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Bridging the Gap Between Protestants and Catholics

Richard Roberts grew up in a non-religious home in the United Kingdom. During his teen years, he began to long for something deeper and turned to spirituality for answers. For a time, he considered joining the Moonies but realized that he had never investigated Christianity. So, he began searching the scriptures for truth. While reading the New Testament he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and gave his life to the Lord.

He studied medicine and went on to become a medical doctor serving as a primary care physician in a deprived social housing area in the UK. At the same time, he was also leading a home group as part of a church that eventually collapsed. The people from his home group kept coming around and he wasn’t sure what to do. So, he continued to lead, thinking that someone else would show up and take the helm but they never did. Eventually, it became his first church plant and his passion turned to ministry.

Today, his focus is on rural church planting, and mentoring church leaders in the United Kingdom. He also writes spiritual formation content at a graduate level, documents trends in Charismatic movements, spiritual leadership coaching and develops spiritually-designed training content.

As the team leader for the New Churches Group in official conversations with The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), he works as a bridge-builder between the Vatican and Charismatic churches. With the continual growth of Charismatic and house churches, the Vatican has taken notice and created the PCPCU in the 1960s to develop dialogue and collaboration with the other churches and world communions.

Dr. Roberts and a group of church leaders produced a document entitled, “The Characteristics of the New Charismatic Churches” arising out of a series of conversations held at the offices of the PCPCU. This paper is the main outcome of their partnership thus far.  The New Charismatic Churches (NCCs) are not officially defined but represent local churches born out of the Charismatic Movement over the last 50 years, forming networks rather than denominations. More NCC characteristics are described in a scholarly paper authored by Dr. Roberts. Having features such as: “a shared history emerging out of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit; common patterns of leadership with the recognition of apostolic and prophetic ministry; emphasis on a holistic mission; and operating through relational networks. The Bible is seen to be authoritative and core beliefs of these churches are consistent with orthodox credal formulations of the Christian faith,” explains Roberts.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


BM (Bachelor of Medicine), Southhampton University

MA in Theological Studies Trinity College, Bristol

MSc in Counseling from Bristol University

Director of Studies for Missional Leadership (graduate level) for an interdenominational UK college of theology

Catholic Charismatic Renewal, The Gathering of the Holy Spirit conference (organizing committee)

New Churches Group in official Conversations with The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (team leader)

International Charismatic Consultation on World Evangelism (trustee)

United States Charismatic Leaders Fellowship (steering committee)


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