So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men… Philippians 2:29
I love Billy Graham. He is one reason why I am a pastor. He’s been a part of my upbringing since I was a young boy. My dad became a Christian after watching a Billy Graham Crusade and our home changed after that. I remember the following Sunday very well because my dad barged into our room and said, “Get up, boys. We’re going to church!” And we did. From that day on.
My dad began buying Billy’s books and we were always receiving mail from his ministry. We had hundreds of these pamphlets that I would read and re-read. And, of course, we received our Decision magazine every month and they began piling up on the side of our couch. I think I read every edition of Decision in the 80’s.
I can still hear Billy’s North Carolina accent saying, “The Bible says…” He said that all the time! “The Bible says…” “The Bible says…” As I watched numerous crusades growing up, I was learning the importance of God’s word. It has authority. The man with the Southern accent drilled that into me. Here’s what Billy said about God’s word-
“The Bible was written by 40 writers, over a period of 1,600 years, in 66 books. And the great theme from one end of the Bible to the other is redemption—God’s love for the human race and God redeeming man and bringing man back to Himself after man had rebelled against God. That’s what the Bible is all about.”
He’s right. The Bible’s great theme from one end to another is God’s overwhelming love for sinners. Redemption. That is what the Bible is all about. And Billy preached the same thing over and over and over again. He said-
“I’m not a great preacher, and I don’t claim to be a great preacher . . . I’m an ordinary preacher, just communicating the Gospel in the best way I know how… During all my years as an evangelist, my message has always been the Gospel of Christ.”
Terry Taylor of the 80’s Christian band The Swirling Eddies wrote a song about him, simply titled “Billy Graham.” Taylor wrote the song to honor Billy, who stood in stark contrast to the televangelist scandals that rocked the church in the 1980’s. Taylor and Gene Eugene sing-
I don’t know about those other guys
There’s something in the back of their eyes
But Billy, you’re the man who don’t use slight of hand
Ain’t wearing no disguise
I love you, Billy
I love the simple things you say
And you never seem to get in the way
No one is quite like you
Compassionate and true
“Just as I am,” I say
I love you, Billy
Terry Taylor said this about him-
“I always felt that Billy was the real deal. At heart he’s a simple country preacher who has always been willing to admit he’s made some mistakes and doesn’t have all the theological answers. I have to go elsewhere for more weighty stuff, but Graham is The Man when it comes to a powerful, no-frills presentation of the simple gospel message.”
You don’t have to have all the theological answers. Just get out of the way and present a no-frills simple Gospel message and Jesus will draw sinners to Himself. I learned that from a country preacher with a Southern accent.
I love you, Billy.
– Pastor Benji