Denzel Washington tells GQ he reads Bible daily, had powerful encounter with Holy Spirit

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By Mark Ellis —

Denzel Washington

Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington told GQ Magazine he reads the Bible every day and had an intense encounter with the Holy Spirit in his twenties.

“I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word,” he told GQ’s Michael Hainey. The devout Christian and son of a Pentecostal minister also talked about his father’s influence in his life.

Washington said it was not difficult to be a preacher’s son. “He wasn’t a taskmaster, but there were certain things you couldn’t do. He had his own church, and it was a long Sunday, because you had to be there all day.”

While Washington felt some rebellion as a teen when his church attendance began to feel like “a job,” he’s thankful for his father’s presence and influence. “Everyone I grew up with didn’t have a father. I had a father. My father was a decent man. He was a very spiritual man and a gentleman.”

The double Oscar winner had an unusual encounter with the Holy Spirit as a young person that left him changed. It happened in the church he still attends, 30 years later.  “The minister was preaching, ‘Just let it go,’ Washington recalled.

“I said, ‘I’m going to go with it.’ And I had this tremendous physical and spiritual experience,” he says.

The incident provoked the fear of the Lord in the budding actor. “It did frighten me,” he said. “I was slobbering, crying, sweating. My cheeks blew up. I was purging. It was too intense.”

Washington’s experience left him with questions. “It almost drove me away. I called my mother, and she said I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was like, ‘Does that mean I can never have wine again?’

The famous actor admitted his father’s preaching style informed his film portrayal of Malcolm X. “Preaching is preaching, be it Malcolm X or…” he noted. “I don’t want to generalize and say ‘the black church,’ but there’s a certain style. And growing up with that, I understood it.”

“I remember certain cadences in the way my father would set up certain things. And when I would hear Malcolm X, I would say, Oh, he sets it up the same way. It’s a rhythm. It’s almost music.”

In the GQ article, Washington also issued a strong challenge to fathers in the African-American community. “Take responsibility,” he admonished. “One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters. And you can’t blame that on The Man or getting frisked.”

“Take responsibility,” he repeated. “Look in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better?’ There is opportunity; you can make it. Whatever it is that you choose, be the best at it. You have an African-American president. You can do it. But take responsibility.”

Then Washington urged a creative approach to a spiritual discipline: “Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding,” he intoned.

Washington also noted that in his devotional time prior to his interview with GQ, he was struck by this advice: “Don’t aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.”

Washington and his wife, Pauletta, have been married since 1983.  They have four children. In 1995, the couple renewed their wedding vows inSouth Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

At various times in his life, Washington considered becoming a preacher. In a 1999 interview he said, “A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising.’

“I’ve had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I’ve been given seriously, and I want to use it for good,” he stated.

 

To know more about a personal relationship with God, go here

To read the full GQ story, click here

 

33 COMMENTS

  1. what a great article! all I can say right now is what a great man… to stand for his faith in a time it’s not so easy to. Really pleased to read this!

    Vicki Maher

  2. Denzel, my wife and I admire you as a great actor but more especially as a godly man. We keep praying that earthly fathers will be like you and take up their responsibility and show their children God’s way to live. It’s then that this world will become a better place to be family. Well done Denzel. By the way, we are right now celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary.

  3. What a precious article. As a respected actor, people listen to what you have to say. Thank you for your words of encouragment to fathers.

  4. Denzel, God bless you sir. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to keep both your faith (all these years) and marriage for about 29 years, even within Hollywood. My prayer is that God will help you to “finish strong”, while we keep on being inspired by you. By the way, my wife and I are just about 12 years old in marriage.

  5. You can not be double minded or luke warm the bible tells us. Trying to understand why and how Denzel can be an Obama supporter ? How? God bless

    • I am glad he says the truth in this dark hour. I don’t understand him being a Obama supporter. That goes over my head. God bless..

    • He doesn’t say he’s an Obama supporter, he is trying to encourage black men by telling them they can achieve anything, even become president. He doesn’t say that he supports any of Obamas policies or anything.

  6. A truly blessed article! I have shared this on my Facebook page.

    MKP, you bring up an interesting question … off the top of my head, I would say that we are all a work in progress when it comes to our faith – and sometimes our faith is there, but our knowledge of history hasn’t quite caught up with our faith yet. So let’s pray that Denzel will have a meetup with, say, one of the daughters of the late MLK, who can begin to fill him in, or maybe Walter Hoyt.

