Part 5 in my Billy Graham blog series:
During a time when modernism was spreading through the evangelical world, Graham’s good friend and coworker, Charles Templeton, began to reject the Bible’s authority. Due to Templeton’s questions, Graham began to personally struggle with the authority of the Scriptures at a frightening level. Acknowledging a deep time of turmoil through which he personally struggled with these issues, Graham himself experienced a spiritual awakening and an adamant renewal to the authority of the Scriptures. At that crossroads, Graham decided to take the Bible as God’s Word by faith, and ever since that moment, the Bible has been Graham’s basis for all his faith convictions and ministry practices. He held to a view that “all the world’s answers are right in this little book.”
Graham remembered the impact that A. B. Winchester had on him early in his career. Winchester’s sermons frequented the phrase, “My Bible says…” This phrase not only had an impact on Graham spiritually, but that phrase would deeply influence the way Graham would later preach. Concerning the moral decline in the United States, Graham once stated that “we are too tolerant of those people who are against the basic principles of this country.” “By keeping close to the bible, Billy has stated next to a world view that does not perish with the changing of governments, cultures, or empires and is not swayed by fads or popular fancies.” At times, Graham was surprised at the number of young converts at his meetings due the unpopular place the Bible had resided in American culture. But in a world when young people are raised in an age of confusion and despair, Graham’s simple message gives direction to their lives.
Graham has often been criticized for his theology, which he has never minded actually. His theology is birthed from the Scriptures and is not developed from his own preconceived ideas. When someone has attacked his theology, Graham knows it is not a personal attack because he does not hold a personal theology. He holds fast to God’s Word. Graham’s theological stance has always been unashamedly contrived from the Bible.
After years of preaching, Graham came to realize that his best preaching came from the overflow of his personal study in God’s Word. Graham’s favorite place at his home has been a path in which he regularly walks alone to spend time and talk with God. His simple trust in the power of God’s Word, privately and corporately, has served to empower the great success of his ministry.