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 ...1
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