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Skeptic Convinced of Christ

"After six years given to the impartial investigation of Christianity as to its truth or falsity, I have come to the deliberate conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of the Jews, the Savior of the world, and my personal Savior."

These were the words of Lew Wallace, Governor of New Mexico, over a century ago. He had started out to write a book against Jesus Christ and in the process was converted to Christianity. He told a friend how it happened.

I had always been an agnostic and denied Christianity. Robert C. Ingersoll, a famous agnostic, was one of my most intimate friends. He once suggested, "See here, Wallace, you are a learned man and a thinker. Why don't you gather material and write a book to prove the falsity concerning Jesus Christ, that no such man has ever lived, much less the author of the teachings found in the New Testament. Such a book would make you famous. It would be a masterpiece, and a way of putting an end to the foolishness about the so-called Christ."
The thought made a deep impression on me, and we discussed the possibility of such a book. I went to Indianapolis, my home, and told my wife what I intended. She was a member of the Methodist Church and naturally did not like my plan. But I decided to do it and began to collect material in libraries here and in the old world. I gathered everything over that period in which Jesus Christ, according to legend, should have lived.
Several years were spent in this work. I had written nearly four chapters when it became clear to me that Jesus Christ was just as real a personality as Socrates, Plato, or Caesar. The conviction became a certainty. I knew that Jesus Christ had lived because of the facts connected with the period in which he lived.
I was in an uncomfortable position. I had begun to write a book to prove that Jesus Christ had never lived on earth. Now I was face to face with the fact that he was just as historic a personage as Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Virgil, Dante, and a host of other men who had lived in olden days. I asked myself candidly, "If he was a real person (and there was no doubt), was he not then also the Son of God and the Savior of the world?" Gradually the consciousness grew that, since Jesus Christ was a real person, he probably was the one he claimed to be.
I fell on my knees to pray for the first time in my life, and I asked God to reveal himself to me, forgive my sins, and help me to become a follower of Christ. Towards morning the light broke into my soul. I went into my bedroom, woke my wife, and told her that I had received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
"O Lew," she said, "I have prayed for this ever since you told me of your purpose to write this book, that you would find him while you wrote it!"

Lew Wallace did write a very famous book. It was a masterpiece and the crowning glory of his life's work. He changed the book he was originally writing and used all his research to write another book.

Now every time I watch the epic film made from that book and see Charlton Heston racing those four magnificent white horses in that amazing chariot race, I wonder how many who have seen Ben Hur, with its moving references to Jesus, know it was written by a man who wanted to disprove that Jesus ever existed, and instead became convinced that he was the greatest man who ever lived!

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