I am convinced, through my travels and experiences, that people all over the world are hungry to hear the Word of God. As the people came to a desert place to hear John the Baptist proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord,” so modern man in his confusions, frustrations, and bewilderments will come to hear the minister who preaches with authority.
I remember how in London many secular and religious journalists remarked on this very point as being perhaps the greatest secret of the meetings there. One of the thousands who came to commit their lives to Christ in that crusade was a brilliant young Communist. She was a student at the Royal Academy of Drama and Arts, and was already a successful young actress. She had joined the Young Communist League because the members were zealous and seemed to have the answers to the problems of life. Out of curiosity she and some of her fellow students came to our meetings at the Harringay Arena “to see the show.” She later testified how startled she was to hear not a lecture on sociology, politics, psychology, or philosophy, but the simple word of God quoted. This fascinated her and her companions. They came back several nights until the Word of God did its work of breaking open their hearts. They surrendered their lives to Christ.
I am not advocating bibliolatry. I am not suggesting that we should worship the Bible, any more than a soldier worships his sword or a surgeon worships his scalpel. I am, however, fervently urging a return to Bible-centered preaching, a Gospel presentation that says without apology and without ambiguity, “Thus saith the Lord.”
The world longs for authority, finality, and conclusiveness. It is weary of theological floundering and uncertainty. Belief exhilarates the human spirit; doubt depresses. Nothing is gained psychologically or spiritually by casting aspersions on the Bible. A generation that occupied itself with criticism of the Scriptures all too soon found itself questioning Divine revelation.
It is my conviction that if the preaching of the Gospel is to be authoritative, if it is to produce conviction of sin, if it is to challenge men and women to walk in newness of life, if it is to be attended by the Spirit’s power, then the Bible with its discerning, piercing, burning message must become the basis of our preaching.
From my experience in preaching across America, I am convinced that the average American is vulnerable to the Christian message if it is seasoned with authority and proclaimed as verily from God through His Word.
Do we not have authority in other realms of life? Mathematics has its inviolable rules, formulas, and equations; if these are ignored, no provable answers can be found.
Music has its rules of harmony, progression, and time. The greatest music of the ages has been composed in accordance with these rules. To break the rules is to produce discord and “audio-bedlam.” The composer uses imagination and creative genius, to be sure, but his work must be done within the framework of the accepted forms of time, melody, and harmony. He must go by the book. To ignore the laws of music would be to make no music.
Every intelligent action takes place in a climate of authority.
Billy Graham…to be continued