(CP) Roger Forster, a prominent figure in the UK evangelical community and founder of the Ichthus Christian Fellowship neo-charismatic network, died peacefully at the age of 90 this week.
Forster, who was in ministry for almost 70 years, died Wednesday in his home, Ichthus Christian Fellowship announced.
Remembered as someone "in a league of his own, Forster leaves a lasting legacy in the realms of evangelism, theology and pastoral mentorship.
"We celebrate his incredible and inspirational life of service to our Lord Jesus, as an evangelist, theologian, pastor, mentor and most importantly, devoted disciple of Jesus," the announcement reads. "We also deeply feel his loss, and mourn with his wife Faith, his children and grandchildren. He was a father in the faith to thousands of people in the UK and all over the world, and he 'ran the race' right until the end."
Worship leader Graham Kendrick and Ichthus Team Ministry Leader Henry George recalled in an obituary published by Premier Christian News that Forster preached the Gospel with a clarity, fluency and passion that was like "apologetics on steroids."
"Roger felt injustice keenly, and it seemed to me that the theological issues he debated most fiercely (though respectfully in the Oxbridge debating tradition), were those he perceived could do most damage to people and rob God," they wrote. "Intellectually, he was in a league of his own, but he was an approachable, patient, gracious teacher. It is impossible to measure the influence Roger Forster had on my life and that of my family — but I was not unusual, countless others would say the same."
Born into a world far removed from the digital age, Forster's early life was marked by a profound spiritual awakening. He embraced Christianity as a student at the University of Cambridge, where he studied math and theology. His time in the Royal Air Force further shaped his character, preparing him for a life dedicated to evangelism.
In 1974, alongside his wife, Faith, Forster founded Ichthus. Starting with a modest group of 14 in their home, their vision was clear: to cultivate disciples of Christ, echoing the fervor of the early Christian church.
His preaching, imbued with Relational Arminianism, attracted a diverse congregation. The fellowship, initially a small house church, expanded into a vibrant community with multiple congregations across London.
Forster's leadership was not just about expanding numbers; it was about deepening faith. He established a leadership training program in the 1980s, which has since nurtured hundreds for ministry, including George. His influence reached far beyond the U.K., touching lives in Lebanon, Nepal, India, Myanmar and more.
Forster's commitment to evangelism was evident in his involvement with the March for Jesus movement. This global phenomenon, which he helped birth alongside Pioneer and Youth with a Mission, reflected his belief in active, public expressions of faith. His approach to theology was not just intellectual but deeply practical, focusing on issues of injustice and the real-world impact of religious beliefs.
In October 2021, Forster and his wife handed over the leadership of Ichthus to a team of seven led by George. This transition marked a new chapter for Ichthus, which continued to embrace Forster's vision of a church deeply engaged with the world. The movement's outreach efforts include "Church on the Streets," toddler groups and refugee outreach.
Forster's death coincides with the 50th Jubilee year of Ichthus. The ministry has yet to announce the time or location of a tribute service.