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Collection 590 Papers of John R. W. Stott

Identifier: CN 590

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memos, reports, notes, magazine and newspaper clippings, brochures and other materials relating to John R. W. Stott’s involvement in the 1974 Lausanne Congress and the Lausanne movement that developed out of it. The collection is particularly strong in material relating to the membership of Stott on the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and its executive committee; his contribution to drafting several of the major statements of the movement; his chairmanship of the Lausanne Theology and Education Group and the consultations it sponsored; and his participation in the preparation of Lausanne books and other publications.


  • Created: 1974-2000

Conditions Governing Access

The original documents described in this guide were donated by John Stott to Lambeth Palace Library in London, England, United Kingdom. The BGC Archives possesses digital and microfilm copies of these materials. Copyright and intellectual property rights to the materials are controlled by the Literary Executors of John Stott. Any necessary permission to publish these documents in any form (including via the Internet) or to quote from them must be secured from the Literary Executors of John Stott.

Biographical or Historical Information

Full Name: John Robert Walmsley Stott

Birth: April 27, 1921, in London, England

Death: July 27, 2011 in Lingfield, Surrey, England


Parents: Sir Arnold W. and Emily Caroline (Holland) Stott

Siblings: Joan, Rosemary, Joy

Marital Status: Single

Conversion: February 13, 1938, after hearing a message by E. J. H. Nash at Rugby School

Ordination: Church of England; December 21,1945 by the Bishop of London in St. Paul's Cathedral


1929-1934 - Oakley Hall, England

1935-1940 - Rugby School, England

1940-1943 -  B.A., Trinity College, Cambridge University, England

1944-1945 -  Attended Ridley Hall, Cambridge University, England

1947 -  M.A., Trinity College, Cambridge, England


1941-1945 -  During the summers served as chief assistant to E. J. Nash in the Children's Special Service Mission, Christian camps for boys and girls organized at around Great Britain.

1945-1950 - Assistant curate, All Souls Church, Langham Palace, London, England

1950-1975 - Rector, All Souls Church, Langham Palace, London, England

1954 - Stott was deeply involved in the Billy Graham Great London Crusade, which lasted from March 1 to May 22. Most of the meetings were held in Harringay Arena. Stott was active in the preparations and became personal friends with Graham and members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a relationship that would continue through the rest of Stott's ministry. He was associated with Graham and the BGEA in many projects, particularly evangelistic meetings in the United Kingdom and the international evangelism congresses.

1959-1991 - A chaplain to Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom; extra chaplain since 1991

1960-1981 - Honorary General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship in Anglican Communion

1960-1961 - President, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship

1961 - Was probably the most active participant in the creation of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC)

1967-1984 - Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council

1967 - Probably the most prominent person in organizing and leading the National Evangelical Anglican Congress (NEAC) in Keele, England

1968 - Founder and general editor of The Bible Speaks Today series, volumes of exegesis and contemporary applications for laypeople on the books of the Bible. Stott himself wrote several of the volumes.

1970 - Creation of The Langham Trust (United Kingdom), which was the major source for receiving gifts and distributing funding for Rev. Stott's ministry and travels, special projects and scholarships for Christian workers, from then on. The name was later changed to The Langham Partnership. Later in the 1970s, a similar foundation was established in the United States. In 1996 the name of the United States foundation was changed to John Stott Ministries (JSM)

1971-1972 - President, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship

1971 - Evangelical Literature Trust established, which used royalties from Stott's books and other gifts to fund the distribution of Christian literature and reference works to Christian workers, pastors, and colleges and seminaries around the world

1973-1974 - President, British Evangelical Alliance

1974 - President, British Scripture Union

1974 - Was involved in the planning and program of the International Congress on World Evangelization, held at Lausanne July 16-25. Served as chairman of the Drafting Committee that prepared the Lausanne Covenant.

1974-1981 - Member, Lausanne Continuation Committee, later the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and member of the LCWE Executive Committee. Served as Chairman of the Lausanne Theology and Education Group 1976-1981.

1975 - Rector emeritus, All Souls Church

1977 - Prominent leader in the second National Evangelical Anglican Conference (NEAC), Nottingham, England

1977-1984 - Played a leading role in the organizing the periodic meetings for dialogue of Evangelical and Roman Catholic churchman and scholars known as the Evangelical- Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mission (ERCDOM)

1977-1978 - President, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship

1978 - Served as chairman of the planning committee and participant in the LCWE's Willowbank Consultation on Gospel and Culture, held at Willowbank, Somerset Bridge, Jamaica

1978 - A Langham Trust established in Canada

1979 - A Langham Trust established in Australia

1981-1982 - President, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship

1982-1986 - Founding Director, London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

1982-1985 - Vice president for Europe, United Bible Societies

1983-1987 - President, TEAR Fund (The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund)

1986 - President, London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

1988 - Elected honorary lifetime member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

1989 - Participant in the Second International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne II) held in Manila, Philippines July 11-20. Stott served as chairman of the drafting committee which prepared the Manila Manifesto.

