Op-Ed: Wanted Fugitive Walks Into Church, Experiences Utter Transformation


You know God is powerfully present in a service when people come to the altar not just to throw themselves before the Divine Lawgiver for mercy, but also before local law enforcement.

It was a small town in Illinois — a Friday night service in June 2000. During the time of prayer and commitment at the end of the service, a gentleman at the church altar whispered in my ear, “I’m wanted by the law, and I need to turn myself in.”

He explained that he was tired of running and wanted to make right with God and man. As the choir continued to sing, the pastor and I took this gentleman to an office in the church building. With a beaming smile and the countenance of one at peace with the world, the man waited for law enforcement to arrive.

The bewildered police dispatcher asked, “Are you in danger? Is this a hostage situation?”

“No, it is nothing like that, and no one is in danger,” I explained. “This man has accepted Christ, and he is happy now to surrender to the law.”


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It’s a beautiful thing when people get honest with God, with those around them, and with themselves. I’ve seen it thousands of times over three decades of pastoral ministry.

Conversely, it is tragic to watch people — and even nations — destroy themselves and their surroundings when they refuse to acknowledge bad decisions and their undeniable consequences.

America is on the precipice of a fall of disastrous proportions. Our nation nowadays is feeling the painful coalescence of decades of bad decisions. At the legal, journalistic and academic levels, we’re living and governing as if there are no morals or God who will ever hold us accountable.

Our nation is crumbling, our president is bumbling, and our vice president is mumbling. And what, according to our wise cultural overlords, will fix it? Imposing trans ideology on all levels of society, keeping the southern border open, and fighting a war on gas stoves and incandescent light bulbs.

The woke, self-appointed messiahs (most of whom recoil at the mention of humanity’s true Messiah) are ignoring constitutional law and the welfare of citizens and jeopardizing the future of our republic.

The consistent failure of leftist ideology at every level for decades is undeniable. It reminds me of a recent assessment of environmental crusader Paul Ehrlich’s decades of dire, end-of-the-world climate change predictions: He was not just wrong, but “spectacularly wrong.”

Once, when the philosopher George W.F. Hegel made a patently false statement in a college class, a student said, “Herr professor, the facts say otherwise.” Hegel retorted, “So much the worse for the facts!” Such disregard for reality would earn Hegel a Cabinet position today.

The solution to this decay is clear — we must repent, turn back to God, and admit we are a nation in trouble.

It is amazing how forgiving the world can be — and how forgiving and restorative God is. It’s called grace. As hymn writer John Newton penned in 1772, the grace of Jesus Christ is indeed “Amazing Grace.”


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It begins with each one of us turning to God. Otherwise, we are soon to be a nation beyond salvaging.

Repentance is not a word you will hear on the news tonight; it is, unfortunately, missing in many churches. What is repentance?

It means an about-face, a 180-degree course correction from where you were headed to someplace new. Today, you can find a new life direction and a revitalized attitude.

When a preacher like me speaks of repentance before God, it means bringing an accountability agent into the decision. I repent before God because He knows and sees all; I hold to my decision because God knows if I break it.

Will you become accountable to yourself, your nation and your God? Repent. Turn. Start again. Become a part of the human infrastructure that repairs and rebuilds this nation. Repentance is the first step toward rebuilding the weakened moral structures of America. The foundation is still solid — we are still one nation under God.

National repair begins with personal repentance. We rebuild roads with money and concrete. We heal the soul of a nation one penitent heart at a time.

$3 trillion can’t widen the road to heaven; it will always be narrow. But a heartfelt “I was wrong — I repent” can rebuild the bridge to God. We desperately need that bridge open and functioning.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.



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