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5 Questions on Christianity, Life and Books

The Latimer Trust asks Dr Ashley Null


How did you become a Christian?

I was reared in the Episcopal church, but a defining moment came when, as a twelve-year-old, I was a guest in a rural Oklahoma Bible church. I heard a sermon about being a "lap dog" for Jesus. The novel idea that a person could have such an intimate relationship with God stirred something deep inside me, and when the preacher invited anyone who wanted to grow closer to Jesus to come down the aisle and pray, I went forward. The next year when I went through confirmation in my home parish, I knew exactly what I was doing, namely, committing myself to life in his service.


Who is or has been an influential person in your Christian pilgrimage?

I have been blessed with so many kind mentors, but, for the sake of brevity, let me list just three: i) Bishop Fitz Allison, who ordained me and taught me, via Grace Church, New York, about justification by faith; ii) John Stott, for whom I worked very briefly one summer, stands out as the most visible example of what the Spirit can do in a minister to crucify the flesh; and iii) Sandy Millar, whose wise saying still guides me: "Ashley, look at what the Spirit is doing and get behind it!"


What piece of advice would you give young ordinands going into ordained ministry today?

If your parish gives you their all, they will give you their good and their bad--it's a package deal. You will have to learn to overlook their shortcomings in love. By the way, if you give your parish your all, you will give them your good and your bad--it's a package deal. They will have to learn to overlook your shortcomings in love. By the way, if you don't model overlooking their shortcomings in love, they might not know how to overlook yours.


Which is the best book you have read in 2022?

The best history book for my own enjoyment this year has been Christopher Clark's Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947.


What are your working on at the moment?

Finishing Cranmer and the Efficacious Word of God in the next three months.


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Dr Ashley Null holds a fellowship supported by the German Research Council at Humboldt University of Berlin to edit Thomas Cranmer’s private theological notebooks for Oxford University Press. As one of the world’s foremost experts on Thomas Cranmer, Dr. Null is a well-known speaker and writer. His booklet Divine Allurement, published by the Latimer Trust can be found here.

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