|FREE WILL COVER STORY
It is always fun thinking up covers for my books, and it’s even more fun shooting them.
For this cover, I wanted to show what an honest free-will-believing Christian would look like. He has just come from the altar call; has has just chosen Christ; he has just saved himself from an eternity of separation from God—so what’s he going to do? Wouldn’t this be a bigger personal victory than winning the Super Bowl? Then act like it! Be honest! Why act all humble when you just managed to believe yourself into God’s presence for eternity?
There was no way I was going to be the coverboy for this book. I only play good guys, you see. I have a clause in my contract that says I never have to portray a standard, run-of-the-mill, government-issue Christian. (Another clause—a very helpful one—allows me to take advantage of my friends.)
What I needed was a big, strong guy. I needed an honest face with a sincere mind in a footballer’s body. Mike Telep!
Mike hosts a regular Bible study in the Cleveland area and, in fact, was a college football star (a tight end) at Columbia University. I was coming to one of the Bible studies at his home, and I called Mike to ask him if I could make a proud, self-saving Christian out of him. I knew he’d say yes, and he did.
Mike believes in the sovereignty of God. He knows he has no free will. He knows that God will become all in all. But he could not resist the fame and glory of posing for a Martin Zender book cover.
Besides all the usual Bible study essentials, I came to Mike’s house armed with a blue bedsheet and my digital camera. Before the study began—while the coffee was still gurgling—I tacked the sheet up in a doorway of Mike’s house and asked him to assume several embarrassing poses. Mike posed like a true champion, and after several tries I finally got the shot that you see on the cover.
I’m including some of the photos here that I didn’t use, as well as the one I did. (I removed my tacked-up background in Photoshop and replaced it with a plain blue background.) Also, I’m introducing you to a few of the people who attend this unusual Bible study.
You’re a good sport, Mike.
Next time, you can be the good guy.