Has Born-again Bob Dylan Returned to Judaism?
The singer's response to an Olympics ministry opportunity might settle the matter once for all.
May 1, 2001
From the January 13, 1984, issue of Christianity Today:
The debate has raged for nearly two years. Is rock singer Bob Dylan—who reportedly became a Christian in 1979—still a Christian? Has he returned to Judaism, the religion of his childhood? Or is he simply a seeker of truth who doesn't fully commit himself to any one religion?
Dylan might put an end to such speculation during this summer's 1984 Olympic Games. He has been asked to participate in an Olympics evangelistic outreach. The singer has not given a firm answer. But according to Paul Emond, a former pastor who is a friend of Dylan, the singer is considering the invitation. As entertainment chairman for the Olympics Outreach Working Committee, Emond asked Dylan to be a part of the mass evangelistic effort.
"He had a thousand opportunities to say, 'Look, Paul, that's just not my bag anymore. Don't you get the hint?'," Emond says. "That's not where he's coming from at all."
Emond says he helped lead Dylan to Christ in 1979, the year Dylan's songs took a decidedly Christian turn. The album he released later that year, Slow Train Coming, contained a clear Christian message—as did his 1980 and 1981 releases.
The Christian proclamations were significant because of Dylan's reputation as a musical prophet to the sixties generation. He burst into stardom during the mid-1960s with songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," and "Mr. Tambourine Man." Many of his songs were critical of American society and U.S. government policy. The singer's music helped shape the world view of American youth entering a period of public protests against the Vietnam War.
Because his fans were unaccustomed to hearing him praise God, Dylan's statements of faith in 1979 immediately ...
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