Private letter shows US President Ronald Reagan tried to convert dying father-in-law to Christianity
President Ronald Reagan reached out to his dying father-in-law in hopes the older man would give his life to Christ before passing from this world, a recently uncovered letter shows, offering a rare look at the late president’s faith in God.
“Loyal, you and (wife) Edith have known a great love – more than many have been permitted to know,” Reagan wrote. “That love will not end with the end of this life. We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater life, a greater glory awaits us. It awaits you together one day and all that is required is that you believe and tell God you put yourself in his hands.”
The intimate 36-year-old letter on four pages of White House stationery is not part of the publicly available presidential records at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty said. She had come across the August 7, 1982 letter earlier this year in a cardboard box of possessions belonging to Nancy Reagan. The Library had given her access to Nancy Reagan’s personal effects for her research on a biography of the late first lady, and allowed the Post to reproduce the letter in its entirety for her column.
Reagan evangelized Loyal Davis, stepfather of Reagan’s second wife Nancy (Davis) Reagan, and an atheist, speaking about the miracles associated with the life of Christ, including Christ being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Davis, a noted neurosurgeon, died on August 19, 1982.
The president, who had originally held a “pro-choice” position, but later converted to being pro-life, had worried for Davis’ soul, according to Tumulty. He penned the letter in the days leading up to Davis’ death.
“Dear Loyal,” the president started his letter, “I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but I’ve been wanting to write you ever since we talked on the phone. I am aware of the strain you are under and believe with all my heart there is help for that.”
Reagan then quoted John 3:16 in sharing God’s promise of eternal life for those who accept His Son: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”
Then he continued talking about Jesus “The miracle is that a young man of 30 years without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners, He owned nothing but the clothes on his back and he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across.”
“He did this for only three years and then was executed as a common criminal,” the president wrote. “But for two thousand years he has … had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.”
“We have been promised that all we have to do is ask God in Jesus name to help when we have done all we can – when we’ve come to the end of our strength and abilities and we’ll have that help,” Reagan told Davis. “We only have to trust and have faith in his infinite goodness and mercy.”
Source: Life Site News