On Palm Sunday, hundreds responded to Robert "Evel" Knievel's testimony by asking to be baptized on the spot at Crystal Cathedral. Speaking alongside the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, Knievel told the congregation in Orange County, California, how he had refused for 68 years to accept Jesus Christ as Lord. He believed in God, but he couldn't walk away from the gold and the gambling and the booze and the women.
"I don't know why I fought it so hard," he said. "I just did."
But Knievel knew people were praying for him, including his daughter's church, his ex-wife's church, and the hundreds of people who wrote letters urging him to believe. And then something indescribable happened during Daytona Bike Week this March.
"I don't know what in the world happened. I don't know if it was the power of the prayer or God himself, but it just reached out, either while I was driving or walking down the sidewalk or sleeping, and it justthe power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ. I did, I believed in him! I rose up in bed and, I was by myself, and I said, 'Devil, Devil, you bastard you, get away from me. I cast you out of my life.' I just got on my knees and prayed that God would put his arms around me and never, ever, ever let me go."
Pastor Robert A. Schuller, who took over for his father last year, looked out on the church and noticed most people were sobbing. He couldn't simply continue with the service's script and proceed to the offering.
"I went up front, and I said, 'I believe there is somebody who needs to be baptized here. Maybe up on that balcony or by that door or by that wall. So come forward,'" Schuller told CT. "We started singing 'Amazing Grace,' and I started ...