Son of Sam, Child of God

  Twenty-three years ago, a spate of random murders paralyzed New York City. The killer left police a note, which read, "I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam." When the police finally captured the killer, David Berkowitz, he stretched his face into a macabre smile. But two weeks ago, on Larry King Live, we saw a different Berkowitz. King was interviewing him from a New York prison, and those who tuned in saw the former Son of Sam boldly witnessing to King about his faith in Christ, and even leading viewers in a prayer. The interview took place because of a new movie about Berkowitz, called Summer of Sam, which dredges up the whole nightmare again. But the film leaves out one of the most remarkable parts of Berkowitz's story--one he did not miss the opportunity to share with Larry King. About ten years ago, Berkowitz turned his life over to Jesus Christ. Berkowitz says he now wants nothing more than to lead others to Christ, and he's made two videos for that very purpose. The companies that produced the videos say Berkowitz doesn't get a penny from them. And they didn't produce them until they were sure the videos could not be used to help Berkowitz's chances of parole. In a video called "Son of Sam, Son of Hope," Berkowitz lifts his hands and says, "At one time, these hands were being used by the devil to destroy. But I thank God today for His great mercy that these hands are being used to touch lives." And they HAVE touched lives. The producers of the videos say they know of "dozens and dozens" of converted to Christ after watching them. It's a tremendous conversion story--one every bit as dramatic as that of another murderer, Paul of Tarsus. But whenever the news media talks about Berkowitz's changed life, it's with a cynical tone. Many reporters don't hide the fact that they think his conversion is phony, something he's putting on to improve his chances of parole. Why so much skepticism? The answer has to do with the way many of our elites view reality. Many of them believe in the philosophy of naturalism--the idea that nature is all there is, that there is no supernatural agent at work in the world. According to this view, miracles simply can't happen. Of course the greatest miracle is the miracle of a genuinely changed life. So when a Satanist like Berkowitz repents and follows God, there is no natural explanation. That's why such conversion stories rankle non-believers. Twenty-five years ago, the media couldn't believe it when the Nixon hatchet man became a repentant follower of Jesus. But Scripture affirms a God Who created the universe and everything in it--and Who therefore stands outside it. So when He intervenes-- in my life, or in the life of a murderer--it is, well, miraculous. If your friends saw the Larry King interview with Berkowitz, or watched the new movie about his life, help them understand how it came about that the Son of Sam became a child of God. And tell them, as well, about the God Who exists outside of His creation, and Who is able to do things that are truly controversial--and truly out of this world. [David Berkowitz's testimony is available online at ]


Chuck Colson



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