December 1, 2015

In Memoriam

It is thus, if there is any rule, that we ought to die--neither as victim nor as fanatic, but as the seafarer who can greet with an equal eye the deep that he is entering, and the shore that he must leave." • E. M. Forster

Dennis Michael Spencer of Oneida, Kentucky died at home on April 5, 2010 after a four-month struggle with cancer. He was 53.

Spencer was born September 16, 1956 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. Spencer served as youth minister and pastor in several Kentucky Baptist churches before becoming the Campus Minister at Oneida Baptist Institute in 1992, where he ministered the past 17 years.

Spencer was also widely known in evangelical Christian circles for his web site, “Internet Monk: Dispatches From the Post Evangelical Wilderness” ( The site was also home to his podcast, Internet Monk Radio. His book, Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, will be published in September by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Spencer was preceded in death by his parents, S.L. and Dorothy Atherton Spencer of Owensboro and a sister, Peggy Spencer Head, also of Owensboro. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Denise Day Spencer; his children, Noel Spencer Cordle of Oneida and Clay Spencer of Lexington; and a brother, Dr. B.E. Spencer of Louisville.

A memorial service will be held at the Oneida Baptist Institute chapel on Saturday, April 10 at 2:30 p.m. with visitation beginning at 12:30 p.m. the same day. The family asks that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Oneida Baptist Institute, P.O. Box 67, Oneida, Kentucky 40972, (606) 847-4111.


  1. I will miss you Mr. Spencer. More than you can imagine. You’re happier now though, and that’s all that matters.

    Does anyone have the Internet Monks older podcasts tucked away somewhere? It would be great to get the ones that are missing so we can all enjoy them.

  2. Joe Boysel says:

    Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant, Michael. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

  3. Christopher K. says:

    I don’t do well with death. When I saw this a few hours ago, all I could say was a simple “peace.” But Michael deserves so much more than that. He touched so many people, passively dragging many of us from the center ring of the Evangelical Circus, away from the cult of the self and towards a Christianity that truly has Christ at its center. I am eternally grateful for the wisdom Michael has given us all. Thank you MIchael. May you rest peacefully, without pain, without anguish, comforted by the Christ who saved you.

  4. I thank God for your help, though you didn’t know this side of glory, you were a blessing to me through much of college as I sorted through my own beliefs. God bless his family at this time.

  5. Michael-

    I’m going to miss you. You truly were a man of God, and for us a God-send. Now, having worked in the vineyard, rest and feast in Paradise. You’ll always be with us.
    See you soon, brother.


  6. Forgetful Susan says:

    Denise, you and the family are in my/our prayers. May the peace and presence of Jesus be unshakeably real to you through this time.

    I thank God for Michael. His writings have encouraged me and sometimes been my lifeline. Now he knows fully even as he is fully known.


  7. Monk wrote this 8 years ago; it is sort of tough reading it again now:

  8. My deepest sympathies and prayers for the family. Michael’s wonderful impact will long be felt.

  9. Michael Spencer/Internet Monk became such a part of my daily life it leaves a huge hole behind in the wake of his passing. I hope he is reveling in the presence of God right now, getting the answers to all those hard questions we struggle with this side of heaven. My heart and prayers go out to Denise and his family. I hope they hang tight to the promise they will be reunited one day. Oh, how his words and thoughts will be missed!

  10. JoanieD says:

    On his essay at Michael wrote, “Die a little at a time, one day at a time, practicing for the big one when grace will come lapping at your door like a rising tide, and you will have nowhere to go to run away from it. A gracious flood come to take you home from this troubled world to the place Jesus has prepared for you. Get ready for the time when resting in the arms of God and grace will be all you have to do. And it will be more than enough to see you home.”

    (Thanks to Adrienne for putting the link to that essay on her blog about Michael’s dying.)

    And I agree with the commenter who wrote, “How does he come up with such incredible material day after day after day!” I wondered that too and was constantly amazed.

  11. JoanieD says:
    That blog has links to over 30 other blogs where the owners have posted tributes to Michael.

  12. My condolences to Michael Spencer’s family. I found the INternet Monk about three years ago and looked forward to it popping up on my RSS feed every day. He commentary, questions, and insights helped shape my beliefs into a stronger, and sharper, faith. I am indebted to him beyond words.

    I never met him personally, obviously, but I’ll never forget him. The family is is my thoughts and prayers.

    Thank you, Chaplain Mike, and others, for keeping the lights on here and keeping us updated.

  13. Steven G. says:

    God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, comfort Michael’s family and friends in this hour of grief. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.Amen

    Dearest Shepherd, Refresh the soul of Michael that has now departed with heavenly consolation and joy, and fulfill for it all the gracious promises that in Your Word You have made to those who believe in You. Grant to the body a soft and quiet rest in the earth until the Last Day, when You will reunite body and soul lead them into glory so that the entire person who served You here may be filled with heavenly joy there. Amen

  14. Michael always approached any subject thoughtfully, openly and willing to listen to those who disagreed with him. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  15. May Michael rest in the light of our risen Lord. Praying for him, and for Denise and Noel and Clay.

