I knew Larry Flynt, the most successful hard-core pornographer in America, publisher of Hustler magazine. His morals had few boundaries. He fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to suggest that the late Jerry Falwell had sex with his mother. On Feb. 10, this year, he died, age 78. At one time he claimed to be born again and said he would shut down his porn enterprise. Then, in 1978, an assassin shot him. The bullet paralyzed Flynt from the waist down. Afterwards he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair and turned against God.
I first met Larry Flynt when he and I were both guests on the PTL Jim Bakker TV show. That was Flynt’s first public declaration of Christianity. After the assassination attempt, we met again. Our radio ministry sponsored a symposium about the dangers of pornography, held on the campus of Georgetown University. That night Flynt and I debated before a live crowd and a huge live-by-satellite audience on hundreds of radio stations. Before the debate, we spent an afternoon discussing Flynt’s life and brief journey of faith.
I expected him to be a sleazy man, but Larry Flynt was one of the most intelligent and well-read people I’ve met. He was articulate and knowledgeable about Christianity, the Bible, and church history. His bodyguard was a born-again Christian. We talked for hours about Jesus Christ. Then Flynt said, “Bob, if I hadn’t been shot, I would have shut down Hustler, and I’d be preaching the gospel today. But if God put me in this wheelchair after I gave my life to Him, I want nothing more to do with Jesus.” He seethed with anger toward the Lord.
Larry Flynt isn’t the first Christian to question Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Many people blame God for things in life that seem to defy human logic; however, Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” I did my best to turn Larry Flynt back to Jesus and surrender his bitterness to the Lord. I pray that he remembered our conversation on his death bed. If you are facing things hard to understand, don’t make the mistake of Larry Flynt. Instead, heed Romans 11:33, “His ways [are] past finding out.”