2007 - Retired from active ministry

Other significant information:

Stott has been a prominent and effective preacher, evangelist and speaker. In the 1950s and 60s especially, he led university and college evangelistic missions on campuses in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and South Africa. In addition, among his speaking engagements and missions outside the United Kingdom have been Africa (1962), South and Southeast Asia (1963), Australia (1965), Australia, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia (1971), United States and Canada (1972), Canada (1973) Mexico and South America (1974), Kenya and Mexico (1975 and 1975), Mexico, Central and South America (1977), Europe, the Middle East (1978), Australia (1979), (South America, Africa, Europe (1980), Australia (1981), Africa (1984), South America (1985), Australia (1986), Eastern Europe (1987), Southern Africa (1988), South America (1989), China (1996), the Baltic states, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Russia (1997), China, Southeast Asia, Korea (1999). He was a frequent featured speaker at the triennial Student Missions Convention held by the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship of the United States, speaking at the 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1976, 1979, 2003 meetings.

Author of numerous articles and books which were influential on Evangelical Christians worldwide. Among his titles: Men with a Message (1954, revised with Stephen Moyer, 1994), Basic Christianity (1958, revised 1971), What Christ Thinks of the Church (1958, revised and published as Word 1990), Confess Your Sins (1964), One People (1969, revised 1972), The Lausanne Covenant - An Exposition and Commentary (Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 3, 1975), Christian Counter-Culture (1978), The Bible for Today (1982), I Believe in Preaching (1982), Issues Facing Christians Today (1984), The Contemporary Christian (1992), The Birds Our Teachers: Biblical lessons from a life-long birdwatcher (1999), Evangelical Truth (1999). He also edited Making Christ Known: Historic Mission Documents from the Lausanne Movement, 1974-1989 (1997)

Rev. Stott was also either a convener and/or an active participant and/or a leading speaker at many of the conferences and congresses that shaped Evangelical Christian theology and practice since the 1950s. Often he was the drafter/editor of the meetings final statement, most notably the 1974 Lausanne Covenant. Among the meetings he was involved in are the 1960 Montreux Consultation in Montreux, Switzerland; the 1966 Second National Assembly of Evangelicals in Westminster, England; the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism held in Berlin, Germany; the 1967 National Evangelical Anglican Congress held in Keele, England; the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland; the 1975 Pan African Christian leadership Assembly, held in Nairobi, Kenya; the 1977 National Evangelical Anglican Congress held in Nottingham, England; the 1978 Willowbank Consultation on Gospel and Culture, held in Willowbank, Jamaica; the 1980 International Consultation on Simple Lifestyle, held at High Leigh, England; the 1980 Consultation on World Evangelization, held in Pattaya, Thailand; the 1988 National Evangelical Anglican Congress held in Caister-on-the-Sea, England; and the 1989 Second International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne II), held in Manila, Philippines.

1971 - Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, USA

1983 - A Lambeth Doctor of Divinity conferred by Archbishop Robert Runcie

1993 - Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada

1997 - Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Brunel University, London, England

2006 - The Queen named him a Commander of the British Empire (CBE)


4 Boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[Note: In the Arrangement section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]

In 2003, Rev. John Stott lent to the Billy Graham Center Archives several files of documents, in order that the documents could be copied for future researchers. After copying, the materials were to be returned to him. Eventually Rev. Stott donated his papers, including the portion that had been loaned to the BGC Archives, to the Church of England’s Lambeth Palace Library in London, United Kingdom.

The Archives holds the same materials in digital, microfilm, and paper formates. All these copies can be viewed in the Archives Reading Room and the microfilm is available for interlibrary loan.

Since these materials were received by the BGC Archives on loan, they were maintained in their original arrangement. Usually this meant maintaining materials in reverse chronological order, although some folders were arranged from earliest to latest. Because these materials are part of a much larger body intended for donation to the Lambeth Palace Library, the numbering of the boxes and folders have been maintained as received. This is to insure that the numbering in this microfilm/digital/paper edition will exactly reflect that of the John R. W. Stott collection that will be created at Lambeth. So, although there are only four boxes in this collection, they are numbered 4, 5, 11, 12, reflecting the numbering system of Rev. Stott’s office. The title of each of the folders was also maintained as received. The title on the actual folder was usually an abbreviated form of the title of the same folder in the printed inventory received from Rev Stott. The longer folder titles were used in this guide.

