The first time I had ever really heard of Billy Graham was in 1997. The first time I heard him preach was on a video around Christmas of that same year. After this peaked my interest, I read his autobiography. In fact, ‘Just As I Am‘ and my bible are the only two books that accompanied my wife and I during our honeymoon, and ‘Just as I Am‘ is the first book with over 300+ pages that I’d ever completed.
He wasn’t a saint, and preached in a unique style. He was close to the fire and brimstone tone of the Southern American Baptists, but always had a way of proclaiming the grace of God through that, which gave Jesus Christ centre stage. In my opinion, Johnny Cash gives one of the best primary examples for how Billy Graham served others, approached ministry and lived out a missionary ethos when it came to evangelism:
‘A man who really helped me deal with my faith as a public person in the secular world was Billy Graham. He and I spent a lot of time talking the issues over…He advised me to keep singing “Folsom Prison Blues” and “A Boy Named Sue” and all those other outlaw songs if that’s what people wanted to hear and then, when it came time to do a gospel song, give it everything I had. Put my heart and soul into all my music, in fact never compromise…’ (Cash 1997, p.281)
Billy Graham set a standard for many to borrow, as they walk alongside him in the footsteps of Christ.
Rest well, B.G. Jesus Christ earned it for you.
Thanks for reminding us that He did, does and will do the same thing for us.
We’re sad to see you go, but what a terrifying, yet tremendous amount of joy must be radiating around the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ, right now!!
Linked below is an interview between William Buckley Jnr and B.G. It was 1969 and the answers given by Graham hold as firm today as they did then. If you are as keen and meticulous as I am about thinking through, and learning from, these kinds of discussions, here’s the link to the Stanford transcript: The Decline of Christianity
Cash, J. & Carr. P. 1997, Cash: The Autobiography HarperCollins Publishers