From immorality to Christ

Paul Harper
01 December, 2012 2 min read

From immorality to Christ

I left the British Home for Mothers and Babies, at Woolwich, in my mother’s arms. That was at the end of the first week of June in 1944. We were accompanied, I am told, by the drone of an unwelcome companion up in the sky, one of Hitler’s first ‘doodlebugs’.
   I am here today, by the grace of God. Among my early memories were the shattered buildings and bomb craters, one of my earliest play areas, evidences of man’s inhumanity to man and the evil of the human heart.
   I was brought up in a church which had pleasant people but no gospel. Therefore, in my teens, I found pleasure elsewhere, namely in the theatre, a local amateur dramatic
   The desire grew to become a professional actor and I applied to the Central School of Speech and Drama, transferring later as a founding student to Drama Centre, London. The one thing that I desired was what I called ‘fulfilment’.
   When my future wife met me there, she considered me to be an arrogant young man and she wasn’t wrong. I truly believed that I would be the greatest actor to ever hit the London stage.
   At the end of my training, I was picked up by an agent and began a career that was successful. I was rarely out of work, was engaged in stage, TV, radio and even film work; was rising in prominence, but increasingly disturbed in conscience.

Fine preaching

My life was an immoral one. Also, the young woman that I had met in drama school had been converted and was drawing me along to Westminster Chapel in London to hear a very fine preacher.
   At the outset I was bored to tears and would keep my eyes open when he was praying, to watch all those crazy people. But as I continued to attend the faithful preaching, I could see that he was expounding the Word of God and I was convicted of my sinfulness.
   Over four years of intermittent hearing of the preaching, the pains of conviction of sin grew worse and worse. It was beyond any physical pain that I have ever known. I resisted strongly the demands of the gospel, that the only way of salvation was to repent and trust in Christ’s work alone on Calvary in suffering and dying for us.
   At one time, I was filming a production of Romeo and Juliet and, in a sword fight with Romeo, had my throat cut. I was disturbed that, if I died, where would I go in eternity? As it was, the wound was superficial, but the question remained.
   Finally, I was offered what amounted to the ‘big break’, a leading part in a play going through the provinces into the West End of London, but it was an immoral play.
   I knew that I should not take it, for the Scripture was now buried within me and a great tussle went on inside. I took it and there followed the three most miserable months of my life.
   Though the play was a success, in the amazing providence of God it was prevented from going into the West End, and I was left broken.
   Then, one Sunday morning, I heard a preacher at Westminster Chapel minister on ‘Joseph is a fruitful bough’ (Genesis 49:22), describing what was true of a Christian — and I was converted.
   I married the young lady who first took me to the chapel and entered Bible school, before entering the Christian ministry, where I have been for 40 years, until retirement.
Paul Harper

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