Each of the folders was further divided up into smaller groups of documents which the archivist has named “packets”. The contents of most of these packets were described by Mr. Corey Widmer, one of Rev. Stott’s former study assistants. These descriptions were reviewed by Rev. Stott and another study assistant, Matthew Smith. Except for minor revisions by the BGC archivist, these descriptions have been retained and are clipped to the front of each packet. There were no descriptions for the packets in folders 11-1, 11-5, 12-1, and 12-2, so the archivist divided these into packets and provided descriptions.

The microfilm copy is divided this way:

Reel 1 - Folder 4:1, Packet 1 through Folder 4:4, Packet 18

Reel 2 - Folder 4:4, Packet 19 through Folder5:2, Packet 8

Reel 3 - Folder 5:2, Packet 9 through Folder 11:5, Packet 3

Reel 4 - Folder 11:5, Packet 4 through Folder 12:2, Packet 15

The paper facsimile copies are divided this way:

Box 1 - Folder 4:1 through Folder 4:4

Box 2 - Folder 5:1 through Folder 5:3

Box 3 - Folder 11:1 through Folder 11:5

Box 4 - Folder 12:1 through Folder 12:2

The personal folders lent by Rev. Stott to the BGC Archives concern his involvement with the Lausanne movement, an international voluntary association of Evangelical Christians committed to evangelism. The movement is headed by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE). The movement attempts to encourage churches in evangelism and to provide forums for the definition of Christian viewpoints on issues related to a broad concept of evangelism, such as unity, cooperation, and diversity among Christians; the uniqueness of Christ; the work of the Holy Spirit in evangelism; the responsibility of the Christian for justice and mercy in society; religious liberty and human rights; and the relationship of the Christian gospel to human culture.

The movement grew out of a series of world and regional congresses sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the 1960s and 70s, particularly the World Congress on Evangelism, held in Berlin from October 26 to November 4, 1966 and the International Congress on World Evangelization, held in Lausanne, Switzerland from July 16-25, 1974. The Congress was attended by 2,430 participants and 540 observers (from 150 countries) from Christian traditions around the world. There they debated discussed about how to proclaim the gospel to the world in actions and words. The major document of the Congress was the Lausanne Covenant, which has continued to be the defining statement of the movement.

Following the Congress, a Lausanne Continuation Committee of 25 people investigated ways to continue the work and fellowship of the Congress. In 1976, the Continuation Committee became the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. A structure evolved of, among other elements, individual country committee’s affiliated with LCWE, as well as working groups on such topics as theology and strategy, intercession. Publications and meetings were especially important in the movement as means of providing useful statements on issues and for stimulating fellowship between Evangelical Christians from diverse backgrounds.

John Stott had been one of the most significant leaders in the Lausanne movement from the beginning. He delivered three very influential Bible studies on the Great Commission at the 1966 Berlin Congress. He gave one of the main addresses at the 1974 Lausanne Congress, on “The Biblical Basis of Evangelism.” Even more importantly, he was the principle draftsman of the preliminary version of “The Lausanne Covenant” which circulated to participants during the Congress and led the group that reviewed the suggested changes sent in by participants to produce the final version. Afterwards he wrote the exposition and commentary (published as Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 3) that remains the basic text for interpreting the Covenant.

Following the Congress he was a member of the Lausanne Continuation Committee. He played perhaps the most significant part in the 1975 meeting of the committee in Mexico City, Mexico. At this meeting, there was strenuous debate over whether the Lausanne movement should follow a narrow concept of evangelism (limited more or less strictly to the proclamation of the gospel) or a broader one (the taking of Christian faith into all aspects of secular society, with evangelism holding the central role in that effort). North Americans, led by Billy Graham tended to champion the narrower concept, which the rest of the committee was more drawn to Stott’s defense of a broader concept. It was the broader concept that would shape the Lausanne movement in the future.

