By Matt Brown
Billy Graham passed away in early 2018. almost 100 years following he was born. That day, America—and the globe, really—lost one particular of the greatest evangelists of all time. He undoubtedly communicated the gospel message to extra men and women face-to-face than any one in human history. 3 hundred million men and women heard him share the very simple gospel message reside, and numerous millions extra watched and listened by means of tv, radio broadcasts, and on the web videos.
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Billy Graham: 1918 — 2018]
I am amongst these who got to hear Billy Graham preach the gospel reside. As a boy, I attended his 1996 Minneapolis Crusade. I try to remember DC Speak rocking out the Metrodome and then hearing Billy Graham share the gospel. I try to remember getting astonished as thousands of men and women from all more than the stadium created their way down to the front of the stage, with tears operating down their cheeks, to make a selection of faith in Jesus Christ.
We lost a living legend. In a biography written in the 1960s, the author known as a prominent Christian preacher the “Billy Graham of South Africa.” Folks have been employing variations of that phrase for almost 60 years! Phrases like that point to the way God utilized Billy Graham, who maintained his humility, integrity, and concentrate on the gospel. Billy Graham’s message was “Christ is the only answer to the deepest requires of the human heart.”
Whilst sharing my thoughts on the web following his death, I was invited as a guest to reminisce about Billy Graham’s legacy with BBC Planet News Service alongside a number of other guests all through the day. The very first a number of inquiries have been about what it was like to hear Billy Graham reside and to talk about how expansive his influence was. The final query described a controversial statement Billy had created a lot of years ago and asked us to respond. They mentioned, “People say Billy Graham was intolerant. What do you feel?” I was caught off guard. But I expressed my belief that any one can throw out opinions on the web these days with no figuring out somebody. For everybody who knew Billy Graham or was acquainted with him, he was extremely loving and gracious.
A couple of weeks later, as I was reading Billy Graham’s autobiography Just as I Am, I realized how a lot of occasions the press about the globe had asked him related inquiries. Ahead of Billy Graham’s very first London crusade, he faced a flurry of angry media criticism and inquiries. Ironically, all the adverse media interest gave the crusade a lot extra press and public interest than it ever would have had with no the criticism.
Years later, when Billy Graham was back in England, the press had grow to be friendlier following seeing the methods God had utilized him positively in the area. Through that pay a visit to, he had the chance to meet C. S. Lewis, who wasn’t however broadly identified in America for The Chronicles of Narnia or Mere Christianity. Billy’s wife, Ruth, had been reading The Chronicles of Narnia prior to the trip. C. S. Lewis greeted Billy Graham as they spent some time with each other, and mentioned, “You have a lot of critics Billy Graham, but no one particular who has basically met you has a single poor issue to say about you.”
In our globe, it is less difficult than ever to make divisive, essential, and blanket statements about other folks. We feel we can say what ever we want with no spiritual consequences. But the Bible calls us to a diverse way of speaking and living.
Why would any one feel Billy Graham was intolerant? In element, it is simply because Billy Graham would preach the Bible, preach against sin, and contact men and women to Christ as the only answer to lasting peace and joy in the human heart. Folks feel he was intolerant in element simply because he believed what the Bible has to say about human sinfulness.
Society is altering these days. The New Yorker not too long ago posted an short article about “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City.” The short article says, “The brand’s arrival right here feels like an infiltration, in no little element simply because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.” Seriously? The men and women touting tolerance in our culture have grow to be surprisingly intolerant about Christians. If the New Yorker short article had been about a restaurant with owners from any other religious group, it would never ever have been permitted to be published, not even by the National Enquirer.
Folks are okay with intolerance toward men and women they feel are intolerant. Jesus taught, “You will be hated by everybody simply because of me, but the one particular who stands firm to the finish will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). And “This is the verdict: Light has come into the globe, but men and women loved darkness as an alternative of light simply because their deeds have been evil” (John three:19).
Truth is not normally well-known. At times the truth gets you in problems. But God calls us to stroll in each his like and his truth, no matter the consequences.
