Published on April 8, 2022 by Leighton Doores  
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Samford University hosted New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin on April 5 for the 11th annual Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series. Presented by Orlean Beeson School of Education, Martin shared his exploration of biblical truths in his book What If It’s True?: A Storyteller’s Journey With Jesus. He examined key moments from the life and ministry of Jesus, as well as from his own journey as a disciple of Christ.

Martin’s son, a Samford freshman, was in the audience, and Martin shared what he wants his son to know, and what he wishes he had known at that age.

“If this is really true, if Jesus really is who he says he is, and said what he said, and did what he did, and I believe he is and he did, then that should change things about me,” said Martin. “I shouldn’t be the same. I shouldn’t walk around planet earth with the same indifference and the same resignation.”

Although Martin was speaking to his son, his message resonated with those of all ages as he challenged all followers of Christ to live differently.

“From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, so if he’s in here, then what I do and what I say, at least I hope I’m true to that, it ought to bubble up, it ought to come out somehow and match,” said Martin. “Whether it be in my fiction or in my speaking, in how we live, and how we love, and how we forgive, and how we laugh, if that’s our mission, and I believe that it is, that ought to change who we are.”

Martin’s writing journey began when he was 15 years old as he was trying to decipher his own feelings. He has since written 16 novels and two nonfiction books. His work has been translated into more than 35 languages in more than 40 countries around the world.

Martin was joined by friend and fellow New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry, who served as the 10th anniversary Corts Distinguished Author and returned to introduce Martin and share insight from her new book Once Upon a Wardrobe released in October 2021.

Henry shared of Martin’s work, “Charles Martin understands the power of story and he uses it to alter the souls and lives of both his characters and his readers.”

Proceeds from the Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series benefit scholarships for students pursuing a degree within Orlean Beeson School of Education. To make a gift in support of our students, visit

Funded by the Thomas E. and Marla Haas Corts Endowment, the series provides support to host an annual visiting author who is not only a notable name in their field, but expands the thinking of students to become more engaged in matters of significant intellectual or historical interest and vital issues of the day.

Throughout the last decade, attendees have been inspired from such beloved and admired leaders as Wendell Berry, Laura Bush, Patti Callahan Henry, Anthony Ray Hinton, Garrison Keillor, Wes Moore, Greg Mortenson, Eric Motley, Parker Palmer and Philip Yancey.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.