Denzel Washington Recalls “Holy Ghost” Experience at West Angeles
Few can deliver a moving message like Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr.
Just ask legendary actor Denzel Washington, a long-time member at West Angeles Church.
Pastor A. R. Bernard oversees the Christian Cultural Center church in Brooklyn, New York, and this past week, Washington joined Pastor Bernard on Instagram Live to discuss racial injustice in America, Washington’s role as Malcolm X in the famous Spike Lee film, and more.
Of course, the two men of God also discussed their devout faith, and Washington spoke of a specific experience he had at West Angeles Church with Bishop Blake.
“In Bishop Blake’s church, in West Angeles Church of God in Christ in 1981 or 1982, I went with Robert Townsend. And when it came time to come down to the altar I said, ‘You know this time, I’m just going to go down there and give it up and see what happens.’ I went in the prayer room and gave it up and let go and experienced something I’ve never experienced in my life.”
Washington said that a younger version of himself had attempted to turn his life over to God multiple times before, but this time, it was different.
“I was filled with the Holy Ghost and it scared me. I said, ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t want to go this deep. I want to party.”
After the Holy Spirit moment, Washington said that he reached out to his mother, who told him exactly what the experience meant.
“I remember calling my mother afterwards and saying, ‘It felt like I was going up in the air and my cheeks were filled.’ And she said, ‘That’s the devil you’re purging.’ It was a supernatural, if not once in a lifetime experience, that I couldn’t completely understand at the time.
Despite the intense experience, Washington told Pastor Bernard that he still had work to do, even though he had encountered the Holy Spirit on that Sunday.
“I mean, I accepted it, I definitely experienced it, but I wasn’t ready to live it. I don’t know how old I was then but I wasn’t ready to live it then. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gone through that kind of experience. I had to go through all of that. You have that knocked-from-the-horse moment, but it doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is gonna go the way it should.”
Denzel continued to lean on his mother for spiritual guidance after that Sunday at West Angeles, and she told him that it wasn’t enough to be on the right track.
You have to be on the right track the right way.
“I remember my mother saying to me, ‘Denzel, you do a lot of good, but it’s time for you to do good the right way. You can’t buy your way into heaven.’ I never forgot that. And I knew on my journey, and we all have our individual journeys, that I wasn’t where I needed to be yet but I was on the right track.”