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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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Faith

He's a very good man who pointed you in the right direction, even if he was way off the mark with the Bush's adopted son, and the dragon WOEman...

David Deavel

I was amused to read in Richard Ostling's AP account of the New York Crusade a quotation from William Martin, Graham's biographer, that told us that Martin wondered if any group as large and as diverse as the New York Crusade had ever assembled. This right after the enormous funeral of the Pope with representatives of every race and nationality and religion (let's not even mention the Manila Mass the pope celebrated a few years ago with four million people or whatever it was). It's a strange sort of blind spot for a sociologist like Martin, but not uncommon for Evangelicals for whom Catholics are invisible.

That said, nice piece, Carl. It expresses everything of what I feel about Graham and my Protestant past. It's good enough as far as it goes, but it doesn't go as far as it could.

Rich Leonardi

Well done, Carl. Indeed Graham's simplicity is his greatest strength and weakness. A good friend, a lapsed Catholic-turned-Baptist, cites this very thing when speaking of Graham; that he wants an 'uncluttered' faith. Mr. Graham gave that to him.

Jeff Grace

Carl,

Back in my pre-Catholic days as a Nazarene, our youth group used to make pilgrimages to Graham's services at Dodger Stadium. In retrospect, I think he is the closest thing evangelicals have to a pope... so maybe that's why Martin makes an indirect comparison. He can't actually be explicit about it because, as good as Billy Graham is for Christianity, he pales in comparison to John Paul II... but maybe I'm prejudiced. :)

Patrick Coulton

Billy Graham and JPII were friends even before JPII became pope.

Billy Graham was scheduled to speak at the Krakow Cathedral when
the Cardinal Arch-Bishop was called away to elect a new pope.

Jeff Grace

Patrick,

Not surprised! I remember John Paul saying, years ago, that he wished the Catholic Church had some Billy Grahams...

Mik

Graham is fulfilling his given calling which is to proclaim the gospel. He has lived it to the best of his ability.
Nothing can compare with the weight of the papacy. An elected apostolic successor holding the keys that Christ handed Peter with the statement, "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". That right there says it all.
I love Billy Graham, but I bet that wasn't part of his job description when he took it.

Jim

I first became aware of Billy Graham on TV in the 50s. I was in highschool and college in that decade. I was totally facinated at the concept he presented that all you had to do was walk up to the podium where Graham stood and make "a decision for Christ" and you were automatically saved and would go directly to heaven when you died. My still unmature mind saw lots of license built into that concept. But back then the Catholic Church did have a "Billy Graham" in Bishop Fulton J Sheen. He was funny, made sense, and dressed the way a bishop should be dressed and not in a business suit like Graham. And he was on every week on the old Dumont network if I remember correctly.

Betty J. Gonzales

As a teenager I was extremely impressed by BG and I loved that all I had to do was walk up to his "altar" and accept Jesus as my personal savior..it fit quite nicely for me...I was saved and could go on about my life. Then I grew up and realized Jesus was the groom and I must also respect His bride and His mother!

Kitty Murray

I can understand why JP II would have wanted great Catholic orators like Billy Graham. In my opinion, Fr. John Corapi, SOLT and Fr. William Casey, of the Fathers of Mercy answer that call in spades. I hope people are listening.

James

I don't presume to have all of the answers here and don't know specifically what sort of an eternal transaction occurs in a person's soul when he/she either goes forward at a BG crusade or joins a particular denomination. Only God knows what is happening in that individual's heart, but I think I can say with certainty that neither a walk forward to the evangelical altar nor a Roman Catholic (or any other ecclesiastical body) church membership class leading to a first communion necessarily leads anyone into a personal relationship with the living God. And after all, is that not the most fundamental question with which we all have to do, and can it be answered by a mere outward form?

Wayne Racek

Billy Graham has been and continues to be a GREAT force for enlightening people to the saving power of Jesus Christ. He has touched the souls of millions. The message was simple and to the point. Jesus said "come to me as little children". Yes, we Catholics could learn much from Billy, Ruth,Franklin,Anne and all their associates. God Bless them.

Carl Olson

As my post indicated, I did learn much from Billy Graham when I was an Evangelical. And in becoming Catholic and receiving the Eucharist — the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ — I came to Jesus as a little child, finding the fullness of communion that I had longed for. Again, I respect Graham's witness to the person of Jesus Christ. But, again, Graham's message does beg the question: where does the fullness of communion (or personal relationship, if you like) with Jesus exist?

Leo

I think St.Francis Xavier who's preaching is said to have converted more than 3 million would be a good example as to (no) "one preaching more than Graham" wouldnt it?

Edo

In America BG might be well known but as one growing up in the South Pacific I only heard of him three years ago on TV or the newspaper. But still I didn't really know who he really was untill I watched him on CNN with Larry a month ago. Well in contrast I knew of the Pope as young as I could remember as a toddler in the 70's even before the TV entered the homes of many. Even today if you asked any kids whether they are RC or not around any village they would have no idea who BG is. You ask them about the Pope and they would say, 'yea the head of the RC, the image of Christ.' I'm sure you'd get the same response if you were in Africa or Japan. I think that dwarfs BG in the imagination of many.

Deeann

Yes,Dr. G preached a simple, concise message but it is always lacking an essential point: how does Jesus apply the grace and power of His redemptive suffering and death to individual souls? Is it like a welfare check or an automatic machine where a person says "Yes, Lord, I believe" and robotic actions of unselfish charity instantly occur from the person? Or do we individuals have to reach out to Jesus in faith and then with the help of His available and abundant grace have to "work out our salvation in fear and trembling" as St. Paul instructs us. With all due respect, Dr. G. oversimplifies faith in Christ, and neglects that while Jesus promised the Good Thief a place in Heaven, Jesus also said that one will not receive salvation simply by saying "Lord, Lord". And what about the part where St. Paul informs Hebrews: God hates divorce?! Those who avoid preaching on these significant issues in today's churches are omitting the complete Truth, the whole Jesus and His Church as well noted in an earlier post.

JW

In the death of His Holiness earlier this year, Billy Graham was utterly and unreservedly loving, kind and could express and unqualified appreciation for the impact of Jesus Christ through the Pope, especially insofar as it impacted the 20th century. One can say this of a friend and brother.

What is tragic is that all of us who have adopted the title 'catholic' as both label and creed do not have the humility nor confidence in our God to recognize the legacy of man and hero for the WHOLE church, who worked and preached alongside all of us. Your ecclesiastical qualifications are embarassing to the true nature of our Catholic faith. Most of the great Roman bishops (as well as the church leaders of virtually all substantive ecclesiological traditions) from both the United States and around the world shared the stage with Dr. Graham wherever he went with his crusades in order to recognize the oneness in purpose and vision which was so readily shared with him.

I should think that our God and the whole hosts of saints find your reservations to be contrary to the very nature of our divine calling. While there is certainly a forum for discussions of ecclesiology as these define so thoroughly both the form and legitimacy of our faith, such examples as those of our beloved John Paul II and Billy Graham should motivate and convict us for having spent more time arguing over etymologies and conversion-counts rather than speaking the truth of our human need for God through Jesus Christ. If John Paul and Billy Graham can work alongside one another as good friends, two men who surrendered the whole breadth of their lives to the service of God by serving the church and those outside the church, than perhaps we can get over our pitiful self-absorbed number comparisons and reach out to a world of people who know neither church nor Christ. You're all better than this. John Paul the Great would be embarassed by your lack of kindness and moreso, by your lack of priority. Who was it that invited Billy Graham to Krakow for the rallies which were held during John Paul's election? None other than His Holiness.

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