Dr John Stott’s funeral, and feral rats.

Ray Skinner’s letter to Chris Sugden on his overview of John Stott’s funeral:  http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2011/08/08/%e2%80%9cuncle-johnnie%e2%80%a6-a-ten-talent-man-%e2%80%a6-stories-of-whom-will-delight-us-through-eternity%e2%80%9d-notes-from-a-sunshine-funeral/#more-49497

Dear Chris, In his sermon at John Stott’s funeral, Chris Wright made an important application of John 14.21 – Jesus commands us to love one another.  John Stott evidently admitted to sing “Jesus, I love you” songs, but pointed out their inadequacy in not emphasising obedience. Yes, we glory in the Father’s presence, but we must also take up the cross. Our prayer must be: Holy Spirit, cause your fruit to ripen in me. Chris Wright emphasised how evangelical Christians must love one another. (Earlier in the service, we already had had ‘evangelical Christian’ defined as ‘a plain, ordinary Christian.’) John Stott said in 1995 ‘I have given much of my life to hold the unity of evangelicals.

As a Southwark clergyman, I heard a clarion call not to give up yet on my new Bishop Christopher; three weeks ago at a meeting of my Diocesan Evangelical Union, I heard him affirm the uniqueness of Christ in the face of other faiths. He cannot be expected overnight to ‘close down’ on being bishop to the many liberal clergy in our Diocese who condone sexual licence let alone live it, but he needs the support of his orthodox clergy as – pray God – there is yet time for the Church of England to follow the lead of the large majority of the Anglican Communion in teaching God-given laws.

Two days before Dr Stott’s funeral, I presided at a marriage service and followed the lead of the Dean of Westminster in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, when he introduced the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton: “Marriage was ordained first for the increase of mankind according to the will of God and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.” For too long, Church of England liturgy has ignored this essential truth for any stable society to survive. As long as the State, with the encouragement of liberal clergy, undermines the nurture of children by the parents that conceived them, our children will increasingly turn into feral rats (as one lady described the youngsters who had destroyed her livelihood in the city riots of this week).

As a first step, please may our Archbishops direct all Anglican clergy to read the 10 commandments in their principal service each week (for convenience the longer two may be abbreviated). Embodied there, are no less than three directives for stable families – including of course covetousness, whether of one’s neighbours’ wife or his goods.  (Photo:  the 10 Commandments East Window of St Lawrence, Morden, at sunrise).  In Morden parish, a next step is to begin the 14-week study course, published with John Stott’s “The Cross of Christ” book.

Dr John Stott

Last Wednesday (July 27th ) I took the train to Dormans, one station short of East Grinstead, to visit +Kenneth Cragg, now 98 and living at St Barnabas’ College, a retirement home for Anglican clergy. I hadn’t been there before, although I had visited him at his flat in Oxford most years in the last 20, regarding him as mentor.  On first view I was impressed, +Kenneth seems well looked after – while I was with him he rested his eyes quite often but not his mind. He is looking forward to a new book launch next Thursday (11th) which I hope to attend. Signing in, I saw that John Stott had several visitors, and on signing out saw that Rico Tice had joined them; the thought of going along to John’s room was quickly dismissed, he would not know me.  I had been inspired as a student attendee at the 1967 National Evangelical Anglican Congress at Keele, and as a new parish vicar at the 1977 NEAC – John Stott I think was Chairman at both.  Early the next morning after my St Barnabas’ College visit, the BBC World News reported Dr. Stott’s death.

Comment since then from around the world has been fulsome.  I like particularly John Richardson, the Ugley Vicar’s comment, it is I think particularly thought-provoking, his blog:

Dr Stott’s funeral is on Monday 8th – details on the All Souls website: http://www.allsouls.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=273577

Laudate Deo.