A LEFT WING ATHEIST TURNS TO CHRIST

I became a Christian during my first year at Sussex University, although I had already spent two years at Leeds University, having decided to transfer to Sussex part way through my course.   I made this decision for a variety of reasons, but in hindsight I see the providence of God at work.

I grew up in a large family of six children on a housing estate in Ipswich and when I went up to Leeds University to study Maths and Physics, not only was it quite a culture shock – I had never been further north than Norwich - I was a committed atheist.    

The great materialistic philosophers such as David Hume and Bertrand Russell had great appeal to me.   I also became quite involved with left wing politics and got mixed up in several political demonstrations during 1968.  One such was the Grosvenor Square demonstration against the Vietnam War.  I was at Leeds University when the Students Union president was Jack Straw, and like most students I was very much influenced by left wing poltics.

 

CHALLENGED BY A LORRY DRIVER!

In May 1969, towards the end of my second year at Leeds I had to travel to Brighton for an interview at Sussex University.   As was common in those days, I hitch-hiked on the return journey.   It was then that I met Harry Jeffrey, a Christian lorry driver, who took me up the A1 from Newark to Leeds.   To my surprise he immediately responded to my interest in philosophy and told me of his own philosophy, which turned out to be the Gospel.   He told me of his own dramatic conversion, how as a working man he had a violent temper and an uncontrollable tongue.   He eventually was convicted of sin and found Christ.   I was struck by all that he said.   As an arrogant student, intellectually proud of my book knowledge, I was truly humbled to meet a man of little formal education, but one who had a really practical philosophy of life - the Gospel.   He had a sure and certain faith which gave him a practical enjoyment of life now and a confidence for the life to come. 

 

BRIGHTON RAILWAY MISSION - Now Calvary Evangelical Church

Six months later, in November, newly arrived in Brighton, I had an experience which led me to reject atheism.   In those days I lived in Kemp Town, guest houses providing much of the accommodation which the campus lacked.   I was alone in my room and quite unexpectedly I became gripped by a morbid fear of death.   I began to ponder the meaning of life and became suddenly convinced of the sheer futility and emptiness of my atheism.   Then passed before my imagination all the good things of life: family, music, science itself, the wonders of the natural world, and especially that experience which as Christians we call agape love.   I was riveted and began to tremble physically, gripped by an overwhelming sensation of meaning, purpose, a sense of the reality of God and His love, and for the first time in probably six years, at the age of 20, began to pray.   Not knowing what to pray, the Lord’s prayer came to mind.

 I was not yet a Christian, but I was no longer an atheist.   My conversion was about three months later, in February 1970, following a door to door campaign on the campus by the CU.   The one whom the Lord used to knock on my door was Howard Mason, now pastor at Park United Church in Stoke.   Another in the CU in those days was John Benton, pastor of Chertsy Street Baptist Church in Guildford.   In the CU there was a large group who held to the reformed faith who worshipped at the Railway Mission under the pastorate of the late Les Hill.   It was soon after attending this church, reading the New Testament, and firing questions at Howard Mason that I was soundly converted.

 

Trevor & his wife Dina - Dina's testimony is also on this site

The next Christmas holidays at home in Ipswich I was to be found delivering tracts from door to door, whereas a year or two previously I had been going round the houses selling the Socialist Worker.

I am glad to say that at Easter 1970, shortly after my conversion, I was able to write to Harry Jeffrey, the lorry driver, with the news.   He wrote back saying that although he made a habit of witnessing in his cab to hitch-hikers, I was the first one known by him to have become a Christian.   Eight years later I had the pleasure of receiving him and his wife as guests at our wedding.

 Bible Reading often given when I relate this in a meeting: 1 Cor 1:18 – 25. 

For the  message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the 

Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”