World Wide evangelist, Billy Graham, has been called to a higher field. Today his mortal remains rest in Honor at the Capitol Rotunda, in a casket made by prisoners in Angola, LA.
One of Berean’s parishioners asked me, “Pastor what is your take on Billy Graham?” I took this question serious, for as most of my readers know, Berean is a very influential entity in our town, our facility covers most of the 1.1 acres owned by our church. So, I realize the enormous impact my opinion has on society at large.
My opinions of Mr. Graham have evolved over the years. I knew nothing of Him prior to my conversion to Jesus Christ at age twenty. During the early months, I was taught, vociferously, of the evils of Mr. Graham. Over a brief period, I surmised, I believe correctly, that most of the evils of Billy were based on personal bias due to Billy’s habit of following where he believed the Lord was leading. Most of the things pointed out as terribly wicked, were things that previous men on the world stage were also “guilty” of. For instance, Billy Sunday was a Presbyterian, D.L. Moody was certainly far removed from the lines laid down as absolutes, and the list goes on.
Billy was not without heartache, as is true of many parents, yet he had the courage to openly love his children during their times of waywardness. He had a heart for the preacher who stumbled along the way and spent endless hours and shed tears of compassion begging for the Lord to give a wake-up call to Charles Templeton.
Billy lived a wholesome life according to his biographer, Grant Wacker, in America’s Pastor and the Shaping of a Nation, “Billy was a man who lived what he preached.” Many righteous men become pharisaical about their own goodness and have no time for weaker believers. Contrast that truth with this by Jim Bakker, (yes that Jim Bakker) who said this about Billy:
“At my lowest moment, Billy Graham walked into my prison, threw his arms around me and said, "Jim, I love you." The day before, I had heard that he had been voted one of the top three most respected men in the world, and now he was in my prison, comforting me. The week I was released from prison, I was sitting in the Graham home eating chicken dinner. That first Sunday out of prison, I was surrounded by the Graham family. If there was and is an example of a godly, Christ-loving family, it is the family Ruth and Billy raised. That heritage lives on in their children, Franklin, Anne, Ruth, Gigi and Nelson.”
Billy did not fear the frown of the brethren as he touched those the religious deemed lepers. We should not be ashamed to reach out to those who are cast to the fringe. Most true giants such as Billy to Jim, Jerry Falwell and Greg Dixon to me in my time of infamy, are men and women who understand the power of rescuing the perishing and lifting the fallen.
As Shakespeare had Horatio say to Prince Hamlet;
“Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”
Our generation, for the most part, bids a heartfelt farewell to the Prince of Preachers of our time.
Copyright (C) 2018 Larry Lilly
Grand IT work! Oral Deckard
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