Dr. James Dobson spoke with Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence recently about his Christian faith, which was also boldly on display at the vice presidential debate last night. While Pence gave a brief testimony on national television, choosing to focus more on a biblical defense of his pro-life stance, he shared with Dobson a more detailed account of what exactly led him to true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Below is a transcript from the audio conversation posted on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
DR. JAMES DOBSON: "Tell us how you became a Christian. Did you grow up in a Christian home?"
MIKE PENCE: "I grew up in a Christian home. It was church on Sunday and grace before dinner. I owe that upbringing and cherish that upbringing each and every day to my mom and dad. They're wonderful people. My dad went home to be with the Lord back in 1988, but he's still a dominant, dominant influence on my life."
DOBSON: "You've talked about veering from your commitment to Christ for a period of time."
PENCE: "I did. In high school, I just didn't see the point of it. I had started to get involved in politics and was much more interested that than I was in the way I was trained up from my youth. I went off to college, a little college in southern Indiana, and I had started to meet some people that started to me about a personal relationship in Christ. That was new language for me. I hadn't really heard that. That didn't come out of the tradition in my church to use language like that. But there was something very different about these people. There seemed to be something I would later understand to be joy in their life. That was something I knew was missing in my life."
DOBSON: "What year in college were you by that time?"
PENCE: "I was a freshman in college. There was a senior, who is now actually a pastor at a large church in Indianapolis and is a dear friend of my to this day, who had taken me under [his] wing and begin to talk to me about faith. And I arrived at a point — I remember it vividly — that I decided that I was going ahead and 'be Christian.' I told him that I wanted to start wearing a cross, you know, because I was going to the fellowship group, so I was going to do that 'Christian thing.' And I bothered him once or twice because he had a really nice cross he wore, and I thought it'd be a good thing to wear. I asked him for a catalog. It was back in the day when you couldn't order everything on your phone. He said he had a catalog that he ordered it from. And I'll never forget the day we were down in the cafeteria at our fraternity house, and I said, 'Hey, don't forget to get me that catalog because I still want to order that cross so I can be Christian,' and he turned and looked at me and said words I'll never forget. He said, "Mike, just remember, you've got to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck.' And he walked up the stairs. To this day, he says he never remembers saying that to me, but I stood there. I was flatfooted. I couldn't move for about five minutes."
DOBSON: "That's a commitment of your heart, mind, soul, and repentance, forgiveness, all that."
PENCE: "That's what he was saying to me. It was like he pulled back the curtain and he said, 'I know you're just saying this, but it's not in your heart.' It would be a few weeks later that I was at a Christian music festival in Wilmore, Kentucky, that I think still goes on to this day. And I heard some great contemporary Christian artists, and then one preacher after another. And sitting in the rain on a hillside on Saturday night, I suddenly realized that what had happened on the cross, that when that happened, that He had me in His heart and His mind when He did it, as well as everyone else in all of history. And with a heart broken with gratitude I made a decision and gave my heart to Jesus Christ, and it's made all the difference ever since."
Listen to audio of the interview here.