"Biggest radio audience for a regular religious broadcast - average audience of 20 million people."
(Source: Guinness World Records 2000.)
Hour of Decision - 1467kHz Medium Wave - 11.15pm Sundays across the UK
Mr. Graham has written 18 books, all of which have become top sellers.
(Excerpts from TIME Magazine 100 Heroes & Icons - Billy Graham)
Harry Truman unkindly proclaimed Graham a "counterfeit," a mere publicity monger, but while I still remain a Truman Democrat, I think our last really good President oversimplified the Graham phenomenon.
No one has accused Graham of intellectualism, profound spirituality or social compassion, but he is free of any association with the Christian right of Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and all the other advocates of a God whose prime concerns are abolishing the graduated income tax and a woman's right to choose abortion (which Graham also opposes). And there have been no scandals, financial or sexual, to darken Graham's mission. His sincerity, transparent and convincing, cannot be denied. He is an icon essential to a country in which, for two centuries now, religion has been not the opiate but the poetry of the people. In the U.S., 96 percent of us believe in God, 90 percent pray, and 90 percent believe God loves them, according to Gallup polls. Graham is totally representative of American religious universalism. You don't run for office among us by proclaiming your scepticism or by deprecating Billy Graham.
...Angry Fundamentalists turned against him, a move that became an anti-Graham passion when he rejected the program of the Christian right: "I don't think Jesus or the Apostles took sides in the political arenas of their day." The break between Graham and the Christian right became absolute when he denounced the violence of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue. "The tactics," Graham declared, "ought to be prayer and discussion."
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2: 23-26. (NIV)
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. - 1 Peter 3: 9. (NIV)
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. - 1 Peter 3: 15-17. (NIV)
Much more painful to me, however, was the opposition from some of the leading fundamentalists. Most of them I knew person- ally, and even if I did not agree with them on every detail, I greatly admired them and respected their commitment to Christ. Many also had been among our strongest supporters in the early years of our public ministry. Their criticisms hurt immensely, nor could I shrug them off as the objections of people who rejected the basic tenets of the Christian faith or who opposed evangelism of any type. Their harshness and their lack of love saddened me and struck me as being far from the spirit of Christ. The heart of the problem for men like Bob Jones, Carl Mclntire, and John R. Rice was the sponsorship of the Crusade by the Protestant Council of New York. The council, they contended, included many churches and clergy who were theologically liberal and who denied some of the most important elements of the biblical message. It was not the first time some of them had raised their ob- jections to my growing ecumenism, of course, but the New York 303 Crusade marked their final break with our work. I studied and prayed over their criticisms, wanting to accept their indictments if they were right. But I came to the firm conclusion that they were not, and that God was leading us in a different direction. Ruth like- wise studied the whole matter; we discussed the issue and prayed over it frequently. Her conclusion was the same as mine. In addition, my study of the major evangelists in history also showed me that the issue was not new; every one of them-from Whitefield and Wesley to Moody and Sunday-had to contend with similar criticisms, both from the right and from the left. Early in our work, I had tried to answer any such attacks, but I eventually decided the only course was to ignore them. The critics showed no inclination to change, and at any rate I did not have time to devote to such arguments. In a 1955 letter to Carl Mclntire about an article he had written opposing our work, I admitted that "I felt a little resentment and I got on my knees and asked God to give me love in my heart. . . . Beloved friend, if you feel led of the Spirit of God to continue your attacks upon me, rest assured I shall not an- swer you back nor shall I attempt to harm one hair of your head. . . . My objective is to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ by the preaching of His Word to sinners." A year before the New York meetings, one of our Team mem- bers, Dr. Ralph Mitchell, had an extended discussion with Bob Jones. He came away convinced that Bob Jones would never change his position, which was that our work was not of God. Ralph con- cluded by writing me, "You must not concern yourself unduly about such critics. . . . Nevertheless, it is a fresh challenge to all of us in the whole Association to be much more in prayer." I agreed wholeheart- edly and asked God to keep us from being diverted from His work by such critics. Occasionally, my father-in-law, Dr. Bell, attempted to answer such attacks, but with little success. I often felt like Nehemiah when his enemies tried to get him to stop rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and come down to discuss the project; he replied that he was too busy building the wall (see Nehemiah 6:1-4). My own position was that we should be willing to work with all who were willing to work with us. Our message was clear, and if someone with a radically different theological view somehow 304 decided to join with us in a Crusade that proclaimed Christ as the way of salvation, he or she was the one who was compromising per- sonal convictions, not we. The more vocal the opposition, however, the more the support- ing churches in the New York area rallied to our side. God had a way of taking our problems and turning them to His own advantage. (More Excerpts