Who Was Keith Green?

5 Dec

Keith Green in concert #1

I only introduced Keith Green, from the context of my first encounter with him, in the last blog entry. Now I want to explain exactly who Keith Green was, in the context of the Jesus movement of the 1970s and within contemporary Christian music. During his ministry years, from the time that I first encountered him in 1976 and his untimely death in 1982, he offended many people, but at the same time he served as an example to the new converts that he led to Jesus. Shortly after he died in a tragic plane crash with 2 of his children, a pastor that I was having lunch with in Los Angeles commented, β€œKeith always acted like he was the only one who was a real Christian.”

The truth of the matter was that he followed a very literal Christian path, by using the Bible as his guidebook. In the book of Acts the disciples held all things in common, and Keith did just that with his own personal possessions. He took in homeless people and had them living in his house with him and his wife and children. Then after his house was overflowing with over a dozen people, he used his royalty money from his songwriting to buy another house and rent a couple more to house his growing community. He conducted daily Bible studies and frequent backyard barbeques on the weekend, when he would go door to door inviting neighbors over to eat food, listen to music performed by Keith and guests like Phil Keagy, and hear the gospel message.

Billy Ray Hearn signed Keith to Sparrow Records when he first started it in the early 1970s, with the 2nd Chapter of Acts and Barry McGuire. By the end of the 1970s Green wanted Hearn to release him from his contract, because he felt that it was immoral to charge people to hear the gospel message, so he wanted to give his albums out for free. Hearn released him from the contract and Green gave them away, for free, and was ripped off. Some people took advantage and ordered many albums without paying for them and then sold them for a profit.

Keith and Melody eventually purchased property in Texas and moved their community there. It was here that he started the Last Days Newsletter, which can be accessed at the website that Melody maintains, http://www.lastdaysministries.org/ . Keith Green was the poster child for what a sold out for Jesus, Jesus freak was during the Jesus movement of the 1970s. His attitude wasn’t unique, and in the early days it was common. To give away all your possessions and join a commune, where all was held in common was a part of the hippie philosophy that was popular in the last half of the 1960s. Non materialism was as normal an attitude as it was to take a dose of LSD and lose your mind to the point that you forgot that there was a planet named earth and your own identity. Yet this was part of the zeitgeist that was an antecedent to the direction that Western civilization took as it proceeded towards the new millennium.

Now I really didn’t say anything about his music, which is what he was all about in the first place. He was a child prodigy and was groomed to be a pop star and although he failed to get a record contract, he and his wife Melody had a joint song writing contract that provided them with the funds to build their ministry. His first album was called β€œFor Him Who Has Ears To Hear,” and he only released 4 albums in his lifetime, but his impact can be felt in the 21st century. He was the first artist to record and release a solo worship album, and β€œSongs For The Shepherd” was his last album.

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2 Responses to “Who Was Keith Green?”

  1. jeffofbethlehem April 14, 2016 at 11:51 PM #

    Can a comment be posted any more ?

  2. jeffofbethlehem April 14, 2016 at 11:53 PM #

    I tried a comment before that last one – (have not used wordpress much and have an older browser). It simply said a (or the) comment could not be posted.

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