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What the New Billy Graham Statue Says About America Now


A statue of Rev. Billy Graham will be unveiled in the US Capitol later today. The likeness depicts Dr. Graham gesturing toward an open Bible in his hand. Its base is inscribed with two verses of Scripture:

  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Visitors to our nation’s capital will therefore encounter the gospel every time they see Dr. Graham’s statue. This is consistent with the evangelist’s statement during his final sermon in June 2005 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York:

I have one message—that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all our sins.

Does America need this “one message” more now than ever?

“Britain is no country for Christians”

The dating app Bumble recently ran billboards stating, “You know full well a vow of celibacy is not the answer.” After complaints escalated, they apologized and removed the ads.

The “Disney Pride Collection” went live this week in anticipation of the annual Pride Month that begins in two weeks. Target is planning to offer its own collection of Pride Month products as well. They will no longer display these products in all their stores due to the backlash they generated last year, but they say they are committed to LGBTQ advocacy not only during Pride Month but year-round.

Christ followers are facing increasing intolerance in the UK; a recent article in the Telegraph was headlined, “Britain is no country for Christians.” And US Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. is warning that freedom of religion is “imperiled” in the US as well.

Speaking at a recent commencement ceremony, he told the graduates: “When you venture out into the world, you may well find yourself in a job or a community or a social setting when you will be pressured to endorse ideas you don’t believe or to abandon core beliefs. It will be up to you to stand firm.”

“Woe to those who call evil good”

For many years, theologians and philosophers such as myself have been watching with alarm our nation’s slide into “post-truth” moral relativism and the rejection of biblical morality that has ensued. This is nothing new to human history. Twenty-seven centuries ago, the Lord warned his people:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20–21).

Such people “have rejected the law of the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (v. 24). With this result: “Therefore the anger of the Lᴏʀᴅ was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets” (v. 25).

God’s warning came to pass when the Babylonians destroyed their temple, devastated their nation, and enslaved their people.

If this is how God judged Israel, is any nation’s future guaranteed?

“If Christianity is important at all”

The way forward is illustrated by the life and message of the one being honored in our nation’s capital today. Billy Graham was emphatic: “Living the Christian life means striving for holiness.” He added: “We aren’t only called to become Christians; we are called to be Christians” (my emphasis).

He knew the secret to such character: “I can’t live the Christian life alone. I’m a failure. Billy Graham cannot live the Christian life. I’ve tried. I can’t do it. But with the help of the word of God and the help of the Holy  Spirit, I can live the Christian life. But he lives it through me.”

Such transformation is the key to our personal and national future. Dr. Graham stated in 1955:

“The regeneration of the individual is much more needed than the revolution of society.”

Would he make this assertion even more emphatically today?

Dr. Graham was convinced: “If Christianity is important at all, it is all-important. If it is anything at all, it is everything. It is either the most vital thing in your life, or it isn’t worth bothering with.”

What is “the most vital thing in your life” today?

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Thursday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“Time is the dressing room of eternity. In the few fleeting days of life on this planet we are given the opportunity to prepare for eternity.” —Billy Graham

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Keystone/Stringer
Publish Date: May 16, 2024 

Jim Denison, PhD, is a cultural theologian and the founder and CEO of Denison Ministries. Denison Ministries includes DenisonForum.org, First15.org, ChristianParenting.org, and FoundationsWithJanet.org. Jim speaks biblically into significant cultural issues at Denison Forum. He is the chief author of The Daily Article and has written more than 30 books, including The Coming Tsunamithe Biblical Insight to Tough Questions series, and The Fifth Great Awakening.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

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