I was a first-year seminary student (2004) when I first encountered the Internet Monk (Michael Spencer). I was doing research on decisional regeneration, altar calls, and easy-believism. As I began reading his articles, I quickly realized that this dude was articulating things that resonated with my convictions and provoked me to go deeper into the truth. A couple of years later, I would discover the man who, in my opinion, has left one of the most significant legacies of writing on the Internet of anyone in the evangelical world.
As a Calvinist and a Southern Baptist, I found myself being provoked and challenged with the regular writings of Michael, some of which made me uncomfortable. But good writers know how to do that, to challenge our presuppositions, and encourage us to think critically and respond charitably. The iMonk had the ability to speak to a broader and more diverse audience than any blogger on the Internet, and I believe that it was because his ultimate desire was to have his writings shaped and driven by a passion for Jesus Christ. While he was popularly known for his writings on the “coming collapse of evangelicalism,” Michael challenged me to be rooted in and identify by a love and devotion to Jesus, and of this I am sincerely and eternally grateful.
Michael did not fall in step with any particular movement or segment of evangelical life, and by doing so he created his own. I believe it is one that encourages his readers to write “naked” (by that I mean transparent, honest, and vulnerable) with a love for truth, a commitment to charity, and an appeal to Christian unity. I can only hope that such a legacy continues in those who, like myself, have so profited from his passion to write, to pour out his heart, and leave us with Jesus.
I give thanks to God for Michael and pray for his wife Denise and their children. I encourage you to do the same. Practically speaking, two things I would like to mention to remember Michael and his family: