stott’s funeral, His Honour, Judge David Turner, a long-time friend and advisor, spoke of John Stott kneeling to pray before he preached ‘in the scarlet cassock of a Queen’s Chaplain under a gleaming white surplice’. He continued, “This was expository preaching of exceptional clarity and authority such as I had never heard. John treated us as intelligent people. He trained us in ‘thoughtful allegiance’ to scripture. He moved us by his passion. He taught us ‘double listening’ – the need to ‘hear’ the Word and the world, and to find the connections. He abhorred in equal measure ‘undevotional theology’ [mind without heart] and ‘untheological devotion’ [heart without mind]. He was, as he liked to say, ‘An impenitent believer in the importance of biblical preaching.’ We loved it!” See John Stott: Pastor, leader and friend. A man who embodied ‘the spirit of Lausanne’, 25 (Chris Wright et al. Didasko Files series 2012).

[146]In the churchyard in Dale, Pembrokeshire, close to his writing retreat, The Hookses. The quotation echoed the inscription on the memorial plaque in Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, for his mentor, Charles Simeon (1759-1836). See Silhouettes and Skeletons (J. E. M. Cameron (ed), Didasko Publishing, 2013) for the 150-year trajectory of Simeon’s influence on John Stott and into the Lausanne Movement.

[147]The Lausanne Movement from its early days made a careful distinction between public and personal participation in dialogues with bodies which are not evangelical. John Stott was one of the voices to advocate this distinction. Where Lausanne itself hosts dialogues with those from other Christian traditions or from other faiths, these are still largely held privately – at least, in their initial stages.

[148] Basil Meeking and John Stott (eds), The Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mission (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986).

[149] David L. Edwards and John Stott, Essentials (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986).

[150]For the full text of the greetings from both John Stott and Billy Graham, see the opening section of Christ our Reconciler, J. E. M. Cameron (ed).

[151]Frances Whitehead served as John Stott’s Secretary for 55 years, from 1956 until his death. She was honoured by the Archbishop of Canterbury with a Lambeth MA in 2001, in recognition of her ‘energetic and enthusiastic ministry to God’s Church through her dedicated support of Dr John Stott’. She combined personal warmth and humour with being fast, focused and exacting, and is widely regarded as having known Stott’s mind better than anyone else. The present writer is her authorized biographer.

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Date: 25 Jul 2014

Grouping: Lausanne 40th Anniversary