Triumph & Tragedy: Jimmy Akins Conversion Story and Loss of his Wife

by Steve Ray on April 27, 2021

 Many people know Jimmy Akin. I call him my friend and have great admiration for this friend. He is also a Square Dancer. But do you know his story?

Get a cup of coffee, turn off the TV and settle in for a great story. Not just gut-wrenching and edifying, but also an Introductory Course in Apologetics. Enjoy the conversion story of the man I now call “The Godfather of Apologetics.”

James Akin

I broke off a piece of the popsicle in my hand and placed it carefully in the mouth of my dying wife. Renee lay on her back, restless in the hospital bed, suffering from an advanced case of colon cancer which we had discovered a little more than a month before.

jimmy-390x390The doctor said she still had a chance of responding to the chemotherapy and might conceivably live for a few months, possibly even six or more, but that a year would be miraculous. In light of the urgent state of Renee’s condition, we talked about accelerating my entrance into the Catholic Church. It didn’t look like there was much time.

My Early History

I was born in 1965 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My mom and dad took me to a local Church of Christ until I was five or six, but then quit going. After that I was raised outside any church. This did not mean I was uninterested in religion-I was. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I started reading the Bible, but only those parts I thought dealt with the “end times.”

As a result of what I read in the Bible, I got scared, seeing terrifying visions of God’s wrath and judgment without having them balanced by the message of his wondrous grace and mercy. This helped drive me into the next phase of my religious development: the New Age movement.

555d5cf0ecdd9dd21e0127734456dc7f--speaking-in-tongues-catholic-answersThe reason I moved in that direction was that New Age philosophy holds that there is no hell. New Agers believe we reincarnate through many lives until we become perfect. This made the New Age attractive to me, not only because it presented reincarnation as a bold adventure where you get to go to exotic places and be exotic people, but because believing in reincarnation allowed me to escape having to believe in hell.

I was a New Ager for about five years. But in my first year of college I broke with the New Age movement and began to drift into a no man’s land between religions. During this time I did believe in God, but I didn’t believe anyone knew anything about him or what he wanted. The only stable thing in my personal religion at this time was an intense dislike of Christians, whom I had learned to detest in high school. The mere sight of a person with Christian mannerisms aggravated me. It was not until some time later that I found a preacher who acted enough like a non-Christian for me to be able to listen to him.

Click here for the rest of the story…

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherri Koskela September 10, 2017 at 12:33 AM

This is a very touching story. Thank you for sharing it. God Bless you for the work you do.

Ryan September 17, 2018 at 3:38 PM

… and I’m crying… I’m going home to hug my family and tell them I love them.

Marilyn Benage September 18, 2018 at 2:34 AM

Wow, what a powerful testimony, made me cry. Thank you for sharing. We are blessed to have you as an apologist. I learn so much from you.

Chris C. September 22, 2018 at 5:59 AM

Thanks you Jimmy for sharing this beautiful and poignant account. May Renee Rest In Peace always, and may you know God’s comfort from these memories that you’ve shared. Our God is gracious.

Ranz September 27, 2018 at 9:44 PM

What a beautiful though heartbreaking story. I could not stop my tears rolling. Thanks Jim for being one of us in our Catholic faith now. May Renee find her eternal peace.

Nikki Hornsby November 14, 2019 at 10:41 AM

Would type more but limited time for my story. Impressed with yours!
God bless
Nikki Hornsby

Kathleen C Moncla April 26, 2021 at 8:03 PM

Hi, Steve. I heard Jimmy on the Matt Fradd show. I was interested to read his story, but I couldn't access the remainder of it. Is there any way you could please send me a link so I could read it? Thanks.

STEVE RAY HERE: Will fix tomorrow.

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