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Famed Evangelical Josh McDowell Details 'Horrific' Sexual Abuse & Why He Once Tried to Disprove Jesus' Resurrection in New Autobiography


"gripping story of hope, forgiveness and abundant grace"

Evangelical leader Josh McDowell has built an extremely successful ministry -- one that reaches believers across the globe, helping them to properly "live out their Christian faith." His inspiring and wide-reaching work, which spans decades, has led McDowell, 73, to pen more than 100 books.

In his latest project, an autobiography called "Undaunted" (both a book and an accompanying movie), McDowell details his path from agnosticism to becoming one of the world's most respected Christian trailblazers. According to an official description, the book "chronicles the riveting true story of a young farm boy named Josh who carried unspeakable memories of an alcoholic father and a farmhand’s abuse, causing him to defy God’s existence."

The book, which comes out today, delves deeply into McDowell's personal life, providing a fascinating lens into the leader's character and his ability to overcome seeming insurmountable odds. For the first time, he puts to writing the horrific childhood abuse he sustained at the hands of an alcoholic father. In addition to the dysfunction and violence that came along with this dynamic, McDowell suffered homosexual sex abuse at the hands of a farmhand and home helper named Wayne.

Prior to the book's publication, TheBlaze secured an exclusive look at a chapter in "Undaunted" that deals with Wayne's abusiveness. While the details are disturbing -- and tragic -- McDowell's story is an important one that contains lessons for a great many people whose faith has been impacted by similar injustices.

In chapter three, the faith leader details the abuse he sustained in rural Michigan in the 1940s and 1950s. Perhaps the most disturbing detail -- outside of the abuse itself -- was the fact that McDowell tried to tell his mother about what was happening, but she didn't believe him.

Here's a portion of the chapter that highlights the abuse, which started when the Christian leader was six-years-old. The text also highlights McDowell's inability to convince those around him to address what was happening:

Wayne began molesting me within weeks after he started working for my family. The first time it happened I was six years old, and I had no idea what was going on. I remember feeling confusion and shame, then excitement and pleasure, and later seething anger and a deep sense of guilt. Wayne’s abuse and emotional manipulation would continue for the next seven years.

Twice I told Mom about it, but she didn’t believe me, dismissing the subject as unfit for discussion. At that time in America, and perhaps in society in general, sexual abuse was hardly talked about. It was considered something best kept from the public eye—hushed up and consequently never dealt with as it should have been.

When Mom rebuffed me for telling her about Wayne’s actions, I never talked to anyone else about it. I don’t think they would have believed me anyway. And if they had believed me, they would likely have sidestepped the issue, hoping the problem would somehow just go away.

But it didn’t go away. Wayne came looking for me whenever he could, whenever an opportunity presented itself. If I was alone on the farm for an hour or two, he became a hunter in search of his prey. If I was alone in the barn doing my chores, he’d come looking for me. Sometimes I’d wake up early in the morning with him sitting on the edge of my bed, fondling me. “Doesn’t that feel good?” he’d say. Then he’d have me get up and dress for school in front of him. It was devastating every time.

In the chapter, McDowell goes on, in more detail, to describe the horror he faced as a young child, specifically during times when his parents would take trips and leave him with the predator. During the attacks, he remembers feeling the need to "scream" and wanting "to run away." But, not having any place to go and being so young, he was trapped in a cycle of abuse that, to this day, has left him with painful memories.

Naturally, his tragic childhood experience had a profound impact on the evangelist. In fact, at one point he actually attempted to disprove Christ's resurrection story. But, in the end, McDowell came to embrace the faith and his subsequent ministry activity has helped to spread Biblical tenets throughout the globe.

Below, see the powerful trailer for the film, "Undaunted: The Early Life of Josh McDowell," that accompanies the book (get more information on the film here):

McDowell has shared what his web site calls a "gripping story of hope, forgiveness and abundant grace" in an effort to help others who have faced similar challenges. In the end, it shows how he took all of the horrible situations that befell him and turned them over to the Christian God he embraces so fervently. For more information or to get a copy of the book, click here.

Excerpt taken from "Undaunted." Copyright © 2012 by Josh D. McDowell. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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