London, July 13 : Late English singer John Lennon once famously claimed that the 'Beatles were more popular than Jesus' and predicted that Christianity would "vanish and shrink". But, an interview recorded while he was alive, tells a different story altogether.
The interview, which has emerged 28 years after his death, reveals that Lennon hoped to encourage people to focus on the Christian faith.
Though he sported a very popular image as a hippy icon, Lennon had stated that he was "one of Christ's biggest fans" and felt emotional in church.
Ken Seymour of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had conducted the interview in 1969 when Lennon and Ono were at the Bed-In for Peace protest in Montreal.
BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme will be airing the interview containing his talks about the Church of England. Lennon had caused quite a lot of dismay among Christians around the world when he boasted in an article in London's Evening Standard about the popularity of the Beatles, but the singer says he was misunderstood.
"It's just an expression meaning the Beatles seem to me to have more influence over youth than Christ," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"Now I wasn't saying that was a good idea, 'cos I'm one of Christ's biggest fans. And if I can turn the focus on the Beatles on to Christ's message, then that's what we're here to do," he said.
He blames "the hypocrites" for being too "uptight" in reacting to his comments.
"If the Beatles get on the side of Christ, which they always were, and let people know that, then maybe the churches won't be full, but there'll be a lot of Christians dancing in the dance halls. Whatever they celebrate, God and Christ, I don't think it matters as long as they're aware of Him and His message," he added.