“Life, Faith, and Finishing Well”
In the evangelical circles with which I am most familiar, Billy Graham’s lifelong reputation as a God-fearing, God-honoring evangelist and preacher of the Word has not been as celebrated as it should be. Perhaps you are familiar with the sentiment, and perhaps, like me, you have always questioned why in the world this should be the case for a man who not only attracted the massive crowds at his famous “Crusades,” but also helped lead many in those crowds to faith in the Lord Jesus. How could a man who has dedicated himself to a lifetime of preaching like this be looked down upon? Could it only have been that he was successful? famous? Or was is that he was rubbing elbows with people from he should have been distancing himself? The wind that really drove that darn anti-Graham fire into a sweeping blaze occured back in 1957 when Graham joined forces with the liberal Protestant Council of the City of New York, thereby forever buring a rift between “new evanelicals” and what were properly called at that time “fundamentalists” (Nettles, Four View of Evangelicalism, 2011 – Kindle loc. 169). While many still enjoy holding Graham to the fire for his questionable associations, none can doubt the impact he has had on the hearts of millions worldwide, including, might I add, the likes of George W. Bush and other world leaders.
Nearing Home was for me an exciting look at the thoughts of a man I knew little about, a man whom I honestly thought had died years ago. Far more than a simple recollection of times gone by, and nothing at all like a memoire, the aptly titled Nearing Home is actually a book of what Billy Graham does best, teaching the Word. This is not just a book for the elderly, though they certainly can relate to the 93-year old’s stories of aches and pains. And this is not just a book for the young to whom Billy offers a great deal of advice. It is more a book for those of all ages who can agree that, while society itself has changed far more than any Christian in 1957 could have anticipated, this is no excuse for any Christian to give up or give in to an idea that Satan has already won. Graham ends each chapter with a brief message, a call to near Home (Heaven) with qualities like hope, God’s comfort, or mature faith, and it seems that Billy has been doing just that for years. Despite the declining morality of our country, Billy Graham has great hopes for Christians in the United States, and this book, though perhaps his last, is yet another call for us all to a life of faith and right living.
[Note: I received this book free for review from Thomas Nelson Publishing]