I was first introduced to Keith Green when he was a fairly new member of the then emerging "Jesus People Movement", and I was a rather straight laced Ex- Computer Field Engineer with IBM who had recently become a Christian.
I was at a prayer meeting, and saw a copy of the then "Last Days Newsletter", featuring one of the installments of "The Catholic Chronicles". I was somewhat interested, since my wife had been a nominal Roman Catholic before accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior. I picked it up and glanced at it, thinking that it was some publication of the Roman Catholic Church. As I read more deeply, I realized that I was quite wrong !! I proceeded to write to LDM, requesting all of the Chronicles (four total), and to be put on their mailing list for their newsletter.
I then became an avid reader of the LDM newsletter, their tracts, as well as books by those writers associated with LDM, and those recommended by Keith. These included: Leonard Ravenhill, Charles Finney, Andrew Murray, A.W. Toizer, and E.M. Bounds.
Next came my introduction to his music. Let me say that up to that point, I had NEVER liked "rock music". When I first heard one of his songs, I was overwhelmed -- I hated the music and I did NOT think very much of his vocal talents. Out of the respect that had grown for Keith through his writing, however, I continued to listen to his songs. Soon I heard past the outer music, past the voice, and into the heart of the man --- and the fervent message of God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ that burned there. I heard a heart that burned with the very power and zeal of Jesus himself, a heart that also wept and became indignant over the lack of love and concern for Him and His people that was exhibited by so many of those who called themselves His, and by SO MUCH of His "Church".
I heard a man who wept and wrestled over his OWN heart and holiness, and over his desire for total zeal and consecration to his Lord. Over time, his tears and zeal crept into my own heart. I also have to say that in time, I came to appreciate much of his music for the sake of the music, though there is much to this day that I STILL don't like.
I also do not agree with ALL of the doctrine expressed by Keith, and sometimes, yes, I think that he was a little harsh (sometimes MORE than a little). However, if you HONESTLY read the gospels, Jesus was at times MUCH MORE than just a "little harsh", and He certainly WAS NOT ecumenical !! (Jesus is saying to him, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one is coming to the Father except through Me.) I believe that in many ways Keith was a prophet of God, raised up in His time, to proclaim a much needed message. Prophets burning with God's zeal and love (and indignation) rarely tend to be "politically correct" (read your Old Testament).
Keith was, however, who and what he was, and it was he whom God choose to intrust with His message. Keith's qualities of "no compromise", zeal, outspokenness, courage, disregard for social or political convention, and most of all, a 100% dedication to Jesus, are what gave him his effectiveness and power. They were part of what my wife and I grew to love about him.
He was the "Christian Warrior", not afraid to be wounded or slain doing battle for his Lord !! Perhaps "The Church" has grown too soft for the old hymns like "Onward Christian Solider".
YES, there were many who hated him and sought to silence him. I am sure that this encouraged Keith to speak and write The Word with even greater boldness. Did not his and our Lord warn us, "If they have hated ME, will they not hate YOU all the more ??" Yes, there were many who did and DO want his words silenced. Did not those who opposed Jesus seek (so they thought) to silence Him PERMANENTLY ??
Though neither my wife nor I ever met Keith Green in the flesh, yet when we heard of his death, we both felt that we had lost a dearly beloved friend and brother that we had grown to know so well and love so much for too few years. I am not overly given to sentimentality, and I do not often personally relate to writers or singers. For Keith, I make the exception. Even today, as I read his writings and listen to his songs, I sense an empty place in my heart, and an empty place in the Body of Christ. Yet he, his words, and his zeal still live among us through his writings and his music. They can still inspire, convict, and show the way. LET THEM NOT BE LOST !! Such is my purpose in this small collection and tribute.
There was a letter from the current LDM, explaining WHY the Catholic Chronicles and some of Keith's other writings are NO LONGER available. In part it read:
"We have not distributed the Catholic Chronicles for many years now. We feel we would not have discontinued them unless we felt this was the Lord's direction for us. Although the American Tract Society will be reprinting and distributing most of our tracts, in keeping with the spirit of the decision to stop distributing the Catholic Chronicles, we are not giving permission for anyone else to reprint or translate them, nor are they available from any other source." Click here to read the letter
I believe, and I am sure that MANY others believe likewise, that Keith, when he was alive, was in a better position to decide what he meant, what he wanted to say, and what GOD wanted of and for him --- than are others to decide these things AFTER he is dead !!
The letter goes on to say that:
"We have never believed that the Catholic Church is a cult in the same way as Mormons etc. We would like to repeat a notice that Keith wrote when originally writing the Catholic Chronicle series. 'In pursuing this subject, I want to make it COMPLETELY understood that neither I nor anyone else at Last Days Ministries has anything at all personally against Catholics. WE KNOW OF MANY LOVING, COMMITTED AND SINCERE BELIEVERS AMONG THEIR RANKS.' ... 'Although it might be unavoidable to have given that impression, it was never our desire to be thought of as 'one of those anti-Catholic organizations.'"
I fully agree with the above statement in-so-far-as that ANY criticism of an organization (be it secular OR ecclesiastical) should NOT be extended cart blanc as a criticism of ALL of its members. I know that there are (and have been down through the centuries) MANY holy and devout servants of and believers in Jesus Christ within the Roman Catholic Church. However, just as there are in almost ALL "Denominational Church Congregations", there are MANY who do nothing more than go to meetings, believing that they have done their "religious duty, and are now right with God". A judgment and condemnation of the "Organizational Structure" does not translate into a lack of love for the people.
