Actor Chadwick Boseman, known for playing James Brown, Jackie Robinson and the popular superhero Black Panther, died Friday of cancer. He was only 43 years old.
While his premature passing was beyond tragic, Christians can take comfort in the fact that Chadwick appeared to have a close relationship with Jesus Christ.
When Boseman portrayed Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier, in the 2013 movie “42” — a role that elevated the actor into superstardom — he discussed the importance of the faith of the baseball icon, who often used the phrase “God built me to last.”
“I think Jackie Robinson’s religion — his spirituality — is what helped him to endure this. There is no doubt about it. Because he believed in God, he believed that there was certain providence [in his life] in him being chosen, in the timing … many are called, but few are chosen,” Boseman told Risen Magazine at the time.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
“One of the fruits of the [Holy] Spirit is self-control,” he added, referring to Galatians 5:22-23.
“He had to have all of [the fruit] — patience, love, gentleness, brotherly kindness, charity — but the self-control comes from going through the fire. I feel like it’s because he had God in him that he was able to make it through this.”
— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) August 29, 2020
Even as Boseman became more popular, he wasn’t shy about sharing his faith. The actor even credited prayer when he landed the role of a lifetime as the lead in Marvel’s “Black Panther.”
“You pray for something and then it actually occurs, you almost can’t believe it,” Boseman told Hunger in 2017.
He was far from the only Christian on the cast of “Black Panther.” According to Sope Aluko, who played Shaman in the film, members of the cast would often take breaks from filming to share their testimonies.
“During breaks, we shared our testimony of how we got to where did, and most of the people were testifying to God’s miracles, it was almost like church,” she told OkayAfrica in 2017.
“When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who stands against it.”
— Chadwick Boseman. 🖤🕊 pic.twitter.com/qo92cJuxPE
— ❂ Yübbîę Umoh ❂ (@Yubbie007) August 29, 2020
Samuel Neely, Chadwick’s childhood pastor at Welfare Baptist Church, proudly shared Boseman’s development from a child of faith into a man of God.
“Even though he plays these different people, I still see the person I knew as a child. When I see him, it’s almost like seeing my own child, he’s still Chad,” Neely told The Christian Post in 2018.
“He did a lot of positive things within the church and within the community,” Neely continued. “With him singing in the choir, with him working the youth group, he always was doing something, always helping out, always serving. That was his personality.”
“I just seen him mature, and blossom into a man,” he added. “And he’s doing an excellent job.”
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