On Billy Graham’s scandal-free life and what we can learn from it

Every one must confess there is God - Victor Uyanwanne
Billy Graham. Source Billy Graham.org

Keeping the faith

In a previous post about Billy Graham, I came to the conclusion that “Just like Apostle Paul, we could say of him “Graham fought the good fight, Graham finished the race, Graham kept the faith.”

It was also pointed out in that article that most people that know him acknowledge that Graham was a man of great character and integrity, who stayed true to his divine calling of evangelism throughout his active life in ministry.

Unlike many preachers of his day and in modern times, it is widely acknowledged that despite his tremendous success in ministry, Billy Graham led a scandal-free life.

I’m not saying he was a perfect man. But he was a light in the midst of darkness. A mentor to many leaders and an example to his followers.

If you are like me, then you must have wondered how he was able to achieve so much success and fame in life and ministry without being tainted with the popular character pitfalls that bedeviled some preachers of the gospel in his time.

Also Recommended: A man of God should bear good fruits

You can say it was a miracle and you are probably right. But apart from that, one thing we cannot disprove is that this highly respected preacher took personal responsibility for his character and integrity. And by the grace of God, he held out strong till he breadth his last.

So while counting on the grace of God to uphold us, we should not fail to take personal responsibilities for our characters and how we reflect our behavour before God and man. I know it is easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

The Resolve for a Life of Integrity

In an article by a Scott Wise on WTVR, we were given a tremendous insight on how Billy Graham and some members of his preaching team made the commitment to uphold their honour and integrity as ministers of the gospel of Christ:

“In 1948, at the beginning of his rise to fame,” Wise writes, “Graham and his tight circle of traveling evangelists gathered in California and catalogued the sins that had destroyed the careers of other Christian preachers. Money, sexual temptation and hubris topped the list.”

Please take another look at the three things they pledged to guide against.

  • Money
  • Sexual temptation
  • Hubris (pride or overconfidence)

Are these not the same areas where many Christians leaders have fallen short of the moral standard required of them as followers of Christ?

You don’t even have to be leader to know that any sexual misconduct such as adultery will cost you a great deal.

Graham and his men pledged to avoid all the three. Shouldn’t we do the same?

Read also: Pornography – Setting up defenses in our daily lives

The ministry team of Billy Graham: Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson, Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea
The ministry team of (L-R) Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson, Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea. Source: Billygraham.org

The Modesto Manifesto

This was the documentation of Billy Graham’s and his core ministers’ personal resolution to uphold “the highest standard of Biblical morality and integrity” in their lives and ministry with respect to financial integrity, sexual, publicity and partnership with the local church.”

Cliff Barrows, close associate of Billy Graham who was also a member of the manifesto-drafting team was quoted to have said that the Modesto manifesto made it “…settle in our hearts and minds, once and for all, the determination that integrity would be the hallmark of both our lives and our ministry.”

As one commentator also noted, “Billy Graham’s standards are imperative requirements for all ministers” of the gospel and indeed for all those who profess to be followers of Christ.

Join the conversation. Leave a comment.

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

11 thoughts on “On Billy Graham’s scandal-free life and what we can learn from it

  1. Keith Mosher Apr 24, 2018 / 11:05 pm

    I read somewhere that Billy Graham was asked shortly before he died, what is the first thing he would say to God when he meets him face to face? Billy was quick to respond “I wish I could have done more”.

    Can you imagine that? The one man who possibly brought more people to Christ than any other in history, wishing he could do more. That is the epitome of humility and servant leadership. I know the reason Billy was able to avoid those common pitfalls that ensnare so many Christians… he loved God MORE.

    If I am honest with myself and the world, there are many times I am too busy loving myself and the world to care about God at all.. there are times in my life when I am so lost in sin, that God is a distant memory. And wouldn’t you know it… I have suffered with pornography and lust for decades!

    It is only recently in my Christian walk that I have discovered what it means to Surrender my life to Jesus Christ… and this is impossible without LOVING GOD with all that we have… every bit of us.

    What I admire most about Billy, is how much he was in love with God… and I PRAY to one day have a relationship with Jesus on that level…I just have to get out of my own way first.

    Stay Strong & Stand Tall

    Liked by 1 person

    • VictorsCorner Apr 25, 2018 / 6:31 am

      Thank you so much Keith for this wonderful contribution. I found your comment very insightful, especially the part where you pointed out that Billy Graham was humble, and loved the Lord more than anything else. I think that’s a big lesson for all of us.

