Sylvester Stallone is reaching out to the churches to publicize his new movie. As he does this he is sharing his story of faith and redemption. A report and response to a conference call with Stallone here from Focus on the Family. Link from Drudge.

Is Stallone for real? Of course I don't know. But, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. His Rocky movies had a Roman Catholic sensibility about them (think of the priest and the statue of Jesus, etc.), probably reflecting Stallone's own upbringing. But his private life went downhill into self-absorbed hedonism.

Has Stallone had a spiritual experience, calling him back to the faith of this childhood? I hope so. We'll have a better idea a few years from now. Jonathan Edwards, the colonial preacher and theologian, wrestled with the question of how to distinguish genuine from spurious religious experience. He was well aware that people can be caught up in emotional experiences and mistake them for spiritual. But he also believed profoundly in the reality of God's grace. Edwards' answer was "Wait and see." Genuine spiritual experience has staying power, leading to a Christian life over the long haul. Spurious experience fades and disappears.

In his assessment this New England pastor was echoing his Master, who told the story of seed sown on various sorts of ground. Some sprouted and looked good for a time, but eventually withered in the heat. The seed falling on good soil endured and produced a harvest.