MUSIC MONDAY: Keith Green Story (Part 2)

The Keith Green Story pt 3/7

Keith Green had a major impact on me back in 1978 when I first heard him. Here is his story below:

Spiritual Conversion

Keith had a Jewish and Christian Science background, but grew up reading the New Testament. He called it “an odd combination” that left him open minded but deeply unsatisfied. His journey led him to drugs, South Asian mysticism, and “free love.” After experiencing what Green described as a “bad trip,” he abandoned drug use and became bitter towards philosophy and theology in general. Green would later state, however, that in the midst of his skepticism, he felt that God “broke through calloused heart,” and he became a born-again Christian. Soon afterward, Keith’s wife Melody (whom he had married on Christmas Day 1973) also became a born-again Christian. It was during this time that the newlyweds became involved with the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Southern California.

Ministry

In 1975, the Greens began an outreach program in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, in the San Fernando Valley. Purchasing the home next door to their own and renting an additional five in the same neighborhood, Keith and Melody provided a environment of Christian teaching for a group of young adults, the majority of whom were of college age. Much to the consternation of neighbors, those living in the Green’s homes included former drug addicts, the homeless and even some prostitutes who had been referred to the Greens by other ministries and shelters. In 1977, the Greens outreach was officially named Last Days Ministries.

Keith Green’s initial tone of ministry was largely influenced by Leonard Ravenhill, who pointed Keith to Charles Finney, a nineteenth century revivalist preacher who preached the law of God to provoke conviction in his hearers.  During his concerts he would often exhort his listeners to repent and commit themselves more wholly to following Christ.  Green later softened his approach, and this transition is evident in his music beginning with So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt in 1980.
Recording

Green was signed to Contemporary Christian music label Sparrow Records in 1976 and worked on the album Firewind (1976) with Christian artists 2nd Chapter of Acts, Terry Talbot, John Michael Talbot, and Barry McGuire. His first solo project, For Him Who Has Ears to Hear, was released in 1977 and his second solo release, No Compromise, followed in 1978.

In 1979, after negotiating a release from his contract with Sparrow, Green initiated a new policy of refusing to charge money for concerts or albums. Keith and Melody mortgaged their home to privately finance Green’s next album, So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt. The album, which featured a guest appearance by Bob Dylan, was offered through mail-order and at concerts for a price determined by the purchaser. As of May 1982, Green had shipped out more than 200,000 units of his album ? 61,000 for free. Subsequent albums included The Keith Green Collection (1981) and Songs For The Shepherd (1982).

When his music was carried by Christian bookstores, a second cassette was included free of charge for every cassette purchased to give away to a friend to help spread the Gospel.

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