Evel Knievel has become a Christian. That’s right. And when he gave his testimony on the “Hour of Power” broadcast, 400-500 people spontaneously came forward to be baptized. I first read about Evel Knievel’s conversion in this Christianity Today article. For those who are too young to remember his famous motorcycle jumps, check out the Wikipedia article on his colorful, checkered career.
On Palm Sunday, he appeared with Dr. Robert Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral in California. Here is the transcript of his testimony.
It is always easy to be skeptical when a flamboyant sinner claims to have converted to Christianity. After all, besides being a legendary stuntman, Evel Knievel is the consummate salesman. How do we know that this is not another ploy for attention by a man who wants to grab one last moment in the spotlight? The answer is, we don’t. I can’t read his heart. Time will tell if his conversion is genuine. But I think it is. Let me tell you why I came to that conclusion.
First, his testimony sounds like Evel Knievel. I’ve always thought it was a bad thing when new converts are coached to talk about the Lord using “church talk” instead of their own lingo. His testimony is brash and bold, just like the man himself.
Second, he doesn’t try to sugarcoat his sins. He is open about his drug use, his drinking, his gambling and his womanizing. This was all well-documented anyway so there was no reason to cover it up. But to his credit, he owns up to his past.
Third, he makes it clear that it was God’s power that brought him to faith in Jesus Christ. In that regard his testimony reminds me of Paul’s conversion on the road to Tarsus. Here is how he explains it. "So I don’t know what in the world happened. I don’t know if it was the power of the prayer, or of God Himself. But it just reached out either while I was driving, or walking down the sidewalk, or sleeping; and the power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. It just took a hold of me so strong; I can’t tell you how strong it was, and I became a person who was just filled with Christianity. All of a sudden I just believed in Jesus Christ. I did, I believed in Him!"
Fourth, it’s obvious that his life has been radically changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ. "I have a God that I can believe in. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to wake up in the middle of the night and say, well I’m glad I woke up and now I can go back to bed in a few minutes and sleep, but in the meantime I’m going to think about Jesus Christ."
Fifth, he understands that many people will doubt him because of his past.
As I said, time will tell, but if he was going to be saved, this is how it would happen. In the 70s I enjoyed watching him jump those cars and trucks, and I remember watching his abortive attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. He always put on a good show. Now that he is in the Lord’s camp, I hope that he will do much good for the Kingdom.
Read his testimony and come to your own conclusion. I think he has genuinely met the Lord.
Wouldn’t it be just like God to use a man like Evel Knievel to bring multitudes to Jesus? The worst sinners often make the best saints, and since he qualifies on the sinner part, I think he may do well on the saint part also.