Skip to comments.The Evangelist Who Made St. Paul Look Small
Posted on 02/24/2018 8:09:52 AM PST by Kaslin
He must have been the most wildly successful preacher in temporal history by the time he died in North Carolina, where he was born 99 years ago. He walked with presidents and kings, commoners and the uncommon, yet never lost the common touch.
They all learned to call him Billy, and he wouldn't have had it any other way. He stood there like an emissary from another world far beyond this one, yet part of it. His thick hair and blue eyes made him all the more compelling a presence, yet he spoke with an authority not his but his Master's--like a prophet of old who walked straight out of the Word he preached, bearing it like tablets of both law and love.
"The Bible says," he would begin and end, having condensed the alpha and omega of the Word into an invitation that millions around the world would accept. Just as the choir in the background sang that old hymn "Just As I Am." Billy Graham's sincerity was as clear as his authority, his outreach as undeniable as the numbers that documented them. By the time of his farewell appearance in New York, he had preached personally and personably to more than 210 million souls. He had borne witness time and again with impressive results--quite a change and yet no change at all from the time Paul had preached on Mars Hill and lit a fire that has yet to be quenched.
"William Franklin Graham Jr.," wrote his biographer William Martin in the well titled work "A Prophet with Honor," "can safely be regarded as the best who ever lived at what he did." As a young man he had become part of the movement called the New Evangelicalism, which refused to accept the ideological/religious boundaries imposed by the staid old fundamentalism, and would preach to all who would listen. And listen they did.
"The ecumenical movement has broadened my viewpoint," he would say years later, "and I recognize now that God has His people in all churches." Or as he put it as late as 1957, "I intend to go anywhere, sponsored by anybody, to preach the Gospel of Christ." Which is what he proceeded to do.
Edward Gibbon, M.P., another thinker, chose to abandon all otherworldly thoughts when he studied more secular pursuits, concluding: "History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." Yet he would make history his life's study, dedicating himself to Clio, her muse.
For secular society has its devotees, as well as those who are captured and captivated by the religious life. That kind of life everlasting remains free of the cynical tinge that too often appeals to secular saints like Gibbon, who left us with one of the great works of Western history and literature in his Decline and Fall. He has left behind many a guide for this generation to heed: "The winds and the waves," he advised, "are always on the side of the ablest navigators."
In the end, Gentle Reader can choose his own guide to better and more rewarding thought and belief. But he's not likely to find a simpler and simply exalted guide than America's own Billy Graham.
You don’t know what you have missed if you have not seen the movie “Billy, The Early Years.” I bought 6 copies as gifts to be passed on. This man Billy, rivals any of the prophets of old.
“The Bible says...” - declares Billy
And the demons cower...
It is set up as a chronological walk through Billy Graham's life, with each section designed to look like you are actually there, from the farm to the camp meetings to crusades to his home at Montreat. It is all housed on what was once the grounds of his family's dairy farm.
I'm sure more than one atheist has visited there with a sneer but came out saved! It's that powerful a place.
As a representative of the Christ he served, Billy Graham saw himself--and those individuals who heard him--as redeemable and loved and forgiven, through repentance and faith in God's gift of Himself on the cross.
"Just As I Am," was how he came to God, and he invited us to participate in that same simple action, which would begin with a public acknowledgement of acceptance of Jesus.
Ruth's participation in that ministry should not be overlooked either, as a model of strength, faithfulness, and love for the Creator who brought them together.
I don’t think so. Paul’s writings have inspired people for 2000 years.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Yeah. Made Paul look small? I think NOT.
I loved Billy Graham and he was used by God to win thousands to Christ, but Paul started the expansion of Christianity under very difficult circumstances with folks trying to kill or jail him everywhere he went, Billy didn’t face the same problems. They where both used by God to spread the Word of God around the globe
Yeah, right, in every sermon Graham ever preached, he either preached directly from Paul’s writings, or they were in his sermon somewhere. Next to Jesus himself, there has NEVER been a greater Christian than Paul. Nor more influential. Paul is a giant, Graham is a midget by comparison.
What a thing to say about a Christian. Billy brought more than 100 million people to Christ. Billy and Paul both were great men.
No one makes Paul look small.
I absolutely agree. Paul went through unbelievable hardships to present the gospel. No one could make Paul look small. But I WAS thinking the other day that in Christian history only two men have ever made such an impact on getting the Word out...Paul and Billy Graham. Oh wow, I wonder what happened when Billy saw Jesus for the first time. I wonder what he’s doing now? Probably discussing things with Paul! Just WOW! Imagine...!
And Billy Graham would have despised this comparison for that reason.
Yes. Hundreds of millions of Christians lived and died before Billy Graham was born. All of them (whether they were conscious of it or not) were influenced in their understanding of their faith by the writings of St. Paul.
Ignorant Headline Writer. Both great men, but Paul is ST. PAUL!!!! UNRIVALED.
I would say Billy Graham is the most notorious evangelist since the Apostle Paul.
Two completely different men with completely different missions to accomplish.
Paul, from zealous destroyer of the Church to zealous builder of the Church. He desired for his people, the Jews, to become Christians and his heart was nearly broken that it would not be, so off to the Gentiles to whom he was sent by Jesus. He established the Church in south eastern Europe over decades of tireless efforts. He wrote incredible letters to the churches outlining what the relationship with God and people was to be as Christians. He never married as he believed that for himself it would have been a hindrance to his ministry. Beaten, jailed, stoned, jailed, shipwrecked, snake bit, imprisoned and finally executed as a martyr.
Billy Graham from materialistic youth to a Christian student who eventually accepted the Bible as the absolute Word of God and took to preaching for the revival of modern man to repent to God and turn away from sin. His style was attractive to the ear. Answers to his invitations came in the thousands, thanks to the advent of television and mass marketing. He published an excellent magazine; “Decision” which many, including myself, read for years, much to our edification. He married, had children who, after finding their calling have become effective ministers for God themselves. Died at a very advanced age of natural causes.
Both phenomenal men of God, dedicated to their callings.
And not a word about Minneapolis; too!
Also, those such as Paul went through tremendous physical suffering for Jesus’s sake. Though Billy Graham reached many people, he never did the suffering that some of the old saint did, even being gruesomely martyred. Again, I don't think he would like the comparison between him and them, of him being much greater.
Yep. Not even close.
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