OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Remembering God’s General, Dr. Billy Graham

BTJH1F Evangelist, Billy Graham preaches the gospel at the Upper Midwest Crusade, Sain Paul Minnesota, July 13, 1973. Courtesy: CSU Arc


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Like many of us, I received today’s news of the passing of Dr. Billy Graham with a mixture of emotions. There was sadness, particularly for Dr. Graham’s family—both his biological family and his worldwide ministry family—and for the sense of loss they must feel. But to borrow a phrase sometimes used at the homegoing of God’s great servants, “We haven’t lost Billy Graham. We know exactly where he is today.”

And so, when I heard this news, I also felt joy. I felt joy for the wonderful work accomplished by this humble, Spirit-led man of God. While the numbers vary, I’m told that Billy Graham preached the Gospel to 215 million people worldwide in 185 countries. The impact that he has had on advancing the Gospel is simply incalculable.

Through it all, his message of salvation in Jesus Christ never waivered, nor did his humility. Even now, USA Today is running a video of Billy Graham in which he tells of a vision he had in which his entire life passed before him until he was standing in front of his Lord. “I didn’t say to the Lord, ‘I’m a preacher and I’ve preached to millions of people,’” Billy explained. “I said, ‘Oh Lord, ‘I’m a sinner. I still need your forgiveness.” This is how Billy Graham saw himself.

Some time ago I was made aware of correspondence that passed between Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. Thomas Moseley, the fifth president of Nyack College (Then the Missionary Training Institute) from 1940 to 1958. The letters were in regard to one of Billy Graham’s campaigns in New York City in the early 1950’s. By that time, Billy Graham was known worldwide; Dr. Thomas Moseley, a former missionary to China, was not. Still, handwritten at the bottom of one of these letters was a personal note from Dr. Graham to President Moseley. It said simply, “I think it’s time you started calling me Billy.” This is how Billy Graham saw himself.

Perhaps the greatest legacy Dr. Graham left for all of us is that his success never encroached upon his humility or upon his awareness of his need for Jesus.

This is how Billy Graham saw himself. May we, too, come to see ourselves this way, whether our names are known or not:  Lord, grant us humility based in the knowledge of our desperate need for you. Likewise, grant us confidence based in knowing that this desperate need is truly and fully met.

Michael G. Scales, Ed.D.


Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary