Celebrating the Life of a Devoted Christian and American – Billy Graham
Why is it not surprising that world-famous evangelist, Billy Graham, who accomplished so much for the kingdom of heaven on this earth, was an American? Of course, much of it had to do with his unrivaled work ethic, his personal testimony, and his bravery to speak to and where others cowered before him, but overwhelmingly it had to do with the foundation of faith, liberty, and the prosperity of free market capitalism that America offered, and God ordained it so!
Let’s start with his American, Christian education. From childhood to Wheaton College where the Scriptures were paramount in his learning, Billy identified the culprit of America’s modern education failures and famously stated:
“America’s founding fathers did not intend to take religion out of education. Many of the nation’s greatest universities were founded by evangelists and religious leaders, but many of these have lost the founders’ concept and become secular institutions. Because of this attitude, secular education is stumbling and floundering.”
This quote is a fulfillment of founding father Benjamin Rush’s exhortation who proclaimed, “The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
Graham firmly believed what our Declaration of Independence stated: the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” He backed up his belief with action as he desegregated his meetings in a segregated south. In support of the equal rights struggle, he also invited the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to give a public prayer at one of his 1957 meetings in Madison Square Garden.
In our struggle against society’s ills, the main duty of Christ’s Church is to speak God’s prophetic Word to individuals, families and governments. America is one of the few countries that endorse and protect that duty, and, here again, we see the American influence on Graham who felt it his duty to minister to all public servants regardless of party affiliation.
Graham was similar to founding father Benjamin Rush, who served in the administration of various political parties. Rush considered himself a “Christocrat because I consistently advocate the principles of God’s Word and God’s Government. I am a Christocrat because my obedience to God is more important than my loyalty to any political party’s ideology.”
Writer Eugene Scott noted of Graham:
“He was one of the few clergy to have ministered to presidents and first ladies on both sides of the aisle. He is perhaps known as much for his loyalty to Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal and visiting George H.W. Bush the night the United States and its allies launched an air attack on Iraq, as he is for helping Lyndon B. Johnson pick his running mate and providing marriage counsel to Hillary Clinton in the midst of her husband’s infidelity scandal.”
Whether these leaders listened to Graham did not dissuade him from the duty he felt to give these individuals God’s Word.
May this man who stood for the precious truths of his God imperfectly embodied in America, Rest in Peace, and may the world hastily bend their knee to the loving scepter of the Christ that Graham preached.
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