Friday, August 8, 2008

Finally, in desperation . . .

"In 1949 I had been having a great many doubts concerning the Bible. I thought I saw apparent contradictions in Scripture. Some things I could not reconcile with my restricted concept of God. When I stood up to preach, the authoritative note so characteristic of all great preachers of the past was lacking. . . .

In August of that year I had been invited to Forest Home, a Presbyterian conference center high in the mountains outside Los Angeles. I remember walking down a trail, tramping into the woods, and almost wrestling with God. I dueled with my doubts, and my soul seemed to be caught in the crossfire. Finally, in desperation, I surrendered my will to the living God revealed in Scripture. I knelt before the open Bible and said, 'Lord, many things in this Book I do not understand. But thou hast said, The just shall live by faith. All I have received from thee, I have taken by faith. Here and now, by faith, I accept the Bible as thy word. I take it all. I take it without reservations. Where there are things I cannot understand, I will reserve judgment until I receive more light. If this pleases thee, give me authority as I proclaim thy word, and through that authority convict men of sin and turn sinners to the Savior.'

Within six weeks we started our Los Angeles crusade, which is now history. During that crusade I discovered the secret that changed my ministry. I stopped trying to prove that the Bible was true. I had settled in my own mind that it was, and this faith was conveyed to the audience. Over and over again I found myself saying, 'The Bible says.' I felt as though I were merely a voice through which the Holy Spirit was speaking."

Billy Graham, "Biblical Authority and Evangelism," Christianity Today, 15 October 1956, pages 5-6.

"There is something magnificent about these prophet-dreamers who are so sure of God."

Ralph S. Cushman, Practicing the Presence, page 108.