Greg Laurie: Billy Graham’s disaster of religion – how one second of doubt solidified his dedication to God

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You’ve heard of the literary basic “A Story of Two Cities”? It’s a historic novel by Charles Dickens set in London and Paris through the French Revolution. 

Effectively, within the Christian realm, we’ve got our personal model of that story. However let’s name it “A Story of Two Preachers.” 

One was Billy Graham, a modern-day prophet who led a outstanding Christian life and is taken into account by many as the best evangelist of all time. The opposite was a Canadian man named Charles “Chuck” Templeton, who sadly, time has principally forgotten. 

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Within the late 1940s, the 2 had been barnstorming evangelists for Youth for Christ, a global Christian motion. They traveled the world collectively, filling auditoriums, halls and even soccer stadiums, preaching to 1000’s searching for hope. Many thought Templeton – not Graham – was the one who was going to overturn the world with the Gospel. 

From the second they met, the 2 had been quick mates, although they couldn’t have been extra reverse:  

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Billy was reared within the South by Christian mother and father who had a agency perception in God and His phrase. Templeton grew up in grinding poverty and was the kid of a single mom.  

Billy was all the time a rustic preacher in his coronary heart. Templeton was a street-smart Northerner who led a sinful life earlier than his grownup conversion.  

Billy was heat and ingratiating. Templeton was eloquent and cerebral.  

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Billy preached with vigor and nice conviction. Templeton successfully used his eager sense of remark and humor in his sermons. Templeton was skeptical by nature and questioned every part.  

They had been about as city-mouse and country-mouse as you can get.  

Over time, Templeton may not settle for lots of the fundamental teachings of the Christian religion regardless of his eager for a private relationship with God. He later wrote, “Christianity isn’t a religion for the scholar or the contemplative.” That’s not true, in fact, nevertheless it was in his thoughts. 

Billy searched and examined the Scriptures, and so they rang true to his coronary heart. The facility of God’s Holy Spirit in him bore witness to this. Templeton succumbed to the lure of mental superiority, and even made Billy query his religion. For the primary time since his conversion, Billy was questioning the reality and dependability of the Scriptures. 

He lastly dropped to his knees in prayer and determined that the Bible was God’s impressed phrase, and he would settle for each phrase by religion.

“Can the Bible be trusted utterly?” Billy secretly questioned. Thus started an intensive research of the query, with Billy soaking within the writings of theologians and students on all sides of the problem in addition to the Bible. If Billy didn’t attain a solution that absolutely glad him, he knew he may all the time return to milking cows for a dwelling on the household farm. It was a real disaster of religion, and Billy was wracked with doubt.  

He lastly dropped to his knees in prayer and determined that the Bible was God’s impressed phrase, and he would settle for each phrase by religion. Weeks after that religious expertise, Billy Graham traveled to Los Angeles to begin the marketing campaign that may propel him to worldwide prominence. Heaven is fuller right this moment due to that call and Hell misplaced quite a lot of residents. 

As for Templeton, he drifted away from God and into the wilderness. He ultimately left the ministry, received divorced and turned his again on all these he had befriended throughout his years with the church. 

Outwardly, the following few many years of Templeton’s life regarded profitable. He bounced between tv, music, screenplays, books, politics, promoting and journalism. His first screenplay was tailored right into a 1980 characteristic movie, “The Kidnapping of the President.” His 1995 guide “Farewell to God” was his parting shot at Christianity and listed the explanation why he left the religion. 

Shortly earlier than the guide was printed, Templeton was identified with Alzheimer’s. But it surely led to a poignant 1998 interview with my buddy and writer Lee Strobel as he was engaged on a guide that may grow to be a best-seller known as “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Private Investigation of the Proof for Jesus.” 

Strobel, a former atheist, was an award-winning authorized editor of The Chicago Tribune. He tailed Templeton to an condo in Toronto. Strobel principally needed to understand how Templeton went from preaching the Gospel alongside Billy Graham to agnosticism. 

Templeton spoke of the ideas of Heaven and Hell, atheism versus agnosticism, and God’s existence. Once they received to the topic of Jesus, not solely did Templeton acknowledge his existence, he additionally declared he was “the best human being that ever lived.”  

“You sound such as you actually care about him?” Strobel requested. 

“Effectively, sure, He’s crucial factor in my life,” Templeton replied. I do know it could sound unusual, however I’ve to say it…I adore Him. And if I’ll put it this manner, I … miss … Him!” 

Templeton then did one thing that took Strobel utterly by shock – he started sobbing uncontrollably. 

Charles Templeton was not as a lot of an agnostic as he famously claimed; he was, in reality, a prodigal son. And just like the story Jesus informed, the prodigal son missed his house.  

On his deathbed, Templeton’s spouse Madeleine stated he was gazing upward when he noticed angels.  

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“Have a look at them, have a look at them!” he cried to her. “They’re so lovely. They’re ready for me … I’m coming.”   

I’ve little doubt that when Billy Graham died in 2018, his outdated and pricey buddy Charles Templeton was there sitting close to the throne of God to welcome him to the Kingdom. 

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