5 Questions on Christianity, Life and Books
1. How did you become a Christian?
I was brought in a nominally Christian home: we attended Church at Christmas and Easter. I was baptised [Anglican] at the age of 7, because my parents had not got around to organising it till then! At age 11 I had a teacher at school whom I did not like, and who was not a Christian. But his father was a Christian, and when the teacher talked about his father and his faith and his values, I decided I wanted to be a Christian! So I went home and told my parents I wanted to go the church every Sunday. My father kindly took me for about three months, and then I continued on my own. I became very conscientious, praying morning and night, reading my Bible, and going to church 3 times every Sunday. But no one sat down with me and explained the gospel, so I thought that being a Christian meant being a nice person, praying, going to church, and reading my Bible every day.
When I was 16, God kindly organised for me to meet a personal evangelist, who sat me down and explained the gospel. I was converted in 20 minutes!
2. Who is or has been an influential person in your Christian pilgrimage?
The man who converted me was an Anglican minister, Harrie Scott Simmons. He had been a missionary in India, and had returned home because of ill-health. He served as a school chaplain [not at my school], and in addition, he would see ‘a young laddie’ every afternoon and evening, for discussion, prayer, and Bible study. He discipled me for the next three years, and we met once a week. He was a man of prayer, and though he had high standards, if I raised a sin I had committed, he would point immediately to God’s mercy in the atoning death of Christ, and God’s promise of immediate forgiveness. He trained me in: praying, studying the Bible, witnessing to my friends, belonging to a church, leading a godly life, growing a concern for God’s global gospel plan, supporting missionaries, and considering ordained ministry.
3. What piece of advice would you give young ordinands going into ordained ministry today?
Trust God completely for wisdom, gifts, energy, and power for life and ministry: and serve God and please him in both your life and your ministry.
4. Which is the best book you have read in 2021?
Gumbuli of Ngukurr, by Murray Seiffert, the biography of an aboriginal elder in the Northern Territory of Australia, and a significant church leader.
5. What are your working on at the moment?
Mentoring ministers and training preachers. Praying. Serving in my local church. Writing on the verbal inspiration of Scripture, and a book on prayer.