At the peak of his crusade ministry, Billy Graham would travel across the globe to preach to stadium-sized audiences. Now, though he passed on, his teachings are still available to millions.
Before Graham fully withdrew from the public eye, he announced the release what you may call his final book, ‘The Reason for My Hope: Salvation’. Christianity Today asked Graham about his thoughts on the present state of Christian belief and his confidence, amidst theological and cultural confusion, in the core gospel message.
“What really matters is how God sees me. He isn’t concerned with labels; he is concerned about the state of man’s soul. The Bible tells me that I am first a sinner. “;For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”; (Rom. 3:23). But because of the saving grace Jesus has extended to me, and my repentance of sin, I am his child—having been saved by the blood of my Savior on the cross. At that moment, I entered into a life-changing relationship with him. Those who read The Reason for My Hope will see clearly from Scripture how to be saved and how to live the Christian life,” Billy Graham said.
He explained that Salvation is the impossible, made possible by the power of God.
In 1992, Graham became the first foreign religious leader to visit North Korea, where he met its ruler, Kim Il-sung. He returned two years later and urged that it’s possible to find hope in the darkest of moments.
In his column for The Kansas City Star, Graham said the only solution for mankind’s evilness is God’s grace.
“This is why we need Christ, for only He can forgive us and begin changing us from within,” he said. “By nature we are separated from God, and our greatest need is to be reconciled to the one who made us. Don’t deceive yourself, but face your need for God’s forgiveness and mercy, and by faith open your life to Jesus Christ.”
“Everyone could be saved – even a notorious gangster,” he said.
Like what Pastors in Uganda have experienced, one of the more intriguing episodes of Graham’s life saw him befriend Los Angeles gangland boss Mickey Cohen. They were introduced by a mutual acquaintance, wiretapper Jimmy Vaus, who had converted to Christianity after attending Graham sermons.
Cohen did not respond to Graham’s overtures to convert, but the evangelist stood by him over the years, even reportedly suggesting the gangster could make an outstanding gospel preacher if he chose to follow that path. Cohen did not take up the suggestion.
“My job is to try to win every person to Christ, especially persons that would have influence for Christ in our society,” an optimistic Graham said after one of their meetings, even if Cohen was seeking only to improve his image through the association with Graham.
Meanwhile, Graham wrote on his website that one way people can truly have a sincere relationship with Christ is through prayer. “Every man or woman whose life has counted for the church and the Kingdom of God has been a person of prayer. You cannot afford to be too busy to pray. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian,” he said.
By Paul W Dennis.