Friday, June 1, 2007

Billy Graham Library

Last night I stayed up later than usual to watch a replay of the dedication ceremony for the new Billy Graham Library. You can read details about the library here. [The picture to the right is of the Library, cool huh?] I watched the broadcast on TBN. While there are only a few shows on this network I care to watch, they did a very nice job with this event.

Billy Graham is 88 years old. He has served the Lord and proclaimed the message of the cross for over 60 years. Although I may disagree slightly with some of Dr. Graham's theology, I think God has used him mightily and he is a humble man of the highest integrity. Also on the program were Cliff Barrows, long time music director for Graham and George Beverly Shea. "Bev Shea" is now 98 years old and still able to belt out "How Great Thou Art." It was a blessing to watch these men who have so given themselves to ministry. During his opening remarks Franklin Graham presented a very clear articulation of the gospel. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association obviously has the glory of God in Christ as their top priority.

There were also three former U.S. Presidents on the program. Carter and Clinton offered some general remarks and personal words about their connection with Graham over the years. The crowd got a chuckle when Clinton remarked that he and Carter were both Southern Baptists AND Democrats. Needless to say the SBC still has a few folks that are clearly left of center. The dedication address was given by former President George H. W. Bush, who is an Episcopalian. He was very emotional as he talked about the impact Graham has had on him personally and spiritually. He too is showing his age but was very witty and quite engaging.

Toward the end of the program Dr. Graham finally made his way to the podium. He said he felt like he was "attending his own funeral." Apparently his wife Ruth is in very poor health and not able to attend. His remarks were brief but so humble and gracious.

I was convicted and inspired as I reflected on the life and ministry of Billy Graham. He has certainly made a deep and lasting impact on Evangelical Christianity throughout the world. He comes from very modest roots but God has opened doors for Graham to preach to millions. It is a testimony to what God can do. There are many very good preachers in our country today. There are a few solid leaders in the evangelical community worldwide. Is there another "Billy Graham" making his way to the podium of the 21st Century? I pray that there is. It will be interesting to see what the Lord will do in the next 60 years.

3 comments:

lordodamanor said...

Sorry, I do not share your opinion of BG.

According to independant studies one percent of those that came forward in his "revivalist" shows followup with a committment to Christ.

BG was a ecumenist. And no friend of confessional Christianity.

In an interview with Robert Schuller BG said, "...I think that everyody that loves or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ. And I don't think that we are going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that--Apostle James in the first Council in Jerusalem-- when he said that God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for his name. And that is what he is doing today. He is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddist world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God. The may not know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something they do not have, and they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven."

Schuller responded, "...it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they...have never had exposure to the Bible...?

To which BG responded, "Yes it is."

Now, I am sorry if most Southern Baptists take this as an insult, but BG is dark cancer in the history of our convention.

Jon Cyrus said...

I agree that Dr. Graham has made some comments that seem to be contrary with orthodoxy. I believe he has clarified his position since making similar statement to the one you quoted. Not sure if the quote you provided is accurate or not. I think calling him a "cancer" is a bit harsh. There is much about the SBC past and present that I would not agree with. However, you are welcome to your opinion and as you can see I have not censored it.

Eternity will reveal the soundness of the works of Dr. Graham as well as my own.

Brian L said...

Wow. I think the lord's comments are a little harsh as well.

What were the "independent studies?" How many souls is one percent of a few million? How does that compare with the lord's church? Did the studies research anything regarding the follow-up efforts of local churches?

Billy Graham has said some puzzling things, but has a long history of occasional gaffes which later required clarification. No more (and certainly fewer) than other cultural leaders who find themselves in the spotlight.

The man is not perfect, but no one (least of all BG himself) has ever claimed that he was. We rightly honor him for what he is - a fella who believes in God and has dedicated his life to doing something about it - with great success and a large positive legacy.

I hope all SBC pastors are striving to be "famous" (2 Cor. 8:18) like Billy Graham.