Born Again on a Prison Basketball Court

Bill Rudge Ministries became acquainted with Anthony Smith’s story when he wrote to us asking for assistance (not financial). The following is his amazing testimony:

My name is Anthony Smith. I am presently incarcerated in Tennessee. I would like to share my story with you.

I was born again in 1988 on a basketball court in a Tennessee prison at the age of 21. Until this point I was an angry kid dabbling in Satanism. My conversion happened after experiencing an end-times vision where I, and others, were slaughtering Christians. During this vision, I shot a power transformer. Suddenly a brilliant blue bolt of lightning flashed across the sky that came rolling forward like an angry ocean wave. The sky stopped in front of me yet continued to roll as if it was angry. Then it opened like a door and began lowering towards the earth.

As the door came closer I saw a pair of scarred feet wearing sandals and a hem of a robe. As the door continued to descend I also saw others with this individual. When the door touched the earth I saw the face of the One I came to know as my Lord and Savior. I felt a presence behind me and it was as if a hand was placed on the back of my neck. I was forced to my knees, my head bowed until my forehead touched the ground and the words, “Jesus is Lord,” came out of my mouth. Keep in mind that I had never heard “every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.”

Since being born again, I answered the call to teach/preach the Word. I served as Associate Pastor, and then Pastor, at Fellowship Chapel in prison. During this time, the Lord impressed upon me to get an education that itself has been an incredible journey. I began by earning my G.E.D. followed by struggling to earn an Associates of Business degree that William Jennings Bryant College offered at the prison. I continued to work on a Bachelor’s degree from what was then Lee College until inmates lost the use of Pell Grants across the United States.

I knew in my heart that God told me to do this but I looked at the hopelessness of my situation. I was making $60 a month and the state was taking half of that. Yet, I knew God was able. I began a letter writing campaign to colleges that offered correspondence courses. I could only pay $10 a month and with each rejection letter I began to feel hopeless. But God had a plan (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Lord impressed on me to befriend an older inmate and we became cellmates. Each day he would see me writing letters to different schools. When I explained what I was doing he told me to write his alma mater. He wrote an introduction letter that I enclosed with mine. A month later I received a response. Not only did the school accept me, and my $10-a-month tuition, they awarded me a 50% scholarship. I was blown away.

Let me tell you, God was not slack. He provided my books and, when needed, a large portion of my tuition throughout the Bachelor’s degree. When the Spirit pressed me to go on, God paid for the Masters of Ministry (Bible) and finally the Doctorate of Ministry (Christian Counseling). I was amazed at His faithfulness and provision.

So, when the Lord began speaking to me about writing a book, I responded, “Yes, Lord!” Now, I fully knew I was not going to be published by a major publisher but God provided the finances for the book He encouraged me to write titled, “The Fall.” The book is a Christian fiction novel and begins with Lucifer’s fall from Heaven to man’s fall in the garden and follows scripture through the Patriarchs to the cross showing that Jesus was indeed God the Son; through the prophets. A demonic general named Jerry said, as they watched the crucifixion, “We have lost. This is how God is redeeming man.”

In a follow-up letter, Anthony wrote:

Thank you for making 50 bookmarks available and know it is truly a blessing to be associated with Bill Rudge Ministries. God does amazing things when we get out of His way. And may God continue to use all of you at Bill Rudge Ministries for His glory.

I simply thank Him for not only forgiving me, but for his abounding love, grace and mercy.

“The Fall” by Dr. A.G. Smith is available at,, and barnes& or wherever books are sold.