As you probably know, Billy Graham passed away February 21, 2018 at his home in North Carolina at the age of 99. Graham was a well-known evangelist who preached to millions around the globe. He packed stadiums, he was broadcast on TV, and he unashamedly proclaimed Jesus Christ to the world. Billy Graham is a household name, and his death will be remembered and felt by many.
Over the years there has been much discussion and debate regarding Graham’s evangelistic and discipleship methods, and during the days since his death, many people have spoken out as being either “for” or “against” Graham’s gospel approach. I personally find myself conflicted as I reflect on the life and ministry of Billy Graham. You see, on the one hand, I disagree with much of his methodology and practice, but on the other hand, one cannot deny the love he had for Jesus Christ and the burden he carried for lost souls.
In many ways Graham reduced Christianity to a one-time decision to believe in Jesus. I would even argue that his evangelistic rallies are antagonistic to the process of disciple-making, and the lack of theological depth in his preaching causes my heart to mourn as I see lost opportunities to proclaim the entire counsel of God.
But while I have disagreements with Graham’s methods, there is no question in my mind that Billy Graham was a mighty man of God.
When I consider his life and ministry I realize that my love for Christ pales in comparison to Billy Graham’s love for Christ. And my passion for lost souls is despicable when considering the great lengths Graham went to in order to make his Savior known to the nations. Not only that, but my personal integrity and pursuit of holiness are appalling when I consider the measures he took in order to fight sin and temptation.
So while I disagree with Graham’s methods and some of his theology, I am reminded that He was a man who was used by God to bring much glory to God. Many hearts were turned to Jesus Christ because of Billy Graham. While recently attending the funeral of a dear like-minded saint whose heart was made new while attending a Billy Graham crusade, I was humbly reminded that God can work through anyone, even those with whom we disagree.
And while my theological differences with Billy Graham would have prevented us from ministering together here on earth, there is no doubt in my mind that we will both be worshiping Christ together around His throne in heaven, and I am convinced that Billy Graham will be much closer to that throne than I could ever hope to be.
May God continue to be glorified through the life and testimony of Billy Graham, and might those of us who are Graham’s biggest critics not stand in the way of the monumental testimony of a life that was faithful to the end.