The working groups of the LCWE provided most of the impetus for the Lausanne movement between major congresses. Stott served as the chair of the Lausanne Theology and Education Group (LTEG) until 1981. (The others were the Intercession Working Group headed by Harmin Hoppler, the Strategy Working Group headed by C. Peter Wagner, and the Communications Working Group headed by Thomas Zimmerman.) As chairman of the LTEG, Stott played an important part in helping to organize major consultations of theologians and Christian workers to develop statements that discovered and reflected Evangelical Christian belief on issues central to proclaiming Jesus Christ in the modern world. The Lausanne Covenant was the starting point for these consultations. Usually people other than Stott had the actual responsibility for developing the individual consultations, but he was always a major participant in the planning (often along with LCWE chairperson Leighton Ford). The first consultation was on the viability of homogeneous unit principle, a key doctrine of church growth theory that held human society is divided into overlapping cultural/ethnic HUs and evangelism is best done by people within a unit, with a gospel contextualized for that group. Other major consultations were on the topics of Muslim evangelism, the relationship between gospel & culture, and the relationship between evangelism and social reform, and the type of simple lifestyle that a Christian should live. The consultation on evangelism and social responsibility were sponsored by the LTEG in cooperation with the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF).

Stott, besides his writings and his membership on the LCWE and its executive committee and his chairing of the LTEG, also played the leading part in drafting the statements of the two major meetings of the Lausanne movement. In 1980 he headed the drafting committee of the Consultation on World Evangelization (COWE) held in Pattaya, Thailand. He held the same office for the 1989 Second International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne II) held in Manila, Philippines. In each case he and his committee had to produce an expression of the sense of the meeting that was meaningful and acceptable to the participants and to the larger, global Evangelical community. As at Lausanne, in each case there was a draft that was circulated to the Congress, which was then encouraged to send written responses to Stott and his committee, which used them to produce the final version. Each statement was intended to be a further interpretations of the original Lausanne Covenant.

It was appropriate that Stott, as one so central to the Lausanne movement from 1974 through 1982, should be chosen to be the editor of a volume of documents of Lausanne history that was published in 1997 as Making Christ Known. Historic Mission Documents from the Lausanne Movement, 1974-1989.

The materials in this collection, as noted above, are Rev. Stott’s personal files on the Lausanne movement. They reflect many, but not all aspects of his involvement. There is nothing, for example, from his attendance at the 1966 Berlin Congress and relatively little that relates to the planning of the 1974 Lausanne Congress. There is no draft of his presentations at 1966 Berlin, 1974 Lausanne, 1980 Pattaya, or 1989 Manila. Some Lausanne meetings he participated in, such as the 1975 Pan African Leadership Assembly, have very few mentions in the collection. here is little on the actual drafting of the Lausanne Covenant and the Thailand Statement. On the other hand, there is a good deal of documentation on his membership on the LCWE and its executive committee, his chairmanship of LTEG, his active involvement in the consultations held between 1978 and 1982, the drafting of the Manila Manifesto, and his participation in the planning and production of major Lausanne publications.

Except for materials relating to the 1989 Lausanne II conference and the publication of a book of Lausanne documents in 1997, most of the materials in this collection relate to the period 1974-1982. Because the of the thoroughness of the packet descriptions, only a little more needs to be said about the contents of the collection.

Folder 4-1 contains most of what the collection has about the 1974 congress. Most of these are concerned with the Lausanne Covenant, although there is some information about the planning of the congress. Throughout the other folders are materials on various and changing interpretations of the congress and the Covenant, particularly folders 5-1, 5-3, 11-1, 12-1 and 12-2 Stott’s leadership role on the Lausanne Committee and its executive committee are mainly documented by folder 11-1.

However, a very interesting set of notes from the 1975 Mexico City meeting of the Lausanne Continuation Committee can be found in folder 12-1 and the correspondence with Leighton Ford in folder 11-2.. His importance and influence as a leader for the whole movement is also illustrated by materials in folders 5-1, 5-3, 11-2, 11-5 and 12-1. Most of the documents in this collection are related in one way or another to Stott’s chairmanship of the LTEG. Folder 4-3 contains memos and correspondence which give a good idea of the committee’s concerns, membership and procedures.

One major task of the group was to bring together theologians and other Christian leaders to talk through some of the relevant issues relating to evangelism. Another was to make the results of these meetings widely available. The consultations Stott helped to brig together each have their own folder: Homogenous Unit Principle (folder 4-2), Gospel & Culture (folder 4-4), Evangelism and Social Responsibility (folder 5-2), and Simple Life Style (11-4).

One conference that did not come to be, at least during Stott’s chairmanship, was that on Teaching Evangelism and Missions (folder 11-3). Each of these folders contain early planning materials, discussions of what topics should be covered and who should be invited, some have papers from the actual meetings, and all but folder 11-3 contain correspondence and other records about the publication of the consultation’s report.

Folder 4-4 contains some interesting research materials Stott gathered on the meaning of “culture.” Stott’s skills as a synthesizer, and a draftsman capable of expressing the sense of a meeting, even a meeting of thousands, was often of importance in the Lausanne movement.

