An Incalculable Legacy: Remembering Dr Michael Eaton
Our hearts are heavy following the news of Michael Eaton‘s passing last week in Johannesburg, South Africa. Michael was attending a conference when he had a heart attack, and was cared for by doctors and nurses, and visited by family and close friends, before being taken to glory on Friday 9th June.
We can’t all remember the first time that we heard Michael Eaton preach, but what we do remember is that it was like no preaching any of us had ever heard before!
Michael had a remarkable preaching gift. A brilliant theological mind together with an anointing of Holy Spirit fire enabled him to bring deep biblical insights in a way that was not just simple and accessible but also full of the love and grace of God. It taught, challenged, encouraged and inspired; an hour of Michael’s preaching flew by and left a congregation that would have happily listened to another.
When Dr. RT Kendall announced his retirement from the Chapel in 2001, many people immediately thought of Michael as his obvious successor. But Michael quickly ruled himself out of contention. It could have been a comfortable existence for him, but his heart and ministry lay in Africa and a life lived by faith.
We cherish Michael’s deep and long-standing connections with the Chapel. His ministry was shaped by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and by Dr. R.T. Kendall with whom he had a long and productive friendship. RT and Michael learnt from each other: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Prov. 27:17). There are few people that someone like RT could have turned to for this kind of input, as he shares wonderfully in a recent blog post.
We are so glad that Michael completed his manuscript on preaching through the Bible, a one million word master work that will undoubtedly become a handbook for preachers and lovers of theology for decades to come. Michael had also graciously given permission for the Chapel to use his notes to accompany a two year Bible reading plan, which we will be using long into the future.
Born the son of a non-Christian London publican, Michael was not someone that anyone would even have considered as having the potential to become a world-class theologian and conduct an international preaching ministry. But that, of course, is just the kind of thing that God delights to do.
We will all miss Michael terribly. His legacy is of incalculable eternal value.
If you would like to hear some of Michael’s preaching, you can visit his newly-designed website; michaeleaton.org which we’re privileged to have helped put together over the past few months.
A memorial service will be hosted at the Chapel on Sunday, 2nd July at 2.30pm.