By Mel Johnson On January 14, 2019
Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of the most well-known actors of our time. For years, he was a well-known atheist, too. But all of that changed when a woman at an AA meeting challenged his disbelief with one, simple question. That was the beginning of the inspiring Anthony Hopkins testimony!
No matter how successful someone may seem from the outside, we all have our own internal struggles. During the earlier years of Anthony Hopkins’ career, he found himself in his own battle with alcoholism. Anthony’s addiction started “innocently.” He adopted a worldly mindset and drank because “that's what you do in theater, you drink." But as is the case too often, the social pastime soon took over his life. By 1975, Anthony’s drinking had spiraled out of control. "I was hell-bent on destruction," the award-winning actor recalled. "It was like being possessed by a demon, an addiction, and I couldn't stop. And there are millions of people around like that.”
Sir Anthony Hopkins realized he needed help. So, he turned to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Up until then, Anthony Hopkins had been an atheist. But during an AA meeting, a woman asked him a simple question. "Why don't you just trust in God?" It’s not something Anthony had ever tried. But as desperate as he was, he thought, “Well, why not?” Deciding to believe and trust in God was the moment everything changed for the desperate actor.
“I could not stop [drinking], but I just asked for a little bit of help and suddenly, pow. It was just like, bingo," Anthony Hopkins recalled. Miraculously, Anthony says the craving to drink was taken from him, “never to return again.” And he’s believed in God ever since, working day after day, year after year, to grow in his faith. When asked in a CNN interview with Piers Morgan if he believed in God, former-atheist Anthony Hopkins replied wholeheartedly, “Yes, I do. I do.”
Years after finding faith, Anthony Hopkins is regarded as one of the greatest actors of our time. In fact, he earned the title of Sir Anthony Hopkins when Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 1993, for his contributions to the performing arts. As such an esteemed actor, Anthony was invited to speak to a crowd of nearly 500 high school and college students at the annual Leadership, Excellence and Accelerating Your Potential conference (LEAP). And he shared with them the dangers of confirming to the world. “If you chase the money, it’s not gonna work. And if you chase success, it’s not gonna work.”
In fact, in a separate interview, Anthony opened up about how unfulfilling success alone is: You know, I meet young people, and they want to act and they want to be famous,” and I tell them, when you get to the top of the tree, there's nothing up there. Most of this is nonsense, most of this is a lie. Accept life as it is. Just be grateful to be alive." After sharing how he was saved from the depths of alcoholism, Anthony Hopkins explained the power our words and our beliefs have over our lives. He also touched on how God can use anything, even our biggest messes, for good. “I believe that we are capable of so much,” Anthony said to the students. “From my own life, I still cannot believe that my life is what it is because I should have died in Wales, drunk or something like that. ... We can talk ourselves into death or we can talk ourselves into the best life we’ve ever lived. None of it was a mistake. It was all a destiny.”
While Anthony Hopkins has, at times, played characters who are truly evil, the actor lives out his real life with Christ in his heart. He’s been an atheist before finding God and now he just feels sorry for atheists, comparing a life of disbelief to “living in a closed cell with no windows."
"I'd hate to have to live like that, wouldn't you?” Sir Anthony Hopkins asked. What a beautiful reminder the Anthony Hopkins testimony was of the hope we have through Jesus!
By Stephen Altrogge
What comes to your mind when you hear the word legalism? The Pharisees? Those old folks in your church who hate rock n’ roll and cards? Your weird, Fundamentalist uncle? Westboro Baptist Church?
What Is Legalism, Really?I tend to think of legalism in pretty black and white terms: Legalism is trying to earn God’s forgiveness and acceptance through my obedience rather than through the finished work of Christ. Bam! Problem solved, legalism identified, on to the next. And while that may be the technical, dictionary definition, I’m beginning to learn that legalism is much slimier and more slippery. It shows up in odd places, unexpected and unwelcome. It slides into the nooks and crannies of my heart. It’s an expert con man, pretending to be my friend and convincing me to give up the free grace of God for a much heavier burden. But legalism always carries with it certain symptoms. It’s like a disease. It may not be easily detectable, but if you know what to look for, you can usually spot it and root it out.
One of those primary symptoms? Becoming irritable and frustrated at God’s grace poured out to others.
