Melvin Tinker: a tribute

(Photo: Christian Concern)

Melvin Tinker was one of the most outstanding evangelical clergy of his generation.

His father was a coal miner, and his working class background put him at a disadvantage with a church that practised social snobbery almost as an unconscious reflection.

Yet he was a fiercely intelligent author and theologian who combined intellectual clarity with an integrity of the heart which was sadly rare in the Church of England.

He risked professional ostracism because he placed his allegiance to Jesus before patronage and advancement within the system.

Under his ministry his congregation grew energetically. He showed the Church of England how pastoral ministry and intelligent, faithful, biblical preaching could open peoples' hearts and carry they into the arms of Jesus.

Tragically, the Church of England preferred to curry favour with the agents of moral and ethical relativism and Melvin found himself banned from preaching in cathedrals where he had been invited by evangelical students hungry for the Gospel.

He became an increasingly prophetic figure, and one who radiated a quality of joy and a singular kind of clarity that reflects the presence of the Holy Spirit.

With a score of Melvin Tinkers in each diocese, the Church of England could have evangelised the whole country and renewed the Church.

Alas there was only one of him and they chose instead to close doors in his face and repudiate the authentic faith he stood for.

Those who knew him and the risen Christ, and read their Bibles loved and admired him greatly. Truly "a man without guile."