Last week best selling author Anne Rice was a guest on the Focus on the Family broadcast. For two days she and Dr. James Dobson had a conversation about her spiritual journey from “an unhappy atheist,” as Anne described herself, to a follower of Christ in 1998. If you missed these programs,you’ll want to carve out some time to hear Anne speak about the awesome way that God changed her heart.
I should point out that not everyone who heard these programs was pleased that Anne was on the Focus broadcast. One listener described Anne as an “unsuitable guest” because several of Anne’s previous twenty-two books “had a negative impact” on the listener’s life. Of course, the books in question were written prior to Anne’s conversion. Having sold more than 75 million books, a number of which had rather dark themes such as Interview With the Vampire, I can understand why there might be some objections.
That got me thinking about another well-known person with a questionable past whose life was radically changed by Jesus. I’m referring to Saul the persecutor of the early church. Saul’s zeal in terrorizing Christians was known throughout the land. We’re told that Saul “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). We also find Saul “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (9:1).
When God got a hold of Saul and changed his heart–as well as changing his name to Paul–members of the early church were understandably wary of Paul’s claim to be a new man. Paul made no bones about his dark past when he was “formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent violent man” (1Tim 1:13). But the fact remains that Paul embraced God’s grace and, in turn, went from darkness to light. He also penned more than a dozen books of the Bible.
Just as Paul was transformed by the power of God, Anne Rice has experienced a radical change of heart 38 years after turning her back on God. To me, her participation on the broadcast is a fitting tribute to the saving grace that is available to each of us, no matter what darkness we might have embraced in this life.
To listen to Anne’s story, click here and here.