The Word: Nicky Gumbel

Growing up, Nicky Gumbel found religion pointless and dull and considered Christianity “intellectually unsustainable”. Yet today he is best known as vicar of one the largest evangelical churches in the country and the modern-day architect of the popular Alpha Course, designed to help people explore the basics of the Christian faith. Some have even called him the Church of England’s “spiritual father”.

But there are dark places in his biography too – first and foremost the fate of many of his German Jewish father’s relatives, who were killed in the Holocaust.

Speaking to Louisa Foxe, Nicky Gumbel discusses the Bible passages that led to his conversion to Christianity, his decision to give up his barrister wig to become a man of the cloth, and how his father’s death has brought him closer to his Jewish roots.

Bible verses read by David Suchet.


Bible extracts taken from The Complete NIV Audio Bible and provided by Biblica

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  • I was fortunate to be in the group which Nicky Gumbel led at last year’s Alpha Course at HTB. Nicky conducted the course with great grace and insight and it was a privilege to have been a participant. As an Irish Jew of German descent I didn’t necessarily agree with everything which was said but what impressed me was the friendly and inclusive tone of the course alongside a resolve to encourage everyone to proceed at their own pace. As a result I found myself buying into far more of the course than I had originally anticipated.
    In this interview, not surprisingly, I found Nicky’s discussion of his German Jewish roots especially poignant. There’s no attempt to spin nor resort to subterfuge…rather a very honest account of the pain and suffering in his family. It doesn’t make for easy listening (nor is it intended to) but is well worth the effort.

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