Christian Living

Spiritual Life

How Harald Bredesen Changed Pat Boone's Life

American entertainer Pat Boone has revealed how charismatic pioneer, Harald Bredesen, changed his life when his career was at a crossroads.

Bredesen, who was known as “Mr. Charisma”, died at Palomar Hospital from complications following a fall at his Southern California home on Tuesday, December 29, 2006.

In an interview before the Memorial Service for Bredesen, 88, held on Saturday, February 3, at the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, Pat Boone spoke about the role this extraordinary man played in his life.

Boone began by saying, “I consider Harald and George Otis to be my two Holy Spirit fathers. George was the one who led Shirley [his wife] and me into the baptism of the Holy Spirit then he introduced me to Harald, his dear friend, and Harald just came right along side like the Paraclete [the word comes from the Koine Greek word meaning ‘one who consoles - a comforter’ or ‘one who intercedes on our behalf - an advocate’] and led me into fuller commitment and understanding of God.

“I’ve written about and talked about the time when Harald asked me, ‘Brother, do you like to walk?’ I said, ‘Yes’ and he then said, ‘Can we talk and pray as we walk? I said, ‘Sure’ and so we went up on Mulholland Drive. At that time, I was looking for some specific career direction and, as we walked along, he was praying out loud in the Spirit and there was a guy sitting up there on the hill just taking in the sights or meditating, and here comes me and Harald who were very loudly praising God in the Spirit. This guy got up and left.

“It was getting dark – about dusk – and Harald suddenly said, ‘Pat, are you willing to die to your career if this is what God wants?’ As he asked this question, I felt a constriction in my heart. I didn’t want to be asked that question, but I knew that I had to answer it, and so I replied, ‘Harald, you know I don’t want to be glib, but if I know my own heart and The Lord asks me to lay down my career, I believe I am willing.’ He said, ‘Praise God brother. You’re not only gonna get an answer to your questions but you’re gonna know your own heart.'

“The next day, he came to my front door and said, ‘Brother, I have a scripture for you; ‘Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers.’ He didn’t know that very soon I was about to sign a recording contract with a bunch of non-believers. I’d already recorded an album for them, but we just hadn’t signed a contract. Now I was in a dilemma because I’d given my word; I’d taken their money and had recorded an album, but now it was clear I was not to sign a contract with these guys. What should I do? I went back up on that hilltop on Mulholland Drive myself at midnight to seek the Lord and all I got was, ‘Go tell them your story.’

“So, the next day, I told these Jewish record executives my story and I didn’t know what was going to come of it except I said, ‘You may not want me on your record label now because I’m going through some changes and I may be an embarrassment to you. People already think of me as a pretty religious guy and, even though I don’t subscribe to that word, I do have a commitment to God and I think I’ve been directed not to sign this contract.’

“The head of the company who had been very still for about forty-five minutes, looked at me and responded by saying, ‘This is quite moving. We don’t usually hear this in our offices, but look, you already recorded the album, so let’s put it out but we won’t sign a contract. You like the album don’t you?’ I said, ‘Yes, I love it, but I can’t sign a contract.’ He said, ‘We won’t have a contract then.’ My manager was very upset at what he was hearing, feeling that there had to be some kind of contract, so the man said, ‘Why? If Pat trusts us we trust him, and if he wants to be with us, he’ll be with us, and if he doesn’t why should we hold him?’

“With that, I walked out. The dilemma had been resolved and I had not signed a contract, but the best thing was that Harald had told me that I would know my own heart, and now I did! I knew I had been willing to lay it down on the alter and die to my career, which could have been the result if that’s what God had ask me to do. It was like Abraham and Isaac. God just wanted to know if I was willing to make the sacrifice if He asked it of me, and once I showed that I was, He said, ‘No, I planted you in this business you stay here but I’m going to lead you in some other directions and some other activities which of course he has.”

I then asked Pat Boone what happened to the album and he replied, “It was a mild hit; it wasn’t huge, but as Paul Harvey says ‘the rest of the story…’ was that if I had signed that contract as I was close to doing, then six months later that company went bankrupt. Their assets were seized and if I had signed that contract, the album would have been one of their assets and it would have stayed on a shelf for five years. I wouldn’t have recorded for anybody. So it was also a deliverance.”

Boone then spoke about Harald Bredesen’s personality. “Harald was like a Peter in that he was impulsive, but absolutely committed,” he said. “I think you know that Peter walked on the water when he saw Jesus do it, and I think Harald might have walked on the water first even before Jesus, but he would have been doing it absent mindedly, praying in the Spirit or absent somewhere in the Spirit, and then he would then wake up to find he was walking on the water and didn’t know it.

“Harald was the most sold out committed, joyous, evangelist that I’ve ever known. Certainly there are also people like Billy Graham and other great evangelists, but Harald certainly, when he was one-on-one with someone, was terrific. He did not back off from Anwar Sadat, or from the Prime Minister of Israel, from presidents, Queens, business people or beggars. He always lived to introduce them to his Savior. That’s what every fiber of his being was about and now I wish I could witness the rejoicing going on in Heaven and the angels trying to rejoice as enthusiastically as Harald himself.”

The memorial service was attended by hundreds of friends of Harald Bredesen, and speakers included (in order of appearance), John Ruttkay, David Bredesen, Dagni Bredesen, Marwan Bahu, Jeff Grismer, Tom Gilbreath, Gordon Robertson and his father, Pat Robertson, whose early ministry was deeply impact by Bredesen. There were also musical numbers by Pat Boone and cellist Doug McClure, who had flown from India to participate.


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