by Abbey Shoemaker
CIU Student Writer – Connection, The magazine of Columbia International University
Ginny was daddy’s girl, and grew up spending as much time with her father as possible. She would even swing by the White House after school. That’s where her father worked. Harry Dent was an advisor to the president of the United States.
Columbia International University alumna Ginny Dent Brant (class of ’77) recently chronicled the life of her father in the book “Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World” because in her words, “It’s too good of a story about the grace of God not to tell.”
During his political career, Harry Dent served as an advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and George H.W. Bush, and as a staff member for South Carolina U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. He was an average American following the American dream.
Brant’s book is written from a heart that is overjoyed at the goodness of God, and is about the dream beyond the American dream — following God’s plans for your life. Her relationship with her father was bliss until the Dent family was shaken up by the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The scandal resulted from a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of several Nixon administration officials. Harry Dent had no involvement in Watergate, but the scandal helped Ginny realize the extent of her father’s need for the Lord.
Brant, who today is an educator in South Carolina’s Upstate, attended CIU against her father’s wishes. He thought she was throwing away a potential career as a model. But Brant was encouraged by CIU Professor Buck Hatch to pray for her father with a passion and let God work. And God did. After much prayer and waiting, Brant saw God answer.
As Harry Dent himself put it, he “abdicated the throne of [his] life to Jesus Christ” and was a changed man. He made plans to enter lay ministry and found encouragement from what may have at first seemed like an unlikely source: friend and former White House co-worker Chuck Colson who served prison time for his role in Watergate. Colson, who became a Christian in prison, founded the ministry Prison Fellowship. He encouraged Dent to get a year of training before entering fulltime ministry. Dent enrolled at CIU, the school he tried to prevent Ginny from attending years earlier. At CIU, Dent gained a biblical foundation for his personal life and ministry, serving the Lord for the final 25 years of his life. He was named CIU Alumnus of the Year in 2001.
Dent worked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and also made more than 25 trips to Romania where he used his gifts and Washington connections to help the previously communist country come to spiritual and political freedom. Brant joined her father on a trip to Romania in 1998 and was astounded when she saw 50 pastors he had helped train. Overjoyed at God’s goodness, Brant resolved to write the book. Harry Dent died in 2007 after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. His memorial service was held at CIU.
Brant’s memoir of her father is summed up on his tombstone: “served a U.S. senator, three U.S. presidents, and THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The foreword of “Finding True Freedom” was written by CIU President Emeritus Robertson McQuilkin. For more information visit: www.ginnybrant.com.