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

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.

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.

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, 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:

  • 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?

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

The ministry team of 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.

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Billy Graham: I Wish I Had Met Him

Billy Graham's Quote

Like Bishop Benson Idahosa, Like Billy Graham

In 1998, Bishop Benson Idahosa went on to be with the Lord.

A fearless Charismatic Pentecostal preacher, and founder of the Church of God Mission International with headquarters in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, Idahosa, remains one of the greatest ministers to have come out of Africa.

Bishop Benson Idahoha
Picture Credit: DunamisBlog

He was a man that preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost part of the world. From Nigeria to Africa, America, Europe and other parts of the world, Idahosa took the supreme task of evangelism to all nations with courage, faith and power of the Holy Spirit.

As the first televangelist I came to know growing up in the 80’s, I had great respect and administration for Idahosa. And for many years, it was a secret desire of mine to meet him face to face some day.

As God would have it, that silent wish came to fulfilment in 1997 when he happened to pay a scheduled visit to the Polytechnic town of Auchi where I was schooling at that point in time. Needless, to say, I made it a point of duty to see the Bishop that day and even touched him. It was a fulfilling experience for me – a dream come through!

Outside this shores at that time, one renown evangelist I also heard about so much then was American preacher, Billy Graham. I was not born yet when he held some of his gospel crusades across some cities in Nigeria in the 60’s, but his reputation as a fiery, respectable man of God did not escape me.

In some ways, one could say that Bishop Benson Idahosa was to Nigeria and the world what Billy Graham was to America and the world. While I had the privilege of meeting the former before he passed on to glory, I was not able to meet the latter in person. And sadly, I would no longer be able to do so again on this side of life.

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

It is no longer news that the legendary American evangelist has recently passed on to glory. He was indisputably one of the greatest Christian leaders ever known in this century; he was a good soldier of Christ here on earth who was highly respected around the world.

As the stories about Billy Graham’s  ministry, life and time on earth continue to pour into our consciousness through various media, I came to realise something I never really knew I had – a wish to have met him.

Unlike being able to meet Bishop Idahosa before he passed on, I would be unable to meet Graham any more.

However, from the many available reports about him, there are some interesting things that one would easily cherish:

  • He was a man of great character and integrity;
  • He stayed true to his divine calling – evangelism;
  • He was highly respected around the world;
  • He was “a spiritual adviser to American presidents…”
  • He was very influential as a christian leader;
  • He insisted on racial integration in his crusades;
  • He remained conscious of Heaven all through his life.

Billy Graham has now left the world to be with with Lord. And it is gratifying to note that he finished strongly.

Just like Apostle Paul, we can say of him “Graham fought the good fight, Graham finished the race, Graham kept the faith.”

Though I never got to meet him while on this Earth, I take solace in the fact that we shall some day meet at the Lord’s bosom – in Heaven that he so much believed in and preached about.

My home is in heaven. I’m just travelling through this world – Billy Graham.

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

 

Be an Atheist if You Want

Atheists are people who say there is no God. I mean, that is what they say! But it doesn’t mean their position is correct.

It couldn’t be, because we know better: God exists. But do you know what, it doesn’t really matter; whether people believe that God exists or not, it does not invalidate who He is.

Being an atheist does not reduce who God is

Be an atheist if you want. Remain one if you have been. But know that it is in your better interest to believe in God than to believe that He doesn’t even exist.

For the records. God is God all by Himself, and He will continue to be God all by Himself till eternity.

Neither you who do not believe in God nor I who does believe in Him have anything to add to who God is. He is the all-sufficient One.

I believe in God at my own risk. You disbelief in Him at your own risk as well. So what’s all this argument about whether God exists or not?

I am convinced that God exists and I try to live my life to please Him. So it is understandable if I am filled with God-consciousness  every time. In fact that is what is expected from me.

How about you? It should be a different thing all together, but it isn’t.

You are convinced God doesn’t exist. Right? Why then don’t you get on with your life and forget about all this diatribe on the notion of God’s existence? Can you do you that? May be, you can’t after all!

Honestly, I don’t even understand you! Why do you get yourself so worked-up trying to prove that the non-existent God does not exist? It doesn’t sound logical… Are you even sure of what you claim?

I say that God exists, you get displeased. Why? Should you be annoyed about Someone who is non-existent?

You have said with your own mouth that God doesn’t exist yet all your discussions and writings are not complete except there is a reference to God. Why should you be bothered so much to talk about God if you truly believe He doesn’t exist?

Somehow, I believe that even though you call yourself an atheist, you know in your innermost heart that God exists, but you just don’t want to acknowledge it. As usual, you will deny that you know… But I am hardly surprised.

May be we should settle it this way: I believe in God through Jesus Christ, leave me to enjoy the benefits of it here on earth and in the world to come. You deny that God exists, feel free to savour the ‘benefits’ of that here on earth and in the world to come.

One day, both of us, individually, will stand before the God whom you deny…

Are you all right with that? So continue to be an atheist if you want. Don’t give it up!

Did I just say that you can remain in your atheism? Oh please pardon me! What I really mean is for you to come out from atheism to God and out of foolishness into truth.

  • Foolishness, because atheism is foolishness. According to the Bible, only a fool can say that God doesn’t exist. (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). It is deception to think that it is wisdom to deny the existence of God.
  • Truth, because God exists and it is something you will get to acknowledge one day – either willingly on your own while you are still alive on earth or by default (force) after the breath of life is gone from you. By then, it would have been too late.

 

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

For those who arrogantly declare that God does not exist and rail against any mention of His Name, the Scriptures declare all people everywhere will one day confess that indeed there is a God… Until then, we must understand that all men—atheist, agnostic, secularist, humanist, moral and immoral, educated and uneducated—are under God’s judgment apart from saving faith in Christ… Billy Graham

Perhaps I should say this as a parting shot:

The God that you say doesn’t exist loves you unconditionally. All He wants from you is a relationship with Him by faith through His Son Jesus Christ.

What do you say?

©Copyright 2017| Victor Uyanwanne