We’ll admit it: News of your conversion took us by surprise. After all, you earned yourself quite a reputation for making rapist Willie Horton a household name in the 1988 presidential campaign. As the “pit bull” of politics, your scrappy style as chairman of the GOP did little to dispel the “bad boy” image.

But now that you have found Christ (CT, Dec. 17, 1990, p. 49), we feel two words are in order.

First, welcome. We have no interest in greeting you with the cynicism so common these days (and much in evidence in Washington, D.C., after your announcement). The heartfelt change you made public puts you in good company; you join the hosts through the ages who have been found and turned around by Christ. And because you have spent the last months quietly making peace with former foes, writing letters of repentance and seeking forgiveness, we have no reason to think your transformation is a gimmick, or the rash decision of a man whose brain tumor has him running scared. We are, in other words, delighted.

But we must also give a word of caution. While the company of believers you join is, in the words of the ancient creed, the communion of saints, it is also a communion of sinners—and, we might add, entrepreneurs. Some may want to capitalize on the crowd-drawing potential of a “celeb convert,” pressuring you to stand behind a lectern or pulpit under the banner of their causes. Well-meaning believers sometimes forget that even Paul the apostle spent months (or longer) after his conversion in the Arabian desert before launching any kind of public ministry (Gal. 1:17).

The church has not always shown great sensitivity in these matters. So as we welcome you, we also urge you to stand firm when others would rob you of the time your faith needs to grow deep roots, the roots that will enable you to live in the public eye and walk strong through the challenges of grave illness.

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