On June 24th, Hollywood megastar Denzel Washington recalled something you rarely if ever hear mentioned by Tinseltown royalty: the moment he dedicated his life to Jesus.
As reported by The Daily Wire, in an Instagram Live session with Pastor A.R. Bernard of the Christian Culture Center, Denzel told the minister he was frightened when he surrendered to Christ amid being filled with the Holy Spirit.
He wasn’t ready for such a cataclysmic event:
“I was filled with the Holy Ghost, and it scared me. I said, ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t want to go this deep. I want to party.'”
The transformation took place at Bishop Charles E. Blake’s West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
Here’s how the fantastic actor described it:
“I went to church with (Hollywood director) Robert Townsend, and when it came time to come down to the altar, I said, ‘You know, this time, I’m just going to go down there and give it up and see what happens.’ I went in the prayer room and gave it up and let go and experienced something I’ve never experienced in my life.”
Later, he recounted the experience to his mom: “I felt like I was going up in the air, and my cheeks were filled.”
Mama set him straight:
“Oh, no — that’s the devil you’re purging.”
According to Washington, it was life-defining; but also, in a sense, ahead of its time:
“It was a supernatural, once-in this-lifetime experience that I couldn’t completely understand at the time. It kept me grounded in spite of myself. I mean, I accepted it — I definitely experienced it — but I wasn’t ready to live it. I don’t know how old I was then, but I wasn’t ready to live it then. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gone through that kind of experience.”
Denzel’s never been shy about his faith. The family man — whose known for attending church with his wife and children — spoke at the 108th Holy Convocation Church Of God In Christ Cares Banquet in 2015.
He shared with the group about his dad, who was himself a preacher:
“My father, my earthly father, Denzel Washington Sr. was a pastor for the Church of God in Christ for 60 years. I can remember the most important time in our house – and he would be so excited – was when he was preparing to attend Convocation in Memphis, Tennessee. … He would get his best two suits together and my mother would fry him a tin of chicken and prepare a thermos of coffee and he would make the drive. I know he’s smiling in heaven, seeing his son doing the best I can do today, by the grace of God.”
But Denzel wasn’t always on the straight and narrow. Nor did he always seem destined for greatness.
After his parents divorced when he was 14, the adolescent got into trouble.
Subsequently, his mother sent him to a military academy.
While there, a woman informed him he would one day preach the Gospel to the world:
“I had flunked out of college. I had a 1.7-grade point average. I had no future… I was sitting, looking in the mirror, and I see a woman behind me sitting under the dryer. Of course, the voice of God always comes from under a dryer. She said, ‘Young man, you are going to travel the world and speak to people.’ Now mind you, I was 20 years old, with a 1.7-grade point average and had flunked out of school. She said, ‘You are going to preach.'”
There aren’t many like Denzel. Despite being one of the biggest stars in the world, the lifelong advocate for the Boys and Girls Club has been married to the same woman since 1983.
And among cinema’s elite, few are the voices in agreement with his faith.
But there are some — like Chris Pratt, who gave the following Thank You speech upon receiving his 2018 MTV Generation Award:
“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do. … Learn to pray. It’s easy, and it’s so good for your soul. … Nobody is perfect. People are gonna tell you you’re perfect just the way you are. You’re not. You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way. And if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for by somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it.”
Back to Denzel, at the COGIC Cares Banquet, Bishop Charles Blake introduced him thusly:
“It must have been in the early 1990s where I went to a social event and sitting in a ballroom much like this one. I had the privilege of sitting beside a young actor. He was the MC, and I was either saying the invocation or…getting an award. As I sat beside the young man, I said to him ‘I enjoy your acting very, very much.” And he said to me, ‘I enjoy your preaching very, very much – I attend your church when I can.’”
More from The St. Louis American:
At the time, Blake had no idea that Washington attended his church.
He sat in the back inconspicuously during his visits to West Angeles. He never asked for any sort of special recognition or introduction. Washington soon brought his wife, Pauletta. And when they began having children, church became a fully-committed family affair.
“There were there every Sunday. They were involved. Their children worked in our nursery and attended Sunday school,” Blake said. “Whenever there was a need, Mr. Denzel Washington was always overjoyed to respond with generosity – unprecedented generosity to the life of our church.”
A rare man in Hollywood, indeed.
And, increasingly, a rare man in the world.
Denzel Washington was driving in West Hollywood when he spotted a homeless man standing in the street in the face of oncoming traffic, TMZ reports. Washington got out of his car and stepped in.https://t.co/XfLqlI0IsU
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 22, 2020
Denzel Washington steps out of his car to deescalate a confrontation between the LAPD and a homeless man. pic.twitter.com/LElynE1IWv
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 28, 2020
— CBS Entertainment (@CBSNewsEnt) October 3, 2018
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