Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love: How a Violent Klansman Became a Champion of Racial Reconciliation

Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love: How a Violent Klansman Became a Champion of Racial Reconciliation

by Thomas A. Tarrants


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"Riveting, inspiring, at times hard to believe but utterly gives some measure of hope in these rancorous times." -- John Grisham

As an ordinary high school student in the 1960s, Tom Tarrants became deeply unsettled by the social upheaval of the era. In response, he turned for answers to extremist ideology and was soon utterly radicalized. Before long, he became involved in the reign of terror spread by Mississippi's dreaded White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, described by the FBI as the most violent right-wing terrorist organization in America.

In 1969, while attempting to bomb the home of a Jewish leader in Meridian, Mississippi, Tom was ambushed by law enforcement and shot multiple times during a high-speed chase. Nearly dead from his wounds, he was arrested and sentenced to thirty years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman Farm. Unrepentant, Tom and two other inmates made a daring escape from Parchman yet were tracked down by an FBI SWAT team and apprehended in hail of bullets that killed one of the convicts. Tom spent the next three years alone in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell. There he began a search for truth that led him to the Bible and a reading of the gospels, resulting in his conversion to Jesus Christ and liberation from the grip of racial hatred and violence.

Astounded by the change in Tom, many of the very people who worked to put him behind bars began advocating for his release. After serving eight years of a 35-year sentence, Tom left prison. He attended college, moved to Washington, DC, and became copastor of a racially mixed church. He went on to earn a doctorate and became the president of the C. S. Lewis Institute, where he devoted himself to helping others become wholehearted followers of Jesus.

A dramatic story of radical transformation, Consumed by Hate, Redeemed by Love demonstrates that hope is not lost even in the most tumultuous of times, even those similar to our own.

"As a kid in Mississippi in the late 1960's, I remember the men of our church discussing the Klan's bombing campaign against the Jews. The men did not disapprove. Later, I would use this fascinating chapter of civil rights history as the backdrop for my novel The Chamber. Now, one of the bombers, Thomas Tarrants, tells the real story in this remarkable memoir. It is riveting, inspiring, at times hard to believe but utterly true, and it gives some measure of hope in these rancorous times." --John Grisham

"Dramatic...Simply astonishing...Essential reading for these times. If you want to understand how the evil of extremist thought works--and how the gospel of God’s grace can overcome it--read this book." --Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker, lead pastor of National Community Church

"Amazing...Gives hope for what God can do." --Dr. John Perkins, president emeritus, John Perkins Foundation; co-founder emeritus, Christian Community Development Association

"A riveting narrative." --Russell Moore, president, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

"This gripping and inspiring story is as timely as today’s headlines....Put on your seatbelt and prepare to enter into one of the most extraordinary true stories you’ll ever encounter!" --Lee Strobel, best-selling author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Grace

"Reveals how easily a political ideology can grow into a radical, extreme, life-taking worldview, all the while masquerading for some supposed form of a 'Christian' faith....A powerful story!" --Eric C. Redmond, associate professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400215324
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 253,976
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Thomas A. Tarrants is president emeritus of the C.S. Lewis Institute, where he served from 1998 to 2019. Prior to working at the Institute, he was co-pastor of a multi-racial church, in Washington, DC. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Church Alliance. Tom has pursued a ministry of teaching, writing, and spiritual mentoring for many years, with a focus on discipleship, prayer, and devotional life. He holds a master of divinity degree and a doctor of ministry degree in Christian spirituality.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Part 1 Seeing God Work in the Extraordinary: 1968-1976

Chapter 1 Ambushed! 3

Chapter 2 An Undeserved Mercy 17

Chapter 3 Paying the Price 25

Chapter 4 Seeds of Fear and Anger 33

Chapter 5 Descending into Darkness 45

Chapter 6 Opening Skirmishes 59

Chapter 7 Into the Thick of Battle 65

Chapter 8 Off to Prison 75

Chapter 9 Prison Life 87

Chapter 10 Biding My Time and Preparing 95

Chapter 11 Escape! 101

Chapter 12 Maximum Security-Again 107

Chapter 13 Encounter with Truth and Light 115

Chapter 14 New Life! 125

Chapter 15 New Friends 135

Chapter 16 New Possibilities 147

Chapter 17 Free at Last! 155

Part 2 Seeing God Work in the Ordinary: 1977-2019

Chapter 18 Ole Miss: A Happy Change 165

Chapter 19 A New Direction 173

Chapter 20 Making Sense of It All 179

Conclusion: The Challenge We Face Today 187

Acknowledgments 201

Notes 203

About the Author 207

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