Sunday, August 07, 2011

John Lennon and Christianity?

Recently from Fox News: Jesus, Reagan and John Lennon -- What Secrets Has Yoko Ono Been Keeping From Us?

I came across something like this a few years ago via Chris Arnzen's Iron Sharpens Iron program. His guest, Peter Jones claims to be a childhood friend of John Lennon's. On one of these shows Jones mentioned something like John Lennon became a Christian shortly before his death, but Yoko is keeping such a revelation secret. I discounted Jones at the time, because if I recall, he quoted the Beatles song "Can't Buy Me Love" and said John was searching for something when he wrote that. If my limited Beatles knowledge is correct, "Can't Buy Me Love" was primarily written by Paul McCartney, if not completely. A Beatles expert can jump in and let me know if I've got that right.

Even if it were true, mega-conversion stories really don't mean all that much to me. Christianity isn't more true because someone famous embraces the Christian faith. Nor are conversion tales reliable. Back in the 1970's Eldridge Cleaver was put forth as a Black Panther who went to jail and became a Christian. His book Soul on Fire recounts the tale. He went on to dabble with the Moonies, and then Mormonism.

I realize Paul was in a sense a "mega convert" during his time period. Paul's "story" was actually inscripturated, so if I'm going to tell any sort of "conversion story" in either an apologetic effort or outreach, that's one of the stories I might use. I'd rather stick with a conversion story that has a divine pedigree, and was written by the Holy Spirit.


Here's another mega convert story.


Ken said...

You are correct that Paul McCartney was the main writer (and singer) of "Can't Buy Me Love". But it seems John did realize the truth of that in the late 70s when he was listening to the TV evangelists.

In their songwriting, they had an arrangement of always citing, "Lennon and McCartney" on their songs, even though on some songs, it was totally Paul (Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby) [Lennon admitted he had absolutely nothing to do with those 2 songs, except singing backup on ER) and some were totally or mostly John (You've Got to Hide Your Love Away; Norwegian Wood, Don't Let Me Down, Across the Universe, Revolution, Come Together.)

John Lennon wrote letters to Oral Roberts and Rex Humbard (and called Pat Robertson’s 700 club) and watched them on TV a lot during those 5 years where he went into a "self-imposed in house exile" and was watching TV, cooking, and spending time with his son, Sean. (and doing Primal Scream therapy) He didn't want to make the same mistake he made with his first son Julian, (in not spending much time with him).

It seems his "Christian phrase" was just that; a phase though that Yoko eventually talked him out of.

Yoko did get upset and has TRIED to kept that phase of John Lennon's out of the public knowledge.

John asked Oral Roberts and Rex Humbard, "will it work for me?" Can Jesus love me?" etc.

But according to others, Yoko got so upset she turned him against that "search" and eventually Lennon did turn away, and Lennon actually made fun of Bob Dylan's "You Gotta Serve Somebody", with "serve yourself".

The details have been coming out over the years, especially in the book,

The Gospel According to the Beatles by Steve Turner. (which the Christianity Today article sites, which the Fox News article links to.)

See also:

Alistar Begg did an interesting 4 part radio/web show with Dick Staub on the Beatles and made some application for how the church should have responded to their “cries for Help” and “search for something more”. (George Harrison admitted he was searching for something more than money and fame, and went to Hinduism. John Lennon was abandoned by his father, and his mother was killed by an off-duty policeman around the time he was starting the Beatles; so John was probably the most angry and the one most messed up with drugs; but in some ways more honest and open than Paul. Paul is now really into vegetarianism and seems to think animals have souls.)

Alistar Begg's interview show with Dick Staub

PeaceByJesus said...

Christianity isn't more true because someone famous embraces the Christian faith

This is true, as is that God is real without any evidence, but the latter is not superfluous, but is the substance behind warranted faith in humans.

We can argue for the resurrection based upon reason (why would men die for a lie, etc.) and historical accounts, all of which are right and good, but a critical realm by which Jesus continues to shows Himself alive by is the true testimony of the transformitive effects resulting from believing the gospel of grace, as well as other supernatural attestation, without which we would no have Christian faith.

The problem is that such can be counterfeit, but so can textual authority, but Moses overcame the magicians mimicking miracles by manifesting greater power, as must the church of the living God. Not that i think i am a great example of such.

And thanks Ken for the further info.

Ken said...

Here is a better link of the Alistair Begg and Dick Staub interview on the Kindlings Muse. The other one I gave earlier is not working.

pilgrim said...

I've heard Peter Jones make the same claim as well, when I saw him speak in person.

I'm not sure how to take it--I have nothing against John Lennon having become a Christian, but ultimately I doubt we will know for sure in this world.

I certainly agree with the mega conversion stuff though--it seems every year or so another celebrity is touted as a convert, but it normally turns out to be false--people are so quick to jump on it I think it may spook the celeb, and too often they arerushed into things and not properly discipled--there are exceptions though.

But if a celeb becomes a Christian--normally the best thing would be for them to drop out of sight for a while and get discipled.

tom sheepandgoats said...

I hadn't heard this about John Lennon. Ah, well. Lots of people search. Sometimes they stick. Sometimes they move on.

From the JW point of view, there's some apocryphal story about Lennon writing "Imagine" after he's spoken to a Witness about their belief in a paradise earth.

But I think the story is just that: apocryphal.