LONDON - World renowned theologian and evangelist the Rev. Dr. John Stott has made the decision to retire from public ministry at the age of 86.
Stott, who has been called by the Rev. Billy Graham as "the most respected clergyman in the world today," will speak at one last event in July before moving to a retirement community for Anglican clergy, according to an announcement made by Langham Partnership International, the ministry that Stott founded to grow and equip churches around the world.
The decision was made "with the strong belief that it is God's provision for him at this stage."
"John Stott would like his many friends around the world to know that, having reached the age of 86 in April, he has taken the decision finally to retire from public ministry after fulfilling one last speaking engagement at the upcoming Keswick Convention in July," Langham announced in a released statement.
"He will also be moving from his flat in Bridford Mews, London, where he has lived for more than 30 years, to a retirement community for Anglican clergy in the south of England which will be able to provide more fully for his present and future needs."
While Stott's retirement means that he no longer intends to engage in public speaking ministry, Langham reassured supporters that Langham Partnership International – or John Stott Ministries, in the United States – is well prepared to continue its work, even after his retirement.
"John will greatly value your prayer for him in the challenges and opportunities involved in this transition," the ministry stated.
About John Stott
Stott, who was confirmed into the Anglican Church in 1936, has enjoyed working in a wide range of activities and organizations over the past several decades.
He held the position as chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council from 1967 to 1984, and has also been the president of two hugely influential Christian organizations, the UK branches of Scripture Union from 1965 to 1974 and the Evangelical Alliance from 1973 to 1974.
Stott combined his commitment to evangelism and his fostering of future Christian leaders by involving himself in the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, where he was president four times between 1961 and 1982.
He also served as chaplain to the Queen from 1959 to 1991 and received the rare honour of being appointed an Extra Chaplain in 1991.
One of Stott's major contributions to world evangelization was at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization held at Lausanne, Switzerland.
Stott acted as chair of the drafting committee for the Lausanne Covenant, a significant milestone in the evangelical movement. As chair of the Lausanne Theology and Education Group from 1974 to 1981, he contributed strongly to the growing evangelical understanding of the relation between evangelism and social action.
He was again chair of the drafting committee for the Manila Manifesto, a document produced by the second International Congress in 1989.
Stott's commitment to the renewal of evangelicalism in the worldwide Anglican Church led to his involvement in the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion where he was honorary general secretary from 1960 to 1981, and served as president from 1986 to 1990.
His desire to strengthen ties between evangelical theologians in Europe was a key force in the founding of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians in 1977.
His concern for the world's poor led to involvement in Tearfund, where he served as president from 1983 to 1997, and also Armonia in Mexico as patron.
He set up the Evangelical Literature Trust in 1971, and in 1974 a bursary fund was established (as part of the then recently formed Langham Trust). The Evangelical Literature Trust and the Langham Trust have now been amalgamated into the Langham Partnership International.
Perhaps Stott's greatest international contribution has been through his writing. Stott's best-known work, Basic Christianity, has sold two million copies and has been translated into more than 60 languages.
Other titles include The Cross of Christ, Understanding the Bible, The Contemporary Christian, Evangelical Truth, Issues Facing Christians Today, The Incomparable Christ, eight volumes in The Bible Speaks Today series of New Testament expositions, and most recently Why I Am a Christian.
Christian Post correspondent Daniel Blake in London contributed to this article.