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Michael Green (theologian)

Edward Michael Bankes Green (20 August 1930[1] – 6 February 2019) was a British theologian, Anglican priest, Christian apologist and author of more than 50 books.[2]


Early life, education and ministryEdit

Green's mother was Australian and his father was Welsh. He became a committed Christian through the ministry of E. J. H. Nash (known as "Bash").[3] He was educated at Clifton College[4] and Exeter College, Oxford (Bachelor of Arts 1953, Master of Arts 1956) and subsequently at Queens' College, Cambridge (Bachelor of Arts 1957, Master of Arts 1961, Bachelor of Divinity 1966) while preparing for ordained ministry at Ridley Hall. He was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury (1996) and the University of Toronto (1992). He was ordained deacon in 1957 and priest in 1958.

Green was an assistant curate of Holy Trinity, Eastbourne (1957–60), a tutor at the London College of Divinity (1960–69), Principal of St John's College, Nottingham (1969–75) and Rector of St Aldate's Church, Oxford and chaplain of the Oxford Pastorate (1975–86). He had additionally been an honorary canon of Coventry Cathedral from 1970 to 1978. He then moved to Canada where he was Professor of Evangelism at Regent College, Vancouver from 1987 to 1992. He returned to England to take up the position of advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York for the Springboard Decade of Evangelism. In 1993 he was appointed the Six Preacher of Canterbury Cathedral. Despite having officially retired in 1996, he became a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Evangelism and Apologetics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford in 1997. He lived in the town of Abingdon near Oxford.

Green was married to Rosemary for 61 years, and they had four children: Tim, Sarah, Jenny, and Jonathan.[5]

Apologetics and evangelismEdit

Green was a prolific writer, with much of his work written for a popular reading audience, although he also contributed to academic studies. Many of his best known books discuss the twin topics of evangelism and apologetics.

One of Green's objectives was to equip lay Christian believers in their grasp of the gospel message and to then have confidence to converse with others about faith matters. These practical objectives are clear in books such as Evangelism, Now and Then and Sharing Your Faith With Friends and Family. At a technical level Green contributed an academic study of the praxis and theory of evangelism in Evangelism in the Early Church. This work explores the development of evangelism through the New Testament texts and from the early Church Fathers. He built on those foundational studies in his advocacy of evangelism at a parish church level, both through his personal ministry and in his book Evangelism Through the Local Church.

Green's apologetic work generally focussed on popular misconceptions and objections held by non-Christians. In books such as You Must Be Joking, World on the Run and Why Bother With Jesus, he dealt with attitudes of religious indifference and scepticism. He also addressed a variety of objections concerning religious hypocrisy and religious pluralism as well as popular questions of doubt and unbelief. He also examined the evidences for the life, death and resurrection of Christ in Man Alive and again in the revision of that book, The Day Death Died.

Green also explored academic challenges to faith, such as in the collection of essays he prepared as a reply to Don Cupitt's work on The Myth of God Incarnate, which were published less than six months later under the title The Truth of God Incarnate. In that analysis Green and his colleagues addressed the problems of myth and history as propounded in modern biblical scholarship, especially concerning the relationship between the events of Jesus' ministry and teaching and the doctrine of the Incarnation.

One of Green's more recent works, The Books the Church Suppressed: Fiction and Truth in The Da Vinci Code, is an argument for orthodox Christianity against Gnosticism as presented in The Da Vinci Code. Green here linked Gnosticism with a decline in society. He also claimed that Gnosticism leads to a decline in morality, so that by ordaining a homosexual bishop the Episcopal Church of the United States has itself shown Gnostic tendencies.[citation needed] He considered aspects of apologetic methodology and strategy in his co-authored work with Alister McGrath.

Aside from his apologetic writings, Green also addressed issues of discipleship in the Christian life, ministry and leadership in the church, the doctrine of baptism, pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit) and demonology. He also wrote non-technical commentaries on certain books of the New Testament.

