September 20, 2020

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. Cynthia Jones says

    It was truly a blessing to know Michael Spencer, to be able to listen to his sermons many times a week for eight years, and to sit across the lunch table from him and get his perspective on everything from world news to my own personal challenges. God gave him a Gift and he used it for God’s glory. Now, he is reaping his reward in heaven. I remember one particular sermon where he talked of how we know that Christians go immediately to be with the Lord when they die. One of the scriptures he quoted was Hebrews 12:1, which says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” He is now in that great cloud of witnesses watching us “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Thank you, Michael Spencer, for heeding God’s call and for cheering us on now as we mourn your loss. Denise, Noel, and Clay, you are in my prayers.

  2. We will dearly miss you Michael. Thank you for all you taught us. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person on the other side. May God grant His grace to the Spencer family.

  3. Andrew Zook says

    I never had the chance to meet Michael here on earth, but he’s had a big impact on my life and I thank the Lord I found his voice in the wilderness in which I was wandering. His writings and podcast (I especially miss that) encouraged me and challenged me to look past my disullisionment with evangelicalism/american christianity. This blog is one of numerous sources which have turned my focus back to Jesus, God incarnate; HIs example, His death and resurrection, His calling on my life to build His kingdom, the living and breathing family of Jesus followers making the Kingdom of God real on earth and beyond, into eternity. Michael reintroduced some much needed crititcal thinking to the american evangelical landscape and affirmed others of like minds that we were not alone. Thank you Michael for allowing God to use you so richly. I can’t wait to meet you on the other side. May God’s peace, comfort, and grace fall like sweet manna upon your family and friends in this time of sadness.

  4. The world seems a little emptier and a little sadder today. My life, however, and the lives of so many readers at this site will always be blessed by the words and wisdom Michael imparted. Thank you, Denise, for sharing him with us. May God bless you all now in your time of need.

  5. I think Michael’s impact is revealed by the fact that this feels like such a loss. Rarely do I have such a strong sense that someone like the Imonk comes along very rarely. I didn’t always agree with Michael, but I learned a lot from his willingness to share his heart.

    When I say he will be missed…i mean it.

  6. Matt Davis says

    It tears me up that Michael had to go so soon. Much love to his family. Death may have lost its sting in heaven, but it sure hurts a hell of a lot here. Until we meet face to face, brother, peace.

    • The Guy from Knoxville says


      Just had to write and say I feel the same way. Yesterday morning after receiving an email from Denise on Michael’s condition – a description that left me knowing it was over even that day…… I went by a church where I fill in on organ on occasion and as I played through some music I was thinking about Michael and his family and what he has ment to them and to all of us here that read and followed I-Monk and I one point my question was….. Why God?…… Why Michael? We need this voice in our world today…… Why him? Why Michael?…..

      You are so right….. death has lost its sting from heaven’s perspective – God’s perspective but for those of us – family and friends – it hurts a hell of a lot as you said. Hang in there my brother we will see Michael and many others gone before but until then we still have hope through Christ even when it hurts the worst. Dear God, we are hurting….. comfort us and the family.


      The Guy from Knoxville

  7. I still have saved Michael’s reply to my silly email from a year ago. He was obviously busy, but took a period of time to answer my questions and direct me to resources for those questions he could not answer. His writings were truly inspirational. Condolences to his loved ones.

  8. I will miss iMonk. I only knew Michael as a writer, and we conversed from time time but always greatly appreciated his thoughtfulness, and continued to looked forward to his innovative blogging posts. My deepest sympathies to the Spencer Family. He will be sadly missed


  9. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.


  15. 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.


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

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

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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.

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

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

    –Terrace Crawford

  26. Rest in peace, Mike.

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

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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.


  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

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

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. prayers to the family.

  38. Quinault says

    May his Memory be Eternal!

  39. 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

  40. 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,