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Michael Green 1930 2019

On the evening of 6th February Rosemary Green wrote:

“This afternoon Michael left us, very peacefully. He came through the surgery but his heart (not surprisingly) couldn’t cope with a third operation in 10 days. Our son Tim arrived from Malaysia in time to have two hours with him, and Jenny was there too.  We told him how much we loved him, we read Scripture, played the Hallelujah chorus which he loved. While Michael appeared unconscious there were moments when his eyelids flickered as if he was taking it in (specially after his hearing aids were put in!). So prayer was answered, though not in the way we would have liked. He was spared prolonged suffering and deterioration. He was in active ministry till the day before he went into hospital. And in the ten days there he witnessed to many of the staff and gave away some of his books. He shone with God’s love and joy – and made a deep impression.  Evangelising to the end! Do pray for fruit from it”.

 

Michael Green was born in 1930 and became a committed Christian through the ministry of EJH Nash (known as Bash) under whose ministry John Stott was also converted. He studied initially at Exeter College Oxford and Queen’s College Cambridge obtaining first class honours as well as a university blue in fencing. He was ordained in 1957 after further study at Ridley Hall Cambridge.

Various appointments followed in parish ministry and then at the London College of Divinity. In 1969 he was appointed as Principal of St John’s College Nottingham, and six years later he became Rector of St Aldate’s Church in Oxford. In 1987 he moved to Canada to take up the post of Professor of Evangelism at Regent College Vancouver and in 1992 returned to England to become advisor to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for the Springboard Decade of Evangelism. In 1996 at the age of 66 he became a Senior Research Fellow  and Head of Evangelism and Apologetics at Wycliffe Hall Oxford.

Pioneering, and energetic throughout his life as a theologian priest and evangelist he was the author of over 50 books from ‘Man Alive’ and ‘Runaway World’ in the 1960’s to ‘Radical Leadership’ and others in 2017 but on the personal side he was also a family man with a great love of the outdoors who enjoyed nothing better than to take his grandchildren fly fishing whenever the opportunity arose.

 

In his tribute Canon J John wrote:

“Throughout his ministry Michael played a significant part in shaping what is modern evangelicalism in the UK. Yet precisely because many of the battles he heroically fought occurred so long ago, there are many today who are unaware of the role Michael played in creating a culture that they now take for granted. Particularly important was the way that, in two key areas, Michael was able to dispel prejudices. One was the belief, widely held until into the 70s, that you couldn't be a scholar and an evangelical, and certainly not one who was passionate for evangelism. Michael had an extraordinarily sharp mind and accumulated academic honours – indeed, had he chosen to be purely a scholar he could have been a professor in any of the great universities – but he remained openly and enthusiastically committed to sharing the good news of Jesus. The second widespread preconception was that the only people who believed that the Holy Spirit might be a powerful and active force in the world today were those who were uneducated and knew no theology. Yet by giving early and outspoken support for the Charismatic Movement when it emerged onto the global scene in the 1960s, Michael demonstrated that to believe in the Holy Spirit did not demand that you ignored theology. The fact that today we take it for granted that you can be spiritual and scholarly and clever and charismatic owes much to his labours.”

 

Living in Oxford he spoke a number of times at OCMS and we uphold his family in our prayers in their sadness but also in their hope of the resurrection and in the words of the bidding prayer from the service of nine lessons and carols. Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in the Lord Jesus we are one for evermore.”

 

Well done thou good and faithful servant.

David Cranston

 

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