People at the Empowerment Temple AME Church call Lewis "Reverend Ray." Bryant says the title fits.
"He's a jack leg preacher without a license, no Bible college, but it's just in him," Bryant said. "He's spoken here a couple of times, I've put him up to do our Bible study, and he's like Billy Graham and Bishop (T.D.) Jakes wrapped into one."
Fans say Lewis' in-your-face faith and extensive community service is beautifully sincere. His critics find it phony -- a redemption tour with no true redemption.
"Redemption? Stop acting like you are one of those people that come out of the Bible," Greg Wilson told CNN.
Thirteen years ago, Wilson's nephew, Jacinth Baker, and his buddy, Richard Lollar, were stabbed to death outside of an Atlanta nightclub.
Lewis and two others were charged in their killings.
Four months later, Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice. A jury acquitted Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley. "It was self-defense for me because someone attacked me," Oakley told CNN.
Today, Lewis insists whatever happened in Atlanta changed him.
"With everything I've been through in my whole life, the thing for me to be here today and my only purpose in life is to find ways to help people and encourage people and make our world a better place," he said.
Bryant compares Lewis to the biblical figure King David.
"David was a man after God's own heart, after committing adultery, after committing murder, after being negligent on the job, after being taken out of position," Bryant said. "He's still somebody who God honored, and I think that many times history can't appreciate it while you're in it, it's only after you walk away."
That is the definition of redemption, Bryant said. It's not what you've done, it's what you've become.
3. From starter to mentor
Alex Smith can't help but be a little disappointed even though the 49ers are in the game of their lives. Just a few months ago, Smith was San Francisco's starting quarterback before a concussion sent him to the sideline.
Kaepernick, the second-year backup, played even better than Smith, stayed in the lineup and had a big role in getting the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He said Smith has been supportive since losing his spot.
"It means a lot," Kaepernick said this week. "I think it really shows his character and the kind of man he is. He's helped me through everything, from Week 1 'til now."
Smith, who is healthy again, said he said he became a starter in college at Utah when their No. 1 quarterback went down.
"I'd be pretty hypocritical to be upset about it," Smith said. "It's the nature of sports. He got an opportunity, stepped up and made the most of it."
NBC Sports reported this week that Smith will ask to be released in the offseason, giving him greater control of which team he will play for next. The 49ers also could trade him, or keep him, but not many teams would want to pay their backup quarterback $8.5 million.
It's unlikely Harbaugh will pull Kaepernick if he struggles, but if he is injured the 49ers have little to worry about in his replacement.