In part one of this exclusive interview with Charisma Editor Marcus Yoars, presidential candidate and longtime Charisma reader Michele Bachmann opens up about her faith and charismatic roots. Click here for part two of the interview, where the congresswoman discusses how she hears from God, the state of the church in America and more.
Charisma: We’ve been told you’re a Charisma reader—we’re honored. How did you first hear about the magazine?
Bachmann: Maybe from church. My husband, Marcus, and I had gone to a very small, little, Spirit-filled church—maybe 50 to 60 members. We were about 19. In ’75, things were really heating up, I think, spiritually across the country. What we appreciated about Charisma more than anything else is they had a synopsis of current events from a biblical point of view. We all had Charisma subscriptions. It was just a basic for all of us.
Charisma: How did you first come to know the Lord?
Bachmann: I was born into a family of Lutherans and our parents took us to church every week. They were faithful. I’m sure the gospel was preached from our pulpit, but I didn’t get it. The only thing that I really saw was the tradition. I didn’t understand that whole part about faith. In high school I joined a prayer meeting. And my friends there knew I didn’t know the Lord, personally. I was a good girl, but it didn’t matter. I still didn’t know the Lord. I still had a wicked heart and I needed Him. So on Nov. 1, 1972, I bowed my knee with three friends. The Holy Spirit led us and we confessed our sins before the Lord and turned and went a new direction. That was it. I went home that night and I said to the Lord, ‘I don’t know what happened but I’m a completely different person. Whatever I become, I will radically abandon myself and my life to You and it’s Your plan now.”
Charisma: You’re the first presidential candidate who went to law school at Oral Roberts University. How did a Lutheran girl from Minnesota end up at one of the landmarks of the charismatic movement?
Bachmann: My husband and I were Spirit-filled and we went to a Spirit-filled church. We agreed it’d be important to have a Christian background in my law school education. But there really wasn’t anything. In college we had seen a film series by Dr. Frances Schaeffer that challenged us to have a biblical worldview to see that God is the God of creation and every discipline, and that includes law. Oral Roberts University Law School was going to be established as a law school that would be teaching biblical worldviews, so I went to the school. It had zero accreditation. So it was an act of faith to go, but I was really more interested in getting a biblical worldview of the law and a good education. And it was a phenomenal education. Our professors also wanted to pour themselves out for the Lord and so I’m thrilled that I made that decision to go to the school. That law school ultimately was shut down, but became Regent School of Law. I think I’m the first member of Congress to have graduated from Regent Law School.
Charisma: Last electoral season, we saw Sarah Palin completely mocked for her faith, in particular, her charismatic, Pentecostal connections. You seem to have gotten some of the same kind of flack from the secular media because—not only just your pro-life stance—but any kind of roots to that. Do you think there’s a coincidence there that’s tied to the charismatic market?
Bachmann: I think that it’s really for anyone who is not ashamed to talk about his or her faith or to be known and identified for his or her faith. I think it really has to do more with the fact that someone believes that the Bible is what it says it is. That’s what I believe. I have a high respect and a high view for the Scriptures. And I’m not perfect. That’s why I came to the Lord, because I knew I was a sinner and I have obvious failings. But my goal is to continually yield myself to the Lord and daily to die, so to speak, to what my desires are and to live for the Lord. To die is to gain. It’s to live for Christ. And that’s what I hope to do, is to walk more deeply with the Lord everyday.
Bachmann will deliver a speech on values at the Family Resources Council's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Monday morning. The event will be webcast live at 10:30 a.m. EST.