This year two men who have meant much to me have been translated – into the language of heaven.

John Stott of England died this summer at the age of 90.

His death was noted in tributes from all across the world, and obituaries in major newspapers.

I knew him as friend, as a colleague in the Lausanne movement, when I served as chair and he as chair of the Theology Working Group.

John Stott was known widely as preacher, scholar, pastor, leader in many movements, including a whole new evangelical renewal in the church of England, and of course as the principal author of the Lausanne Covenant.

To many, however, he was “Uncle John” because of his large heart and warm friendship.

What I like most was his response when asked his greatest future ambition:

“To be more like Christ.”

Arthur Holmes of Wheaton died this month at the age of 87

While not as well known as John Stott, Art (also an Englishman by birth) influenced generations of students at Wheaton College where he taught philosophy for forty-four years.

Philosophy was my major, and Art Holmes one of the two professors who influenced me most. He began to teach at Wheaton as a very young man, not yet with his doctorate, and I only had him for two years.

But in those years he gave me the desire to think clearly, to respond accurately, and to be a thoughtful evangelist. This helped me immensely across the years when I had to answer hard questions at university meetings, or on media interviews.

“All truth is God’s truth” was his key conviction, and the title of a book in which he said:

“The Christian, of all people, we have observed, has good reasons for believing in truth. He has good reasons for believing it to be universal and unchanging, and good reasons for being concerned about the unifying truth of a biblical worldview. He has good reasons also for emphasizing sound logic, for testing what he hears by rational means. And he has good reasons for doing this in whatever field he is engaged. For all truth is God’s truth, and the believer is called to attest to it by both his life and his thought.”

So, for John and Art, I say: thank you Lord!

And I hope some day in heaven to listen in on conversations between these two brilliant, gifted, and humble servants of the Lord.


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