      Once again, thank you for reading and commenting, and sharing your personal story. You are not alone in the struggle over sin, we all have missed it at one time or another. Since, you were specific about pornography, I believe there are things my readers can learn from you. How did you win the victory? If you have posts on that already, kindly share one or two links. We will be glad to read.


      • Keith Mosher Apr 25, 2018 / 6:33 pm

        Hello Victor,

        Yes pornography and lust have been my greatest of struggles. I wish I could say one day Jesus delivered me from those desires but to this day I have to remain on guard at all times. For your readers I would start with how harmful pornography is, as many people think its just a normal part of daily life, and countless Christians regularly view it… https://standtallforchrist.com/2017/02/21/ponography-addiction/

        Victory (which I am hesitant to call it) comes from three things. First you have to HEAL the wounds of your past that drive you to watch pornography (or any other sin). This healing came to me through Celebrate Recovery a Christ-Centered 12 step Program. http://celebraterecovery.com

        Our sinful behavior is driven by SOMETHING and often times the source lies in our past. When we can learn to truly heal those wounds, we can begin to be free of the bondage. How do we heal those wounds? Forgiveness. https://standtallforchrist.com/2018/04/24/the-secret-to-true-healing/

        Second we have to setup defenses in our daily lives and take this seriously. The enemy is roaming about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. The enemy wants to kill us and everything we have worked towards in the kingdom of God… So we NEED defenses.

        1) Accountability partners. We need to have a team (2-3) of trusted people of the same sex we can speak to about our most intimate sinful thoughts. People that won’t judge us and will support us by holding us accountable. These people should be fellow Christians and it helps if they struggle in the same areas… or better yet have victory in your area of struggle. YOUR spouse should never be on this team… they are usually the victims of our stupid behavior.

        2) Accountability software. Personally I use Covenant Eyes, which sends a weekly report of all my computer and device activity to my accountability team. It’s only $15/month… but is invaluable. There a bunch of others out there as well.

        3) Identify your triggers and defend against them. TAKE Extreme measures if necessary, this is your marriage, your family, your ministry even your life that is on the line!! For six months I pulled the TV off the wall, and read more books, because there were too many triggers on TV of sexual imagery and I could never predict when they would show up. I quit ALL social media and still haven’t gone back to any of them. I gave up my smart phone for over a year and bought a flip-phone with no pornography access.

        The last thing I will mention, not last in importance, but FIRST… is we need to spend quality time with GOD every day… not as a to-do-list or a good christian checklist. But because God wants a relationship with us, and how do we have a relationship with anyone we never spend time with? It is Jesus Christ alone that will eventually demolish any strongholds of sin in our lives… but we have to do our part and turn away from our sinful desires.

        I am always available for support and questions if any of your readers need help overcoming pornography or lust in their lives. We are in this together, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder on this battlefield.

        Stay Strong & Stand Tall.


        Liked by 1 person

        • VictorsCorner Apr 28, 2018 / 6:36 am

          Thank you Keith for your awesome time here. I really appreciate your comment and sharing about your vulnerabilities. I am assured that by the grace of God you will overcome. Just stay focused on Jesus…

          I have noted the links you forwarded. I will I read them and leave you some feedback where necessary.

          Overall, your contribution was very useful to me and I hope to my readers as well. However, I do not want the gems of the contribution to be buried away or lost all-together in the comment section. (I fear that some of my readers may not find it).
          To that extent, I think the comment is good enough for a separate post on this blog.

          So, if you don’t mind, I would like to turn your comment into a full-fledged post. That way, many more of my readers would be able to find it. I hope that’s okay by you?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Keith Mosher Apr 28, 2018 / 6:51 am

            Brother Victor, I appreciate your words of support and encouragement and look forward to the new post.

            I have been writing an ebook on Breaking the Chains of Sexual Addiction, which should be ready next week. I am planning to give it away to email subscribers but I will send it to you to read through.

            I am trying to be as thorough as possible, as God has placed it on my heart to help other men who struggle as I do.

            If this is something you feel your readers need to hear, I can talk about this subject forever LOL

            Keep up the good work my friend.

            Stay Strong & Stand Tall


            Liked by 1 person

            • VictorsCorner Apr 28, 2018 / 7:01 am

              I also appreciate you, Keith. Thanks for your kind permission to publish your comment in a new post. I will let you know one it is published.

              Wow, it’s nice to hear about your upcoming e-book. I’m honoured to hear that you would be sending it to me as well. I will be glad to share with my readers as well… of course with your permission.

              Liked by 1 person

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