Leading evangelist Stott dead at 90

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Anglican theologian John Stott, one of the world's most influential evangelists, has died, it was announced Thursday. He was 90.

Stott died Wednesday surrounded by friends at a clergy retirement home in Lingfield, south of London, according to a statement released by the London evangelical church All Souls Langham Place.

Stott was rated by Time Magazine in 2005 as one of the world's 100 most influential people. He spearheaded an evangelical revival in England following World War II.

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said Stott was good at expressing "the complexities of theology" in simple terms.

"Some regarded this key figure in a traditionalist branch of Protestantism, with its emphasis on winning souls for Christianity, as a kind of 'Protestant pope'," he said.

Stott was born in London in 1921 and was ordained by the Church of England in 1945.

He studied at the University of Cambridge's Trinity College and wrote more than 50 theological books. Stott travelled the globe preaching and teaching.

Among his most popular books was "Basic Christianity", which has been translated into more than 60 languages.

He was one of the principal authors of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant, a manifesto promoting global evangelism.

Stott served as a curate, rector and rector emeritus at All Souls for more than 50 years.

The church said Stott's friends were reading the scriptures and listening to George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" when he died.

"John Stott was a very remarkable Christian leader with an international reputation but his church home was here at All Souls for nearly all his life, so his death will be felt by us at a very personal level," said Hugh Palmer, the church's current rector.

"His leadership was valued and experienced not just in London but nationally and internationally. His preaching drew many to Christ and kept many on track in their Christian thinking and living.

"His books did the same for millions more and equipped pastors and lay people to become Bible teachers themselves on every continent."

© 2011 AFP

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