Hour of Decision

Looking objectively at the legacy of Billy Graham in the wake of his passing is virtually impossible, especially for me personally.  I know several people who answered the altar call at a Graham crusade, “just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me,” and mark that occasion as their conversion to Christ; and about these conversions I have no doubt.  Then again, I grew up in a fundamentalism that demanded full separation from the likes of Billy Graham, because he associated with the likes of Roman Catholics and liberals; and their concerns were real because Graham’s increasingly broad associations throughout his career—always in order to preach the Gospel to a larger audience—transformed what was essentially a fundamentalist Baptist appeal to repent and believe into a postmodern “make of this what you will” message.  And then again, I am a Missouri-Synod Lutheran who confesses along with the Small Catechism that “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him”; and that last phrase contradicts the letter, and to an extent the spirit, of that sweet old hymn of the crusade altar call, which my heart still loves: “O Lamb of God, I come.”  Am I saved by grace alone through faith alone, or on account of my asking Jesus into my heart?  Was Graham’s message, then, faith...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here