John Lennon was murdered forty years ago today. This is an article I first uploaded on 27 March 2007. I am bringing it back to my blog today (modified slightly), to mark the sad occasion. It also offers an opportunity to briefly “preach the gospel” (I am an apologist and evangelist, after all) and ask readers to seriously ponder their status with Jesus — Who is God –, and their eternal fate.
I thought I knew just about everything there is to know about the Beatles, but I had never heard this before. According to well-known Christian writer / author Steve Turner (“John Lennon’s Born-Again Phase”, Christianity Today, 1-3-07), this occurred in April-May 1977. Lennon had shown considerable interest in several of the TV evangelists, including Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, and Oral Roberts, and even started announcing to friends that he was “born again.”
Apparently, Yoko Ono played a key role in making sure this was simply a (typically) passing interest, by strenuously arguing against the belief that Jesus was God incarnate, etc., and continuing her interest in various false religious practices and beliefs.
This is fascinating and a bit eerie on a personal level, because it happened at exactly the time I seriously devoted myself to Jesus as His disciple, in my evangelical conversion (what I described as being “born again” at the time). A big influence on John Lennon in this regard was Franco Zeffirelli’s magnificent film, Jesus of Nazareth, that also made a huge impact on me in early April of 1977 (I mentioned that in my conversion story in Surprised by Truth). How sad that John didn’t choose to continue this newfound path. I knew he had been raised as some sort of Anglican.
I also have a very distinct memory of an article about John Lennon in The Detroit News within a few weeks of his murder, where Lennon said he was reading the Gospels and really understanding what Jesus was saying for the first time. I have a very good memory. I tried a bit to find it, but couldn’t. But I remembered it particularly from not long before in time, when I heard that he was murdered. I’ve always hoped that this indicated some spiritual commitment or at least avid interest, such that he might have been saved in the end.
If Turner’s article is correct, and Lennon eventually turned away in 1977 from Christianity and became fairly hostile (an instance of the gospel “seed” falling on “rocky soil”), then it is a good sign that he was still willing to, and chose to read and ponder the words of Jesus in 1980, shortly before his death. God has mercy on every soul. God knew John didn’t have long to live. We can only hope and pray.
We all have to decide Whom we will serve, and no one knows when their time on this earth will come to an end. Today is the day to commit yourself to Jesus Christ if you have not yet done so. I believe that the Catholic Church preserves the fullness of Christian truth and moral teaching. But even if you are not in a place where you can accept the teaching of the Catholic faith, I urge you to commence or renew your commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now is the time. God gives all the grace for repentance and ultimate salvation. Jesus died on the cross so that we could obtain eternal life.
But you (like John Lennon) can decide to act upon this cross-enabled grace or not. God gives you that freedom because He is not interested in forcing people to follow Him and enter into the Kingdom and joy. Don’t wait! And whatever you do, don’t turn away from what you know is the truth, for then your soul is in exceedingly great danger of hellfire. Not popular or fashionable words these days, but true nonetheless, and if I didn’t proclaim this message in its fullness I would be lax in my duty as a Catholic Christian evangelist.
If you’re on the fence, or in a miserable place in your life; if you are in despair; now is the time for you to decide to follow Jesus and be His disciple. He’s calling you. Will you answer the call and act upon it?
Amazon Review of Sgt. Pepper (50th Anniversary Edition) (see also my own posting at Patheos) [5-26-17]
Review of The White Album (Beatles): 50th Anniversary Remix (see the review on Amazon) [11-14-18]
Photo credit: Jack Mitchell’s photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1980 [Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license]