Tributes have been pouring in for Dr Michael Green who died Wednesday. Editor Ruth Jackson describes the impact he had on her own life
The 88-year-old evangelist devoted his life to telling people about the good news of Jesus. Michael authored over 50 books covering all sorts of topics from evangelism to discipleship. And while he was evidently fiercely intelligent, he also had the remarkable ability of laying out the gospel in the vernacular, ensuring that anyone and everyone could understand and make a response.
He had a deep assurance that the gospel was good news for everyone, no matter how dark their circumstances or how broken their past
Michael was involved in countless university missions and helped to lead many young people to faith. He also supported, mentored and discipled many of these young people. My own father was a recipient of Michael’s love and support in the early 70s.
My dad came from a very broken family and, after a dramatic conversion as a young teenager, was encouraged in his faith by this enigmatic evangelist who saw gold in a 'diamond in the rough’. Michael called out and encouraged my dad’s gifts, which eventually led him to follow Michael’s steps into ordained ministry.
“Love is the most attractive quality in the world. And it lies at the heart of Christianity.” - Michael Green
Years later, when I went to study theology at Oxford University, I got to meet the man I’d heard so much about. Michael had "retired" years before, but was still very much involved in student life at Oxford. Many people had warned me about studying a subject that would potentially rip the Bible apart and challenge my core beliefs. But Michael was instrumental in helping my 18-year-old self keep my faith in the midst of confusing and difficult theology, which was often taught by atheist professors.
It felt at times as if Jesus literally shone of out Michael’s face. He had a deep assurance that the gospel was good news for everyone, no matter how dark their circumstances or how broken their past. One short conversation with Michael would quickly allay any fears that God somehow wasn’t real, wasn’t good or didn’t love me.
I later had the pleasure of seeing Michael in action at student missions when I was working for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. And, as evangelist Glen Scrivener tweeted on Thursday, “Michael Green had energy and passion to put us younger evangelists to shame”.
As those passionate about raising the next generation, there is much we can learn from Michael Green. He was a fearless and uncompromising evangelist, yet he was deeply relational and compassionate. He refused to believe that anyone was outside of the passionate love of the Father. And he used his enormous intellect to frame the gospel in a way that would best reach the person in front of him. In the words of 1 Corinthians 9, he became “all things to all people so that by all possible means (he) might save some” – or in Michael’s case, save many.