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Former Atheist Artist Shares Story of Conversion and How Faith Impacts His Art

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Apr 22
  • Comments

An artist who used to be an atheist recently shared about how he became a Christian and how his faith impacts his art.


CBN News recently interviewed British artist Charles Mackesy.


Mackesy is a well-known artist who has sold artwork to celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Sting, but the most compelling thing about him is the way he lives out his faith through his art.


One of his most notable works is a bronze sculpture called “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” depicting the father in the parable embracing his wayward son, beautifully capturing the moment. The statue resides at Holy Trinity Brompton, a Church of England church.


Mackesy also depicts the beauty in everyday life. 


“Jesus quietly introduced me to a journey into finding people really beautiful, which is how my art really began," Mackesy says in the interview. "Because I felt inside me he was going, 'Look. How beautiful is that guy sitting on that bench?' And I would have never noticed him before."


Mackesy didn’t always have a favorable view of Christianity, however.


In the interview with CBN News, he tells the surprising and unorthodox story of how hearing a Christian hymn while he was inside a portable toilet was his first encounter with God.


Mackesy heard the song “Oh, Happy Day” and it struck something inside him.


He found himself “In the loo. Bawling," he said. "Atheist, atheist, bawling,” he says.


"I didn't really know what had happened to me," Mackesy continued. "But as I was feeling it, my left foot slipped. And I went up to here in..." He lets the audience fill in the blank.


Vicar Nicky Gumbel stated that Mackesy is able to reach people with the gospel because he is humble and lives out his faith in a very real way.


"Charlie appeals to people outside of the church because he's not what they expect," explained Gumbel. "You know, when you have the sort of picture of 'the evangelist,' you don't picture Charlie Mackesy, and I think that's what's so wonderful about him.”


Mackesy says that he used to think Christianity was all about being nice and doing all the right things, but now he realizes that the message of Christianity is that “You're loved. You're loved as you are. Covered in whatever it is, on the inside or out.”


Mackesy is a popular speaker in England and often shares this message with others. 


Watch the CBN News interview with Mackesy below:



Photo courtesy:


Publication date: April 22, 2016