Andrew Klavan, international best-selling author, grew up in a Jewish household devoid of God.
He felt like a hypocrite at his bar mitzvah when he recited Hebrew statements of faith neither he nor his parents believed. “Judaism is a beautiful religion, but when you empty it of God, it has no meaning,” he told CBN.
He threw himself into reading. He didn’t get along with his dad, so he searched for male role models in books. He struck on the noir, Hemingwayesque hero, the tough guy womanizer who held to his own moral code.
The Long Island native liked reading so much that he started writing, first for a newspaper in Putnam County, NY, and then riveting detective novels. He wrote prolifically and read widely.
“The more I read, the more I found that Christianity was at the center of almost every great story that I loved,” Klavan said. “I started to read the Gospel according to Luke as a piece of literature just to find out what everybody was talking about, and I found that the figure of Jesus Christ was at the center of Western Culture.”
At first, he examined the issues only as a sociologist, trying to understand the origins and evolution of Western Civilization’s values and development. But the quest for truth that his protagonists portrayed resonated in his heart and eventually Klavan realized nothing made sense without the existence of God.
“I began to believe in my mind that there actually was a God, but I didn’t know Him yet,” he explained to CBN.
One day he read in a book that a character prayed before going to sleep and Klavan decided he could try the same. Tentatively, he muttered a very terse prayer.
“Thank, You, Lord,” he uttered.
Undramatically, he fell asleep.
“I woke up the next morning and truly everything had changed,” he says. ”There was a new clarity to everything. My heart was filled with gratitude. I was experiencing a joy that had been locked away. Suddenly, knowing God opened me up to my own experience of life.”
That tiny prayer turned into titanic growth in the Lord.
“My prayers got longer and more complex in my car,” he says. “It transformed my life.”
One day while he drove in the Santa Barbara Hills, he asked God what He wanted.
Klavan was caught off guard by the Lord’s response. Baptism might jeopardize his tenuous relationship with his nominally Jewish father.
“Even though we never had gotten along, we made a separate peace and he was a good grandfather, I didn’t want to start that trouble,” he tells. “I knew that would really explode.”
So he pondered the matter for five months and decided he needed to submerge in the waters of conversion.
“I really understood that that voice was telling a truth to me,” he recounted.
Klavan is a heralded novelist who has specialized in crime and suspense. Horror legend Stephen King calls him “the most original American novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich.” His novel True Crime was made into a movie by Clint Eastwood in 1999. He has won two Edgars for Mystery Writing in America.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Ellen, which whom he has two kids. He hosts a show on Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, a barbed politically conservative news and current events analysis site.
“People are living in a world where atheism is the default setting, especially those who consider themselves intellectuals,” he noted. “It’s a broken world of terrible violence, terrible hatred, terrible sorrow and grief. I want to speak of Jesus for that world.”
Ryan Zepeda studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.