Atheist made fun of Christians, until encounter with the Holy Spirit


By Mark Ellis —

Craig Keener

“When I was an atheist, at the beginning, I was pretty smug about my atheism,” Craig Keener told Sean McDowell in an interview May 27th.

Keener thought Christians were stupid, said awful things about them, and even made fun of Christians to their face. He admitted to McDowell, however, that he found a few of them to be “nice.”

Then he began to consider eternal questions. “I started reading Plato and thinking about the immortality of the soul. I wasn’t really satisfied for the way he argued for it.”

But there was one question that gnawed at him: What’s going to happen when I die?

“There was no meaning at all in my world view,” he concluded. He began thinking, if there’s something infinite out there that also happens to be caring, please show me.

But he didn’t really know if it could happen.

A short time later some people talked to him about the gospel. “I argued with them for 45 minutes. They weren’t really trained in apologetics,” he recounts.

After he disputed with them he walked away, but the Holy Spirit began to stir his soul. “I was so overwhelmed with conviction from the Holy Spirit for the next hour or so I just finally collapsed to my knees.

“God was in the room with me. There was no way I could deny his presence!”

While he had argued using his keen intellect, God moved his heart and soul in a way that was irrefutable. “That wasn’t the kind of evidence for which I had been asking, but it was more real,” he admits.

Finally he surrendered to God, saying: “OK, God, I don’t understand how Jesus dying and rising from the dead makes me right with you, but if that’s what you’re saying, I believe it…I don’t know how to be made right with you, but if you want to do it, you have to do it for me yourself.

Then something incredible happened.

“All of a sudden I felt something rushing through my body I had never felt before!”

He jumped up quickly to his feet. “Wow!” he exclaimed. I always said these Christians are foolish because they don’t live like they believe there’s a God.

If I believe there is a God, I would give God everything, he had thought.

I don’t understand what just happened to me, but I believe there’s a God now and I’m going to give God my life!


 If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here

Dr. Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University) is Professor of the New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is especially known for his work as a New Testament scholar on Bible background (commentaries on the New Testament in its early Jewish and Greco-Roman settings). Keener has authored 28 books, six of which have won book awards in Christianity Today, of which altogether more than one million copies are in circulation. His IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (1993), now in its 2nd revised edition (2014), has sold more than half a million copies (including editions in several languages, including more than fifty thousand copies in Korean). The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, for which Keener authored most of the New Testament notes (and which John Walton and Keener edited), won Bible of the Year in the 2017 Christian Book Awards, and also won Book of the Year in the Religion: Christianity category of the International Book Awards.

Dr. Craig Keener with his wife, Medine

 His recent books include Galatians, New Cambridge Bible Commentary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Spirit Hermeneutics (Eerdmans, 2016); The Mind of the Spirit: Paul’s Approach to Transformed Thinking (Baker Academic, 2016); Acts: A Exegetical Commentary (4 vols., 4559 pages; Baker Academic, 2012-2015); Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Baker Academic, 2011); The Historical Jesus of the Gospels (Eerdmans, 2009); The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Eerdmans, 2009); Romans (Cascade, 2009); 1-2 Corinthians (Cambridge, 2005); The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Hendrickson/Baker Academic, 2003).