Remembering Billy Graham The Evangelist

To The Reader’s Forum:

To hear about the death of Billy Graham, hardly anyone is known better as an evangelist during our time than him. Yet, it’s not about him as it was the Word of God he preached passionately and directly to lost people calling them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

In the back of my mind, I can hear his words spoken with authority, “The Bible says…” He did not preach in his own authority but under the authority of Holy Scripture and in the power of the Holy Spirit. When I think of words of Jesus from John 3: 3, I often link them to Billy Graham preaching, “You must be born again.”

To reinforce the importance of believers being an active part of a church, he would tell the story of a woman who was asked, “Why do you go to church?” She replied, “To show whose side I’m on.” At his evangelistic meetings, he always encouraged new believers to attend a local congregation that upheld the teaching of the Bible and preaching of the gospel. He was not embarrassed to proclaim Jesus as the only way to heaven, the sufficiency of the cross for the forgiveness of sin and the path to eternal life going through the narrow gate.

His family — especially his son, Franklin Graham — carries on that message unabashedly. As Franklin is heavily involved in humanitarian work through Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin, like his father did, does not back down from calling out sin and standing for righteousness, while continually pointing people to the love of God and the power of the gospel to deliver them from an eternity in hell.

I saw a picture of a few people who looked like strangers, until I noticed my sister and her husband. In the front row, I noticed an old frail looking man sitting with a cane. It dawned on me. That’s Billy Graham. I just could not associate him being so aged with the evangelist I watch for years on television. It may be even harder to think of him as dead, but the words he once said bear repeating: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

The Rev. Mel McGinnis