||KING ARTHUR! Arthur White is king of the weights but he now knows real strength comes from the King of kings
Record-breaking weight-lifter finds mighty power
If you met Arthur White walking down a dark alley, you’d probably want
to cross the road while walking a little faster
If Arthur looks like a power lifter, body builder and all-round physical
giant, that’s because he is — in all three categories. He is a
World Champion powerlifter with a 26-year record for lifting 857.75 pounds. In
addition, he has won numerous British titles, six European titles and four
Yet this he-man with a growling voice admits he would be nowhere if it
wasn’t for a slip of a 14-year-old girl. That girl is his daughter,
“I’d probably be dead or lying drugged up somewhere, an old
has-been living on his drunken memories,” he says.
“Emma’s prayers saved me, and not just physically. Her prayers
brought me to Jesus.”
Arthur is one of the founders of a remarkable team of bouncers, weightlifters,
debt collectors, criminals, drug dealers and gangsters. Correction, those
descriptions may be on their CVs, but their current lives are further away
than Arthur White could throw a 20lb steel ball. And that’s some
distance. The team form a Christian outreach called Tough Talk.
Arthur himself admits he carried a gun, and knew how to use it. He also
favoured a knife and if those failed, well, there was nothing like smashing a
few noses with his sledgehammer of a fist.
“I always loved physical exercise and started power lifting when I was
just 14,” he says. “I had no Christian background and relied on my
own wits and strength to get ahead. If people got in my way, I’d knock
them down without a second thought. I was very violent.”
In the high-pressure world of powerlifting, Arthur encountered a twilight
world of drug-taking and boozing. He was hooked on cocaine for ten years,
helped along with a taste for steroids with a sideline in good-looking women
who flocked around the well-toned power lifters.
“I was a cheat, a drug taker and adulterer,” he adds. “All
the while I had a successful building business, a lovely wife and family. But
my lust for winning and the drugs saw me lose all that. I lost my family, my
business, my house, my cars and my reputation. I don’t think I could
have gone any lower.”
It was then Emma went in a different direction. She started attending a local
church at the same time her dad decided to walk out on the family.
“Emma prayed for me but I wasn’t interested,” adds Arthur.
“I could only see myself and what I needed. My wife, Jackie, took me
back several times but I always let her down.”
Looking out for himself as ever, Arthur knew he needed to kick his cocaine
habit if he was to keep winning titles. Emma told him about a Christian
counsellor who could help. Arthur was interested in the counselling but not
the Christian part.
||ULTIMATE COMPETITOR: Arthur in the World Masters Powerlifting Championships in 2008
“I expected a religious sermon and all the usual jargon about God, but
the way this guy spoke about Jesus knocked me over,” says Arthur.
“I felt an incredible sense of peace and joy and love, like nothing
I’d experienced before. One morning, while walking through Spitalfields
market in the East End of London, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and my life
That was 1993. Arthur and Jackie renewed their marriage vows and both were
baptised. They attend a church in Cornwall where they now live. Arthur kicked
the cocaine habit and won another powerlifting World Championship —
drug-free this time.
He travels the country with Tough Talk, visiting prisons and doing street
evangelism, telling his own testimony and lifting weights that would break
most people’s backs.
“One day while we were in a shopping precinct, a young guy came
over,” recalls Arthur. “He was really drunk and shouting a lot. I
listened to him and before he left, gave him a DVD about Tough Talk.
“A few weeks later, he turned up at another event, sober and wanting to
talk. He had accepted Jesus and wanted to know more about Christianity. He now
works with Tough Talk as one of the team.”
As the guys get ready for their latest bookings, Arthur and the powerlifting
team know they owe so much to a little girl who lifted her dad in prayer and
helped him find a new strength — from Jesus.