Evangelical Leader the Rev. John Stott Dies at 90

The Rev. John Stott, one of the most influential evangelical thinkers of the 20th Century, died in London Wednesday. He was 90.

Benjamin Homan, president of John Stott Ministries, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that Stott died surrounded by friends on Wednesday afternoon.

He did not give a precise cause of death but said Stott's health had deteriorated sharply in recent weeks and that he had been in severe pain near the end of his life.

"His body was just wearing out," Homan said.

Stott led an evangelical resurgence in England and influenced Christians worldwide through his extensive writing and preaching. His many books were widely read in Britain and many parts of the world for over five decades.

Stott was considered the leading evangelical intellectual of his time. He was a primary framer of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant, a declaration of beliefs and an assertion of evangelicalism as a global movement. The document is considered a milestone in the rise of evangelical Christianity worldwide.

Known as "Uncle John" to the many people he worked with, Stott was a lifelong bachelor who funneled his book royalties into scholarships, especially for students from developing countries who went on to lead evangelical movements where they lived. Through his work and teaching, he is credited with renewing an evangelical emphasis on social justice issues.

His death was announced on the website of All Souls Langham Place, the church he attended as a child, then led as curate and rector after he was ordained by the Church of England in 1945.

He led the church until 1975, but was best known as a teacher and evangelist who believed in the duty of all Christians to reach nonbelievers.

Among his most popular books was "Basic Christianity," a primer on the faith which has been translated into more than 60 languages, according to his U.S. publisher, InterVarsity Press.

The church website said that Stott's close friends and associated were at his bedside reading Scriptures and listening to Handel's "Messiah" when he died at his retirement home.

"His preaching drew many to Christ and kept many on track in their Christian thinking and living," said Hugh Palmer, rector of All Souls Langham Place. "His books did the same for millions more and equipped pastors and lay people to become bible teachers themselves on every continent."