Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999, 526 pages.
This, the first volume of the first full length biography of John R. W. Stott, will set the standard of excellence for the many biographies which will follow. Timothy Dudley-Smith's excellent biography paints a complete portrait of the public and private life of one of the greatest Christian leaders of the last one hundred years. Dudley-Smith draws extensively from Stott's diaries, letters and books and from interviews with both friends and adversaries. He captures the formative experiences that have shaped the life and ministry of John Stott.
Arranged in sections covering ten-year increments from the 1920s through the 1950s, the chapters within each section relate key friendships, public challenges and personal struggles. These engaging accounts bring into view a compelling story of the forces that have shaped and which drive Stott.
Far from the doting account of a saintly life by an admiring follower, Dudley-Smith frankly describes Stott's struggles and doubts as well as the excitement of his expanding ministry. Directness and sensitivity mark the recounting of Stott's lifelong rivalry with his sister and the years of alienation from his father. His concern for his local congregation at All Souls Church in London as he begins evangelistic tours of Great Britain, the United States, Australia and Africa reveal his pastor's heart and sensitivity.
The first volume of this biography projects a three dimensional picture of a man of God. Don't wait for the companion volume, not due out for at least another two years, before reading this book. This account of a contemporary Christian will hearten and challenge you.