  7. […] While Washington felt some rebellion as a teen when his church attendance began to feel like “a job,” he’s thankful for his father’s presence and influence. “Everyone I grew up with didn’t have a father. I had a father. My father was a decent man. He was a very spiritual man and a gentleman.” …. Read this in full at http://blog.godreports.com/2012/09/denzel-washington-tells-gq-he-reads-bible-daily-had-powerful-enco… […]

  8. This article points out the problem with America and the church. Most leave their faith at the box office window. Though Denzel is an above average actor, unfortunately he has been exploited by Hollywood in the vast majority of roles he has chosen to play. One would be hard pressed to find many roles which are family oriented or inspire folks to look toward his faith. Just because he is a successful actor does not make him a good role model. His support of Obama is proof of that without a doubt. It is impossible to love Christ but support abortion (over a third of all abortions in the US are black babies) and same-sex marriage just for starters. Those who justify such behavior are only compromising their faith as well. It’s time that Christians began to clean up the house of the Lord…and until we get serious about being doers of the word rather than hearers only…this nation will continue to falter.

  9. I heard from two sources Denzel is Christian. I went looking and found numerous instances of that suggestion. What I don’t understand, then, is how he decided to do the movie “Flight”? As I watched the cartoonish representation of Christians, totally unnecessary to the story, and listened to the outbursts of laughter throughout the theatre (the only time in the entire movie anyone laughed), I kept asking myself. “Denzel read the script. He knew. How did he find it acceptable???”

    I didn’t, and I would advise any Christians to avoid it. Bad enough it contains full frontal nudity (unnecessary to the story), contains a plethora of cuss words (unnecessary to the story), the ridicule of the faith using false depictions of what a Christian is became just too much. The pilot is a drunk and a drug addict. He gets into a plane that suffers a serious mechanical failure. Through the magic of CGI, he performs and impossible maneuver and gently lands the plane in a grassy field, at flight speed, and within about 200 ft. brings it to a stop. Blood tests taken while he is unconscious show he was drunk and on cocaine while flying. A slick lawyer helps him to the point where he only has to tell one more lie and he can get away scott free. His conscience gets the best of him, he tells the truth, he goes to prison, and involves himself in a 12-step program. Meanwhile, his estranged son returns to him asking for “his story.” Fade to credits. Now you don’t need to go.

    • Denzel, I’m very excited to find out that you are a christian and had an experience with the holy spirit. I had an experience when I was 13 years old. I got called to minister at the age of 16. I am now in training to become a pastor. You are a very inspiring actor. I too got tired of going to church sometimes. You will know if your called to the ministry. The holy spirit will lead and guide you. You may hear it from other people, but you need to know for your self. I like all the movies that you played in particular The Preachers Wife. I wanted to say that yes the movie Flight was different, but I liked it. I felt like it was letting people know if you do drugs this is what is going to happen to you. A clear message that people on drugs think they are in control and they are not. Eventually, the drugs will takes their toll and you will end up dead or in prison. Your children may not even know you, because you never had time for them.
      Teresa

    • Denzel can claim to be a Christian all he wants. His choices of acting parts belie that confession. He acts in movies that portray him as violent, foul-mouthed, and as far from God as a man can get. This is not a witness for God. If you claim to believe in God, you should live that confession as well. It’s not just for kneeling and praying when you get up…it should shape your decisions all day long.

      ’18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [m]know them by their fruits.
      21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.’ (Matthew 7:18-21 NASB)

      You want another look at a committed Christian actor? Look at Kirk Cameron. He won’t even kiss a woman on camera who isn’t his wife!! He is that dedicated to her and their marriage, and the commitment they made to God….he stands up for his beliefs in spite of what other people say or think.
      http://www.today.com/popculture/kirk-cameron-ill-only-kiss-my-wife-2D80555063

      It’s one thing to say you’re a Christian….it’s another thing to live it. Look to these actors and actresses for real examples….Chuck Norris, Gary Busey, Mr. T, Angus Jones, Elijah Wood, Reba McEntire, Patricia Heaton, Lacey Chabert…..people who stand up for what they believe and live their Christianity instead of just warming a seat on Sundays.

      • Denzel could be producing good fruit… I want to make a stand for being a Christian because of this report. I don’t do this but I have today. I too am a Christian. We don’t know God’s will for Denzel but God has one. We will be surprised at who is and who isn’t in heaven. May we ourselves hear well done thy good and faithful servant. Jesus (Word of God) gave us many examples of men of God (after His own heart) who made mistakes to help us become better and know that forgiveness is possible for all of us. Who can know the mind of God? He will show you what He wants you to know in our individual relationship with Him. I am glad that you are living the life that God is calling you to OmaTrisha. I am happy that Denzel is not denying the faith.

    • Sorry for my english, but I’m french. I do not agree with you. The films “Flight” is incredible. It’s the story of a men who shows repentance of his alcoholism and his pride. I cried during a week. I was living in the past with an alcoholic and I know how it’s really hard for them to give up alcoholic and the weaknesses it hides. If you observe attentively at the end of the film, you will see that the guy became a christian.
      I hope that many people who fight with this sin had been touched by this film. God is speaking how he wants.
      Before I became a christian, I’ve been touched by the film “Color Purple” and particularly when Shug Avery sang “God is trying to tell you something”. I gave my heart to Jesus four years ago. I had always this song in my heart.

  10. Washington was born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, New York, on December 28, 1954. His mother, Lennis “Lynne”, was a beauty parlor-owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem. His father, Reverend Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, served as an ordained Pentecostal minister, and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, S. Klein.`^

    Have a good day
    <http://caramoan.ph/

  11. Great Actor and a great man for standing up for his faith. A breath of fresh air. Thank you and may God bless you Danzel!!

  12. We need a great man that is not ashamed To put his knees on the floor and pray for the knowledge to make this country right for our kids, to have a wonderful country to grow up in free from hate and persecution. Our country needs to be ruled by a great leader, someone who is not scared to put their knees on the floor and pray.

  13. I’ve watched it a thousand times over, great acting. Too bad some people only see the bad side is the movie saying stuff about frontal nudity, that part was essential to the ending so his conscience could prick him about Katrina. if anyone feels this movie is out of line, why don’t you write your own story and put it on TV and let’s see how far it goes. thanks for being a blessing Danzel, I love you!!

  14. The Christians that are getting on here and bashing him because he says he is a Christian but then plays in all these movies with swearing and nudity and all that, you guys are the problem and you’re the ones scaring non believers away!

  15. No mention of Jesus? How do we know He is a Christian? “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
    Knowledge of the bible does not make you born again. It is only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The moment you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ your receive Him and you are made alive in Christ. There is no mention Jesus Christ in this article. Be careful my friends there’s an ecumenical spirit sweeping through the western church. They use statements like… “It’s God’s to judge”, “Don’t put God in a Box”, “God is in all religions”. We are commanded to “test the spirits” according to God’s word. And when the name of Jesus is not mentioned in an article this big… it gives me pause.

    People get ready Jesus is coming!

    The signs are being revealed all around the world. From ISIS, antisemitism, Christians being slaughtered in Africa and middle-east, to Iran’s nuclear threat and alliance with Russia, etc, etc… . If you have a Christian bakery and refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding you are target (so much for the 1st Amendment). Same-sex marriage is now legal in 36 states, and we kill babies at the drop of a hat. Never have we seen this sort of wickedness so prevalent in our country before. “Because of the increase in wickedness the love of most will grow cold”–Jesus. Political correctness (license to sin) has poisoned the minds of so many people. If you still call sin “sin” than you are a narrow-minded, dogmatic, intolerant, bigot. An addiction/stronghold to any particular sin is now called a “mental disorder”. And YES they have prescriptions for them all.

    The offense of the Cross is at hand like never before. An offense that we gladly bear. For we are not of those who walk in the shadows, but of those who were purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!! “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”– Matthew 3:12.

    Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. This is the gospel message! This is the grace of God!

    So do not lose heart my friends, but let us rejoice as we see the day approaching. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”– Luke 21:28

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

    “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31

    Jesus said, Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. — Revelations 3:20

    • CHRIST(ian) is Jesus…to publicly announce what you are is not denying Christ. Denzel, I cannot throw stones and God knows your heart. Thank you for your faith in a place like Hollywood… it can’t be easy. God bless you as you speak out and allow Him to continue His work in you. Jesus said we will be surprised at who is and who isn’t in heaven. What is it to us what Jesus calls one to do. We do what God calls us to do and love is the biggest calling. Love you bro’

  16. So let me get this straight… Denzel who portrays adulterers, murderers, drug users, alcoholics, curses God, uses the Lord’s name in vain, lies, cheats and steals in the many movies he has been in claims to love, serve, follow and obey the very God who commands us to not only not do such things but to avoid those who do. And you all think that he is portraying Christianity? Sorry, but you cannot serve both God and money, nor can you love the world and not be an enemy of God. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ, not mine.

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