Dan Allender is president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington. A frequent speaker on sexual-abuse recovery and other topics, he is the author of The Wounded Heart, The Healing Path, and co-author (with Tremper Longman III) of Intimate Allies, The Cry of the Soul, Bold Love, and Bold Purpose.

What is your spiritual background?

I had no background. The only background I had was Flippo the Clown, who, every now and then at 5 o'clock on channel 4 in Columbus, Ohio, occasionally mentioned something about God. I remember asking my mom, "What's this thing he's talking about: God?" And she'd say, "You don't need to know. It'll only screw you up."

When I was 13, I met a gentleman who changed my life, and that was the co-author of many of the books that we've written, Tremper Longman III. He had a family that had faith, and I was invited to have a sense of what a mother or father or what siblings are like. It was glorious to kind of gain that.

But I was a drug dealer. I was a car stealer. I broke and entered. I was just a bad egg for many, many, many years. But this family graciously received me into their world. And during that period of time, as I continued to be involved in illicit pharmaceutical sales and just a life that was harmful, the gospel continued to come into my life to a point where I knew the Bible fairly well as an unbeliever.

I remember one night [in college] having the opportunity to share the gospel with an unbeliever who was thinking about killing herself.

You shared the gospel with her though you yourself hadn't made a personal claim of faith?

I just figured that the other paths she had tried hadn't worked, so she might as well try Jesus. I remember the moment where I asked ...

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The Dick Staub Interview
Dick Staub was host of a eponymous daily radio show on Seattle's KGNW and is the author of Too Christian, Too Pagan and The Culturally Savvy Christian. He currently runs The Kindlings, an effort to rekindle the creative, intellectual, and spiritual legacy of Christians in culture. His interviews appeared weekly on our site from 2002 to 2004.
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