Canon Michael Green: a Life in Service of the Gospel

Feb 7, 2019 by

by Chris Sugden, Anglican Mainstream.

Canon Michael Green died peacefully on February 6th in Oxford after a short period of hospitalization in Oxford at the age of 88.

In many ways Oxford was Michael’s city. He studied at Exeter College where he was President of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, and married Rosemary, the lady vice-president. They went on to have four children. In the evangelistic ministry for which he was renowned he was a frequent speaker at the OICCU and led some of its University Missions.  His book “Choose Freedom” became a standard evangelistic book for its time and was followed by others published by his good friend Edward England at Hodder and Stoughton.

He did ordination training at Ridley Hall Cambridge where he also completed a post-graduate degree in New Testament studies on salvation.   Following a curacy at Holy Trinity Eastbourne he began a long association from 1960-75 with the London College of Divinity, then in Northwood, Middlesex, first as lecturer, and then as principal ‘ when he was not yet forty’, according to the college’s publicity.

It was the era when theological colleges were encouraged to make links with universities, so Michael oversaw the move from Northwood to Nottingham where LCD became St John’s College Nottingham.

He drew together an exciting staff of young lecturers, many of whom, like him, exercised wider ministries, including George Carey, Colin Buchanan, Julian Charley, ( for whom St John’s students rejoiced to know Michael was ‘fag’ at school at Clifton College, Bristol) Anne Long, and Stephen and Pat Travis, to battle with the mud and breeze blocks of the new site at Bramcote.

In 1975 he announced to the college community in the common room that he had accepted a call to become the Rector of St Aldate’s Church, a major student ministry in Oxford, following the revered Keith de Berry.

In 1987 he moved to Canada to become Professor of Evangelism of the recently founded Regent College, Vancouver, the first graduate school of theology in North America to focus on the laity, a brainchild of Oxford don James Houston.

While in North America he became rector of a church in Raleigh, South Carolina and knew all about the struggles for orthodoxy in the Episcopal Church.

He retired to Oxford in 1996 and became senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall Oxford, taking up his calling of teaching, training and above all enthusing others in the service of and spreading the good news of his Lord and Master, Jesus.

Editor’s note: Michael Green was still preaching the gospel to students in his late 80’s. In February 2018 he was the main speaker at Mission events at the Universities of Lancaster and East Anglia. A remarkable man, whose contribution to world mission, and particularly Anglican evangelicalism, ranks alongside that of David Watson, Dick Lucas, Jim Packer, even John Stott.

See also:

Remembering Michael Green, By Ian Paul and others, Psephizo

Obituary from John Pritchard, Church Times

Canon Michael Green has died: an evangelical giant has fallen, by David Virtue and Chris Sugden, VirtueOnline

Michael Green taught me the importance of evangelism, by Alister McGrath, Christianity Today

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