Our Michael Green by Bruce Gillingham, Chaplain, Wycliffe Hall

 |  8th Feb 2019

Our Michael Green by Bruce Gillingham, Chaplain, Wycliffe Hall


There are several Michael Greens, and we are going to miss them all. I see seven, but you may know more.

  • The family man, who met Rosemary in Oxford and together produced Tim, Sarah, Jenny and Jonathan. And he loved all his grandchildren too.
  • The theologian, who was grounded in the Classics at Exeter College Oxford, and did his theology at Queen's College Cambridge, greatly influenced by Charlie Moule in New Testament.
  • The evangelist, who held together head and heart, evidence and grace, word and Spirit, in public preaching and personal ministry.
  • The writer, who was immersed in the world of Jesus and Paul, but who made his research eminently accessible to scholar and enquirer today, by substantial and popular books, and simple yet profound tracts.
  • The trainer, who was apt to teach students by lecture and seminar but preferred to inspire apprentices in the heat of mission through evangelism.
  • The traveller, who clocked up air miles for Jesus, responding to invitations around the entire globe, to develop faith in Christian communities, and reach sceptics in any culture or world view.
  • The believer, who put his whole trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, both for the assurance of his own forgiveness and salvation, and for the grace of the Holy Spirit to convince and change the listener's mind and heart.

Michael Green was the son of a Welsh clergyman, brought up in the country to bag a bird for the pot, or lure a trout to the table. He came to faith in the cricket pavilion at Clifton College Bristol, and the rest is history. He had a rapier mind, getting firsts in Classics and Theology, and matched his academic flair with a blue in fencing. He enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate and proved a formidable opponent.

After training at Ridley Hall Cambridge, he served his curacy at Holy Trinity Eastbourne but was soon snapped up into theological education at the London College of Divinity, moving to become St John's Nottingham as Principal.

On transfer to become Rector of St Aldates Oxford, he wore L plates to signify his role as a lifelong learner from Jesus and led an interesting and diverse team there. We all learned a lot on the job.

He was called back from his teaching role at Regent College Vancouver to lead Springboard with Michael Marshall, the initiative of Archbishop George Carey in the Decade of Evangelism.

His gifts as a mentor and missioner were recognised by Wycliffe Hall Oxford, from which he sallied forth unstoppable to lead more university and parish missions in the UK and around the world, usually taking students with him, as Paul did with Timothy and Silas.

Tributes are flowing in from around the world to honour this theologian evangelist. In humility, he would recognise weakness and the need for grace. We commend him to Christ, saying "Well done, good and faithful servant", and catch the torch of witness falling from his hands.