Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Billy Graham's Crisis of Faith: Could the Bible be Trusted Completely?

Currently, I'm reading Billy Graham autobiography's Just As I Am (1997). It is a thick book and I feel like an awesome-nerd when I read it in public. I was taken aback when I read about Graham's crisis of faith. Just like what I went through early in this year. So inspiring and good to know that giant of faith like Billy Graham have had that moment too. It starts when Charles Templeton, a fellow evangelist, and friend, became skeptical about the authority of the Bible and less than a year later Charles (or Chuck) declared publicly that he had become an agnostic. What it does to Graham is contagious. Here is his personal account of that issue:

"My very faith was under siege. For one thing, my friend and partner… Chuck Templeton… and [I] discovered that he was undergoing serious theological difficulties, particularly concerning the authority of the Scriptures. My respect and affection for Chuck were so great that whatever troubled him troubled me also… The particular intellectual problem I was wrestling with… was the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. Seeming contradictions and problems with interpretation defied intellectual solutions, or so I thought. Could the Bible be trusted completely?"

"Feeling a little hypocritical, I began an intensive study of this question. I read theologians and scholars on all sides of the issue. I also turned to the Bible itself. Paul had written to Timothy, ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God' (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV). (I knew that the New Testament Greek term that translates as ‘inspiration' literally meant ‘God-breathed writings.') There was an impenetrable mystery to that concept, as with all things pertaining to God. Yet the basic meaning was clear: the Bible was more than just another human book…

"The Apostle Peter said, ‘For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost' (2 Peter 1:21, KJV). Jesus Himself said: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away' (Matthew 24:35, KJV). The internal testimony of the Scriptures to their own inspiration and authority was unequivocal. So was Jesus' own view of the Scriptures…

"I ached as if I were on the rack, with Miss Henrietta Mears stretching me one way and Chuck Templeton stretching me the other. Alone in my room one evening, I read every verse of Scripture I could think of that had to do with ‘thus saith the Lord.' I recalled hearing someone say that the prophets had used the phrase ‘the Word of the Lord said' (or similar wording) more than two thousand times. I had no doubts concerning the deity of Jesus Christ or the validity of the Gospel, but was the Bible completely true? If I was no exactly doubtful, I was certainly disturbed…

"I pondered the attitude of Christ toward the Scriptures. He loved those sacred writings and quoted from them constantly. Never once did He intimate that they could be wrong. In fact, He verified some of the stories in the Old Testament that we the hardest to believe, such as those concerning Noah and Jonah. With the Psalmist, He delighted in the law of the Lord, the Scriptures…

"As that night wore on, my heart became heavily burdened. Could I trust the Bible? With the Los Angeles Campaign galloping toward me, I had to have an answer. If I could not trust the Bible, I could not go on. I would have to quit the school presidency. I would have to leave pulpit evangelism. I was only thirty years of age. It was not too late to become a dairy farmer. But that night I believed with all my heart that the God who had saved my soul would never let go of me…

"I got up and took a walk. The moon was out… Dropping to my knees there in the woods, I opened the Bible at random on a tree trump in front of me. I could not read it in the shadowy moonlight, so I had no idea what text lay before me… The exact wording of my prayer is beyond recall, but it must have echoed my thoughts: ‘O God! There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can't answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising…"

"I was trying to be on the level with God, but something remained unspoken. At last, the Holy Spirit freed me to say it. ‘Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word – by faith! I'm going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word'… When I got up from my knees at Forest Home that August night, my eyes stung with tears. I sensed it in months. My all my questions were answered, but major bridge had been crossed. In my heart and mind, I knew a spiritual battle in my soul had been fought and won."

[Quote above is taken from Just As I Am (1997) by Billy Graham published by HarperCollins Worldwide from page 159-160, 162-164. Edited without permission.]

Best Blogger Tips

No comments:

Post a Comment

They Click it A lot. [Top 7 last 7 Days]