Revd Dr Mike Ovey, head of Oak Hill theological college, has died unexpectedly at the age of 58.
He was married to Heather and father of three children: Charlie, Harry and Ana.
Revd Dr Ovey died on Saturday, and the college later announced the news quoting Psalm 116: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
It added: “As the Oak Hill community comes to terms with the loss of our dear brother and leader, we cling on to the promise that ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’.
“It reminds us that for Mike, death is not an end but a glorious beginning.”
He was a tremendous blessing to the church.
Details about his funeral and a thanksgiving service will follow.
Jesus – the only Way
Revd Dr Ovey was born in 1958 and studied at the University of Oxford. He went on to work as a parliamentary draftsman, writing government legislation.
In 2007 he co-wrote ‘Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution’, which reaffirmed truths of Jesus’ death on the Cross in the face of heretical attack.
Revd Dr Ovey worked with The Christian Institute on free speech issues for over ten years, including most recently warning that proposed Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) would be a “disaster” for the church.
Earlier in 2015 he said that from both a legal and religious perspective EDOs were dangerous. Declaring Jesus is the only way to salvation could fall foul of the plans, he said.
In 2014 Mike Ovey spoke at The Christian Institute’s Autumn Lecture series on the topic of Law, Gospel and the Public Square, about what it means to be a Christian citizen today.
The Institute’s Director Colin Hart described Revd Dr Ovey as a “faithful and courageous Christian who helped thousands of believers through both his training and writing”.
“He was a tremendous blessing to the church.”
Tom Heasman, a final year student at Oak Hill, said Revd Dr Ovey was “first and foremost a man who was wonderfully kind and who loved people”.
“He will be greatly missed by all of us here; he was our leader, teacher and friend – but we rejoice that he’s now with his Father.”
Former students also thanked God for Mike Ovey, telling the Institute that he taught “with clarity, conviction and passion”, and had “superb gifts of teaching”.
“We are thankful that he is with the Lord he served so faithfully”, one said, adding: “We pray for his family and the college community at such a hard time.”