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A Secular Jew Comes To Faith In Jesus Christ

Best-selling author and award winning writer, Andrew Klavan, discusses being a secular Jew and coming to Christ out of Hollywood. Read Transcript


Well if you love to read a nail biting, cliff-hanging thriller,

chances are you know the novels of Andrew Klavan.

If not, you may have seen one of the movies based on them.

Take a look.

Andrew Klavan is a bestselling author of tough-guy thrillers.

Some of his novels were made into movies

such as "True Crime" filmed by Clint Eastwood

and "Don't Say a Word" with Michael Douglas.

Despite their grittiness, his novels

have always contained a search for truth, something

that Andrew has done throughout his entire adult life.

In his memoir, "The Great Good Thing",

Andrew shares how his lifelong search for answers

led him to a place he never expected.

Please welcome to The 700 Club, Andrew Klavan.

It's great to have you here.

Thank you for having me.

It's great to be here.


"The Great Good Thing".

Your book is subtitled, A Secular Jew

Comes to Faith in Christ.

Talk a little bit about your childhood

because it had strong impact on you.

I guess it does for all of us.

But in your scenario, your family was Jewish,

but not practicing.

Well we were practicing in the sense

that it was very important to my father

to train us up in the traditions, and the rights,

and all this.

And so we went to Hebrew school.

We went to temple on holy days and all this.

But underneath this, my parents didn't believe in God.

My mother was one of the-- to the day she died,

she was really one of the most convicted

atheists I have ever met.


And, yeah, my father would hedge his bets, you know.

He was the kind of guy who didn't

want to take any chances.

But it really became clear to me that all these things that I

was being trained in, and Judaism

is a very beautiful religion with a wonderful tradition,

but if you take God out of it, it becomes an empty room.

It becomes a cathedral that's built pointing at nothing.

And so that began to bother me.

I was always a kid who wanted things to make sense

and it didn't make any sense to me

to pray to a God who wasn't there.

And it bothered you at an early age.

I mean you were Bar Mitzvahed at 13.

And here you are not really having been taught

to relate to God in any way.

By 14, were you pretty sure yourself

that there wasn't a God or where were you at?


Pretty much.

I mean, I was standing up there.

It was very difficult for me to stand in front of an audience

and say these words that I knew, in my heart, I didn't believe.

And in those days, in that neighborhood,

when you were Bar Mitzvahed, people

gave you a lot of wonderful jewelry and savings bonds.

So I had this big leather box of filled with thousands

of dollars worth of gifts and I was thrilled, of course,

you know at 13.


But over the months that followed,

I began to feel that it was ill-gotten gains, that I

had gotten it by telling a lie.

And one night I took the box and I crept outside,

when everyone was asleep, and I pushed it into the garbage

and let them take it away.



Because I wanted to be free of the sense that I had lied,

that something was off between me and my integrity.

You know, that quest for truth in you

was almost built into you from the time you were very, very

young and eventually, because of the emptiness of all the things

you're talking about, it led to a clinical depression.

And you, I mean, you share how you found yourself

in the darkest night of your life.

Share that.

It was really quite bad.

I mean, here I was, I had a wife that I loved so much

and a daughter at that point, later I'd have a son,

but I had a daughter, and I remember sitting in the room

thinking, I can't live anymore.

I don't know how to live.

And I was sitting in the dark.

I was smoking.

And I was drinking.

I was listening to a baseball game that

was on in the background, and there

was this Christian ballplayer whom I loved, Gary Carter,

and I remember thinking, I don't know how to live.

And just as I was thinking this, Carter

was interviewed on the radio about how

he could run in so much pain and he just

said, very simply, he said sometimes

you've got to play in pain.

And the minute I heard that, I thought, I can do that.

I can do that.

I'm in terrible depression.

I'm in terrible pain, but I can keep playing.

And I did and things turned around.

So Andrew, how did you go from that place

of being almost on the verge of being willing to let go

of life to finding Christ because it wasn't a Damascus

road experience for you?



You know, well, first of all, I had to get therapy

to become a happier person.

I so admired you for doing that.

As I read that, I thought, yes, it's a good thing to do that.

It is.

And I was so stubborn that I couldn't

turn to God when I needed help.

I needed to turn to God and I was

afraid it would be a crutch, you know,

because I wanted to be honest.

But after I got healthy, and after my mind was right,

it became clear to me that all the philosophies that didn't

include God didn't make sense.

And so I accepted, not Christ, but God and started to pray,

and that transformed my life.

And it took about five years of prayer that changed everything.

And then one day, when I realized

what had happened to me, I was driving in the hills over Santa

Barbara, and I said to God, you know, you've changed my life.

What can I do for you because I'm nobody?

You know, you're God and I'm nobody.

And almost as if it were spoken into my ear, I heard God say,

now you should be baptized.

And I said out loud, baptized?

You've got to be kidding me.

Because here I was--

But I'm Jewish.

I'm Jewish.

Michel I really had no religion whatsoever, just this faith

in God, which had then become very clear to me.

And so that began a process where I thought,

how did that happen and where did that voice come from?

Was it a real voice or was it a delusion?

I had to really question myself about it.

Very difficult.

So how did you get to the baptism?

And how did-- because with family, with friends,

with the business you were in.

I mean, that was a pretty public statement.

It was tough.

I mean, I knew it would, and it did, hurt me in Hollywood.

I was writing screenplays and selling them continually

and there's a lot of hostility to God in Hollywood.

I knew it would estrange me from some friends and it did.

And I was fearful.

You know, my father and I never really got along,

but we had made a separate peace and he had once

said to me that if I ever converted, he would disown me.

And I thought, here I am, going to do

this thing that's going to bring pain

and suffering into my house.

And I thought, I'm going to have to tell him

because I'm a public man.

He's going to see it somewhere.

And he came to visit and, as I was

wrestling with how to break it to him,

he said, I've got to go home.

I'm suffering from double vision.

And it turned out that he had a brain tumor.

It was his final illness.

And so I realized I couldn't break his heart in the last six

months of his life.

And it was a very weird, double life

I started living because I would go to New York to visit him,

and then I would leave his apartment

and go visit my friend, this Episcopal priest who

was preparing me for baptism.

And it came to a head on what was

both Holy week and Passover, when my father passed away,

and then very shortly afterwards, I was baptized.

You know, your book is just such a great picture

of your journey.

You're very candid about things.

What do you want people to take away from "The Great Good

Thing" when they read it?

I think the most important thing to me is I think so many

of us, it's not just Jewish people,

it's so many of us live in this secular world

where atheism is the default setting.

And we're told that, if you're smart, you don't believe.

And scientists come out and say there's no God.

I proved it in my science and all this stuff.

They're wrong.

It's not true.

And I wanted to show you how a very logical person, a person

dedicated to truth, could come through that,

and come out of that, and find the real truth and the truth

that would make you happy without leaving behind reality

and just grasping the real reality.

The full reality of life.

And I hope that it works like that for some people.

It's a wonderful story.

Thank you so much for sharing it with us today.

It's fascinating.

And there is much more to it than we've had time to cover.

You can read it all in his new memoir.

It's called "The Great Good Thing".

It's available wherever books are sold.

Plus you can watch a web-exclusive interview

with Andrew on our Facebook page.

To see that, log onto

Andrew, great to have you here.

Thank you, too.


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