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How God Radically Transformed This Actor

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ted Baehr

How God Radically Transformed This Actor

By Dr. Ted Baehr

As the Scripture says, we are saved by grace, through faith, not by works, because “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).  

My father, I.E. Theodore “Ted” Baehr, whose stage name was Robert Allen, exhibited the larger than life manner of almost all the worldly characteristics of stars of stage and screen. In particular, he could manifest a tremendous show of anger which I now know was mostly acting. He could use language that would make even sailors blush.

He was visiting us in Atlanta (where I headed the organization that produced THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE for CBS TV), when my first son, Peirce, was about 2-year- old. When my father verbally exhibited some of his command of spicy foul language, I told him that if he was going to curse in front of my son, he would have to go back to Oyster Bay, NY, where my sister lived and where he had a beautiful home.

My father had trained in the cavalry before World War I, and I don’t think that I had ever seen him cry (but he must of when my mother died in 1960). He was tough and could still scare people even though he was in his 70s. In fact, a few years before our move to Atlanta when we were moving out of our brownstone apartment on 93rd Street between Park Avenue and Lexington, he went back into the apartment to get something we had forgotten. In the upstairs kitchen, my father surprised a very large thief with a knife who towered over my father and was stealing whatever he could. My father picked up an egg carton,  and with his most dramatic and powerful voice, he drove the thief out, although in fact, my father could not have stopped the thief.

So, back to his cursing in front of my young son. I walked back to his room in our home, and he was packing to leave, and he surprised me because he was crying. At that moment, he accepted Jesus Christ as his lord and savior, and for the next 20 years never exhibited the foul language or his temper, as I remember. In fact, my wife never knew my father’s foul language or temper.

This is just one of many examples, including my own, of God transforming us by changing our character in a way that all the humanistic psychiatric and self-help groups say they could never do.

My father was proof, just as I am and many others, that Jesus Christ redeems us, renews us and revives us.

Since I teach on cognitive development theory and media literacy, I often quote the conclusion of the American Psychiatric Association that once you get images in your mind that inflame your particular susceptible passions, whether violence or images of pornography, you can’t remove them. I tell my audience there is good news, however, because Jesus, through the power of His Holy Spirit, has promised that He will renew our minds.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2, NIV.