It is highly unusual for a self-described “Progressive” and someone very visible in Liberal politics/media to come out of the closet as an “Evangelical Christian.” But, Kirsten Powers just did! She tells her story in Christianity Today and on Fox News today.
Kirsten describes her parents as intellectuals, professors, liberals; her friends as secular and atheist. She says liberalism was her religion. “It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican,” she says.
A boyfriend she respected, asked her one day, “Do you believe Jesus is your Savior?” “I started to panic,” she says. “Oh no, was my first thought. He’s crazy.”
Powers writes, “When I answered no, he asked, “Do you think you could ever believe it?” He explained that he was at a point in life when he wanted to get married and felt that I could be that person, but he couldn’t marry a non-Christian. I said I didn’t want to mislead him—that I would never believe in Jesus.”
Then he said the magic words for a liberal: “Do you think you could keep an open mind about it?” Well, of course. “I’m very open-minded!” Even though I wasn’t at all. I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found this man’s church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor.”
Kirsten started attending Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NY with her boyfriend, and was amazed at the “intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy” sermons preached by Tim Keller. “He expertly exposed the intellectual weaknesses of a purely secular worldview.” She started reading the Bible. Then, she had a dream where Jesus appeared to her. She started seeing God everywhere and thought she was going crazy. Writer Eric Metaxes suggested she attend Kathy Keller’s Bible study.
“I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.”
At the end of her testimony, Kirsten mentions “The Hound of Heaven.” It is a poem by Francis Thompson (1859-1907.)
Neumann Press Book of Verse explains the poem, “… As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.”