Franklin Graham and other evangelists are praising the godly change in a former neo-Nazi and KKK grand dragon who was recently baptized by a black pastor in Florida.
Ken Parker, who just a year ago was joining other white supremacists at the so-called Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was recently profiled in a NBC News report that examined the radical change in the man's life.
Parker explained his feelings of wanting to protect his race while he was a part of the Ku Klux Klan. But his attitude began to change after he met Pastor William McKinnon III of All Saints Holiness Church.
Following several conversations, Parker began to see the error of his ways, and was invited by the pastor to the church's Easter service in April.
The now-former neo-Nazi became a member of the African-American church, repented for what he used to believe, and was embraced by the congregation.
At the end of July, McKinnon baptized him in the Atlantic Ocean, in another major step in Parker's road to redemption.
"I want to say I'm sorry. I do apologize," Parker said at the time about all the people he has hurt. "I know I've spread hate and discontent through this city immensely — probably made little kids scared to sleep in their own beds in their own neighborhoods."
The story continues to be praised by evangelists online, including major figures such as the Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"Do #blacklivesmatter? If you ask a member of the KKK or a Nazi, their answer would most likely be 'Absolutely Not' — that is, unless Jesus Christ changes their heart. He can change anyone — even a former hate-filled grand dragon of the KKK and Nazi. Ken Parker has apologized for the hate he spread and was recently baptized in a very different kind of robe than he used to wear. What a testimony to the transforming power of the Gospel!" Graham hailed in a post on Facebook Thursday.
"I'm thankful for the pastor and church who were faithful to demonstrate the love of God to Ken, when many would have written him off. Remember, God can reach those we think unreachable — and He can use us if we will let Him," he added.
Other evangelists, such as Pastor Nathaniel Williams of Cedar Rock First Baptist Church in Castalia, North Carolina, have also praised Parker for his transformation.
"One year ago, Ken Parker was a white nationalist and member of the KKK who marched on Charlottesville. A few weeks ago, he was baptized by the same people he once hated," Williams wrote on Twitter on Aug. 10.
"The Gospel changes lives," he proclaimed.
Pastor McKinnon, who baptized Parker, explained what role forgiveness and redemption have to play in God's eyes.
"When we make it to Heaven, Heaven's not just gonna be one race. There's gonna be all kinds of races up there," he said.