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Billy Graham’s Wrestle with the Bible]
Billy Graham has written about a season exactly where he wrestled with the truth of God’s Word. He had been traveling about the United States and the United Kingdom carrying out huge youth rallies for an organization known as Youth for Christ. 1 of the other speakers, Chuck Templeton, was on some of these trips with him, and they became fantastic pals. Chuck had begun seminary and had began to wrestle with the authority of God’s Word. He had come to think there have been errors in the Bible that couldn’t be resolved and that the Bible was antiquated in components. Chuck, even as a pastor, started to think the Bible couldn’t be taken actually, and he asked his pal Billy some of his inquiries.
1 time, the two guys had each traveled to the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California to speak at a camp known as Forest Residence run by a Christian educator named Henrietta Mears. Billy, nevertheless wrestling with Chuck’s inquiries, told Henrietta what he was going by means of, and that he felt also weary to fulfill his speaking engagement. Henrietta, along with an additional leader, J. Edwin Orr, gave Billy some unbelievable insights about the authority of God’s Word—good answers to the inquiries Chuck was raising. For instance, Jesus spoke on a regular basis about the Old Testament stories as truth. So if we can trust Jesus, we can trust the Bible.
That evening, Billy created his way down a mountain trail close to the camp and laid his Bible on a tree stump. He cried out to God in prayer: “God I do not comprehend every thing about your Word, or have answers to all the inquiries that Chuck is raising, but I place my trust in Your Word, by faith.” Tears stung his cheeks, and he sensed the presence of God overwhelm him in a way he hadn’t felt for a lot of months. The subsequent morning, Billy fulfilled his obligation to preach at Forest Residence. He preached with a new authority, and hundreds of men and women created choices for Jesus Christ at the service.
Just a couple of weeks later, Billy Graham started preaching a planned series of meetings, which became his historic 1949 LA crusade. The crusade was picked up by key media outlets and eventually thrust his ministry into the national spotlight. Numerous celebrities (which includes Louis Zamperini), media personalities, and even mobsters created choices for Jesus Christ all through this crusade.
Interestingly, Chuck Templeton, who had asked Billy the inquiries, at some point denounced his Christian faith and went on to grow to be a properly-identified broadcaster in Canada. My pal Lee Strobel had an chance to meet with Chuck late in his life at his penthouse suite in Toronto. Through the day they spent with each other, Lee asked him about his struggle and search for truth all through his life. As a former atheist, Lee attempted to give Chuck fantastic answers he had found along his personal spiritual journey. At one particular point, Chuck confessed to Lee, “I miss Jesus.” Just after spending most of his life denying the truth of Jesus, Chuck couldn’t get away from the longing in his heart for Jesus.
In a day when men and women really feel like they can think what ever they want, and no one particular is permitted to inform them otherwise, we require truth plus like extra than ever.
Taken from Truth Plus Like: The Jesus Way to Influence by Matt Brown. Foreword by Lee Strobel. Click right here to find out extra about this title.
Consider what our globe may well appear like if Christians became identified for exceptional like, as properly as life-providing truth.
The stakes are higher and the require is excellent for Christians to represent Jesus to a watching globe. And nowadays, we have extra influence than ever before—for superior and for worse. We are amongst the very first generations to have access to a international megaphone by means of social media. But it is not sufficient to speak truth louder to a noisy culture. To counter the reputation Christians have earned, our like should be just as loud.
Ask evangelist Matt Brown, and he will inform you Christians nowadays are facing a crisis of influence. In our rush to speak truth to today’s tensions, cultural difficulties, and trending controversies, it becomes all also effortless to concentrate on proving our points rather than extending God’s grace. Conversely, when we seek only to like however never ever proclaim a superior way, we brief-circuit God’s program.
Truth Plus Like invites you to rediscover the biblical framework for engaging culture as ambassadors of Christ. Via biblical insight, cultural evaluation, and sensible principles, Matt Brown outlines how to champion truth with no compromise, how to like unconditionally, and eventually, how to step into this excellent adventure of representing God to the globe. It is challenging, it is messy, and it is the unfinished project of a lifetime, however right here we uncover our excellent adventure: representing God to a watching globe.
Matt Brown is an evangelist, author, and founder of Believe Eternity, a ministry committed to amplifying the gospel every single day to millions by means of devotionals, videos, reside events, and extra. Matt and his wife Michelle and their two sons reside in Minnesota. You can comply with Matt on social media at @evangelistmatt and at thinke.org.