Unparalleled evangelist Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday with a final public message to America – a call for this nation to once again turn its eyes toward God.
“There have been times I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city,” he said, “and I’ve seen how far people have wandered away from God.”
Joined by gospel artists sharing their testimony and embellished with clips from Graham’s incredible life, the Christian leader’s message focused on the eternal hope found in Jesus Christ as he emphasized the power of the cross.
“Not the cross that hangs on the wall or around someone’s neck,” he explained, “but the real cross of Christ…. His was a rugged cross.”
In a society that seems to be tolerant of everything but morality, Graham admitted that his was a message many would find difficult to receive.
“People don’t want to hear that they’re sinners,” he said. “To many people it’s an offense. The cross is offensive because it directly confronts the evils that dominate so much of this world.”
Concluding this “country is in great need of a spiritual awakening,” he affirmed the Biblical belief that “there is no other way of salvation except through the cross of Christ.”
He concluded the presentation, as in the past, with a prayer of faith for viewers deciding to trust God for their salvation.
Graham’s direct approach to the gospel stands in stark contrast to the watered-down theology being disseminated through many modern churches. While there are unquestionably countless pastors dedicated to bringing the complete Word of God to their congregants, an overall movement within Christianity in recent years has downplayed the issue of sin, replacing it with a doctrine of tolerance.
Graham, however, has always spoken even the uncomfortable truths, realizing that the sinful pleasures of this world are not worth risking an eternity spent apart from God.
His message has largely been replaced in our culture by imposters who pick specific passages of scripture to reinforce their own narrative of prosperity or inclusion. Unless America regains its moral compass, our future will continue to grow increasingly bleaker.
Without Graham’s strong voice of opposition to our secular slide, that task will now be more difficult than ever.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: John H. Wright (Creative Commons)