Adventure of Faith is his spiritual autobiography.


  • Green, Michael (1964). Called to Serve: ministry and ministers in the church. Christian Foundations. 4. London: Hodder & Stoughton. OCLC 560313475.
  • ——— (1967). Man Alive. Pocket books. Leicester: Inter-Varsity. ISBN 9780851103396. OCLC 12173522.
  • ——— (1968). Runaway World. London: Inter-Varsity Press. OCLC 560313524.
  • ——— (1970). Evangelism in the Early Church. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9780340107072. OCLC 103058.
  • ——— (1973). New Life, New Lifestyle. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9780340355121. OCLC 779105434.
  • ——— (1975). I Believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe ... 1. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9780340177679. OCLC 2830638.
  • ——— (1976). You Must Be Joking: Popular Excuses for Avoiding Jesus Christ. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9780340211267. OCLC 3984467.
  • (ed), The Truth of God Incarnate, Hodder & Stoughton, 1977.
  • Evangelism, now and then, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 1979.
  • Why Bother With Jesus? Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1979.
  • Church and Homosexuality, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1980 ISBN 0-340-25483-1
  • The Day Death Died, InterVarsity Press, Leicester, 1982.
  • To Corinth with Love, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1982
  • Freed to Serve, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1983.
  • The Empty Cross of Jesus, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 1984.
  • World on the Run, InterVarsity Press, Leicester, 1985.
  • Second Epistle of Peter and the General Epistle of Jude, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 2nd edition, InterVarsity Press, Leicester/William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1987.
  • Baptism, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1987 ISBN 0-340-41056-6
  • I Believe in Satan's Downfall, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1988 ISBN 0-340-42543-1
  • Evangelism Through the Local Church, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1989 ISBN 0-340-52916-4
  • Exposing the Prince of Darkness, Servant, Ann Arbor, 1991.
  • The Dawn of the New Age, Darton Longman & Todd, London, 1993.
  • My God, Oliver Nelson, Nashville, 1993.
  • Springboard for Faith (with Alister McGrath), Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1993.
  • New Testament Spirituality (with R. Paul Stevens), Eagle Publishing, 1994 ISBN 0-86347-113-7
  • Who Is This Jesus?, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1998? ISBN 0-340-72225-8
  • The Message of Matthew (Bible Speaks Today Series), InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 2001 ISBN 0-8308-1243-1
  • But Don't All Religions Lead to God?: Navigating the Multi-Faith Maze, Baker, Grand Rapids, 2002 ISBN 0-8010-6439-2
  • After Alpha, Kingsway Publications, 2003 ISBN 1-84291-024-8
  • Thirty Years That Changed the World: The Book of Acts for Today, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2004 ISBN 0-8028-2766-7
  • St.Thomas Becket, Gracewing, 2004 ISBN 0-85244-590-3
  • Avoiding Jesus: Answers for Skeptics, Cynics, and the Curious (Southern Icons), Baker, Grand Rapids, 2005 ISBN 0-8010-6561-5
  • Sharing Your Faith With Friends and Family, Baker, Grand Rapids, 2005 ISBN 978-0-80106-525-5
  • The Books the Church Suppressed, Monarch Publications, 2005 ISBN 1-85424-698-4
  • Lies, Lies, Lies!, 2009 ISBN 978-1-84474-391-9
  • Compelled by Joy, 2011 ISBN 978-1-84474-542-5
  • Jesus for Sceptics, 2013 ISBN 978-0-95722-123-9


  • Adventure of Faith: Reflections on 50 Years of Christian Service, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2001 ISBN 0-00-710542-8


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Randle Manwaring From Controversy to Co-Existence: Evangelicals in the Church of England 1914–1980 (Cambridge: CUP, 2002) 58
  4. ^ "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p522: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  5. ^ Fearon, Matthew (7 February 2019). "Michael Green (1930-2019): Remembering the infectious joy of this exceptional evangelist". Premier Christianity. Retrieved 9 February 2019.

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