Folder 5-1 contains some correspondence and other materials relating to his preliminary work on the documents of COWE.

Folder 11-5 contains much of the raw material he and the drafting committee worked with in preparing the final version of the Manila Manifesto. The materials in consist of notes and letters from individuals and groups sent to JRWS during congress about the draft, including proposed additions, revisions, and deletions. After the draft of the Manifesto was presented to the delegates, they were encouraged to send in suggestions for the final version, in groups if possible to make the volume of comments more manageable.

JRWS and the drafting committee of the Congress used these materials in preparing the final version of the Manifesto which was approved in general terms by the Congress. These materials appear to be in roughly arranged according to the twelve sections of the draft of the Manifesto to which they refer, plus responses to the Manifesto’s conclusion and general comments at the back of the file. (There do not seem to be any comments on the introduction of the Manifesto.) They have been maintained in their original order and divided by the archivist into 14 packets for ease of reference in the CD edition of the papers. Some of the individuals are groups that sent in comments are listed in the description of each packet.

The lists are meant to be samples is not comprehensive as to all the commentators. Also, the fact that an individual’s or groups’ comments are listed in one packet does not mean that there are not additional comments from the same individual or group in another packet. Groups are identified by the name they themselves used. The entire file is particularly interesting in that it contains reactions of Evangelical Christians from a wide variety of cultures and circumstances reacting to one document, usually in terms of what it will mean to their own country or region, both theologically and practically. It is an excellent snapshot of both the diversity and commonality of the Lausanne movement at this particular moment in time.

The Lausanne Committee and the LTEG was always concerned to publish the results of their meetings, so they could be used for the guidance of theologians and evangelists. Almost every folder has correspondence with publishers, including Wm Eerdmans, Hodders, Paternoster Publishing. Stan Izon of the publishing arm of the Billy Graham evangelistic Association, World Wide Publications, was a frequent correspondent in folders 4-4 and 5-1.

Stott, as mentioned above, also served as the compiler and editor of a major collection of documents on the history of the Lausanne movement.

Folder 12-1 documents not only the publication of this book, but much else in Lausanne history as well. These files also contain a great deal of information on the contacts, sometimes cautious and sometimes enthusiastic, between LCWE and other Christian traditions and institutions.

The World Evangelical Fellowship and the Lausanne movement had had many interests in common and many people belonged to both. Folder 4-1 contains early WEF reports on the Lausanne Congress. The two organizations successfully collaborated on theological consultations as illustrated by documents in folders 4-3, 5-2, and11-3. Folder 5-1 contains memos and other documents about investigations into a larger merger of the two groups activities which was ultimately unsuccessful. See also the notes from a joint 1978 LCWE-WEF meeting in folder 11-1.

The relationship with the major institution of liberal Protestant Christianity, the World Council of Churches, was more distant. But the Lausanne Committee did endeavor to maintain contacts with the WCC and exchange viewpoints. The WCC did have people, as participants or observers, at Lausanne’s major meeting and at some of the consultations.

See folder 4-1 for material about participation in the HUP consultation and folder 4-4 about possible participation in the Willowbank conference by the United States affiliate of the WCC (also a reaction from the WCC to the Willowbank conference). Folder 5-3 contains a WCC report on Lausanne II and folder 11-5 has a few comments from WCC observers about the Manila Manifesto.

Similarly, folders 4-3 and 5-1 contains reports from Lausanne observers at the WCC’s 1980 meeting on evangelism and missions, held in Melbourne, Australia. The collection also contains information about contacts with the Roman Catholic Church, including a Catholic’s bishop’s perspective on the 1974 Lausanne Congress in folders 4-1, Folder 11-5 contains some comments from Catholic observers about the Manila Manifesto.

During this same period, Stott was one of the leading spirits in the discussions between Catholic and Evangelical theologians about missions (known as ERCDOM). This was not a Lausanne project, although it did involve people from the Lausanne movement and for a time the LTEG considered participating officially. Some comments and reports on this dialogue can be found in Stott’s correspondence with Leighton Ford in folder 11-2. See also the report in folder 5-1 on witness to nominal Christians in the Roman Catholic Church.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were loaned to the Billy Graham Center Archives by John Stott in August 2003. Exact duplicate materials were removed from the files before filming/scanning and returned to the files after the copying was completed. After the materials were filmed and scanned, the originals were returned to Rev. Stott.

Accession: 03-63

September 17, 2003

Bob Shuster

J. Arney

E. Keys

T. Thompson

Collection 590 Papers of John R. W. Stott
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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