Bob Dylan's '80s letter auctioned, gives glimpse into artist's Christian faith

Rock musician Bob Dylan performs at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in this file photo from May 5, 2004. | REUTERS/ROBERT GALBRAITH RG

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan had written a letter in the '80s that expressed his Christian faith, and it was recently auctioned online.

"This remarkable letter offers enormous insight into Dylan's thoughts during a critical period of his career, and such lengthy handwritten material by Dylan is of the utmost rarity," said Robert Livingston, executive vice-president at RR Auction, according to CBC News.

Described as "extremely rare," the correspondence was written in Toronto, Canada on hotel stationery with the Park Plaza letterhead. It is not dated but is believed to have been written in April 1980, and it comes with an accompanying envelope addressed to someone named Steve.

"We are up in Toronto singing and playing for about 3000 people a night in a downtown theatre—The Spirit of the Lord is calling people here in their beautiful and clean city but they are more interested in lining up for Apocalypse Now than to be baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost," the letter reads in part, as quoted in RR Auction.

The letter is believed to have been written while Dylan was in Toronto for his Massey Hall performance, part of the "Bob Dylan Gospel Tour." According to the website, it had been a year since the singer converted to Christianity, a time when he had been preaching about the fulfillment of Biblical prophesies in the Revelations.

Dylan was encouraging the supposed recipient in his Christian life, saying, "You will be strong in the Lord and seeing that looks are deceiving, you will work miracles that way—He has called you to be a saint and your responsibility is to him and him alone—Be praying and not looking back no more—press on toward what is ahead—I send love to you and will pray for strength and more strength for ya—Always in the name of Jesus Christ Son of God, Manifest in the flesh."

Dylan, now 74, released a contemporary gospel album in 1979 titled "Slow Train Coming" and another in 1980 titled "Saved." His conversion had reportedly not been embraced by some of his fans and other musicians. He subsequently released other songs and albums and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

Christian Today surmises that Dylan's letter could fetch more than $20,000. The auction closed on May 19, but the final results has not yet been revealed.