Faithlife Corporation

Christian Gangster

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In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem (O, and we definitely have one!) is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.” He goes on to say, “It is revival without reformation, without repentance.”

The Christian community is so known for confession without repentance and one cynic wrote, “A Christian is a man who feels repentance on Sunday for what he did on Saturday and is going to do again on Monday.”

J. Edwin Orr, the revivalist and historian, was with Billy Graham when the evangelist addressed a meeting in Beverly Hills attended by a very interesting guest. No, it wasn’t the latest movie star, it was the notorious gangster, Mickey Cohen. Amazingly, Micky expressed an interest in Christ. Orr later wrote, ``several of us talked with him, including Dr. Graham, but he made no commitment until some time later when another friend urged him—with Revelation 3:20 as a warrant—to invite Jesus Christ into his life.”

Finally, he made a profession, but like so many people today, nothing in his life changed. There was no evidence of any repentance, so the friend that led him to the Lord confronted him. Micky was offended. He told his friend, “You never told me I’d have to give up my work.” By his work, he meant his illegal gangster activities. He said, “You did not tell me that I would have to give up my friends!’ He meant his gangster associates.

“He had heard that so-and-so was a Christian cowboy, so-and-so was a Christian actress, so-and-so was a Christian senator, and he really thought he could be a Christian gangster.

“The fact is,” said Orr, “repentance is the missing note in much (of our) modern evangelism.”

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