3 Shocking Quotes by Billy Graham

With respect to fellow servants of God who have ministered previous to me, I try to find the best in them rather than criticizing those areas in which I might disagree.

With respect to Billy Graham, countless positive things can be said about him. But there are three little-known quotes of his (that for me at least) are worth their weight in gold. Here they are:

Billy Graham Quote 1

Looking back on his long history of speaking and traveling, Billy Graham made this comment:

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.

Billy Graham Quote 2

This is Billy Graham’s prediction about the future Christian landscape. He made it in 1965, and it’s come to pass in our day:

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.

Billy Graham Quote 3

Here Graham answers what he would do if he was a local minister rather than a traveling evangelist. I think the answer is brilliant and comports with Jesus and Paul’s way of training workers:

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.


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Frank Viola is a best-selling author, A-list blogger, speaker, and consultant to authors and writers. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply so they can experience real transformation and make a lasting impact. See his About page for more information.