A Secular Jew Comes To Faith In Jesus Christ

Andrew was raised in New York where he grew up in a town that resembled one of the popular television situation comedies of those days: Father Knows Best or Leave It To Beaver. Andrew thought his family was the best. What he didn’t see at the time was his father’s anger or the way his dad ridiculed him. He didn’t see his mother’s dissociation or the sadistic violence that erupted at times among his brothers.  He didn’t see they were making him unhappy, but he would daydream more and more to escape them. All that dreaming was good practice for a novelist of adventure and suspense, but it wasn’t a very healthy way to spend a childhood. As a child, he was forced to go to Hebrew school and was bar-mitzvahed at thirteen even though his parents did not believe in God. However, he rejected the faith not long afterward.

As a young adult Andrew set out to develop a coldness to protect himself from his dad’s sarcasm and abuse. He also struggled with separating himself from his dad’s worldview which was hostile and paranoid. His heroes were characters from movies and novels like Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway and novelist Raymond Chandler. These tough guy characters helped Andrew rework his father’s neurotic antagonism into something admirable. Chandler’s writing also inspired Andrew to write stories and to dedicate four hours a day for writing, a discipline Andrew is thankful he developed. He wrote his first full novel when he was fourteen even though he was angry, foolish and twisted on the inside. His love of literature continued through his years as a college-dropout wanderer, who struggled with clinical depression. From novels and plays to movies and the Bible, literature helped Andrew interpret the world, understand his place in it, and recognize the call of God throughout his life.

“In all my books, my characters raced against time to explain the world while the world eluded them. Some deadly reality was always closing in around them as they chased after the illusion up ahead.” Andrew admits that in telling these stories he wasn’t just exploring the problem as a writer, but also as a man searching for truth. Andrew, an agnostic most of his life says, “I believed in science and analysis and reasonable explanations.”

Andrew started out wanting to be a writer of suspense and adventure. He tried to keep his sentences clean and clear, not flowery and pompous. Yet as he struggled with the pain from his childhood he began to see himself as a talent of Shakespearian genius.  Over the years, Andrew’s writing became unreadable and unpublishable. As his money dwindled, his books and stories were rejected and he became filled with paranoia and rage. He felt people around him did not want him to succeed. His psyche began to crumble, but he thought it was just the way things were. Then one day he came to the realization that he needed help. Andrew shares, “I had tried to tell myself I had had a happy childhood in a happy family. I had tried to tell myself my suffering was just a normal part of a thinking man’s life. I had tried to tell myself that my inability to sell my unreadable work was the world’s fault.” He finally realized something was terribly wrong and recognized that he needed to get help.

Andrew went for five years of therapy that helped to change the way he thought and lived. It was during this period that Andrew had one of his darkest days. He was sitting at his desk in the dark contemplating suicide, thinking I don’t know how to live. There was a baseball game on the radio in the background. The announcer described catcher, Gary Carter as he stepped up to bat and hit the winning run. After the game, a reporter interviewed Gary, a born again Christian, and asked how he was able to run so fast considering his knees were so damaged from years as a catcher. Gary’s reply, “Sometimes you just have to play in pain.” The words jarred Andrew from his depression. He never considered suicide again.             

Andrew studied Christianity from time to time along with other religions. As he read stories with Christian imagery, such as the, Knights of the Round Table, he began to understand that at the heart of all Western writing, thought, and ideals there was a single book, the Bible, and a single man, Jesus of Nazareth. Although he had no religious motives, he began reading the New Testament. He wanted to understand the Christian symbolism that was everywhere in the writing he admired.

For Andrew there was no flash of light on the road to Damascus, but rather a slow dawning of awareness that had solidified the certainty that he was a Christian. After a lifetime of agnosticism, he had come to believe in God. One day he decided to try praying as an experiment. “It wasn’t easy at first. I didn’t have any religious tradition to turn to. I had to learn how to pray from scratch,” reveals Andrew. When he saw that praying had improved his life in several ways, he decided to continue the daily practice for five years. During this time Andrew moved his family to California. A couple of his novels were being made into movies and some of the studios wanted to hire him as a screenwriter.

Every morning, on his drive into Santa Barbara Andrew prayed, contemplating the decision to take his beliefs to the next level and decided to get baptized. Each day he spent time talking to God and examining his motives for baptism. He wondered if he became a Christian if he would lose work in Hollywood or perhaps if it was some sort of rebellion against his father. “I’d been miserable and twisted as a young man, angry and soul-sick and mired in foolish delusions…I had no desire whatsoever to cling to any comforting lies, or to any lies at all. I had no desire to believe in a God who wasn’t there,” shares Andrew.  He revisited stories and poems that meant the most to him.  

After his five month pilgrimage through the Santa Barbara hills, “I came home rejoicing, I was convinced and fully convinced: my mind was God’s, my soul was Christ’s, my faith was true.”  At the age of fifty, Andrew made the life changing decision to be baptized, “Most people are born in their faith and develop a relationship to it, good or bad. I had to take the long way home. My conversion challenged – and in some ways contradicted – everything I thought I knew from childhood on.”

Andrew has experienced Christ – the peace and realism of Christ, the hope and truth for the past decade. Although it took him a while to find his faith he is thankful for the relationship he now has with the Creator of the universe.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Best-selling author, latest, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ (Thomas Nelson, 2016)

Award winning writer/screenwriter, best selling novelist

His novels True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Don’t Say a Word filmed with Michael Douglas

Host of a political podcast on DailyWire.com

Two-time winner of the Mystery Writer’s of America’s Edgar Award

Contributing editor to City Journal

His writing has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times

Married to Ellen


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