Keith Green: the Prophet Still Speaks

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I will readily admit that I do not do a good enough job of promoting other Christian blogs. I have a few links at the right, but Cerulean Sanctum has pretty much just been my views.

Hoping to make this blog a better portal to excellent Christian material (while also—hopefully—keeping my own discourse here sharp), I want to direct people to one of the best blogs I know of, Paradoxology, run by Chris Monroe, better known as Desert Pastor. The topics he posts are routinely hot potatoes within the Christian world and in need of good analysis. The dialog that results is almost always thought-provoking and all over the map of belief. I always come away from Paradoxology better than I went in.

Today, the topic is the nature of prophetic ministries, specifically taking a look at Keith Green’s: Paradoxology: Prophetic Aftershocks, part 1 (will pop a new window.)

Keith Green has had a huge impact on my life even though I was unimpressed with him before his death. Only after that fateful plane crash twenty-two years ago did Green’s ministry start to hit me between the eyes. I know it’s odd, but his death completely changed my perspective on his life and music. I now wish I had had the opportunity to see him in concert before he was taken away from us.

Here’s my comments on Green over at Paradoxology:

…and still no one today is making the kind of music Keith Green was blessing us with 25 years ago.

Keith GreenI am the Christian I am today largely because of Keith Green and the band of people he ran with. He was Emergent before there was such a thing. He was an ordained Vineyard pastor back in the early days of that influential movement, but he kept one foot rooted in the great preachers of the faded past. Green introduced me to Leonard Ravenhill’s writings and preachings, and Ravenhill pointed me to A.W. Tozer and the history and wealth of the Welsh Revival.

Green has always been a “love him or leave him” figure in the Church. While his voice is definitely prophetic, if you read his biography you realize that much of Green’s prophetic ire was directed back at himself. He never lashed out at the complacency of the sleeping church without a keen sense that he was just as asleep as everyone else. Call him a prophet with feet of clay, but his stern call to something better than what we were/are experiencing in the life of the Church in America is unmitigated, nonetheless. We would do well to wake up, just as he said.

Green brought streams of Christianity together, too. He incorporated the holiness movement, the charismatic movement, the Jesus People movement, the missionary movement, the worship movement, and old-fashioned tent revivalism into one foundation. I can’t think of anyone in recent memory who was able to pull off this feat so well. That we lost him at so young an age, and eventually watched the ministry he founded go adrift, is a loss that has not been overcome yet.

Lastly, and this is almost a minor aside, but Green wrote music for adults. He and Rich Mullins, also tragically lost too young, wrote music for people who wrestled with life and faith, not for popsters and teenyboppers. I heard “Asleep in the Light” played on the local Christian radio station at 3AM a couple days ago, 3AM being the only time they could get away with playing it without offending anyone. What a sad comment on where Christianity is today. Oh that our music was more offensive and less pancreas-destroying!

Thanks for noticing how important Green still is. Hopefully this generation will look up his works and take them to heart.

Desert Pastor’s singling out of Green as the start of a series on modern-day prophets is a good beginning. I hope you will all surf over to Paradoxology and not only check out this new series of posts but the rest of the conversation, too.

9 thoughts on “Keith Green: the Prophet Still Speaks

  1. Richard Reese

    from rreese622@hotmail.com Keith Green’s Catholic Chronicles (do an internet search to find them) brought me to conflict with my local Catholic Church, St Rose in Wilmington, IL in 1980-1986. Through the Holy Ghost, the Word of God, and the Catholic Chronicles, I was arrested and thrown out of that church. When i corrected a priest during his sermon of Phillipians chapter 3 verse 9 when he said that some say that all you have to do is believe to get to heaven. I stayed in my seat but said in a loud voice, “No! Even when we were sinners Christ died for us! By Grace are we saved by faith in Jesus.”
    As the Ushers were leading me out I said, “I am not one bit sorry. The Word of God is the Word of God.”
    “Richard, you can’t say that and get away with it. That man was ordained by a Bishop. Who ordained you?”
    “Jesus ordained me. The Bible says so.”
    “I know the Bible says that, but I don’t believe the Bible.”
    “That’s the difference between you and me.” I said, as the police placed the handcuffs on me.

