I’m writing this post at 8:06 EST on 12/14/13.
Legendary evangelist and “pastor to America” Billy Graham is not doing well physically these days.
At 95 years old, he’s closer to seeing the Lord than most of you who are reading this post.
When Graham goes home, the media will be working overtime to tell the story of his incredible life and ministry.
Few ministers of the gospel have been so respected.
Here’s an interesting video from 1969 where Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham.
This is Graham during his prime and it’s quite interesting. He matches Allen’s inimitable wit here.
Here’s another from 1966 with Merv Griffin. This one is a must view. Graham speaks of the huge crowds that came to see him everywhere he preached and what he makes of it. Fascinating.
Looking back on his speaking and traveling ministry, Billy Graham made this comment not too long ago:
I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do—weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that . . . I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.
In 1965, Graham understood the weak state of the body of Christ (I believe it’s weaker now) and made this prediction, which has since come to pass:
Multitudes of Christians within the church are moving toward the point where they may reject the institution that we call the church. They are beginning to turn to more simplified forms of worship. They are hungry for a personal and vital experience with Jesus Christ. They want a heartwarming personal faith. Unless the church quickly recovers its authoritative Biblical message, we may witness the spectacle of millions of Christians going outside the institutional church to find spiritual food.
Graham also gave an insightful remark as to what he’d do if he were not a traveling evangelist:
I think one of the first things I would do would be to get a small group of eight or ten or twelve men around me that would meet a few hours a week and pay the price. It would cost them something in time and effort. I would share with them everything I have, over a period of years. Then I would actually have twelve ministers among the laymen who in turn could take eight or ten or twelve more and teach them. I know one or two churches that are doing that, and it is revolutionizing the church. Christ, I think, set the pattern. He spent most of his time with twelve men. He didn’t spend it with a great crowd. In fact, every time he had a great crowd it seems to me that there weren’t too many results. The great results, it seems to me, came in his personal interview and in the time he spent with the twelve.
Sources: Quote 1: Christianity Today, January 21, 2011. Quote 2: World Aflame, pp. 79-80. Quote 3: Christianity Today, October 13, 1958
Billy Graham is a giant in the land. Perhaps the most influential Christian of the 20th century. At least in the USA.
Soon, he may receive the ultimate Christmas present and be with the Lord whom he served for so many years.
We’ll know soon.
My friend Jose Bosque recently blogged about this same subject and asked me to weigh in as well. Thanks Jose!
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