LEGALISM IN THE VINEYARD Remember the story Jesus told of the workers in the vineyard? Some worked all day, busting their backs in the hot sun after being told they would receive a day’s wages. Others worked half a day, some worked a quarter day and a few only worked an hour. At the end of the day, they all received the same wages. The men who worked all day were seriously ticked off:
Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house… (Matthew 20:10-11)
The workers thought they deserved more because they worked more. It was simple mathematics and economics to them. They were angry at the master for being gracious to those who worked for only an hour. Even though they got a completely fair wage, they were furious that those who worked less got more than a fair share. When they saw grace, it grated against them. (Read More)
By just about every metric there is for music, entertainment icon Kanye West’s latest album “Jesus Is King” is an unmitigated success. After scrapping “Yandhi” earlier this year, West moved forward with “Jesus Is King,” which dropped Oct. 25 and became his ninth consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, an all-genre survey. West is now tied with Eminem for the highest number of records to debut at the top of the chart.
The “Closed on Sunday” rapper also made his first appearance in Billboard’s faith-based surveys. The Gospel-infused album rocketed to the top spot on both the Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums charts. West’s first Christian album sold 264,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the first week, which ended Oct. 31, according to data from Nielsen Music. Of those sales, 109,000 were physical record sales while the rest were streaming purchases. “West is the latest artist to cross to No. 1 on the faith-based tallies after first establishing stardom at other genres,” reported Billboard. “Among others, the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley, and country icons Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire all boast Top Christian Albums No. 1s since the start of 2017.” (Read More)
If his conversion is sincere, is there any doubt that he’s “free indeed”? In Edgar Allen Poe’s harrowing short story, The Premature Burial, a cataleptic man worries that his bouts of unconsciousness will be misinterpreted by the medical establishment as a sign that he has died, and that he will accordingly be buried alive. In one particularly jarring moment in the story, the narrator is awakened in the dark after a cataleptic episode:
At length the slight quivering of an eyelid, and immediately thereupon, an electric shock of a terror, deadly and indefinite, which sends the blood in torrents from the temples to the heart. And now the first positive effort to think. And now the first endeavor to remember. And now a partial and evanescent success. And now the memory has so far regained its dominion, that, in some measure, I am cognizant of my state. I feel that I am not awaking from ordinary sleep. I recollect that I have been subject to catalepsy. And now, at last, as if by the rush of an ocean, my shuddering spirit is overwhelmed by the one grim Danger — by the one spectral and ever-prevalent idea. When the narrator opens his eyes, he regains his faculties one by one until that horrible moment when he announces: “I am cognizant of my state.”
Woke, if you like.
Religious conversions tend to proceed the same way. The convert is taken first by impulse, the inborn instinct toward the supernatural, the soul’s longing for purpose. Next, thought: the rationalizing of the spiritual impulse, earnest contemplation of the divine. Then, memory and subsequent dread, recalling and lamenting one’s former self. The convert confronts “the one grim Danger — by the one spectral and ever-prevalent idea” that he might be lost, damned, or otherwise beyond hope. Then, as it does for Poe’s narrator when he realizes he is actually in the “cabin of a small sloop lying at anchor in the stream,” comes relief.
Kanye West’s conversion has followed the same basic schema. First, West felt the urge for meaning. After his hospitalization in 2016 for psychosis and bipolar disorder, West left the hospital starving for something that would give him order and purpose. That impulse begot the thought that perhaps the one worthy of worship was other than Kanye West. The rapper announced that his faith required his “being in service to Christ,” and “radical obedience” to God — a radical departure from the self-obsessed Ye of years past.
HELSINKI, Finland - A Christian politician from Finland will be interrogated at police headquarters Friday in a hate speech investigation for sharing a Bible passage on social media. Päivi Räsänen is a member of the Finnish Parliament, and she's under investigation for committing a so-called hate crime after she posted a Bible verse aimed at Finland's state church for promoting the homosexual lifestyle. "In my tweet, I directly cited Romans first chapter and verses 24 to 27 and posted the picture of the passages from the Bible," she told CBN News.
The Austin Independent School District (AISD) has adopted a sex-ed curriculum that is far from educational. The program instructs children as young as eight to avoid "non-inclusive" language like "mother" and "father." Fifth and sixth grade students will talk about sexual orientation, HIV and the idea of gender being a spectrum. Also, seventh and eighth graders will be shown how to use condoms. Dr. James Dobson, president and founder of the James Dobson Family Institute, is urging parents to stand against the teachings and become more involved. "Government entities like the Austin Independent School District are failing our children through this harmful indoctrination. But they are only empowered to do so because we as parents and citizens have failed to accept our familial and civic responsibilities," Dobson said.