    “iknow the bible says tah

  2. candleman

    Hello,

    I just recently stumbled across your blog and really enjoy your writings. Keith Green also had a profound affect on my Christian faith, and I blog about my evening with Keith Green here.

    {{{Candleman}}}

  3. James

    I still remember the first time I heard KG’s music. I was at a friend’s house listening to “Rushing Wind” LP and we were completely blown away. I still have LDM tracts, newsletters, and KG albums. I went to the memorial concert in Indianapolis in ’82 when I was a sophomore in high school. I left the Catholic Church in part because of Keith Green. And thirteen years later, I returned despite him.

  4. GRACEPLANE

    By Yahweh’s grace, I am starting a rock band in the spirit of Keith Green, Rich Mullins and Larry Norman. Keith was probably my hugest influence from 1985 – 88. I devoured his music and teachings. I always lamented that the BOC never had anyone like him. Well, I’m stepping up to the plate. Not to say that I will have as much influence as Keith, but I’m planning a prophetic ministry that will call Canadians to repentance, especially for how we have murdered, stolen from and abused our First Nations. Both the US and Canada are founded on genocide and broken promises. We as Christians must repent of this, and change our lives. We have benefited so much from the wealth of the land, minerals and natural beauty of North American (“Turtle Island” in First Nations parlance). We have become wealthy based on a system built on the backs of First Nations land and labour, and then on the cheap labour of Chinese, Kanaka people (from Solomon Islands and Hawaii), Africans, Latinos, etc. Your BMW is the direct result of thievery, deceit and murder of oppressed people. Yes, Neo, the Matrix is real, and all our media and public dialogue, all our techno-gizmos and idols, are bringing us further down the Rabbit Hole of darkness and despair.

    Yahweh’s judgement has already begun to fall on a sinful nation (Canada and US). Our gangs, addictions, economic crises, high rates of suicide and depression, broken families, etc are not only the natural result of sowing and reaping sin, but are also evidence of the wrath of God. We have played around too long. Your iPhone will not save you. Your Internet porn will not comfort you. Your lukewarm Christian faith will not deliver you. There is only one way out: “Repent and believe the Gospel, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” REPENT = CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR; BELIEVE = ENTRUST YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, THOUGHT PROCESSES, MANNER OF SPEECH, DAILY ACTIONS, HOPES & DREAMS; THE GOSPEL = THE BIBLE YOU HAVE IGNORED FOR YEARS, AND ITS CENTRAL MESSAGE OF MESSIAH, HIS SACRIFICIAL DEATH FOR YOU ON THE CROSS AND HIS RESURRECTION TO GIVE YOU NEW LIFE; THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN = YAHWEH’S REIGN IN YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR COMMUNITY, CHURCH AND CITY, BOTH HERE AND IN THE AFTERLIFE.

    You still have time: CHANGE! By Yahweh’s grace and strength!

  5. Sue Taylor

    We were introduced to Jesus by the preacher that married us in 1974. We had the privilege of learning from some of the front runners in the Jesus Movement. 1st time we saw Keith in the early days was in a large room with a piano, no mic or PA. Then other places up until we saw him in Indy on April 28, 1982 where 12,000 people attended and a huge portion of that streamed forward to hear more from Keith about accepting Christ. It was a great night and Keith’s preaching and singing were so melded together as a live visit from Jesus. -his death 2 months later was a complete shock to everyone when he was being used the most. –but because of his former preaching and teaching, we were totally prepared to accept that this was not just a fluke accident, but a calling home.

    I think your description of him, “He was an ordained Vineyard pastor back in the early days of that influential movement, but he kept one foot rooted in the great preachers of the faded past.” really nailed it. He was current yet didn’t deviate from the firm truth of the prophets. -and yes, he brought a lot of us that thought we were different, together!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts–

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