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5 Questions on Christianity, Life & Books

The Latimer Trust asks Vaughan Roberts



1. How did you become a Christian?

Growing up I went to church in the village and chapel at school, both of which gave me plenty of religion but no gospel. Then, in my last year at school, I visited a church where people were passionate about Jesus. They seemed a bit odd to me, but they were certainly different, and something about them prompted me to read Matthew’s gospel to find out a bit more about Christ. It was reading my dusty Authorized Version on my own that I encountered Christ and knew that my life could never be the same again. Wonderfully, in God’s providence, my twin sister and best friend both also came to Christ within a month of me, totally independently.


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

During my curacy at St. Ebbe's I attended the weekly Friday evening prayer meeting. It wasn’t great for my social life, but I learnt a huge amount from the older saints who were always there. I became especially close Eleanor Wihtol, Daphne Tattersall, and Arthur Casson, but there were others who also deeply impacted me. They shone with love for Jesus, despite having had very hard lives, and gave themselves to prayer, evangelism, and encouraging others. They are all long dead now, but I think of them often.


3. What piece of advice would you give people going into fulltime ministry work today?

I’d encourage them not to make the mistakes I made in my early years. I thought too much depended on me and then ended up burnt out and almost having to stop altogether. The Lord works through weak people through his word. It seldom looks impressive, but it does have life giving power – and we don’t!


4. Which is the best book you have read in 2022?

I loved a biography of Harold Larwood, but you probably were hoping for something other than a cricket book! Louise Perry’s “The Case Against the Sexual Revolution” is powerfully prophetic.


5. What are you working on at the moment?

I had a sabbatical last year and much enjoyed thinking about the Psalms. I’ve always loved the Psalms and been frightened of preaching them for fear of ruining them. After the sabbatical I preached a series which tried to introduce the Psalter as a whole. I’m still revisiting some of that material as I prepare for some Bible Readings at Keswick this summer.

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Vaughn Roberts is the Rector of St Ebbe's Church, Oxford. He is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England. He has written a number of books, including God's Big Picture, Faith in a Time of Crisis and Together in Love & Faith? the latter published by the Latimer Trust can be found here.


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