As a matter of fact, quite the contrary is true !!. Did Jesus NOT love the Scribes & Pharisees?? It is said that He loves and died for ALL MEN. Yet you will be hard pressed to find a more fiery and searing denunciation of ANY GROUP than that which Jesus pronounced upon said Scribes & Pharisees. It is said that this criticism reflects a "lack of love". Such is the distorted and permissive logic of today's "Politically Correct Ecumenical Movement" !! As I said, did Jesus lack love for the Scribes & Pharisees, and for His Jewish brethren whom He wept over as He warned them, in the strongest of possible terms, to turn from their blind and wicked ways to Him, or suffer the consequences.
Does a doctor or a surgeon lack "love" for his patients because he may express very strong warnings and/or admonitions to them about their condition, or inflict considerable pain and suffering upon them in an attempt to save their life?? Does a truly loving and caring parent show lack of "love" for their child when they see an actual or potential error in the child's ways, and attempts to turn said child from it, even by discipline and chastisement ?? Would a man who sees a house on fire in the middle of the night be thought of as "lacking love" to do all that he could to rescue those within, no matter how inconvenient it might be to the residents ??
NO, I think that it is the soft, cowardly, indulgent permissiveness of our day that reflects the REAL "lack of love" !! Proverbs says that love is "strong as death" -- not some soft, sticky, sickly sentimentality of popular novels, music and movies. Jesus says, "THIS is Love -- that a man should lay down his life for his brother". The problem is that we are afraid to offend people - we do not want to be disliked or persecuted - we do not want to feel "unloved, unpopular, or an outsider". Most of all -- DON'T MAKE WAVES !!!!! Jesus warns us, "Do not fear those who are killing the body, yet are not able to kill the soul. Yet be fearing Him, rather, Who is able to destroy the soul as well as the body in Gehenna."
I plead with you, if you REALLY care and can stomach TRUTH over propaganda and wishful thinking, to do YOUR OWN study of Roman Catholicism --- NOT PR documents put out by the Roman Church. See if you do not then come to the same conclusion that I have -- that the institution of the Roman Catholic Church, if NOT the antichrist, is certainly the blackest blot and foulest heresy that has come upon the Christian Faith !! Not as bad as Mormonism ???? - I believe that it is a THOUSAND times worse. If we are going to embrace the Roman Church into the Arms of Christendom, then let us certainly go to the next step and welcome Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses. These latter two have FAR fewer heresies than does the Roman Church.
"Yet you, beloved, remember the declarations which have been declared before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they said to you, In the last time will be coming scoffers, going according to their own irreverent desires. These are those who isolate themselves, soulish, not having the spirit. Now you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in holy spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for life eonian. And to those, indeed, who are doubting, be merciful, yet others be saving, snatching them out of the fire, yet to others be merciful with fear, hating even the tunic spotted by the flesh."
"Herald the word. Stand by it, opportunely, inopportunely, expose, rebuke, entreat, with all patience and teaching. For the era will be when they will not tolerate sound teaching, but, their hearing being tickled, they will heap up for themselves teachers in accord with their own desires, and, indeed, they will be turning their hearing away from the truth, yet will be turned aside to myths. Yet you be sober in all things; suffer evil as an ideal soldier of Christ Jesus; do the work of an evangelist; fully discharge your service"
Ezekiel goes even further. He warned:
"I have placed you as a watchman upon the wall. Cry out and warn the people on account of their sins. If you warn them and they ignore you, their sins will be upon THEIR own heads. If, on the other hand, you do NOT warn them, their sins will be upon YOUR head."
If God were to address "The Church" of today, perhaps His words would go somewhat as follow:
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked : I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and [that] the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Over the years, millions upon millions of souls have left this life, convinced that they are right with God because they belonged to the Roman Church, they bought their indulgences, they lite their candles, they worshipped the Virgin Mary, they confessed to their priest, they attended the mass, they kissed the relics, they mumbled their repititious - meaningless prayers (Rosary), they received the last rites, or some dozen other heresies. All the while, they never knew Jesus, or much worse, were never told the need or even the possibility ! They were told that ALL that they needed was "HOLY MOTHER CHURCH" and the POPE to guide them !! Will it be on your head on the day when they stand before His Throne, only to be told, "Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I NEVER KNEW YOU". Keith Green knew that it WOULD NOT be upon his head.
Perhaps there are those who, in sincerity of heart, feel that an ecumenical unity here on earth will better enable The Church to do its "Good Works", such as the "Pro-Life or Antiabortion Movement". They feel that it would not be "Politically Useful" to alienate large segments of the "Church Community". To this mentality, I have only one reply, "What does it profit a man, if he should save his life, only to lose his soul"?? In Jesus's day, there were many who sought to do "good works". One of them asked Jesus what kind of "good works" God desired. Jesus enlightened him with these words, "They said, then, to Him, 'What may we be doing that we may be working the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you may be believing in that One Whom He commissions'".
It is with these few, inadequate words that I dedicate this publication, NOT merely to the memory of Keith Green, but MUCH MORE to the Spirit of the Living God that dwelt so strongly within him. May this spirit still infect, inspire, and empower those who come into contact with his music and his writings. In the words of the Apostle Paul, "And when you have done all to stand, then STAND FIRM !!"