I don’t know much about Billy Graham. I grew up in what you would call a “conservative evangelical” home but I had little to no interest in preaching or famous evangelists. So while Mr. Graham was busy preaching revivals, I hardly batted an eye.
Flash forward to 2018 and I’m a senior at Bible college. I spend my days going to Bible and theology classes and in my free time, I read more books about Bible and theology and blog about Bible and theology. I still don’t know much about Billy Graham.
But on Wednesday of this week, I heard the news that he had passed away. And I was saddened because even though I don’t know much about him, I know that many souls were brought to Christ through his ministry. There is no denying the impact he has had on eternity and (more temporally speaking) on American evangelicalism as a whole. Because of that massive influence, everybody has an opinion on Billy Graham.
Lately, those opinions have been coming out of the woodwork. They’ve been all over social media and it seems that some of us Christians have taken the news of this man’s death as an opportunity to offer our opinions. Whether they are criticizing his revival techniques, his ecumenical policies, or his belief in the exclusivity (or lack thereof) of Christ, it seems as if everybody has something to say.
However, it is my plea as a fellow believer in Christ, who cares deeply about proper theology and a right understanding of the Bible, that we stop offering commentary on the theology and practice of Billy Graham. At least for the moment.
A member of the body of Christ has died and is now present with the Lord. A giant of the faith has passed away and left behind a legacy of Gospel-preaching and Gospel-worthy living. Can we, at least for a few days, take a moment to celebrate the life of Graham rather than debate the finer points of his theology and practice?
There will be a time to discuss these things. They are important and are by no means irrelevant. But now is not that time. Now is the time to, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) and mourn the loss of a man God used in big ways.
So I beg of you before you send out a tweet bashing some aspect of Graham’s theology or philosophy of ministry, think twice. Take some time to feel compassion for Graham’s family or a few moments to thank God for all of the good work he did for the sake of the Gospel. Maybe even say a prayer or two for his loved ones. But don’t waste your time writing something negative and insensitive.
Save the debates for later, please.