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From crime to Christ

December 2016

In April 2016, John Lawson shared his spiritual experience with BBC Radio Scotland (interview in full at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03r150l). This report is made available from the Christian Institute.

A man who ran London’s biggest brothel and was planning a murder has told the BBC how his life was turned around by Jesus Christ.

Criminal life

John Lawson described his former self as a ‘horrible animal’, but an encounter with God transformed him and he now goes into prisons to tell others the gospel.Lawson said he has deep regret about his past misdeeds, but that Jesus’ death on the cross is all he needs for his redemption.

After a difficult childhood, he became a bouncer and moved to London, where he ran the biggest brothel in the capital.He felt like he had ‘made it in life’: owning a big house and a luxury car — ‘all the things we think in life make us happy’.

He then got involved in international ‘debt collection’: kidnapping people who owed money.He now describes his old self as someone who was ‘cold-hearted’ enough to plan a murder.

Instead, the police caught Lawson and he was sent to prison. It was there that he was befriended by a Nigerian man who was constantly ‘harping on about God’. Lawson said he went along to listen to a prison Bible study led by a preacher, when he heard there was coffee, cake and biscuits on offer.

He explained that he planned to take the food when the others were ‘in their holy huddles with their eyes closed’. But, when he saw the other prisoners were so happy and singing praise to God, he started crying.

The next morning his Nigerian friend gave him a Bible, where he read in Ezekiel, ‘If a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die’.

‘Christ took everything’

Lawson knew he was a ‘wicked man’. He went back to the preacher, who told him the good news of Jesus Christ. Following his release from jail, he became involved with an outreach and training ministry, which sees him going into prisons around the world.

Asked by BBC presenter Louise White if this work was his ‘redemption’, Lawson said ‘No. Everything was done for me on that cross. Christ took everything. There is no need for me to do anything else. I am so thankful that God rescued me’.

He added that he regularly feels deep regret for the things he did. But he concluded that Christ changed him and he wants to get that message to others. ‘I will preach the gospel ’til the day I die, and just you try and stop me’.

Christian Institute report on http://www.christian.org.uk/news/jesus-christ-changed-my-violent-life-around/?e290416

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