  16. You have my sincere condolences. Praying for all the family and friends of Michael.

    –Terrace Crawford

  17. Rest in peace, Mike.

  18. Weeping with you and praying for you and your family Denise.

  19. Michael has had a tremendous impact in my life and ministry. The first essay of his I ever read was “On Christless Preaching.” That essay transformed my preaching. It made me conscious of what I must talk about each time I stand before God’s people to proclaim God’s word. I can honestly say that God has used Michael Spenser to make me a better and more faithful Gospel preacher.

    What I love about the ministry of Michael Spenser is that he always kept it about Jesus. You may not like everything he wrote, or you may disagree with some of his convictions, but you can never deny that he was a man all about Jesus. For that I am thankful.

    God bless you Spenser Family. May the Lord’s grace and mercy sustain you.

    Thank you Lord, that death has been defeated by the One Michael loved, lived for, and proclaimed so faithfully.

  20. Rejoicing for Michael, but grieving for the loss of his sparkling self here. Best wishes to Denise and the kids. (((((((hugs)))))))

  21. Alan Daws says:

    My deepest sympathies and prayers for Spencer family. I enjoyed reading the blog and felt a kindred spirit with Michael. I, and many others, will miss him.


  22. Savannah says:

    Our deepest condolences to Mrs. Spencer and their children.

    I knew this day would come soon where I would click on this site and he would be gone. Words cannot express what his loss means to many of us who have struggled, sometimes nearly hopelessly, to find an oasis in this evangelical wilderness. Michael surely provided one, and we will always be grateful.

  23. Dolan McKnight says:

    Michael Spencer was an inspiration to me – a voice crying in the evangelical wilderness, a person who shared with me the struggles I also experienced and had the hopes I also dreamed. He will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind a legacy of truth and candor which should inspire all Christians. My condolences and prayers go out to his family.

  24. Cincygirl says:

    ……Rounding third and heading for home.

    I imagine that Michael, upon being asked which one the great heroes of the faith he wanted to meet first, replied:

    “It’s Opening Day! Bring me the ol’ left-hander” and Michael spent his first night in heaven discussing his beloved Reds with Joe Nuxall.

    We will miss you Michael!

  25. Sheesh. Followed IM blog for several years. Just stopped in today — no words…

  26. chiefbenda says:

    I have read some of the amazing comments above. The imonk will be missed by many, including me. Via the technology of podcasts Michael has gone with me on trips, gone jogging with me and been with me while doing the dishes. Thank you for being a beacon through the insanity, you will be missed. I will continue to pray for those closest to him as he leaves a leaves a big hole at his passing. Blessings.

  27. Mike & Kathy James says:

    Our hearts are broken for you, Denise and your family. We love you still as our own youth over 36 years ago. Mike and you have touched so many young peoples’ lives. That love to them will live on forever. Our prayers and love are with you at this time in your life.
    Love to you, Mike, Kathy and Michael James

  28. prayers to the family.

  29. Quinault says:

    May his Memory be Eternal!

  30. A wonderful man, very influential on my thought process. May the love they had give his family comfort and some peace.

    Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world;
    In the Name of God the Father Almighty Who created you;
    In the Name of Jesus Christ Who redeemed you;
    In the Name of the Holy Spirit Who sanctifies you.
    May your rest be this day in peace,
    and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God

  31. Oh.

    He comes Home on the other shore.
    He sailed well and true… and taught so many of us how to ride the stormy waves.

    All’s grace,

  32. Prayers and Peace to Denise and the rest of the family.

  33. I have only been reading him for about a month but I must say he was very interesting and had some of the most needed conversations in Christendom.

    He seemed like a very genuine and honest person. It’s too bad he had to leave this world so soon. My deepest condolences to his family in this time of mourning…may they find the peace needed in this time.

  34. Godspeed, dear gentle soul.

  35. i will miss the short time with the internet monk that i was blessed to have. i found Michael’s website through Steve Brown’s ministry a couple of years ago. being the same age and sharing the same name. i immediately found a connection with his love of baseball (The Big Red Machine), small town eastern kentucky living, front porches and most of all our loving God. I know he is basking in that love right now.

    Even though we never met i always felt like i could call him friend. Good bye for now my friend.
    Mike D

  36. Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Michael. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)

    I never met Michael but I was blessed by his ministry on this blog, as were so many others. He always spoke honestly, bravely and without pretense. My deepest sympathies to his family.

  37. Christopher Lake says:

    I’m not as active here as I once was, and I missed this sad, sad news (sad for us, not for Michael). This is so hard. So very hard. Michael and I sometimes sharply disagreed on certain things, but in the last several months, I had realized much of his wisdom.

    Brother, you’re out of this vale of tears. I rejoice for you, grieve for us, and not least at all, I pray for your family, especially Denise and children. My internet experience will never be the same. Thank you, Michael. I will be buying your book, and I hope that millions do and are blessed by you, as we were here. Can’t wait to see you in Heaven.

  38. I am, pure and simple, sad to hear that a wonderful voice of sensible, reasonable Christianity is gone. I will miss his posts….so insightful. I know he’s in a better place, bue we are not yet, and for that, I mourn.

  39. Rest in peace. Rise in glory.

  40. May this holy soul rest in peace held close to the bosom of Jesus.