One of the elders at my church a fantastic guy called Colin Price spoke about the importance about reading the Bible… he did a great job. During his sermon he told the famous story about Billy Graham and Charles Templeton.
The story goes like this… Billy and Charles worked together doing evangelical crusades together in the mid 1940’s, thousands of people came and gave their lives over to God… and committed Christ as their personal saviour in their lives. Charles was offered the opportunity to go to Princeton Theological seminary and study. During the time there Charles tried to convince Billy to come along… at the time Billy decided it wasn’t the best decision for him so he didn’t go. As time went on Billy kept in touch with Charles, and it seems that Charles was becoming more and more liberal in his teaching… to the point where Charles said to Billy that Billys message was “too simple”, as Charles studied more and more liberal views.
In the end Billy Graham became noted in history as preaching the Gospel message (in person) than anyone else… ever. He spoke in the ear of Presidents… world Leaders… he was awarded many awards inculding an honourary knighthood in the UK.
While Charles Templeton struggled with doubt and ended up calling himself an agnostic.
So why did this story stand out for me?
Because I like history… I like to study the patterns that happen in history for those who don’t take note of historic moments. For instance if Adolf Hitler had taken a look into history at Napoleon Bonaparte he wouldn’t have tried to invade Russia in Winter… and his war story could have been so different.
But if we look at the pattern with Billy and Charles you can see it happening again… but maybe in a bigger scale.
The simple Gospel message verse intellectual liberalism.
We have some church leaders and evangelists who are becoming more and more liberal… and they are trying to make the Gospel message into something that they can intellectualize it… box it… make it easy for them to understand… to explain… to make palatable.
However the Gospel message is not these things… it is simple… it is unappologetic… it’s not P.C.
And I find myself drawn more and more to church leaders, speakers and evangelists who lay the Gospel message on a plate and say simply “here is what the Bible actually says let God speak this into your heart… into your very soul”… and I find people who are trying to twist the Gospel to say something else more and more unpalatable.
I don’t think it’s right to ask “does the Bible really say….?” – that’s the equvelent of the Devil saying to Adam and Eve… “did God REALLY say….?” – in John 1:1 it says “In the Beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the word WAS God”
The word WAS God… so when we are starting to twist the Bible or to cast doubt into the Bible teaching… then it simply isn’t the Gospel message… it’s not the truth that the Bible gives.
The truth is so simple… it hurts… it heals… it opens us… it saves us.
IT SAVES US.