from Billy Graham's Autobiography "Just As I Am", page 258) On Saturday I spoke to the senior members of the university in the afternoon and to the CICCU in the evening. Among the profes- sors I met privately with that day was C. S. Lewis. A decade before, he had captured the imagination of many in England and the United States with his remarkable little book The Screwtape Letters; in 1947 he had been on the cover of Time magazine. John Stott was very anxious for me to meet Professor Lewis and went with me. Lewis was not as well known in the United States as he would become in later years, particularly after his death in 1963. But I had read Screwtape, and Ruth would later read the Chronicles of Narnia series. We met in the dining room of his college, St. Mary Magda- lene's, and we talked for an hour or more. I was afraid I would be in- timidated by him because of his brilliance, but he immediately put me at my ease. I found him to be not only intelligent and witty but also gentle and gracious; he seemed genuinely interested in our meetings. "You know," he said as we parted, "you have many critics, but I have never met one of your critics who knows you personally." 258
(The following is an excerpt from Billy Graham Center Archives - Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association - Historical Background)
Throughout his career, Graham had critics of varying degrees of intensity. The criticisms generally fell into four different categories. Fundamentalists accused him of "ecumenical evangelism," that is, corrupting his message by accepting help and support from pseudo-Christians. Liberal Christians often wrote that he cared too much for evangelism and not enough for helping to ease the social ills of society. Some also attacked the crusades for being mechanical spectacles which moved people through emotionalism and left little in the way of results. Some evangelists felt he was too close to rulers and men of power who used him to increase their own legitimacy. These criticisms became particularly persistent in the mid-1970s because of Graham's friendship with Richard Nixon*, then enmeshed in the Watergate scandal. Graham rarely answered critics, except to state that he felt his primary task, his calling from God, was to preach the Gospel, and he would accept help from anyone who did not place restrictions on his message.
A Editorial - Nixon's Ghost
Time Magazine Archives - A Christian In Winter: Billy Graham
"My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ." -- Billy Graham.
.*1972 Jewish Conversation - Official BGEA Response*
A Statement by Evangelist Billy Graham on the Nixon Tapes
Wednesday, March 6, 2002
"Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval office conversation with President Nixon and Mr. Haldeman some thirty years ago. They do not reflect my views, and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks. Throughout my ministry I have sought to build bridges between Jews and Christians. I will continue to strongly support all future efforts to advance understanding and mutual respect between our communities."
A Statement by Evangelist Billy Graham Following Release of Nixon White House Tapes
MINNEAPOLIS, March 16, 2002 -- The National Archives recently released several hundred hours of tapes from Oval Office conversations during the Nixon Administration. One of those recordings included a conversation that I had with President Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, more than 30 years ago.
I had scores of conversations with Mr. Nixon in which we discussed every conceivable subject. However, I cannot imagine what caused me to make those comments, which I totally repudiate. Whatever the reason, I was wrong for not disagreeing with the President, and I sincerely apologize to anyone I have offended.
I don't ever recall having those feelings about any group, especially the Jews, and I certainly do not have them now. My remarks did not reflect my love for the Jewish people. I humbly ask the Jewish community to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.
In the Bible we read, "Above all else, guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips" (Proverbs 4:22, 23). That is true for me as much as anyone else. Every day I have to renew my heart before God, and ask for His grace and strength.
I am now an old man of eighty-three suffering from several ailments. As I reflect back, I realize that much of my life has been a pilgrimage -- constantly learning, changing, growing and maturing. I have come to see in deeper ways some of the implications of my faith and message, not the least of which is in the area of human rights and racial and ethnic understanding.
Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, or hatred of anyone with different beliefs has no place in the human mind or heart. I urge everyone to examine themselves and renew their own hearts before God. Only the supernatural love of God through changed lives can solve the problems that we face in our world.
Of greater import or concern than any tapes made in the White House, each of us must face the fact that God has "tapes" that record not only our actions but also our thoughts and our intent. Every moral choice we have ever made is on His "computer." On the appointed day of God's judgment there will be nothing in any of our hearts that will not be disclosed. That is why we all need God's forgiveness.
I take daily comfort in the Psalmist's words in the Old Testament: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy" (Psalm 103:8). Every year during their High Holy Days, the Jewish community reminds us all of our need for repentance and forgiveness. God's mercy and grace give me hope -- for myself, and for our world.
A Editorial - Nixon's Ghost
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" - Romans 10:12-15 (NIV)
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. - Romans 10: 17 (NIV)
(Excerpted from Thursday February 7, 2002)
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