Michael Spencer, 1956-2010

Some sad news overnight: Michael Spencer died yesterday. Today’s a day for praying for Denise, Clay, Noel and the rest of his family, and for remembering with thanks Michael’s remarkable ministry.

Michael is best known to almost all of us for his writings on the internet, where he has been used by God to help thousands of people both within and outside “the post-evangelical wilderness”. However, without in any way diminishing that, I suspect that in the end the work that will be shown to have had the deepest impact is that which most of us knew only through his necessarily circumspect reports: his ministry as chaplain to a Southern Baptist school in Kentucky, preaching and living out a Christ-centred, Reformational message of “Jesus-shaped spirituality” in an environment which did not always welcome this.

Those of us outside that world probably underestimate just how courageous he was in doing this: not many of us are running the risk of losing our jobs if we question inerrancy or young-earth creationism. Similarly, I expect that only the last day will reveal fully his positive impact on countless young people who would otherwise have been left in despair at, or rebellion against, a message of shallow moralism and anti-intellectualism. That school needs our prayers too, that Michael’s successor will walk in the same footsteps.

In the meantime, here is Michael’s final public message – at least until his book comes out later this year – as posted at Internet Monk back in February:

Real apologetics

The ultimate apologetic is to a dying man.

That is what all those “Where is God?” statements in the Psalms are all about. They are, at least partially, invitations to Christians to speak up for the dying.

All the affirmations to God as creator and designer are fine, but it is as the God of the dying that the Christian has a testimony to give that absolutely no one else can give.

We need to remember that each day dying people are waiting for the word of death and RESURRECTION.

The are a lot of different kinds of Good News, but there is little good news in “My argument scored more points than you argument.” But the news that “Christ is risen!” really is Good News for one kind of person: The person who is dying.

If Christianity is not a dying word to dying men, it is not the message of the Bible that gives hope now.

What is your apologetic? Make it the full and complete announcement of the Life Giving news about Jesus.

Amen. See you at the resurrection, Michael.

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7 Responses to Michael Spencer, 1956-2010

  1. Rick Ritchie says:

    I was sorry to read about this this morning.

    Thanks for posting the Real Apologetics message. That’s a great reminder.

  2. Pingback: Linkathon 4/7, part 1: Michael Spencer » Phoenix Preacher

  3. Pingback: Tributes to the Internet Monk | internetmonk.com

  4. wyclif says:

    A fitting tribute, John.

  5. Myron says:

    I’m not really sure why, but as I was sitting in church Easter sunday, Michael came to mind, and it struck me how this Easter must be so meaningful to him, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and the fact that we are promised a future resurrection, all while he’s facing his own impending death. I had forgotten that he had written something specifically to this effect.

    I’m going to miss the iMonk somethin fierce.

  6. Theresa K. says:

    I had not heard of his death, though I knew he was dying. It’s a first for me (for most of us, I’m sure): an acquaintance’s life and death known to me solely by the internet. Thanks for writing this, John. It’s a blessing to me. Thanks to Michael, of course.

  7. Pingback: In memoriam: Michael Spencer « BrianD blog

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