Guillaume Bignon grew up in France and was a convinced atheist. In his mid-20s he went on a trip to the Caribbean where he met a beautiful girl from New York. They began a relationship that continued on after their vacation was over. Unfortunately for Bignon, she was a Christian and in order to help her escape from the clutches of that “nonsense,” he began reading the Bible. But what he discovered from reading intrigued him, especially the figure of Jesus.
I was impressed by the authority of that man’s teaching… I didn’t have much room in my worldview for his talks of God and supernatural activity, but I was rather impressed by the way he maneuvered in conversation and the wisdom of some of his retorts.
This encounter with Jesus made Bignon slightly more open to Christianity – just enough that he decided to visit an evangelical church in Paris. He describes that experience like “go[ing] to the zoo” in order “to see some weird exotic animals.” While in the church he was deathly afraid that someone he knew would spot him there and he would die from shame. Still, he was impressed that these Christians actually seemed to believe what they were talking about. At the end of the service, he met the pastor and began a conversation about Christianity. This lasted for several hours and led to more conversations in the coming weeks. Bignon describes the impact this pastor had on him.
Here was an obviously educated man, who believed these incredible things about God and Jesus, and I progressively started to consider that all of this could possibly be true.
As Bignon pondered the contents of the Bible, one question kept coming up: “why did Jesus have to die?” Around the same time, he became acutely aware of a great wrong he had done and the lies he told to cover it up. The sense of guilt was so powerful that he was “physically crippled with pain in [his] chest and disgusted at the thought [of what he had done].” Suddenly Jesus’ death made sense. Jesus died because of what he had done wrong – because of his sin. Jesus died so that he could live. Once this key piece of the puzzle clicked into place, he “placed [his] trust in Jesus, and asked Him to forgive [him] in the way the New Testament promised He would.”
Guillaume Bignon, “How God Turns a French Atheist into a Christian Theologian - My Conversion Story,” TheoloGUI (blog), September 18, 2014, https://theologui.blogspot.com/2014/09/conversion-guillaume-bignon-french-atheist-to-christian-theologian.html.