the stott legacy: sexuality

The hijack of the word ‘evangelical’ by a bunch of right-wing political fundamentalists, largely in the USA, is one of the sadnesses of our times.

That evangelicals, authentic evangelicals, could be identified with a person with a character and legacy like Donald Trump is scarcely imaginable. And yes, I hear them say, all with one accord, is being identified with Joe Biden any better?
Maybe. Marginally.
But the point is that it is not a political word — it is a gospel word, a theological idea. It doesn’t mark out a ‘right’ way, or a ‘left’ way — but another way altogether. 
And the person with whom ‘evangelical’ is identified most readily is John Stott, the architect of The Lausanne Covenant (link), together with its offspring, The Manila Manifesto (link) and The Cape Town Commitment (link) each of them such helpful evangelical affirmations of faith and life [click on Lausanne, Manila and Cape Town to be taken to them].

In this year, the centenary of his birth, and with next week being the ten year anniversary of his death, I’ve been appreciating The Stott Legacy podcasts, being recorded by Mark Meynell throughout 2021. 
None of the conversations has been more rivetting than the one earlier this month with Greg Johnson, a same sex attracted (he himself would identify with the word ‘gay’), ordained evangelical minister based in St Louis. It is illuminating and convicting at so many levels, but one of the most refreshing things was to be reminded again of how authentic evangelicals respond to matters of sexuality — starting with Francis Schaeffer, Billy Graham, CS Lewis and John Stott more than forty years ago. Some beautiful stories… Their responses are so different from so many people who claim to be evangelical today, people who often seem to be at war with the gay community.

Here is the link:

I urge you to take the time to listen to this podcast.

It is sparked by Greg Johnson’s new book Still Time to Care (link), in which the author looks at the failed attempts by the church to cure people of homosexuality, through various means of conversion. He argues that the Exodus International ministry (which closed in 2013) was unsuccessful in more than 99% cases — in fact, Johnson argues that they were unsuccessful in all cases.

The book is not due out until September, but my copy is already on order.

nice chatting



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About Me


the art of unpacking

After a childhood in India, a theological training in the USA and a pastoral ministry in Southland (New Zealand), I spent twenty years in theological education in New Zealand — first at Laidlaw College and then at Carey Baptist College, where I served as principal. In 2009 I began working with Langham Partnership and since 2013 I have been the Programme Director (Langham Preaching). Through it all I've cherished the experience of the 'gracious hand of God upon me' and I've relished the opportunity to 'unpack', or exegete, all that I encounter in my walk through life with Jesus.

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